THE worst of my current Baldur's Gate II addiction has passed, I think, and not a moment too soon. I'm still enjoying the game, but I can walk away from it, which was more than I could two a couple of weeks ago. My reaction to RPG's is really like that of someone with a substance dependency. Luckily, every RPG eventually ends, while there's always more heroin in the world. Yes, I know, there's always another RPG (mmmm, Morrowind...), but finishing one always seems to end the craving, at least for a while.
What is it about RPG's?
I think it's the illusion of growth. Play the game normally, and your character grows, becomes stronger, more able, able to cast more and better spells, wield more and weapons, go places he couldn't go before, fight critters that kicked his ass a couple of levels ago. Is there anything better than finally beating that lich that you you've know was there, but hadn't been able to beat in a dozen tries, and finally retrieving off his corpse the legendary 4+ Double-handed Sword of Artichokes you've been lusting after?
Growth, getting better, stronger, smarter, is horribly enticing. Look at kids. There isn't a kid in the world who doesn't desperately want to grow up, who doesn't fudge up his age as high as he can, who doesn't get excited when he's measured on the doorframe in the kitchen, and he's half an inch taller than he was on his last birthday, who wants to ride a bike, then drive a car, who waits desperately for that day when he can do things grown-ups do.
And for kids, it's a reality. Kids grow up, they do become bigger and stronger, know more, and able to do more, go places and do things that they weren't able to last year. But once you're an adult, that rapid progression slows down. You're still able to learn new things, and advance in your profession, but compared to those years from about 4 to 16, progress is painfully slow. RPG's are the simulation of growth. They provide you with that intoxicating rush of evolving into a more powerful person, that the real world all too often doesn't.
Is this bad? Like all things, it's possible
to abuse RPG's. The story
of the fanatic Everquest player who committed suicide and whose mom is suing
Sony for making the game too good (wtf?) has been all over the net. I was an EQ
addict for about year, and although my non-EQ life didn't fall apart during that
time, and I eventually quit the game, during that period EQ absorbed a lot of my
time, and I still get the occasional itch to log on, fire up Gilead Stonechapel,
Dwarven Cleric of Brell, and ramble through the shops and markets of Freeport,
listening to the chatter of a hundred other players, buying and selling their
goods, or head down to the throne room of the undead Ghoul Lord in Lower Guk.
meaning: younger sister
姉妹 == shimai == sisters
妹 == imouto == (your) younger sister
Left radical is 'woman', right is 'immature'. Henshall suggests as a
mnemonic: 'Younger sister is immature woman'.