"I had to call a woman and read a chat transcript on the phone, which was awful. 'Your son said 'I want to stick my fist up your asshole.' Congratulations, your son's weird! She was very flustered, she said she'd talk to him. And I'm thinking, 'You're never going to have this discussion with your son. I know I wouldn't.'"
"Look at this! You don't even mention lube once. Just right into it. We raised you to fist responsibly."
But don't worry -- sometimes the virtual fisting is consensual. "You have 16-year-olds 'dating' 13-year-olds. It's weird. There's also a lot of catfishing. Players will email us and say 'My girlfriend's account was muted. Can you unmute it? I'm asking because she doesn't have an email.' Yeah, she says she doesn't have an email because it has a guy's name in it. It's a dude. Usually it's boys pretending to be girls to get boys to buy them stuff. We can't give out personal information, so we can't say, 'Hey, this one player who says she's your girlfriend is in fact a 12-year-old boy.' We wish we could warn them sometimes, but we can't.
"There was one girl -- she says in the game that she's 16, but her Facebook says she's 20. She was offering naked pictures of herself to get in-game money. She ignored our warnings, so we had to IP ban her. She's now figured out how VPNs and proxies work, but she hasn't figured out that we can see emails yet, so anytime we see her email, we ban her. She keeps trying."
Outside of coyotes stalking road runners, this kind of stubborn tenacity is depressing.
But at least an adult offering naked pictures to kids is better than adults asking for naked pictures of kids. You know, relatively. But that happens too: "Recently, we were trying to unban IP addresses to get old people back into the game. I was looking through them, and I'm like, 'Oh, that guy was banned for being a pedophile, I better not unban him!' There are who we assume were grown men asking kids to cyber on Skype."
And then there are the stalkers -- the players who have chatted with female customer support staff and decided they're obsessed with them. "We use fake names because we don't want these people finding us. It's happened, and it was awful. They'll stalk some of the women at gaming conventions. Or they'll send them things in the mail under their real name. There's one girl I work with who's more outgoing; she'll go into the game and chat with players. And this 40-year-old man once said, 'I went to the store today, and I saw something I thought you'd like!' He sent her cat ears. And players sent her a bunch of stuff on Valentine's Day."
FYI: He means fake cat ears you can wear, not actual severed ears
from a stray cat. That's as positive a note as we can end on.
Mark has a short story collection, a website, and a crippling addiction to Lindsay Lohan's The Price of Fame.
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