Comments on

Round Table: There's Nothing but Strangers Out There

Original entry posted: Wed Apr 19 23:35:54 2006

Patrick @ Wed Apr 19 19:35:54 2006 EST

You make good points. The limitations of verbs in most games have completely erased any potential for meaningful social interaction. It doesn't have to be this way. User studies have shown that a person cannot help but treat an object socially if that object follows consistent social cues. We don't need human-level AI to do human-level interaction. And because games are interactive, unlike any media, the potential for empathy is greater than at any point in the history of human expression.

I'm actually trying to accomplish a real character friendship in the DS game I'm currently designing.

Thomas @ Wed Apr 19 22:13:56 2006 EST

I think my point is that you shouldn't try.

Thomas @ Wed Apr 19 22:17:30 2006 EST

Allow me to clarify: we don't need friends in games. You can identify, as Josh wrote, without any of these strategies, and that's what's important. I don't need the game to be my friend to have an emotional attachment.

Moreover, with the current information infrastructure, it just doesn't make sense to try to create artificial friends. I have real friends. I'd rather play the game with them, and the Internet makes that possible.

Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" raises this point, to some degree. Instead of trying and failing to stimulate humanity, either hire actors or let people fill that part themselves.

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