The Tip.It Times

Issue 199gp

Are They Only Pixels?

Written by and edited by Tip.It

I'm sure anyone who has spent any time on a RuneScape forum has heard the phrase “It's just pixels.” when there is an upset person who has lost expensive items. If you sit down and work the meaning out of the phrase, you have “It's not important because what you lost is only a numerical value that has been temporarily assigned to a variable, and this variable represents an item or a value in a closed environment.” Sounds very... unimportant doesn't it? I know that most of the time when I was in algebra, I was just sitting there wishing one of the variables would disappear. Any other time, I sympathize with anyone who loses something in game.

You see, I recently had my debit card stolen. The person who took it stole $300 out of my account before he was caught.

How do these two things relate? Well... the last time I had a $10 bill in my pocket was probably about 3 months ago. I think I had a $5 bill a couple weeks ago. Once a week, I get my paycheck from work. The entire amount of the check is placed into my bank account, and from there just becomes... a numerical value assigned to a value... The scary thing about it is that there is nothing backing the number I have. It's only worth something because everyone accepts it. If someone had told me at that time that my loss didn't matter because it was only a number in a computer, it would have been very possible they would receive a foot in a very uncomfortable place.

Now, I do know there is a difference between losing money in real life and losing items in game. If you lose an expensive game item such as a mask, what you lose is the time and effort you spent getting it. If you lose some money, you may eat only rice with soy sauce for a couple of weeks, you could have to ride a bike to any place you need to go, or you could lose your house. The possibilities for damage are nearly endless.

The consequences of losing something in real life are a lot greater than in a game. But suppose you had a savings account. Also pretend you have a hobby, lets say it's painting. When you are bored during the day or have some free time, you paint for a little bit. After you finish a painting, you sell it and place your money in the savings account. This money does not affect your standard of living, and it was made by spending time doing something you enjoy. If you lose that money, it is exactly the same as losing something in game. It can be made back, but you have still lost time and effort.

If the voters on Tip.It represent a good cross-section section of the players on RuneScape, then 80% of RuneScape's players are under 18. It would safe to assume that many of the players have never had a job because they are under the legal working age. If they don't have money to buy things, and haven't had to work to get something, then getting a long sought after item in game has the same feeling as buying that one thing you have been saving up for. Losing it would have the same effect as losing a real item.

Even though it's only an item in a game to you, it means something to the other person, so show a little sympathy. I mean, come on! They did take the time to type out a post and hit submit.


Did You Know...

...that the forums increased allowed avatar size to 100x100 pixels?

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Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

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