The Gamer and the Guerrillas

I grew up in the generation that saw parents flying into fisticuffs at little league baseball, peewee football, and junior hockey games. And, although I never witnessed anything so brutal, I do clearly remember the mob mentality of high school sporting events as hundreds of fans berated referees, umpires and officials - insulting and threatening them from the stands.

This trend followed the natural escalations within American culture, and soon parents of these young athletes began to sue the coaches and the referees for costing their children opportunities of a lifetime. The absurdity of these events aside, I cannot help but recall very clearly the words of wisdom given to me by my parents while I was very young:

"Remember, it's just a game"

Time has passed, and my generation is now having children of our own, but our kids are growing up in a truly digital age. Online communities, online income, online communication, and online competitions.

In their moderation I don't have any problem with the methods of this age, and in fact I utilize them to connect and continue our relationships around the world. The online gaming and competition also has its place, and it is undeniable that it also has both entertainment and economic value. In fact, I hope our dear friend and podcaster over at Women of Warcraft can combine those economic and entertainment aspects by getting picked up by some gaming sponsor so she can make a pile of money and come out here to visit us (with Andy of course)!

But, now it seems that the violence that was once reserved for little league ballparks on Saturday mornings has overflowed into the world of online gaming: and with a digital-age-guerrilla-warfare twist:

An armed gang of four kidnapped one of the world's top RPG gamers after one criminal's girlfriend lured him into a fake date using Orkut, Google's social network. After sequestering him in Sao Paulo, they held a gun against the victim's head for five hours to get his password, which they wanted to sell for $8,000.
hattip: Gizmodo

What gets even more disturbing, is that the guy decided that it would be better to DIE than to lose his precious online persona. Or perhaps all that strategy gaming had taught him to read that the gunmen were bluffing, because after five hours they let him go.

I think all of these young men, the gamer and the guerrillas alike, would surely have benefited from my parents sage advice: IT REALLY IS JUST A GAME!

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