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Tuesday, June 27, 2017


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sirhc deSantis

Something from Bartle as background.


"So, labelling the four player types abstracted, we get: achievers, explorers, socialisers and killers"

Read on to the end about the dynamics.
Interesting (if a bit simplified ref: socialisers) and as stated at the end '.. I am not a trained psychologist..'.

(the endnotes/refs are a fascinating slice of history - well the titles are, good luck wading through to find links)

Clara Seller

I like that Richard Bartle is questioning what he sees without immediately trying to answer with "how can I profit off of this situation".

I like that a lot of people are really starting to ask difficult questions and connect forbidden dots. We can see how the status quo is starting to unravel in front of our faces.

It's not just young men that are looking for an escape. What are we, as a society, reaching for right now? I'm afraid we're actually reaching for complete destruction. We're gambling on that. Fight or flight? There's an argument to be made that "escape" is actually the most rational choice. In the "escape" the person is at least trying to be one with themselves. It's a start.
When you look around at those who believe they are the fighters or any given "resistance", you are often looking in the face of batsh-t crazy because they don't really even know what they are fighting for or against.


No, the real world doesn't "suck". There is quite a lot of beauty, wonder and miracles happening every day. I know, because I unhooked myself and traveled the world for a few years.

What "sucks" is the inherent laziness in humans that is regularly exploited by politicians and self-important know-nothings (like Barfles). People like him make money on the sloth and laziness and then have the gall to turn around and say "the real world sucks".

No, you just suck you sad POS.

-Leonard N.

Richard Bartle

Maybe you should have stayed unhooked, then you wouldn't be making ad hominem attacks on me based on what you think must be true rather than what actually is true.




Is that the best response you can do? Claiming you're being "attacked" because I called you out on your BS?

Yeah, I'm sure MENSA is beating down the door to listen to more of your compartmentalized badbreath-wisdom.

Keep looking in your dirty mirror, Dick. What you see is all you know.

Dartagan Shepherd

I can't escape my pragmatist self. I doubt that they had more of a reason to create a MUD than "it would be cool if we did this" at the time.

Later, it became about the money. Now he can afford to call it art.

This is also the guy that wanted to take free form MUDs and turn them into 60 hours of gameplay that led you through the nose, while some of us were contributing to codebases like MUSH, MOO, MUCK to try to abstract them to the point that they could be anything you wanted them to be.

Erik Mondrian

The nice thing, of course, about distastefully phrased "opinions" like nimoy's is that they say a lot more about the commenter and what kind of person they are than they do about the one those comments are supposedly directed toward.

Ergo, if you really feel you have something valid to contribute and aren't just a belligerent troll, try a less antagonistic tactic. Please.


Love the description of Bartle as "basically one of the godfathers of virtual worlds" description. Perfect.

Desmond Shang

Not sure if this statistic is a bit old, but approximately 80% of humanity was recently living off the equivalent of $10 dollars a day, or far less.

It's a philosopher's argument, to call such an existence pleasant. A few bright moments in all that, perhaps, but otherwise: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

And even in the first world, it's pretty hard to find happiness say, working a crummy retail job.

Of *course* people are going to seek company, or a clear path to a 'sense' of success, or whatever else it is they are looking for. Not everyone is going to see the real world as surmountable and malleable.

As it is, entertainment companies study how to properly dose game rewards and satisfactions to maximum effect over time, and engineer scenarios for camaraderie... sometimes with real humans, other times with an eternally chipper NPC.

It depends what people are looking for. If it's just to commune with friends across the world on a Saturday night, that's relatively healthy, I think, compared to watching tv. But if it's the habitual, addictive drip that provides a sort of synthetic meaning for life, that's pretty bad. Imagine a corporate underclass trudging back and forth between retail jobs and dungeon raids. Which one is the real job?

Brave new worlds, indeed.

Richard Bartle

Dartagnan: You're entitled to be cynical, and we did think indeed it would be cool. We also thought it might be fun (we both liked coding a lot). However, we did have a higher motivation, and (as I said in the original post) we discussed this not just between ourselves but with our friends. That said, a lot of it was unspoken: we knew why we were doing it because that sense that the real world was failing and computers could improve it was endemic among early programmers.

