In the future, astronauts might play MMORPGs to fend off boredom


Hey, Ender! How’d ya like to play a game??


All your space are belong to us?


The implication is that there is some reason other than the boredom of their workaday lives that people play MMORPGs. What works on Earth ought to work in space, but I would suggest Minecraft and Nethack.


Past high earth orbit there will be too much lag for endgame content and battle grounds. The crew will be stuck doing 5-man instances and farming which may result in a higher than expected suicide rate amongst the crew. That being said, Barrens Chat would never be the same…


I wrote a 740 word flash fiction inspired by this concept where the on board entertainment fails. Uploading it to Google Drive as public:


You’re looking at this all wrong. You need to choose people who don’t GET BORED, i.e., introverts who are constantly self-entertained. I have never played a MMORPG game in my life, but I guarantee you, with a piano keyboard, an Amazon Prime membership for books and movies, a gym, some canvas and acrylics, a creative writing program, an embroidery hoop with plenty of thread, maybe a loom, an unlimited subscription to BigFish laptop games, a Netflix subscription, a Feedly account (even if it’s delayed), and a virtual dog to walk, I would NOT be bored. Not in 2 years. Not in 20 years.


…you do realize we’re talking about being aboard a spaceship, right?


Agreed. Space travel is awesome technology and opens vast possibilities, but many months spent in a tiny box with a few other people and an unchanging view outside? Not exactly thrilling.


I believe there are now non-dice ways of generating random numbers, as well.


Surely there are turn-based games, too. Not as many these days, but they do exist.Civilization, anyone?


Yea, and tabletop rpg’s would actually tend to get better with a small group stuck together for months. Probably why you hear about military people playing them sometimes when shipped off.

Some AAA open world type games might be useful for fending off claustrophobia, but single player might be better for the video game side of things. Give people a chance to not interact with the same half dozen humans.

Still one can hope it will be more 2001 with them earning extra advanced degrees via correspondence.


Also, even though other people have already mentioned this, I have to affirm: Star Trek Online isn’t a good game, despite having some occasionally good graphics (as in the screenshot on this post). Something that’s always bugged me about Star Trek games is that, even though it’s got a decades-old fandom with a heavy representation in the computer industry (in the pre-Eternal September years, it seemed that every other server on the internet had a Trek-related name), Star Trek games have usually sucked; the best of them, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, was basically a reskinned Quake-style FPS. Especially after the 2009 reboot movie, I would have eaten up a MMORPG set in the original continuity with a spoon, but what I got were heavily-repetitive level-grinding missions and fellow players who seemed to be mostly XP leechers. Having an on-board WoW server would be better.


Playing a game isn’t “solving” boredom, or acclimatizing people to loneliness. It’s distracting human beings from effectively grappling with their problems.

If we wanted to genuinely equip people for space travel, we could easily create a regimen of meditation, of learning, of exercise. Like trappists, or monks. Astronauts are already selected based on a predilection for solitude and self-reliance. Human beings have thousands and thousands of years of experience in creating people whose sole desire is to detach from the world and find peace and clarity.


Isn’t “Dice” already plural?


Play by email game would definitely be a good option. Other’s have mentioned pen and paper RPGs for crew members to play amongst themsleves, but I suspect part of the apeal of some kind of multiplayer computer game is the ability to interact with people other than the handful you’re trapped in close quarters with.

Another novel, latency tolerant form of computer game that would work would be games with asynchronous multiplayer modes in which one player sets up a challenge for another. For an example (with appropriate theming, no less), see Gratuitous Space Battles.


what would happy mutants bring on this spaceflight ?

me ? DIABLO TWO ! first. starcraft, every hellblazer, no hell, every vertigo comic ever, even those i’ve never read. futurama & samurai jack DVD’s. TETRIS on a gameboy SP. every pokemon ever, and a couple armies of warhammer 40k. I think that could hold me for a very, very, very, long time.

& bringing my girlfriend would be a huge plus to.

you guys&gals ?


What’s your point? There’s something odd about art in space? Check out the Wired space photo of the day for a few weeks. The beauty of deep space holds plenty of inspiration.


Yes, it was “The Saturn Game.” Furthermore, the astronauts rejected online, virtual reality games in favor of pencil-and-paper games, because the latter were seen to be more creative, requiring a more intense use of the imagination. (Anderson himself was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism). There’s some discussion of the story here:


Yea, fend of boredom, just make them go insane with 20 minute ping times when they try to raid. That’s MUCH better.

  1. Spaceship interiors are typically quite cramped.

  2. Zero gravity.

These aren’t problems that can’t be resolved or mitigated, but I don’t think that you can just set up a canvas and start slopping paint on like Bob Ross.