Gettin’ Dirty on Facebook

Who says that cheating only prevails in the four corners of the classroom and on the walls of the government? With the outburst of virtual gaming, online RPG’s and the rise of several network websites allowing people to befriend each other on one click, the mischief has reached the computers.

There was one night when I checked my e-mail that I found this message: “You have been invited to join Facebook. (sic)” Unlike my previous networking site, i.e. Friendster, this one and as they say, a more classy one, offers users a chance to meet the site even when you are not aware of it. On Friendster, you’ve got to know the site in order to become its member (well, during the time I became its member during the year 2004… I do not know if this is still the case today). Hearing some good reviews and feedbacks from my friends and from different celebrities here and abroad, I decided to register.

Well honestly, Facebook features more innovative gimmicks than the first popular Friendster does. It is more user-friendly and the teenagers who comprise the largest population of the site could relate to its components such as the MyCalendar feature, the “What’s On Your Mind” which is similar to the “Shout-Out” thingy, and some quizzes and games that users would surely love. And take note, users could also make there own quizzes to be answered by friends.

But what made it controversial to me and maybe as well as to other users is the principle it held on its games tagged as FishBowl Games. I was pulled to play that game when one of my friends invited me, or was “challenged” the more appropriate? The game was one of my favourite ones entitled Word Challenge which almost has the similar rule to the Super Text Twist Game. Scrambling letters to extract words from it, just like how treasure hunters decipher anagrams, I enjoyed the game accumulating a score of 4,ooo plus. Whew, that was amazing for me, though when I clicked on the next page, I didn’t know that your friends would be able to know your score for it would be shown as they play the game. The so-called ‘awarding’ was done through ranking having the highest pointer take up the first spot and the rest in descending order.

Franktically speaking, I was able to grab the seventh post with the score of 4,000 while the champion, still unbeaten, got a score of more than 40,000. Whoa, ten times my score! The game, as a result, deemed her as an ANAGRAM CYBORG as shown by her stunning score. To some, especially those who have a low self-esteem who don’t believe in their capabilities much, it would be ignored. But in my case, knowing what other people are capable of, you will get a different reaction.

Seemed that I was still unable to get through with the intelligence and the cyborg-like mind of the undefeated champion, I came to take the quiz for several times more but getting the same score no matter how hard I think and how fast I typed. (Good thing I got a score of 5,500 plus and got the rank 4) Until my cousin who is fond of joining online networking sites told me about the reality. “If you want to gather lots of points, probably over 20,000, you’ve got to open a site that gives you a cheating software,” he told me.

So everything is a dishonest gain? Right.

To get everything perfectly, as most students do in exams, you have to cheat. But what really is the concept of cheating in virtual games?

Wikipedia says: “Cheating in video games involves a player of a video game creating an advantage beyond the bounds of normal gameplay, usually to make the game easier. Cheats include advantages such as invulnerability (”God mode“) or an infinite amount of some resource such as ammunition. Cheats may also create unusual or interesting effects which do not necessarily make the game easier to play, such as making enemies tougher, or giving characters (including enemies) different appearances, such as large heads. Cheats often take the form of ’secrets’ placed by game developers, usually to reward dedicated players.”

And what’s the logic? Cheating enables players to get to the top of the rank without getting their fingers tired and only by typing code and clicking on certain buttons. In the case of the Word Challenge Game, a software or sometimes a website gives players an easy way to extract words from the set of letters. You just have to type in the given letters and the site dies everything for you. In a split of a second, you are the highest pointer.

“The sad truth is that the Internet is full of people that love to ruin the online experiences of others,” says Matt Pritchard, developer of the Gamasutra Blog. ”They get off on it. A great many cheaters use hacks, trainers, bots, and whatnot in order to win games. But while some openly try to wreak havoc, many really want to dominate and crush opponents, trying to make other players think they are gods at the game — not the cheaters they are.”

But the problem here is how you cheat your friends by telling them virtually how good and great you are. Yet some friends know you well, even until your intellectual capabilities. Things like this are not gotten merely by cheating, you’ve got to prove who you are by doing what you are capable of.

The real logic here is how to see yourself as a person with morality. Online game cheating may not be eradicated easily by writing blogs like this that stand against it but by changing ourselves as gamers. You’ve got to work hard on every achievement you have.

Yesterday, I decided to play the game once more but in a cleaner and more honest way. I came to realize that I have to do it myself. Although I knew the secret behind the high scores of its players, as what my cousin told me. And after a number of trials, not thinking of downloading a botting software (bot means to cheat in online lingo), I garnered a score of 14,000 plus getting the second post and being deemed as a POET.

But still, I hadn’t beaten the 40,000-lady who still have the Anagram Cyborg title. It seemed that nobody could stand against cheaters but only the cheater himself. 

Fortunately though, I am delighted that I got that score only by myself, without the help of cheating.

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