Saturday, March 04, 2006

Maple Story Week 1

Well, I've just got the green light from my professor to use this blog as data (how often do you get to make up your own data to use in a study?) so I guess I better get to work before I forget too much. I won't waste your time by telling you about the game itself, if you're curious you can read all about it on wikipedia here. The first time I heard about the game was from my aunt, who was appalled by two things about it: one that her two sons (ages 7 and 12) were both so engrossed by it, and two that it was free for them to play. I was familiar with MMORPG's, specifically EverQuest, the attributes of which had been explained to me in minutae by a former co-worker at The Olive Garden several years ago during my table waiting days. When I was a young lad though, one of the main draws for new video games was improved (more realistic) graphics. The fact that EverQuest had an immersible, three dimensional, and fully interactive world with which to engage enabled me to at least somewhat understand the appeal. You can imagine my surprise then, to see MapleStory for the first time as a side scrolling two-dimensional game much closer in visual resemblance to Super Mario Bros. then EverQuest.
"What is the point?" I asked my cousin (age 12)
"There is no point," he explained. "It's for little kids, but it's really addictive."
I lost interest pretty quickly at that point, but each week when I returned for dinner with my family, I noted the absurd amount of time my cousins spent in the game. I may have even asked a few more detailed questions of my cousin in attempts to better understand the game, but the truth is that the idea of interacting with dozens ( much less hundreds or thousands) of people at the same time was intimidating to me.
"What will they think of me? Will I be a joke? Will I be ridiculed?" were all thoughts that passed through my head while merely thinking about playing the game. I should explain that I'm not a very competitive person by nature, but I don't like losing either, and the idea of a game where there aren't any losers was still difficult for me to grasp. I suppose the reason I was hesitant to join the game earlier (aside from being very busy) is similar to the reason I don't start surfing: I don't want to go through the "newbie" period that all beginners must suffer through.
What finally grabbed my attention with MapleStory though was when I noticed how many of my 6th grade students were involved in the game. At that point I started asking my cousins more about the game and when the opportunity came up to do a case study for my Ed 690 class, I immediately thought of MMORPG's and MapleStory. I'll post more tomorrow about my first day as a Mapler. -joe