Virtues and Virtual Reality

Do you remember a few years ago after the last Harry Potter book had long since been read and the last movie installment’s tickets long lost? The anticipation had died down, and, despite the attempts to replicate the success of the Potter series, nothing seemed to be able to renew that excitement and anticipation that used to have people lining up for hours outside of bookstores to pick up something they’d pre-ordered anyway. Then, in a last ditch effort to stretch the world of Harry Potter for as much as possible, JK Rowling released Pottermore, bringing up all the past excitement and frenzy.

That might not have been the best use for the powers of the internet. Pottermore never really took off, and today it is almost forgotten completely. Well, here’s a new attempt to combine the worlds of literature and internet gaming. Now, Jane Austen’s novels can come to life in the new multi-player game Ever, Jane that Jezebel so beautifully brought our attention to. All those dreams you’ve had where you live the life of Elinor or Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, or even Austen herself are about to be fulfilled in a game that will, if the current information is to be believed, not include any sort of violence outside the realm of gossip. As the campaign’s about page says:

“Ever, Jane is a virtual world that allows people to role-play in Regency Period England. Similar to traditional role playing games, we advance our character through experience, but that is where the similarities end. Ever, Jane is about playing the actual character in the game, building stories. Our quests are derived from player’s actions and stories. And we gossip rather than use swords and magic to demolish our enemies and aid our friends.”

Gaming has become more and more complex over the past decade expanding from the standard story lines that require minimal attention to detail and are frequently based in violence of some sort (shooting games, war games) to more complex, subtle virtual realities that rely on intricacy rather than violence or excitement. Of course these games have existed in Myst or Civilization, but never has human interaction on such a personal level formed as much a part of the basics as in Ever, Jane. We know we haven’t even played the game yet, but we’re intrigued as to how closely this world will resemble the real one.

But what’s your opinion of this promise, Core scholars? Do you think this is simply another role-playing game that will find itself swallowed by the depths of the internet or do you think this one has some valid points of interest meriting excitement? And could this game perhaps create more interest in the books in a world increasingly less interested in literature? Let us know below.

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