Friday, April 27, 2012

Please, No Halo for this Gamer

You hear some odd calls over the police scanner.  We always keep it running in the background in the ER.  It is the best way to get early warning on accidents and other things that we may need to gear up to handle.

The other night there was a call that got me thinking.  Apparently a mother in a town fifty miles away had become aware that her son was talking about suicide.....on X Box Live. 

I had to look this up, but apparently this is an online multiplayer gaming thing, with extra features such as chat.  It will connect you to Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.  You can appear as whatever avatar you like.

The police went out and could not find the individual where he was thought to be. No avatars were sighted either.

So many questions.

Was mom also gaming?  Perhaps there are families out there in which Super Mario is enjoyed by several generations.

How did the police know where to look?  I seem to recall that getting together in somebody's basement for multiplayer gaming is the norm.  And there are lots of young people living in lots of mom and dad basements these days.  The internet is everywhere.

How do you judge the seriousness of suicidal talk in a "gamer universe".  It is customary in most of these addicting alternate realities to have multiple "lives".  Meaning you can die a few times with no adverse effects.

I hope this was all a misunderstanding of some sort.  There was no obvious follow up so I shall never know.

But I just keep wondering.  When young people spend so very much of their time and energy in these alternate, virtual their lives there matter more than their life here?

1 comment:

Harry said...

I used to play a lot of, what else, Lord of the Rings Online a few years ago. Before the Flotsam Diaries dragged me back to the real world. The online gaming world is truly a fascinating place. Folks thousands of miles from each other pop on the headsets, team up, spend an hour working through a hard encounter, learn strategies, finally defeat the "boss" -- or die trying and decide on a new time to get together and try again. I was something of an oddity in the gamer world -- a loner in real life & also a loner online. I enjoyed playing in a world where folks were wandering by, but I never teamed up, always preferred to solo, explore on my own. But it's very easy to see how the lines between "real" and "fantasy" blur. People speak un-self-consciously of their big accomplishments the week before, when in reality it was an in-game accomplishment -- killed the big boss of a new encounter; spent all night killing 300 bats to get a new power-up. People can put a lot of self-worth into the fates of their characters. The kid is probably okay, but it's good to be aware & concerned. Glad the mom is tuned in. And yes, on the LOTRO game boards there are lots of folks who post & play as a family. I always hoped Sam would get into it. She's resisted! That's okay, in a few years I have Ruby to indoctrinate.