As I quickly approach my 8th year of playing RuneScape and my 18th year of life, I have begun to wonder what keeps me attracted to the game. As my responsibilities increase with my going to college, having a girlfriend, having a job, and so on, I have considered quitting for the sole purpose of “growing up.” But is a person really any less mature just for playing RuneScape? Many former players seem to think so.
Unfortunately, RuneScape has picked up the reputation of having an immature player base. In fact, I’m sure every player who has ever gone pking at any point in the game’s history could attest to that. RuneScape’s free game, simplicity, and accessibility has made it somewhat of a “gateway” video game that introduces many adolescents to more prominent games. As such, many former players who have moved on to these more prominent games look down on those who still play the same game they once enjoyed too. They believe now that simplicity can only be a bad attribute and that lingering players simply have no taste in “real” games or are simply immature. I disagree.
Back in 2003, 2004, and 2005, there was a flash game site that had immense popularity among adolescents. The site was Miniclip and, for a majority of those three years, RuneScape was the featured #1 game. This was one of, if not, the largest wave of players to collectively join the game. Of course, this drew a much dreaded audience to the game. Preteens were flooding into the game like never before and quickly became the scapegoats for RuneScape’s problems. Players who joined around this time formed what is known as the Miniclip Generation.
These younger players were just despised by the older players and those who had joined prior to Miniclip. Many of the kids eventually quit, but the ones who stayed formed the very backbone of the game in 2006 and 2007. Everything from the mass production of raw materials to heavily recruiting friends was the work of these once despised players. In reality, the game probably wouldn’t even exist today if not for the Miniclip Generation. In fact, many of us who have stuck around for a while have grown up with RuneScape.
The fact that the players from the Miniclip Generation still play raises one question. Do they simply suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome? Most lingering players would answer “no” and say they still play because it’s fun. That’s all there is to it – fun – right? Maybe friends too. The answers won’t vary much beyond that. In fact, I would answer the same way. Were those of us who began playing as young kids once as immature as the current younger players? Yes we were. Those of us who grew up with the game, though, have done just that – grow up.
For many, it has become more of a habit to play the game than to actively want to play the game. The addiction phase has come and gone and many of these veteran players now only log in for the social aspect and holiday events. For instance, you may only continue to play because RuneScape has remained your only way of staying in contact with a good friend on the other side of the globe. In fact, that same friend may only play because you still play.
The truth is that you will find immature players in any online game in almost equal proportions. It doesn’t matter if a game is rated M for Mature. In fact, it appears as though every other player on Call of Duty is half my age. RuneScape is only singled out now because of a generation of once younger players that has now grown older. Quitting RuneScape doesn’t suddenly make a person more mature. If I am somehow considered immature solely for playing a game that I enjoy, then I don’t want to grow up.