10 December 2006

The Virtual World of China

Talking of the blurring of distinction between life and games, here's a great rumination on certain aspects of modern China (a subject that interests me greatly). I was particularly struck by these two passages:

In China’s case, I’d say morality is probably 5% instinctual, 20% customs and traditions, and 75% fear of law and loss, with an overall lower bar for morality. It is interesting to observe how this is very similar to how morality evolves in an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer On Line Role Playing Game). Religion has nothing to say about how your Avatar’s life should be conducted (hah! What Would Arthas Do?), and there is little rule of law on the servers. Thus, if one was to take a walk through SecondLife, one would commonly find copious quantities of sex-related items for sale, and presumably there are many people who will also sell you virtual sex for Linden dollars. Maybe this is a stretch, but I think the underlying moral lessons are not too different from the scene I saw in the Hard Rock Cafe Beijing.


Beijing is in the process of building an enormous Olympic park. They tear down whole neighborhoods and pave roads over them in a matter of weeks. They are building an 11 or 12-route subway system that promises to rival the subway system in Manhattan for connectivity and completeness. Watching this happen reminds me of how I play Sim City. If you’ve ever played the game, you’ve probably remorselessly bulldozed huge sections of Sim Cities that you messed up the planning on, and improved your city’s long-term productivity through doing that. The Beijing government seems to restructure the city with about the same attitude and efficiency...

Fascinating. (Via GridBlog.)


sa~sa said...

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Glyn Moody said...