In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang – Review

Admittedly, when I started to read ‘In Real Life’, I was unaware that there is a stigma around female gamers choosing to play male characters over one that matches their sex. Having matured my own gaming side with the likes of Laura Croft, Jill Valentine and Chen-Li, I always automatically selected female avatars and characters. To be honest, the term “girl-gamer”, I feel is a lot of crap, you are either a gamer or you are not. A person’s gender when it comes to immersing one’s self in a world made of pixels, means absolutely nothing, it all comes down to skill. I hope that the opening scenario of this story and others like it will help to dispel the need to create characters that are expected to be played and build up gamers confidence in playing as the character e they want to play.

Genders within video games aside, the authors depict very well the relationships between social gamers, MMORPGs specifically. The camaraderie between guild and party members extends beyond the generated quests and scenarios. Time spent with people, either text based, voice based or in person, is time spent getting to know them. Lives are shared with others that are part of the world that is an escape from the real one. It is easier to share things with people that you share this common bond and do not see in person as, to some extent, there is a certain degree of detachment. This story reveals what can happen when people have less than a generous amount of respect for the other players that they interact with. It also shows the potential benefits of forming online alliances.

In summation, ‘In Real Life’ illustrates that the pros and cons of real life relationships are just as real and influential in the cyber world and should never be taken lightly.

It is wonderfully drawn with colour schemes that represent the vividity of the main character’s feelings and moods, whether in the game or irl, which makes it very relatable and easy to submerge within.

A definite read for any younger “girl-gamers”.

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