In your busy modern life, you have to be selective with the information you save permanently in your head. Learning all the lyrics to "Bohemian Rhapsody" means you have to delete other piles of useless trivia to make room, like friends' birthdays, or who just got engaged to whom, or what time you were supposed to appear in court. If a piece of information doesn't directly relate to you or the people you want to have sex with, it tends to slip from your mind like so much cat urine down the arm of your grandmother's plastic-covered sofa. Grandma ... uh, well, you can't quite remember her name right now, but it will come back to you, surely. Shirley! No, that's not right.
So if a stranger approached me at the supermarket and asked what the deal was with that haunted-looking house down the street, my answers would range from shrugging noncommittally to shrugging noncommittally while furiously tweeting about the weirdo who's harassing me in the condiment aisle. And yet when we, strangers in a foreign land, approach locals in Eorzea, or Hyrule, or post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, every question we ask is met with a knowing "Well, funny you should mention that ..."
I can't help but suspect some form of Asperger's.
You'll never see an NPC staring at an iPhone and scrolling through her Facebook feed, so there's only one other way everyone in these worlds can know everyone else's business: a polygonated Page Six. The streets of every MMO and open-world game must be choked with gossip columns to reach the point where every citizen not only knows but has an opinion on which family feuds have reached a boiling point, or what might have happened to the shipment of rubies that disappeared mysteriously. In fact, the video game universe might very well be the only place where people are even more invested in public scandals, dirty laundry, and urban legends than we are in the real world, which means there would be no shortage of job openings. Even if you happen to stumble into a game that takes place before print exists, you still have hundreds of quest seekers with a high turnover rate wandering through your village and willing to shell out coins for hearsay information. Granted, you'd probably be given the same amount of respect as gossip columnists in the real world (below the fungus that causes athlete's foot, above Guy Fieri), but if you can ask the tough questions and have a knack for pun-based headlines, you'll have a job for life.
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