Montageman: A dude who writes

October 5, 2006

South Park & World of Warcraft

Filed under: Academic, southpark, videogames — montageman @ 4:23 am

On tonight’s season premiere of South Park, the show was focused on World of Warcraft, which I have not played. However, I do not have to be familiar with the game because what the show was concerned with tonight was not the game itself, but rather the contextual placement of the game within peoples’ lives (or lack thereof). At one point, one of the executives asks, “How do you kill that which has no life?” A loaded statement to say the least – especially when considered with the W.O.W.’s CEO’s later response to the questions of if he had the game, “No, I have a life,” he responds. The problem here is that all players do have a life and in the world of the game – they have infinite lives. “Life” is being defined as physical activity outside of the bedroom or office where the computer or console is located. It is as though these games drain life force from its players. Once players become immersed in these games, life outside of Warcraft becomes meaningless. As with many episodes of South Park, an injustice causes the boys to take up arms against WOW.

Gamers do not like deceit. Cheating as a means of winning a game robs the action of its play-character and spoils it altogether, because for the essence of play is that rules must be kept-that it be fair play (Huizinga 52). This includes never putting the game down. Play must be an escape from daily routine, as such, the gamer with “no life” is no longer a player, rather he has become a worker. As the kids continue to play, they devolve into gelatinous, zit-infested blobs. No longer concerned with anything but Warcraft, it has become their job to eliminate the murderer in order to restore justice to the world (of warcraft). At this point, the game is no longer fun and has lost its playful character.

At the end of the show, Kyle asks Cartman, “We killed him – now what?” to which Cartman responds, “Now, we get to play the game.”

1 Comment »

  1. The Sword featured in the episode is actually a real WOW item with a different name. Comparison shots here:

    Comment by Spyhunter — October 5, 2006 @ 9:59 pm

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