March 28, 2007


Today's Topic: Strange Occurrences

Look closely, it's a bale of hay in the back of that Corolla wagon. I thought it was interesting and, in a way, a bail of hay in the back of a Corolla wagon seems iconoclastic. That might not seem so strange, but something I've been reading about lately that does is a new trend in global economics. Right now, somewhere in China, hundreds of thousands of people are working, in factories, extremely long hours, like 12 and 18 hour shifts...playing video games. It's called “Gold Farming”

Well, just what exactly is or Gold Farming? (or MMORPG Farming or Game Farming as it's also referred to as), you may be wondering. To explain this first of all, for anyone who doesn't know what a MMORPG is, which included me, well it's an acronym for a kind of video game standing for Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. This is not to be confused with, Massive Multiplayer Online Real-time Strategy (MMORTS), or Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter (MMOFPS). MMORPGs mimic something known as real life, so they also often feature an economy, well a virtual one, well actually apparently, virtual or not, the economies in these games are connected to the economy of the real world, and I guess in a sense that shouldn't be so strange when considering that economies in general are really just a virtual representation of the energy exchanged of goods and services between societies. And because these virtual worlds are so expansive, and because a virtual economy can be exchanged with a real economy, you now have a bizarre bastardization of global economics and gaming technology known as MMORPG Farming.

It sounds so far fetched and ridiculous, when I first heard on NPR last year about these sweat shops that are cropping up in China with people, essentially virtually laboring, I thought I was listening to a script of a SciFi film. Life, or rather the experience we call “life”, is undeniably a very strange thing. Makes me think, it may be a virtual product, but it's a sweatshop none the less...