Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) used to be a teen niche of Internet gaming. MMORPG have become, in Cory Doctorow‘s new novel, a sub-culture as powerful as real world economies, leaking riches from make-believe to reality. For the Win, Doctorow’s latest, takes place in the real world thoroughly interlaced with cyber-culture. It is the 1984 of 2010, and it’s scary.
For the Win is a YA novel, and experienced young readers who embraced Harry Potter’s complicated universe should find this one satisfying. It also fits the adult fiction audience like a glove.
What happens when real world money-manipulators and power mongers discover real profit in virtual economies of MMORPGs? The moniker massively multiplayer is no exaggeration — millions of players interact with each other in real time on huge warring worlds. Players get sucked into cyber-cultures and these worlds become as real and competitive as everyday life. Relationships form, rivalries boil, and acquisition of virtual money, property, possessions, and power is very serious.