Thursday, 13 December 2007

Are Friends Electric

Some years back I was given a copy of The Sims, a computer game in which you manipulate virtual beings in a virtual world. In order for your virtual people to get ahead in their virtual life they had to forge relationships and make friends. This entailed engaging them in lengthy, inane conversations with other characters, so that their "friendship level" steadily rose until -bing! - they were now an official chum. The problem was you had to keep topping these relationships up, or the levels steadily dropped again and the friendship would be lost. So instead of just arsing around in the game having fun, you end up committing all your time and energy to an endless round of networking, trying to keep your numerous sprites topped up with friendly goodness. I found it all bum numbingly boring and ended up walling my Sims into a doorless room and letting them starve, the tedious fuckers.

The reason the Sims have been on my mind is that I find blogging can feel a bit like that frustrating networking malarky sometimes. I am not good at maintaining dozens and dozens of online acquaintances. I can keep up with a handful of blogs and bloggers, and then I've reached the limits of my time and capabilities. Others seem to tackle it all like a military campaign. They are all over the blogosphere, flirting, luring, self-promoting. How the fuck do they have time to actually do the things they blog about, given the vast numbers of sites they visit and comment upon? I am fucked when it comes to the networking stuff, as I still find it all as bum numbingly boring as I did in the Sims. I mean, I could visit numerous blogs and comment "LOL" or "that was beautiful and evocative" or "you are SO hot!" or "wow, it's like you're typing my pain with your fingers, writing my life with your words" or some other derivative platitude, but it would all be just so much white noise. A quick burst of static that means nothing other than "I am here! Come look at me and leave your own white noise, quick, before my popularity levels drop again!" Bollocks to that. If I leave a comment it will be because something engaged me sufficiently to get my lazy fingers typing. Or because I have been drinking. Either way it will be a genuine response.

Maybe I'm just not good at playing the game.


Cyrano Q said...

There are far more agenda behind commenting that just "Come and comment on me".

But I take your point on The Sims. Why have a game where you grow up, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids, etc, when that's exactly what most people end up doing in Real Life? Computer games should be about things you can't do normally - shooting people, or piloting rocketships, or collecting pocket monsters. And then shooting people again.

Can you tell I like shooting people? I'll get me coat.

Angela-la-la said...

You are me AICMFP.

having my cake said...

My kids were majorly into the Sims. I thought it was quite good educationally when the baby kept crying unless they paid it attention and kept it fed and changed. But, as you say, it took up so much time, it was better to get one of those Japanese electronic pet things - Tamagochi -that fits in your handbag if that's the lesson you want to enforce that one. It's like Facebook as well. All these fight clubs, vampire things, where you have to keep training your fighter to keep them up to the correct level. Loads and loads of time wasted interacting with a computer. Mind you, there was that prog on the tv the other week about Sex in the Noughties and there was this guy who was addicted to this game where he had an avatar of himself and he interacted sexually (very graphically) with the avatar of a woman. He didnt go out but spent his whole day being an avatar interacting with other avatars - how bizarre is that?

bittersweet me said...

you are so HOT!!

('cut and paste' is so useful when commenting ...)

I am planning a little late-night drunken blog baiting later tonight. It might be fun!

Anonymous Boxer said...

Actually, I think you're just playing a different game, and it makes sense to me.

LOL. You are so hot! Bittersweet is right, cut/paste REALLY saves me massive commenting time.

(I'm so immature, I just had to do that, sorry.)

Sulpicia said...

luka! wow, it's like you're typing my pain with your fingers, writing my life with your words

Sulpicia said...

but seriously... comments on my blog remain at a nice 5-10. i got really scared when a blogger who gets tons of comments noted me on her site... comments went up to 16. freaked me the hell out. couldn't handle it! everything's back to normal now. quiet. just how i like it.