Sunday, April 22, 2012

Paying Tribute

Gaming.  In the minds of many, it conjures images of drooling, obese men (generally), sucking down Blatz beer, dripping nacho cheese on their unshaven faces which contain seriously bad teeth which sit upon a body that has been unshowered in days, if not weeks, and reeks of B.O.

Am I close?

These same people are then thought to be (by those who don't know them): stupid, ignorant, unsociable, illiterate, and socially inept, or worse, lacking any sort of emotion that "normal" humans feel.


Last night, I started scrolling through my laundry list of servers that I have built characters on during the 7+ years the game has existed on the internet (apparently, it was a PC game before but not able to be played with others? - I don't know...) anyway, I came to Norgannon.  A server most notably known for a young man who died far too young of brain tumors.

His wish was to tour Blizzard's headquarters and meet some developers.  Who knew the multi-bazillionaires there would care about a small young man who played WoW with his dad.  Last night, while running around, I remembered Ezra and the fun night in WoW a few years ago when 3,000 or so of us made baby cows (tauren) and did a "run with the baby bulls" through the area in game.

So, Ezra.  Make-A-Wish has granted so many youngsters with terminal illnesses dreams that might have never come true without the organization.

Ezra's story touched many of us who never met the young boy.  Blizzard touched many of us, and continues to, by creating tributes inside the game to the people who leave us much too soon.  Ezra was able to create a story line in the game (the game itself is much more than just killing other cartoonish characters; it is the story of good v. evil, each quest line has a purpose, a scavenger hunt, and a role in the larger picture).

Ezra created a story line with a dog.  His dog has gone missing and it is up to the people who play the game to help Ahab find the dog.  Cute story line.  At the end... well, I've yet to watch anyone not /bow or /kneel in silent tribute to the quest giver.  It is a gamer's way of honoring.

In Ezra's case, he left this world behind but his gamer friends known, and unknown, to him did a run with the baby bulls.

And crashed a server.

To our great delight.

Someone actually posted the video of that great night as 3,000 or so of us took part in making new characters, joining a guild "Run For Ezra".  It was all that most of us could do for a child we'd never meet.  If you watch the video, please realize that every one of those dancing characters has a sole person behind.  A person who chose to create the character and take part in a game to honor a young man.  Each person took about an hour out of their day to serve another - Ezra's real family.  It is widely speculated his father was on that night.

Eyes watering, if you could read the scrolling chat in the lower right corner, there were no dry eyes.

Why all of this?

Sometimes I truly wonder what others think when they know, or find out, my closet gaming fun.  Yes, I see concerts, I see real people all the time.  I go out, see comedy clubs, travel, chat about normal stuff (politics, history, books, travel, school.... always something about school!).  I'm normal.  In gamer world, people say real women don't play video games.  Or if they do, they must be really ugly.  I am real, and I'm farfromfugly.  :)

Sometimes I hope to change a few people's minds on video games.  They are NOT an excuse to avoid the real world and those that use it for that purpose are ill.  Sometimes I hope to have people see that gamers are not cold hearted killers (like the bastage in Norway), we have a huge heart.

We do care.

We even care about those we will never meet.

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