almost 9 years on 2008-06-01


a quick idea that sounds crazy but i promise has some truth/future around it. 

right now mmorpgs are generally designed so that time is 'sped up' - characters in the games gain strengths, knowledge, etc. faster than human beings do in reality.  currently, even in slow games, childhood might be a month instead of ten years.  what if people designed games the other way... so that time in mmorpgs was massively slowed down - a character might take thirty or fifty years to get out of childhood.

put differently, what if games were designed on a multi-generational timeframe.  grandpa started a character, clan, whatever, and they would be passed down through the family.  just as grandpa imigrated to the us, dad graduated highschool, and the son makes it through college - what if mmorpgs were played through multiple generations.

the question would be, why would anyone want to play a game like that?  what is the value/who cares.  it could be a matter of inter-generational connectiveness, a new form of birthright (inhereting a character just the way you used to inheret a watch or a fountin pen)...  maybe a company would just create a contest in an mmorpg where there was a $1 billion dollar payout in the year 2200. 

obviously there are all sorts of problems - you would have to create a structure that game players would want to invest in - which means one that stays relevant/interesting/fun/valuable on a very long term basis...  in many cases people would have to have a reason to believe that the game would outlast basically all other institutions... but it is doable - just think if the game was made by/sponsored by the catholic church...  there is a lot that is very wrong here/doesn't work - but i feel a grain of truth/feasibility in a system like this.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010