Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do Games Need More Holidays?

It’s that time of year. I want to say a quick word about tragedies and people.

Ten years ago in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland, there was a tragedy. It hit the family very hard and each year the community comes together to remember it.

Eight years ago, tomorrow, in New York, there was a much larger tragedy. One that is steeped in all sorts of emotions and agendas. It too is still remembered.

Now these two events are completely unrelated. What is universal is that people will come to mourn the events and the lives lost. On one end of the scale we’ve an event so local that if anyone across the entire player base of City of Heroes had heard of it, other than me, I’d be surprised. On the other, there’s an event which brings out all sorts of emotions in all sorts of people and can be called politically charged. (Oh by the way, any comments that make light of it or show any disrespect to the departed will be deleted and the commenter will be shamed to the best of my ability)

I remembered recently an event that took place in Earth & Beyond. There was a particular zone in the Beta Hydri System. Glenn I think it was, or perhaps Grissom. It had several nav buoys you could fly to representing milestones in space travel. When the Columbia Disaster occurred players congregated in this zone to hold a memorial. Afterwards the Devs retconned in a new buoy for the disaster, if memory serves that is. Thus there was a memorial for a tragedy that anyone can relate to.

A lot of MMOs already celebrate Christmas/Generic Winter Holiday, Valentines, Halloween and their own birthday. Should there be a date in an MMOs social calendar for remembering those who we have lost? Is that better handled by the player base than the developers? Or is it too much of an intrusion of the real world that games offer an escape from?

Would you mourn with gamers, connected only by the virtual space you share or is it something best left to people to do in private?


Ysharros said...

Ugh, no. We already get told what to do, what to believe, whom to worship and whom to mourn far too much, and not just here in the US.

I'm not being disrespectful here, but the day WoW starts officially marking 9/11 is probably the day I stop playing ANY MMO for having crossed the line between entertainment and evangelism (of whatever kind). The whole idea is actually weirdly creepy, so bravo for coming up with it. :D

But then, I dislike organised-pretty-much-anything, from organised religion on down. I prefer to make my own way, make up my own mind, and make my own respects.

Ardua said...

Ohhhh no no no no no no no no no.

Not a day for 9/11. More a generic day for generic mourning. Like how Catholics have November 1st.

I used the two examples, the Dun Laoghaire one is too small to be commemorated digitally, and 9/11 is too charged with all sorts of connotations.

Just if we already have Christmas, why not a day of Rememberance?

Themed as well. Like a day for Fallen Heroes in CoH/CO or mark the Horde/Alliance conflict in WoW

Sareini said...

I think that any holiday/day of mourning/similar event would run the risk of being griefed, which is why I suppose that most games don't do them beyond the ones that everyone (or nearly everyone) celebrates already. And even then they "generic" the holiday to the point where it could offend as few people as possible (see CoX's "Winter Event" as an example).

It could be nice to have some sort of Day of Rememberance, to use your example, but I think it would run the risk of (a) attracting griefers who think the whole thing is funny, which would in turn deeply offend the people for whom it meant a lot, and (b) alienating people who simply might not want to take part in such a thing. There's always the chance that such a thing could become political, which will *never* end well online, and then you've got huge rows stemming from it. I think that's why most MMOs stay away from doing such things.