Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Son, go to school, I'll grind to level 40 for you.

The good people at (they're naturally good but it doesn't hurt that BN is on their blogroll; I'm sorry, I'm shameless!) link and write about a peculiar Korean news story (Read Korean?).

The article reveals that some parents are so concerned about their kids grinding away in online games that they take over the grinding themselves. Apparently, there is no choice not to play these games as the child loves it and everyone in their social circle plays. So to not play and be good at it is equivalent to being (in my days) the sad kid without the TV . These parents see grades dropping but just can't choose between social acceptance or good grades for their child. The only choice (for these parents) is to grind for their kids. Amazingly, some get hooked themselves.

Wow! I mean, WOW!

I'm shocked, not at the extent of what parents will do for their kids (burnt chicken, live chicks, I know that parable) but the cultural milestones that have to be crossed before this even is an option:

  • Gaming has to be multi-generational
  • Understanding and achieving within games/game culture are required as social lubricant
  • An individual's social capital is intertwined with status in the most popular games
So I thought Korea was ahead of us in gaming before, but this takes the cake. Now I'm certainly not condoning parents grinding for kids. I think there's probably a better way to solve the situation, but then, I'm not a parent. I have, however, said all along that I am envious of the Korean gaming culture and how far they've gotten. This parent thing is probably a symptom of where they are and frankly, you have to take the good with the bad.

Don't worry, there is no way that gaming will get even remotely close to this level in the US anytime soon.

The most challenging milestone for us is the last one. Gamers today have negative capital in the general society because of their hobby. Could it be because of all the destruction, death, dismemberment, overt sex, sex mods, lubricious gamer girls and the hundreds of other things that are chaining our industry to the frat house? Yeah, probably.

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