It was never about money, at least for me. I put the concept of virtual worlds into the public domain in 1985; that's not something I would have done if it was about money. Virtual worlds were invented independently several times, and the ones that were about money kept their code under wraps; I gave the code of MUD1 away. I've made millions from MUD, but not for me.

I didn't think of it as art at the time, you're right there, that did come later.

I don't know where you got the idea that I wanted to take freeform MUDs and turn them into 60 hours of directed gameplay. That may be what others have done with the concept, but it's a long way from what I want to do. As I said, for me virtual worlds are about giving people the freedom to be and become themselves; you don't get that from run-on-rails games.


Richard Bartle

Nimoy: You didn't call me out on my bullshit, you merely made an accusation. To call me out, you'd have to back up what you alleged with actual evidence. Where's this money I'm supposed to be making off "the sloth and laziness"?

Many of the young men who are retreating into virtual worlds would love to be able to unhook themselves and travel the world for a few years. They don't have that kind of freedom available to them, though. If you want to go on your hero's journey by visiting new places and exploring other cultures, well that's great for you. For people who don't have that as an option, though, well they have to find themselves in virtual worlds instead (or the armed forces, which can also work).



Started with VR because real world suck. I am not young and not a man but i am still in VR because real world suck.

Dartagan Shepherd

@Richard: Fair enough. I don't remember offhand the specific instance about my 60 hours of gameplay comment.

It was either on one of the Usenet MUD groups way back when we were discussing "distributed worlds" or an article when you were consulting for another game company and you were kind of advocating more rigid paths of gameplay rather than freeform play and worlds that were not "games".

I don't remember which company you were working with at the time. So many game companies have come and gone since then.

None of this is to belittle your contribution as a forefather of MUDs. Just that we were never on the same page as to where MUDs should be going.

But even with Second Life as a walled garden we're a far cry from those days when we were dreaming of distributed interconnected worlds. Ah well. I think Second Life has done more to stunt virtual world growth than promote it.


Again, you can't defend your whole "the real world sucks" thing.

What you MEANT to say was that the poor, lazy losers you cater to will not improve their lives to see just how great the real world is.

But that means turning off the computer, saving some money and actually living life.

That basic fact escapes you and you try to justify the digital-crack you sell as a panacea when in reality, you're just contributing to the lie that the "real world sucks".

Grow up man before it's too late.

Dartagan Shepherd

@leonard: Wow, I thought I was harsh. I think you're missing some perspective though. To many people that were Richard's users early on, they were hooked in because of stress or conditions in life to make this kind of escapism attractive.

To you the world is great, but it does suck for many people. In those early MUD days, most users were male, many of them college students (these were the people who had the most internet access before the internet became commercialized and who were geeky enough to be drawn to it).

Many a college student failed their courses because they were addicted to MUDs, which were an escape from the rigors of school and an uncertain future, lack of money, etc.

Fast forward to today, where that "digital crack" does indeed draw people who need escape the most and for whom the world sucks.

So he's right in that making the world a better place would contribute to needing an escape less. And wrong in that others make great practical use of virtual worlds and have a well balanced life. You don't really get to choose your users, investigate their backgrounds and then police who gets to use a technology or product.

Sinbad Square

Its probably just young heterosexual (eeeek) white males its happening to, which in that case who cares right? That particular demographic is one that feminists(the foaming at the mouth kind) and non whites alike would like to round up and set alight in public square because evil anyway.

Why am I bringing race into this? Because the owner of this blog racializes things now too . I'm just beating him to the punch.

Iggy 1.0

The real world does not "suck." What sucks is the lack of fulfilling careers for many people, young or old, unless they have college degrees and, increasingly, advanced degrees. There's so often--for my most gaming-addicted friends--no sense of an upward path any more. And they are not Millennials: they are high-school-graduate white dudes in their 40s and 50s who are simply stuck.

There was a time, from about 1945-70, when boats lifted for most Americans--even for women and people of color--though the ride upward was rough. I was around for the last half of that era, and then I saw the stagnation of the 70s slowly begin to erode those gains. It was, coincidentally, the same time as the rise of the first gaming consoles and VHS/Betamax passive escape-boxes. Oh, the hours wasted on Missile Command.

