Professional gaming academic Ted Castronova has been talking about his new book, Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality, and he’s been saying the kinds of things that have been playing on my mind a whole lot in recent months. How valuable is our gaming escapism? And what does it mean to spend so much time in virtual worlds? Ted’s book is about making some judgments, as he explained to the BBC:
“If reality is a bad thing, and people are going into virtual worlds to reconnect, the word you would deploy is refuge,” he said.
“A father of two spending 90 hours a week in a virtual world because he doesn’t like his wife – I would say that’s escapism, and it isn’t anything you would say is good.
“But if it’s a heavy-set girl from a small town who gets victimised just because her body isn’t the ‘right’ kind of body, and she goes online to make friends because she can’t get a fair shake in the real world, then I would say the virtual world is more of a refuge.”
So are you escaping, or taking refuge, readers?