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Murray Rosenbaum Headshot

Is Human Interaction Dead?

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Over the past few decades, a new pastime has come into our lives. This pastime is video games. They started off with simple goals such as 'save the princess,' 'defeat the villain,' etc. Over time, video games have become very complex with beautiful graphics and campaigns that allow for two gamers to play together. The real crux of this is the online gaming aspect, the ability to play games online with anyone in the world.

The first "multiplayer" game was built for for the Xerox Alto, and was called Maze War. Maze War was made in 1979 and it only worked if two computers were connected by Ethernet to each other. While Maze War is the first and most basic multiplayer game, today the most well-known is World of Warcraft.

WoW is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) in which you create a character and explore. The goal of the game is to complete missioned assigned to you in the world of Azeroth, known as 'quests.' This game is one of many that brings up the question, "Is human interaction dead?" People who play regularly join clans or groups in which they are sent on a quest and fight enemies together. The only problem, in my opinion, is that most of the time they don't know each other from a single human interaction (shaking hands, for example). These groups of people only know each other from the virtual World of Warcraft and nowhere else. Some people consider their clan members their best friends, even though sometimes they live on the other side of the planet.

WoW is only one example of online gaming interaction taking over human interaction. There are games like Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and other various well-known titles that have an online gaming option. What I have noticed more often when I play games online is that younger and younger children are playing these violent games and are very virulent in how they speak to others online. I have also gotten many friend requests from some kids if we played on the same team for a game. This leads me to believe that they do not have many friends in real life, so they try to make friends online who will play games with them.

My question is, will interaction between people one day be mainly through online gaming? Will the majority of childrens' friends in the future be from a game that they played together? I think that there is a massive difference between friends made from playing a game and friends made from camp, school or vacation. Whenever I play games with friends I made in school, we have more fun because we can joke around and just be ridiculous, as opposed to friends made from gaming. I really don't know the people who I have met from gaming and they don't really know me, so it's harder for me to treat them like I would with my real friends. This is the significant difference between friends I made from my social experiences and friends I made from gaming. I end up feeling as though I have had a more human experience when I play video games with my friends because I know their face and we have inside jokes. I also feel as though I can be myself when I play games with my friends, as opposed to some silent player who just has awkward conversations with someone I don't really know.

None of this has answered my original question: Is human interaction dead? My answer currently is no, but that can change within a decade or two when future generations have grown up with online gaming as a regular source for entertainment. I believe that human interaction will never truly die, but gaming is merely a pseudo human interaction and people aren't technically "friends" with the people they met online.