For past few days I was thinking about this blog, as I was unable to find a suitable topic and the only topics which came up were related either to Stuxnet or Spyeye or, Internet blockade by Egyptian government. There is nothing much that can be said about these topics as they are either discussed by thousands or related to freedom of speech which is the virtue of democracy. Democracy is by choice and not every country advocates this ideology.
Today morning my 16 year old nephew called me up, asking for my credit card details, though I have no reservations in revealing these details to a sixteen year old but one startling fact came to light when I questioned him about the use of the credit card. Upon further prodding, he let me into his dirty little secret; he wanted to buy some points. POINTS? Yes, online-gaming points.
I belong to the old school of thought, which states that finance is for protecting our luxury, our comfort, our daily needs, for which we strive for.
Unlike outdoor or indoor sports, or those games, which have been incorporated into computer games eg. Chess, computers games are addictive. As they lack physical stimuli and only cater to the mind. Unlike chess, these games also tap into our subconscious to bring out the violence and other emotions, which does require physical contact but these games facilitate the player to derive sadistic pleasure out of these games.
Farmville, for example, provides a stimuli and a false sense of pleasure of tending to his/her own farm, a sense of joy or satisfaction, for which a real farmer has to wait for 4-5 months. These games provide a shortcut. Along with the shortcut comes something more, add-ons which require hard cash.
In my career, I have seen many kids falling prey to these addictive games and ruining their family life and career. Very few gamers are successful and very few college dropouts are successful, no matter how much we glorify them.
The change of attitude and the damage to the mind, which these games create can never be reversed, researchers may harp on pros of certain games but this is true if the player himself known his own limits and has the ability to control the effect of the game on his psych.
Lets see if my nephew understands his addiction. Some may argue – addiction? Yes, the moment you have thorough knowledge of a particular game and as is the human nature to always move forward, you will yearn for the addons and will try to procure the addons.The urge to procure addons by paying any price defines addiction and this is the most important crossroad, which will either make or break your life.
One piece of advise : Always analyze your actions and the repercussions of your actions
This was the ethical side of online games, Now to the technical side of online gaming.
We have heard about DLL injection, memory access and executing dlls or exes directly from memory, keylogger evasion techniques or denying access to Virtual keyboard based keystrokes are again a part of games. Most gamers prefer to automate their tasks and use variety of techniques to ease their play and in-order to defeat these mechanisms, game developers come up with equally challenging and complex algorithms to defeat them. One personal note is that, I have learnt some of the best known tricks from these forums or game developers.
Whether it is manipulation of memory variable to increase points or to extract username and password from a memory buffer or to capture the banking pin, which is used by online games to fuel the addiction of an online gamer, its all a part of online gaming.
PS: At the time of writing this blog I had received yet another call from my nephew reconfirming the facts that I do have access to credit cards – now is’nt this an addiction. And I am doubly sure that he will resist all our attempts and throw tantrums but eventually he will understand, he has to.