April 21st, 2008

Gosh darn it, teddy bears are meant to be hugged!

I know I’ve ranted about Build-a-Bearville before–the online world run by teddy bear retailer and my former employer, Build-a-Bear Workshop–but this time I don’t want to talk about the evil empire of fluff. Instead, I want to talk about the model behind the game: that is, the idea that there’s something interchangeable between a real-world toy and an online item. It’s strange.

Anyone who’s witnessed my giggle fits over various examples of adorableness can guess that I heart stuffed animals. One of the great things about them is their hug-ableness: how soft and squishy and comforting they feel. It seems to me that they’re actually defined by their physicality. There’s no one teddy bear game, or really even teddy bear make-believe. A teddy bear is an effective toy because it exists and can be held.

Virtual teddy bears, on the other hand, aren’t soft or squishy or even “real.” The idea of purchasing a real-life bear to access its online equivalent–which, by aforementioned bear nature, can’t really even exist–seems both so foreign. Who’s going to snuggle with a bear sprite? And who’s offline giving that already purchased bear the love and hugs it needs?

I’m off to hug a stuffed hippo and put some good teddy bear karma back in the world…

Tags: MMOs, toys

4 Responses to “Virtual Teddy Bears: Who’s Gonna Squeeze You in an Online World?”

  1. John H. Says:

    Wow, these reports are eye-openers. I’m starting to think that capitalism exists primarily as a mechanism by which everything good in the world can be spoiled.

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Especially teddy bears. And who would want to spoil a teddy bear?

  3. Mandi Says:

    A teddy bear is all about the hugging. It seems to melt your stress away when you hug a bear. Virtual teddy bears can’t give you that feeling.

  4. sexprylar Says:

    sexprylar…

    […]Heroine Sheik » Blog Archive » Virtual Teddy Bears: Who’s Gonna Squeeze You in an Online World?[…]…

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