Check out this Australian TV-program on game addiction.

I tried WoW myself a while back, but just couldn’t get hooked, even though I tried. I just feel the First Life has more depth, a better resolution, a better and more diverse design and I can grow a bigger ego and collect more gold in the First Life than I can online. And, my connection with the First Life is always up and running, unless I sleep or die off course. That’s bit of a drawback of the First Life: no respawning.

That being said, no WoW’er is gonna give a ***t about my opinion on this matter. The gamer is hooked, he has an alternate peronality, which is stronger, more daring, and has sometimes much more friends than the his or her ‘original’ personality.

It’s interesting to think about matters of identity in this context. Who are we? Is the online world less real than the First Life? If one spends more time online than one does offline, where lies ones true self? Is it perhaps old- fashioned to think that ‘we’ are our physical selves only? We are already very familiar with the phone, printing, photography, blogging, etcetera. Are they also not part of out identity and personality?

I remember the movie eXistenZ, released in 1999, in which people have sort of half-organic computers, that hook up to the nervous system directly so images are projected directly to the brain. In the virtual realities the main character visit, there are also these half-organic computers which they hook up to there as well. After a while, they have absolutely no way of knowing wheather they are in or outside the virtual worlds.

The strange thing is, some of us don’t even seem to need nervous connectors to believe they are actually there. As games, the internet and technology in general are getting better and better, what will my son’s reality eventually look like? As I’m sitting behind my computer right now typing while surfing the web on and off, how far away from physical reality am I?