I’ve never been sure whether I’m a gamer or not. When I was younger I never completed games on the Sega Megadrive or PC because I preferred to build things. I didn’t like games that came to an end. I spent hours on Rollercoaster Tycoon which was one of my favourite pastimes and involved me creating hugely elaborate theme parks based on those that I’d visited in the real world. I don’t tick the boxes of a gamer who sits in front of a Playstation for hours to kill as many aliens as possible. I’ve been more of a maker in virtual worlds. I’d never realised this until I was interviewed by Lynda Graham about my digital history. She suggests that my life in virtual worlds is as a seriously solitary maker.
She has a point. I have an xbox and have not completed a game on it yet – I barely even get halfway. I spent my time making things (mainly websites). However over the past year I have been playing World of Warcraft the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and have been hooked. So once again I question whether I am a gamer. World of Warcraft is more of a living breathing virtual world than a one-off game as it cannot be paused and it cannot be completed. There is always something to do and the world is constantly evolving and expanding. It seems to be the middle ground of me engaging with virtual worlds and gaming.
World of Warcraft is rich in new literacy practices as there are so many other players online around the world at the same time. It also includes a small element of design as you create your own characters and purchase equipment for them (above is a picture of the latest character I have created). Maybe I am a lightweight gamer? Or maybe I should stop thinking about it and just enjoy the ride.