Online Role Playing Text Games: Warning Signs
By Lorna Cowie
Online text games can be a wonderful method of escapism, but it is worth remembering that they are exactly that: text games. Immersing yourself in a text-based RPG or MUD is the point, to draw you in and let you live a fantasy life in a fantasy world and carve out a future for your characters... but sometimes it comes at a cost.
Through my years as an avid online text game player (many, I assure you!) I can say I have experienced and seen a multitude of things happen in the online gaming world, so here I give you an example of one of the easiest things that can happen in any online text game.
You become overly emotional at in-game actions OUTSIDE of the online text game.
This is more common than you think. You are playing a character that you have spent time levelling and creating a history for, and learning about the engaging text game world. Your character has a personality and a life, and perhaps also has family and friends. Then one or more of those friends causes your character to become angry, upset or sad. It is natural for you to personally feel this way also... but only to a limit. I will freely admit that I laugh, I cry, and I become frustrated and sometimes angry at what can and does happen to my characters. But it is crucial to be able to remember that it is only a game, so you can sit back, give a smile and say, "Now that was good roleplay!"
Often knowing when you are in too deep is hard to see, but ask yourself this. Do you log out of the text adventure games and after ten minutes away still feel angry about what happened in-game? Do you lose sleep over actions that have happened in an online text game? Are your friends contacting you out of character, asking you to calm down or reminding you 'it is only a game'? Are you taking in-game actions as a slight against you personally? If so, then perhaps it is time to sit back and take a good look at what is happening.
Becoming too emotionally involved is unhealthy. After hours and hours of gameplay and of channeling your character, it is often hard to distinguish between what is real and what is only role play, and things begin to hurt a little too much. Sitting back and allowing yourself a break can make a world of different. Go check out the world outside of the computer whilst letting your thoughts clear. Not dwelling on the issues in the text games will let you see things more clearly.
Allowing yourself some distance between you and your character in the online text game is not betraying your character in any way. It will not hate you; it can't, because (as you should be reminding yourself at this point anyway) the real world and the game world are completely separate things. You don't exist to your character, technically.
Knowing that you have become too emotionally involved in an online text game is nothing to be ashamed of... and being honest enough with yourself to recognize if it has happened to you is something to be proud of, as now you know and now you can do something about it.
Remember. It is just a game. It is an enjoyable, exciting, stimulating fantasy world of fun and adventure... but it is still just a game.
Check out some great online text RPGs today!
Lorna Cowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.