…but it’s only a game, Arjay!

September 11, 2009


B8ab784ec6fa39078cffe6ecbaff6f7e_150x150 This article is a long time in coming.

It seems, every time I approach a criminal element in the eRepublik world, whether it was the AFK when I was a Congressman in Bolivia, or the Theocrats yesterday in Japan, the same sentence always comes forth. It’s only a game, Arjay. Don’t take this so serious. You know we make this world interesting, if we weren’t here, you’d have no reason to get up in the morning. If you’re big and bad, Arjay, bring it, but stop the friggin’ whining.

After such attempts to validate their thievery and thuggery, I move on, further convinced I’m on the right track.

One of the great debates has always been, is eRepublik a game, or is it roleplay? I’ve never understood why this has to be an either/or question. We are given a citizen, to do with as we wish. Some build careers with their citizens, some become soldiers or politicians, some become mercenaries and vandals. Many of us engage in several endeavors.

For me, and for a growing number of people, I’ve given up pursuing a political career, at least for the moment, and have chosen to explore this world, along with my fiancée, Rainy Sunday. I like creating the citizen Arjay Phoenician, I think he rocks! Yes, there’s a guy behind a keyboard, pulling his strings and making him say strange things, and the things that guy believes in the real world have been uttered by Arjay by way of his writings here and his conversations in IRC. But the Arjay Phoenician that appears on the screen, the Arjay Phoenician who dares to speak up on the things that bug him, who talks about abolishing the concept of the superalliances, who stands up to heads-of-state as if they were just guys walking down the street, I like him, and I’m proud I created him.

You see the same Arjay Phoenician, if you’re on his Friends List or a subscriber to his paper, you get an idea about what he stands for, and hopefully the things his puppetmaster believes in can be read in his articles. You’re welcome to take them or leave them as you wish, but this much I, the guy behind the keyboard, want you to know, that whether you agree or disagree with my political views, my only desire is, when you think of the name Arjay Phoenician, you smile a little bit and say to yourself, at least that guy cared. At least he was sincere in what he believed, whatever that may be. At least he wasn’t a fraud. At least he didn’t just talk the talk, say the right things at the right time. At least he tried.

To me, that’s what this game is about. If there is an object to this game, it’s about self-awareness.

I’ve fought with former Presidents on this, those who believe I have no right to get in their faces and talk to them like equals, because I’ve accomplished nothing. That’s a highly subjective point of view, the belief that the one with the most medals, the most experience points, the most gold, wins, and if you think about it, it doesn’t even make sense. The current leader in experience points, Euphonix, is so far ahead of the hundreds of newbies who entered the game today, do you really think they have a chance at all to catch him, if all this is about is racking up points?

Not everyone is going to be President in three different countries, but everyone does have the opportunity to make his citizen into something honorable and decent, and therefore special, unique, precious.

The eRepublik version of Social Darwinism, the belief that the strong not only deserve to destroy the weak, but the duty to, is the opposite of that honor. Its most obvious manifestation comes in the form of the superalliances. They have polarized this world to the point that the most sinister of antics are championed. When PEACE countries use outside software to generate fraudulent newspaper subscriptions and thus generating gold for themselves, the ATLANTIS/EDEN/FORTIS world cries bloody murder, but then they themselves do the very same thing, giving the adolescent excuse that no parent would ever fall for—if they can do it, why can’t we? When PTO groups target your country, you call on your neighbors for assistance to fend off the thieves, but when they’re targeting another country, preferably a country outside your alliance’s sphere of influence, those groups become champions. One of the greatest scourges in this world is the use of multi’s, yet when Romania brags about using them like sleeper cells to influence the Hungarian elections, the Allies cheer.

Please tell Arjay and me that we’re not the only ones bothered by this.

It’s a hypocrisy the entire world engages in. Instead of taking a side in this game of superalliance Russian Roulette, I call it out for what it is. It’s dishonorable and disgusting, and it threatens the game as a whole.

But this isn’t something the admins can solve, neither should they. These hypocrisies were created by the citizens of this world, therefore they must be resolved by the citizens of this world.

That’s where I come in, to point these things out, to bring the good people of this world to their senses. I affirm the mission statement of this newspaper, to be that grain of sand, to create a beautiful pearl by way of irritating this oyster, this world entire. It’s a hefty goal I’ve set, but after a hundred days, I still believe what Plato says in the eRepublik tutorial video, one citizen can change the world.

This is how I play the game of eRepublik. I don’t define “winning the game” by how many medals I win, or how much gold I accumulate, or even in succeeding in my goal of abolishing the concept of superalliances; but if I create a citizen who lives his life to the fullest, who becomes self-aware, who tries to do the honorable thing, even if no one agrees with it or even witnesses it, I think I’ve done something good. That good is not determined by which country I live in or which alliance I bow down to, but is good in and of itself.

I’m not asking you to agree or disagree with this.

Whatever brings you to this world every day, however you create the personality and reputation for your citizen, that’s your call. For me, it’s looking in my inbox every afternoon and seeing at least one message from my Rainy. It’s looking over the last article I’ve written and seeing the comments from people I respect and even love, like Wingfield, Grainne Ni Mhaille, Maverick10, Alaricus, and many others I hope I don’t offend by not listing here; I’ve come to cherish the negative comments as well as the positive, the negative is evidence that I’m doing something right. It’s going to IRC and talking with my brothers in the Socialist Freedom Party, or spending time with Rainy at our home channel. It’s meeting people of genuine fortitude and beauty, you see them on my Friends List and in the comments sections of my articles. So long as these things continue, I think I’m winning.

So much the better if I can shift the political correctness of this world, but as long as I look people in the eye and tell them what I think, without waver, dignity in tact, I am victorious.

In other words, I know this is a game. I choose to play it my way, and to my way of thinking, if you’re devoting your life to vandalizing the work of others, I think I’m not only whipping your sorry butts every time I stare you down, I firmly believe you will eventually see the error of your ways and drop the shenanigans. All your weapons, your fighting strength, your experience, your medals, your gold, your shamelessness, will be for naught, because even in your own heart of hearts, you know there’s something to what I’m saying.

That’s why you’re always coming back to the old false validation, it’s just a game, Arjay. It’s spoken to make the most sinister acts seem legitimate. To me, it is a confession of a lack of honor, a ludicrous belief that because it’s a game, you can be as villainous and monstrous as can be, so long as the admins don’t see evidence of your handiwork.

That’s another way of saying yet another adolescent axiom, it’s only cheating if you get caught.

Not the most sporting thing you can hang your hat on, if you insist on using the lame it’s-just-a-game excuse to defend your actions.

Written by:  Arjay Phoenician

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