The world is moving on but not always in ways that are compatible with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). I've been interested in computers and electronic games from their very beginning when the gods at Atari gave us Space Invaders, Pac Man, River Raid, Missile Command and Pitfall. I've stayed with games and computers through the Amstrad CPC, Amiga, then onto PCs and XBOXs. However now games seem to be all about "multi-player", with some games even being multi-player only. I'm fine with games having a multi-player element, but it seems there are forces at work in the games industry to make games only about multiplayer. It's like some self-serving gaming guru has decreed that multi-player is the future and we will be beaten and cajoled until we are all heading in the "right" direction.
I don't want to play multi-player games. I don't want to be forced to communicate with someone over a headpiece to negotiate playing a game. While playing a game I don't want to have to be communicating with other people, either giving or taking instructions. It's not just the unwanted communication, but have you ever played games on-line? It is populated with netizens who are 12 years old and think that throwing racist or jingoistic abuse is funny. Then there is the whole aspect of actually getting a game. No "press A to start" here…oh no. You have to find a suitable "session" that you can join. Then you have to try and last 5 seconds before being booted from it. If you do get to join a game you can do badly and get booted, do well and get booted, or be mediocre and hope to last a few games…before being booted.
In my rare forays into multi-gaming I've always found it best to host my own games. That way I just let people play. If they're rubbish noobs I don't boot them, if they're 1337 and totally pwn me I still don't boot them. I like to be fair…but it's often not enough. You see people come to expect communication from you as the game host, such as unofficial rules or even what we want to play next. So people often don't stick around to play with me much.
Then there is the internet. Once a tool for researching movies, settling arguments and finding out the news of the day, it has now been taken over by "social networking". It's the latest bandwagon and there are many sites onboard. It seems you're nobody if you don't have a facebook account, or a myspace or bebo. No group of adults can be together for more than 5 minutes without talking about facebook, or their wall or their status. Every picture taken at a nightclub is on facebook no more than 20 minutes after being committed to the camera's memory. It's like the world's biggest club and I'm not invited.
And, like multi-player gaming, it seems there are forces at work that want to force you onto their bandwagon. Facebook has launched a technology called "connect" that lets you interact with third-party sites using your facebook details. Is their dream for the future one where everyone is on facebook? That it is all of our home pages?
I guess some people with AS would actually welcome this trend. Maybe I'm being too hasty. Maybe social networking on-line is a boon to those who can't do it in real life? Not for me, though, I seek the companionship of on-line people as much as I do real people. I would get no comfort from seeing all of my "friends" crammed into a box.
Still it's not all bad. Aren't self-service checkouts great? No people on the till, no small talk, no chatty checkout girls, no feeling that people are judging you by the "meals for one" that you're buying.