The world in the 21st century has witnessed some of the dramatic inventions in the field of technology. These inventions have not only made the use of technology appliances and software programs easier, but also affordable, as providers of these services try to outdo each other in their effort to attract customers. Importantly, in the face of stiff competition from various computer industries and companies, computer games, such as massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), have been improvised with a lot of precision to lure many users.
Generally,MMORPGs is the latest genre of computer games that takes into account the involvement of more than one character or person while playing. That is, it is the only computer game with a capacity to support and incorporate many players. This makes it possible for the players to cooperate, socialize, and even compete internationally. Besides, MMORPGs is the only computer game accredited worldwide for providing an environment in which players could have an intimate engagement with each other. This unique feature allows meaningful interaction and engagement in a more improvised manner.
Just as any technological invention would bring with it both positive and negative impacts to the society, MMORPGs have also been found to resonate in the same manner. This literature review study is going to look at the effects associated with MMORPGs as discovered by some of the renowned scholars and researchers. This will encompass the social issues, financial issues, and health effects that always come with such inventions.
The history of MMORPGs is traced to late 1970s when it was still referred to as Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs). The first generation of MMORPGs was developed by two great tech-savvy giants by the names Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw. The two developed interest in computer games while studying at the University of Essex, prompting their innovation. The innovation, titled “MUD,” was played using main frame computers that encompassed dumb terminals within their system. Dumb terminals refer to computers that lack any storage capacity to support intensive software programs (Gamespy, 25). Gamespy is a popular site that researches on the latest trends of computer games. It does this by availing a lot of information on its site gamespy.com.
After its inception, MUDs have experienced tremendous growth in the past two decades, with close to1670 MUDS versions in online circulation currently (Gamespy, 25). This number represents a significant growth, taking into account the time the first version was conceptualized. Remarkably, the modern day MUDs have not dissociated itself completely from the original version developed by Trubshaw and Bartle. In fact, they bear much resemblance in that, both use text messages for communication between players, both are organized around the rules of fantasy, and both are operated or played without the players paying for it (Gamespy, 27).
With the continuous increase in computer and internet accessibility/availability, software developing companies saw the financial potential MUDs could have in their businesses. This realization motivated these companies to develop computer games that had financial returns to the company. Subsequently, the first commercially viable MMORPG was developed by 3DO games giant in 1996. The company then shipped the version to America, which was a good market for the product at that time. The version developed by 3DO was known as Meridian 59 and had features that were highly incompatible to the original versions developed by Trubshaw and Bartle. For instance, unlike the original version which was played using computers with dumb terminals, meridian 59 was played on a client/server system that used specialized software that was only available with 3DO. This meant that any person who wanted to play the game had to pay for this specialized software (Meridian 59, 2). Meridian 59 is one of the technologies giant companies that fist developed a commercially sound MMORPG named meridian 59 which served as an eye opener in the industry.
Therefore, just like any other technological invention, MMORPG has undergone several modifications to reach the modern version with three dimensional features. This version has many integrated structures and requires players to undergo continuous practice in order to perfect themselves and play better. Some of the latest versions of MMORPG include Dark Age of Camelot, Star Wars among others. Despite the tremendous achievements and advances made in technology and internet usage, modern MMORPG games have preserved some principles earlier expressed in the original versions of 1970s. For instance, all MMORPGS games are built on a common characteristic platform, which makes it easier for users to move and integrate with other games in the same genre (MMORPG, 11). MMORPG as the name suggest is the company that provides commercial computer games on a large scale. In its website, almost all researches dealing with MMORPG games are found.