Over the years that I have played online Risk, one undisputable addiction was to get to the moment of winning. The feeling was simply great. In games that I had to compete with 5 other players, coming as a winner certainly made me feel more special (whether I was or not is a different matter altogether).
I could see the envy in their eyes, but since they were beaten in a fair game, I could feel a sense of respect. If I managed to win against a number of players repeatedly, then respect simply went up and up. Of course, there always came a time when I had to give up the throne and quit while I was ahead.
When a player won online Risk, the feeling of joy and the subsequent chat for the next couple of weeks (with teasing to the nth degree) was simply fantastic.
It is no surprise to see such joy, as humans are extremely competitive even when it comes to a virtual competition. Over the years, I usually only saw the joy of those games that I participated in. Time however changes everything.
We are now in a new era of technological advances. In just about any field, major breakthroughs are taking place at an astonishing rate. One of the most interesting things about technological advance is that it leads to certain cultural reaction and adaptation. As people become familiar with certain technology, they start to embed it their daily lives.
As for online Risk, two interesting trends occurred. One was the rise of online multi player games. Although online Risk is primarily a game about interaction, there hasn't been any shortage of online Risk games ever since the beginning. I was first introduced to online Risk around 1990 with a computer program which ran on Apple Macintosh. These days, you can find players online and participate with them in a game full of humans and artificial players. This trend however wasn't that surprising.
The other trend was that players wanted to show off. After all, the joy of winning was great. A winner naturally felt that the whole world needs to know about their win. Fast forward to today and you can see an incredible rise in the participation culture. Everyone wants to share a bit of what they have with everyone else.
A great example of this is You Tube submissions on online Risk. The existence of sophisticated but cheap cameras, easy upload of content and easy sharing has led to a variety of trends. A whole online Risk game is recorded in time lapse mode from beginning to end and is put on the net. People are now starting to record their lives, just for the fun of it. Or maybe they follow a simpler option by taking just a few pictures and then put them on Flickr.
As time progresses, you will see more and more content added to the network. In future, life-logging will be the norm. Everyone can see what other like minded people are up to and share the feelings.
The cultural information collected from across all cultures is an incredibly valuable research tool into understanding the human psychology. Let me explain what kind of research can you extract out of this knowledge base.
Having watched a number of time-lapsed videos of people playing online Risk (such as Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4, Example 5) I came to notice a pattern of behaviour that was dominant on just about every game.
Players tend to be territorial. It seems that there is a direct relationship between the position of players sitting around the table and their home continent. It was very rare to see a player choosing Australia if they sat next to South America on the other side of the map. This strategy of choosing a physically closer continent, while hoping that it is easier to protect goes back to our evolutionary ancestors. Lesson learnt: Choose continent based on your overall online Risk strategy and not your physical proximity! Sounds simple, but look how many players still fall into the trap. Never underestimate the power of your brain. What you may feel comfortable doing is not necessarily always the best option to choose.
Of course there are other things you can do with an online Risk board game. The following video may inspire you.
How about you? What do you do when you win an online Risk game? Let us know.