Images in a mirror (short version).

Several have mentioned the adventures of Fansy the Famous Bard as similar to those of Twixt.  I think this comparison originally arose because, inspired by Fansy, Twixt occasionally chanted “Go, Go, Good team!” when heroes routed villains inside RV.

However, while Fansy is indeed like Twixt in some respects, there are important differences.  Both Twixt and Fancy explored the rules of play, yes.  But Fansy’s exploration was much safer than that of Twixt.  Fansy trained his uber pets on his enemies, while he himself remained beyond their reach (at too low a level for enemy retaliation).  Twixt, on the other hand, was always subject to enemy attack whenever he ventured forth to kill the vills and win the zone.

Perhaps there were others who were in closer parallel with Twixt than Fansy.

There was Adam Ant in Ultima Online, for instance.  Adam Ant, like Twixt, was an insistently competitive pvp’er.  Adam would relentlessly stalk and kill those who would attempt to enter the game’s dungeons — just as villains sometimes attempted to enter RV — in search of  loot.  And, for that reason, the pressures on Adam Ant must have been at least somewhat similar to those on Twixt.

Adam Ant’s resolution involved a narrative explaining his competitive play.  Adam told this story:  He was “protecting” the dungeons, as a “worshiper” of the monsters within.  And should his victims acknowledge — by wearing a red headband thereafter — that they, too, were appropriately appreciative of Adam’s monster gods, then they could pass unharmed.

Sometimes I wonder, if Twixt had held steadily to a similar narrative, if perhaps the results inside RV would have been different.  But then I think not.  For, the critical difference between Adam Ant and Twixt was that Adam Ant eventually let his enemies do as they wished to do, while Twixt remained more faithful to the competitive format of the RV game, and did not.

Then, of course, there are parallels that run closer to real life.  I remained convinced, for instance, that there is a strong parallel between Twixt’s treatment inside the game and Michael Arrington’s treatment outside it.  The same phenomenon, the same pattern, is there for all to follow and see.  And, in each case, the same tactics and techniques are laid out in precise and parallel detail.

The Twixt study has been criticized for not having external validity, for being too narrowly confined to a small group of players in a relatively small MMO.  It’s a valid criticism, as far as it goes.  As I’ve said, my primary interest is in games as aesthetic objects, not people as social types.  But, I can also say this:  What happened to Twixt has happened and is happening — and likely will happen — very similarly, to others.

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Update.

Just found this: Does (Do) Social Media Produce Groupthink?

Serendipity.