Phobia-topia

PhobiaIn a recent post, Ysharros shared a real-life phobia of hers — heights — that can be triggered even by MMOs in certain situations.  I feel for her, as I’m also acrophobic in the real world, but it’s never come up in game like it has for her.

I’d be interested to know if other folks have to struggle with their fears in game — for instance, I’ve heard it said often enough that some people who are spidey-phobic are genuinely creeped out by the giant spiders that all MMOs include, free of charge (I even read a guide to WoW’s PvP where it suggested that hunters train spiders to play against this common fear in others).  Goodness knows that there’s enough weird things we’re all afraid of, for logical and irrational reasons, and MMOs have to hold at least a few.

MSNBC even did a report a while back about how some video games are being used to help people overcome their phobias in a safe, controlled environment — what, they don’t just push them to be a contestant on Fear Factor?  Huh.

6 thoughts on “Phobia-topia

  1. T.C. May 22, 2009 / 2:36 pm

    I’m also afraid of heights though it doesnt effect me in games, though in some instances falling from high areas makes me feel like i am personally falling. I dont become afraid though because I know its a game,, dont see how other people can be afraid of their fears in a virtual world *shrugs*.

  2. Rog May 22, 2009 / 2:46 pm

    I recall there was an early mod for WoW that changed all of the spider models to sheep, to accommodate arachnophobes, but Blizzard shut it down since it modified game files.

    I get elated at tall heights myself, like sort of an intoxication, that led me to some more-dangerous-than-sane situations when I was younger. But nothing in any game has ever triggered that same reaction.

    I can understand the concept of how this could help people, but for myself games are surreal / unreal enough that there’s little relation.

  3. Jennifer May 22, 2009 / 2:59 pm

    My fear of heights does affect me in game worlds somewhat. Mostly I feel it when I fall through the world. I guess my fear is more of free-falling than it is of heights.

    I get genuinely creeped out when strange things happen in online games, like when my once-poor graphics settings caused a giant monster to seemingly pop out of nowhere because I didn’t know it was approaching me. And remember: this kind of thing is in tame MMO environments, not horror games. I won’t even touch those.

  4. chris May 22, 2009 / 9:54 pm

    Likewise my fear of heights, does not happen in MMO worlds. Although I do get a queasy or vertigo feeling when my character is falling from great heights. I’m kind of glad someone brought this up, I always thought I was weird, when this happened.

  5. Alamia May 23, 2009 / 3:49 am

    For me, it’s deep water and some of the things that live in it (squids, whales,…).

    It’s okay if the water’s “light” (for example, the water around the Horde flight master in the Hinterlands in WoW).

    It’s really bad if the water’s dark and if I don’t know what’s in the water. I know it’s totally silly and irrational – but that’s just the typical phobia. *sigh*

    The most embarassing moment was in SSC for the Lurker fight where I’d asked my raid leader to put me on the island with no extra hole in the middle (for whatever reason, that extra hole made me freak out and I couldn’t concentrate on the fight anymore). I explained to him about my phobia and fortunately, he understood. So my mage could stand on the “hole-less” island and do her sheep-duty. But all in all, I didn’t like that fight too much.

    I am afraid of heights in RL. In some situations, at least. But it’s never really bothered me in games (I just feel a bit weird next to nothingness like at the end of the Outlands ^^ …when I try to imagine how there’s really just “space” directly next to me and the “end of the world”). Usually, I really enjoy climbing up the hills and mountains in the games to have a look at the scenery around me.

  6. L May 23, 2009 / 3:26 pm

    I don’t have anything in real life strong enough to call phobias, but I do have a severe dislike towards bugs of all sorts and I’m wary of deep waters and things that swim in them. Give me a wasp in real life and I’ll be running away from it as fast as I can.

    This does not translate to MMOs or other games at all. Nothing on the screen bothers me. My character can be happily floating in the depths and smashing the face of killer whales.

    I suppose this could be because games to me are a controlled environment. No matter how deep the ocean there is I know exactly what is beneath my character – where the ocean floor is and what mobs can be between me and it. Banning, of course, the random stun happy Rogue out to kick my ass… =)

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