That said, I actually recall that a middle-class kid like me in the 70s, working all summer in a grocery store, could get enough $$ together for a second-hand car or a chunk of the next year's college expenses.

There's also a counter-narrative (I'm an academic so here it comes). My "stuck" friends have spent a LOT of money on their hobby, plus cable bills, to the point where they might have paid for community college tuition and even a four-year degree. I urged them...because that is what got me out of bagging groceries. My old bagging buddy sure did move up: 40 years later and without a degree, he's the dairy manager at my local store, his job as secure as the next merger and closing of his grocery chain.

I sound like a conservative in that last paragraph, but there is something to the narrative of personal responsibility when a white, intelligent, and culturally privileged male decides he's rather be on Steam instead of getting a degree.


"Rather be on Steam
Instead of getting a degree."

Some goddam great poetry right there.

If you make that into a T-shirt, I'd buy it.


The more I think about it, the more clueless this Dick Bartles is.

"The Real World Sucks.", Is this fool's slogan.

Gee Dick, what period in world history was better?

Was it 100 years ago when you could die from a cut finger and it took a week or more to cross the Atlantic?

Was it 50 years ago when you could not open a large book-sized piece of plastic and instantly access information from around the world?

Was it 25 years ago when 'playing videos' meant going to the local pool hall with a friend to play Missile Command and Miss Pacman?

Now it just makes me sick to have wasted the time to respond to that chuckle.

Richard Bartle

Nimoy: The world has never not sucked. Where did you get the impression that when I said "the real world sucks" I meant only right now? It's always sucked! It may suck slightly less for a slightly greater percentage of people now than it did when plagues wiped out a quarter of the population, but it still sucks. Just because you, personally, think it's a pretty sweet deal, that doesn't miraculously make it so for everyone else. Privilege and injustice are everywhere, and have been for as long as we've had civilisation. It sucks!


Richard Bartle

Dartagan: Ah, I think I see where the misunderstanding is. I do believe that players of virtual worlds follow a pathway, and that game designers can (and perhaps should) help them to do so, but it's not a literal, hold-your-hand-through-content kind of pathway, it's a metaphorical pathway to self-actualisation. Playing virtual worlds is a way for an individual to understand who they are. I much prefer the sandbox approach, because it allows for more gradations and doesn't force the player to follow only a few, set routes that the designer has deemed worthy; however, I defend the designer's right to create such a world if they want, because it's their design and they can say what they want through it. So yes, players do follow a path, but they follow it whether the designer directs it or not (it may be harder in Second Life than in an MMORPG, but it still happens). I don't think that players should follow only the prescribed routes to reach their destination, though.

The 60 hours thing doesn't sound right, though. I normally say 2-4 hours a night for 18 months to two years. 60 hours is more a single-player RPG thing.



Clearly Dick, you are confusing 'world' with 'people'.

Your pretend outrage at the level of "privilege" and "injustice" in the world is due to people.

It's a real idiot who blames the mountain for falling and breaking an ankle or blames the forest for getting himself lost.

If you are merely going to double-down by confusing 'world' with 'people' then I'm glad I don't need to listen to any of your advice. If I did, I'm sure the 'world' would just "suck" even more.



The world sucks for everyone. What varies is what makes it suck. If you are rich then there is the drive for o be richer and not fail will h what you have. If you're poor then the drive is to get more and not fail life as you have it. Some have gumption and some dont in both cases. Some have smarts. Some have creativity. Some have art, music, people skils, etc. there are those for whom the world sucks and they strive to improve it or their corner of it. There are those with no gumption too. And there are some who wear rose colored glasses and refuse to see the suck that others suffer with.

But the suck is there no matter your station in life. Without conflict there can be no challenge. Without challenge there is no growth or reason to even get out of bed in the morning. Be glad of the suck, for if everything was perfect, reality would be a very boring place indeed. How one rises to the challenges in life is part personality, part resources, and part luck. But we all have the challenges in life, whatever they may be.

Amanda Dallin

@Shockwave. You're describing a game.

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