Here's another interesting post from elsewhere in the blogosphere, from science fiction writer Charlie Stross, in which he suggests that the rise of gaming has all kinds of social ripples that perhaps many aren't thinking about.

Stross starts by noting: "Sad to say, the political landscape of the early to mid 21st century has already been designed -- by Gary Gygax, inventor of Dungeons and Dragons. Gary didn't realize it (D&D predates personal computing) but his somewhat addictive game transferred onto computers quite early (see also: Nethack). And then gamers demanded -- and got, as graphics horsepower arrived -- graphical versions of same... Which leads me to the key insight that: our first commercially viable multi-user virtual reality environments have been designed (and implicitly legislated) to emulate pencil-and-paper high fantasy role playing games." Sounds right!

Oddly enough, this overlaps somewhat with the recent GSW post in which I discussed how the oldest of oldskool Western RPGs influenced Japanese ones more than we might think. Anyhow, Stross is particularly interesting when he says: "An environment developed implicitly for gaming/playing, then re-purposed for acting/doing in real life, offers all sorts of interesting possibilities for behavioural traps equivalent to not understanding that location bar at the top of the browser window."

Like what? "The two general failure modes will be: (a) thinking that something is a game, when in actual fact it isn't, and (b) thinking something is real when it's just a simulation. These will also interact with a population who take longer to reach "traditional" adulthood (if they ever do so), and who therefore may engage in game-play or learning oriented behaviour inappropriately." Uhoh, Blizzard, now everyone is a perpetual kiddie, thanks to you!