external image 2246740779_0891c5843f.jpg?v=0I go by Mikhail Albatros in SL (Second Life) and by Nonja121 on Xbox Live and Halo 3. I'm a philosophy and religion double major enrolled in Prof. Essid's Engl 216 class. I'm a nerd by birth, the son of a closet geek and a perfectionist book nerd raised upon Game Boy, SNES, Tolkein, and Star Wars. As a gamer and a geek, I've been immersed in invented worlds for much of my life ever since I played my first Zelda game and realized that it did not consist of linear, side-scrolling levels but an expansive world limited only by my urge to explore and experiment. Since then, I've been intrigued by the idea of an artificial world and have lapped up games such as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and World of Warcraft as well as literature such as J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings.

As a religion and philosophy student, my interest in invented worlds takes on a more academic and cerebral attitude. The question Prof Essid repeatedly poses in class - what is real? - is one that has pervaded both my own ponderings and the thoughts of the anthropologists, theologists, and philosophers I have studied in my classes. Personally, I am inclined towards the view professed by Friedrich Nietzsche as well as the secular existentialists like Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir: that nothingness is the reality of existence and that the "real" is a perspectival, invented notion. This is not to say that there is no divinity out there in the void. Nietzsche would certainly not make such a claim. Instead, the existence of such an entity remains unknowable in this life and, thus, is a moot point with regards to this life and this "reality." Reality and its various constructs, then, are revealed as lacking the essentiality and absoluteness we often ascribe to them. What is left is an experience that is shaped by our own conceptions and perspectives, both collectively and individually. All worlds, then, are invented.

In this class, I hope to explore the newly conceived and developing invented worlds that will replace the reality that we have come to know. My primary interest pertains to the advent of electronic worlds revolving around the evolution of the internet (in particular, the advent of digital distribution as a competitor to physical mediums like DVDs and publications) as well as the usurping of the task of storytelling from traditional printed books and feature-length movies by the relatively new video games industry.

I hope you all enjoy this blog. Please feel free to email me at mikhail.albatros@gmail.com.

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