Have you ever played a computer game that made you feel like you’re in another world?
Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t. When I was 12 years old I played Ultima VI: The False Prophet. It made me feel like I was in another world. At the start of the game you were asked ethical questions which would shape your character. Nearly all of the items in the game were interactive. If you saw a boat, you could sail away in search of a new area to explore. The computer-controlled characters had lives. They had jobs and daily routines. You could talk to everyone to learn more about them and your new world.
I remember finding a talking mouse who helped me navigate the sewers under a castle. Other characters made the world in this computer game feel alive and breathing. There was Dupre the fierce knight, Iolo the clever bard and Shamino the intriguing ranger. Together you formed an adventuring party with the goal of completing quests and solving the mysteries of Britannia. The level of interactivity was revolutionary when the game came out in 1990. You can learn more about Ultima VI here.
There’s a spiritual successor to the Ultima series. It’s called Shroud of the Avatar (SOTA). Unlike the Ultima series it’s a MMORPG. It came out in 2014. It’s a free-to-play game. Today I played it for three hours without a break with a childhood friend. Both of us played Ultima as kids and it left a strong impression on us. The magic of the Ultima series is in this game. There are references you will recognize if you have played any of the Ultima games. I felt like I was in another world when I played this game with my friend today. We fought a monstrous troll who came out from under a bridge. Then we made our way through a mountain pass to a nefarious dungeon. Spiderwebs were everywhere in the dark halls. Together we slayed the giant spiders that lived there. Deeper in the dungeon we went. We were both murdered by a villainous undead wizard and his skeletal friends. During our adventure we used Discord to have a digital phone call.
Students who are learning English can use computer games to help them. They can talk with other players in English when they are in the game. This will help them be more confident and comfortable when speaking English. They can also get better at listening to native speakers speak English quickly. And it can help them to learn real world vocabulary. This website can help students get started.
Even though I’m in Vietnam and my friend is in America we had a great time playing this game together today. We had a lot of fun. We laughed as we vanquished our enemies and screamed in terror as we narrowly escaped death. This is the magic of playing computer games online with friends. They can make you forget about the real world and relieve stress. For just a little while you don’t have to worry about homework, deadlines or any of your stressful real world problems. This form of entertainment can be found in computer games but also in movies and books. Why not visit another world?
You can find me in Shroud of the Avatar. If you are learning English or if you are interested in becoming my friend in SOTA, contact me and let’s meet up in the game. Sharpen your sword because we’re going to kill some giant spiders. 😁