I shouldn't do this to you people, but I will.
A warning: I'm someone with an addictive personallity, quite obsessive.
Various members of my extended family have ridiculous addiction problems; I
confine my drug intake strictly to caffeine, to which I am a hopelessly
addicted. Luckily, that is regarded almost as highly as professional
association membership for coders.
My other major problem addiction, especially a problem in Uni, is arcade
games. Before you scoff, I must admit I was spending $50 plus a week on
them, when I was on an income of around $100 a week (ack, student life).
There are worse addictions in the world (I've worked in a bar and watched
Poker machine addicts go for it; misery), but I think it is real. I don't
walk past computer game arcades now if I can help it (because I don't walk
past them, if you catch my drift).
Anyway, I own two computer game CDs now, and hardly ever put them near my
PC; somehow I can't get them out of the CD drive once they go in.
I thought Utopia would be safe; it's a strategy game, all text based, how
bad could it be? Hmm. I estimate that it soaks a minimum of an hour a day.
At heavy times, it can push to four hours. That's truly detrimental. It's
really, really addictive.
Luckily, massively multiplayer online games are also entirely new (I mean
games with, say, 10,000 players plus), and so the experience of such a new
gaming environment is entirely worth (or at least partially compensates) the
investment. It really is qualitatively different from any small scale
game.I've played play-by-mails with over 200 players in the past, but it is
just not the same as this. You've never felt so insignificant as when you
are competing with tens of thousands of other players! I think people should
take the time to try things like this; it helps bring home very personally a
modern truth, which is that the number of other people in the world is more
than you can comprehend in any significant sense. Even 40,000 people is a
lot of people. Too many to get a mental picture of.
You've been warned.
(if anyone is actually going to start playing, have a look soon. The new
round is starting in the next week or two, it's the ideal time to get a
feeling for the game. When the new round starts, you need to know what is
going on from day 1. I can send people a list of the most important
player-maintained strategy and support software sites out there; you cannot
be competitive without checking these sites out)
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert J. Bradbury <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 16, 2000 11:05 PM
Subject: Games reflecting life [was Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for
> Emlyn wrote:
> > In this game, you play a fantasy province; Orcs, elves dwarves,
> > (yawn, yep same old stuff). It has a interestingly simplistic geographic
> > model - there's no map, you just exist in this abstract world, with a
> > certain amount of acres of land, all kinds of production statistics and
> > settings which lead ultimately to an expansion rate of population
> > (particularly limited by land) and income level (production rate of
> > You use those things to make an army, and you use your army to get more
> > land.
> Gadzooks, this sounds like a cross between Middle Earth and Empire.
> Your summary would agree with conclusions that were reached by many
> of the first Empire addicts (including myself) back in the mid
> 1970's when Peter Langston first made the game available.
> Did anyone else on the list ever play Empire?
> Also, is there a URL for Utopia?
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