From Iceland — The Meeting of the Bear Men

The Meeting of the Bear Men

Published November 5, 2004

The Meeting of the Bear Men

It was clear that these people had something in common that strongly bound them together and they were happy to have found their kind – hence the laughter created by inside-jokes of the kind one might hear at a Star Trek convention where making fun of Spock’s ears is not considered funny. This feeling only got stronger as strangers approached me only to say: “You don’t play Eve, do you?”
Iceland Airwaves seemed to be somewhere in a galaxy far, far away to the men who were lured from all over the world in the latter part of June to come to Iceland. The weren´t here for the opportunity to hear great live music, but for a conference on the computer game Eve and a chance to meet the game’s creators.
There are some people who might think of having a meeting for computer geeks as an anachronism. Isn’t nerdiness all about staying at home by the computer, communicating with other geeks over the Internet? It is a fact that extreme cases will not under any circumstances abandon their computers for more than two minutes at a time, to go to the bathroom or reach for the microwave pizza, but some less extreme ones couldn’t resist the chance to go to a conference of which the subject was their favourite computer game.
For those not familiar with it, it should be noted that Eve is not your typical game that you play alone on your computer until you get bored with having to start over and over again from the beginning. Eve is a massive multiplayer online game (MMOG), which means that you play it over the Internet, interacting with players from all over the world (which explains why the people at the fanfest were so happy to finally have met each other face to face.) Roughly fifteen months after the game’s release, there have been as many as 11.284 people playing at the same time. Part of the game’s success is probably explained by its continuity – in it the world keeps turning and evolving even if you shut off your computer. Logging out means taking the chance of possibly missing out on a great battle or a once-in-an-online-lifetime opportunity. Highly addictive, in other words.
While elsewhere in Reykjavík the town was filled with pop, rock and drunken people, the Evesters, far away from their computers and virtual reality, partied together talking about their battle ships parked somewhere in fictional galaxies. It was a very peaceful meeting of people who had previously fought against each other and shed a lot of virtual blood.

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