This is going to be long and rambling, but I've got a lot to say.
My father and I used to enjoy a number of entertainments together. Fantasy, sci fi, crime dramas, and even professional wrestling. Every night we'd sit in the family room and make occasional comments on the things we saw on the TV. When my father was healthier, we'd go out and see movies in the theater.
However, every once in a while, something unexpected would happen to someone associated with our entertainments. Someone would die, be seriously injured or sick, or be involved in such a big scandal it couldn't really be overlooked. When such things happened, my father would say with a sigh "Reality intrudes..."
All of us turn to entertainments such as television, movies, video games, or online role-playing games to temporarily escape from the real world and all its problems. But reality is still the boss, and it can intrude upon our fantasy worlds in a number of ways.
The Traitor Games have had reality intrude upon them a number of times. Players have had to drop out of games or take some time off due to not-so-pleasant events in their real lives. When my father died just as Traitor Game X was just starting, I felt I couldn't participate as an active player, so I made an arrangement with the host to have my character written out.
The recent revelation involving DoctorDoom, however, is an especially bizarre case of reality intruding.
When DoctorDoom first signed up for the Traitor Games, there didn't seem to be anything unusual going on. It was just another new player. We all assumed at the time that the poster, DoctorDoom, was male since the screen name was that of a male comic book character. Some time later, however, DoctorDoom 'revealed' that she was female. It was a big 'Samus is a girl' revelation there. She claimed that she chose the name DoctorDoom because she didn't want to seem too 'girly'. Apparently, she was a bit of a tomboy.
Whereas some male players (tangentman and myself, especially) played mostly female characters in the game, DoctorDoom played several male characters, with the occasional females here and there. In the Discussion thread, and elsewhere, she claimed she worked for NBC, and also spoke much about her real life. Apparently, her real name was Rei Mehari, and she had been adopted into a wealthy family or something like that.
She talked about cosplaying as Wonder Girl, and going to conventions. Alledgedly, she was at the same convention Deadpooligan was at where Fabian Niceiza and Reilly Brown were having signings, but Deadpooligan missed seeing her. For a while, she was considered the 'token female Traitor Game player' until Elegance Liberty (self-professed Beta Ray Bill fangirl) came along, followed by Jae Namkyoung and beetlebum.
For two years, DoctorDoom participated in the Traitor Games, showing good roleplaying skills playing a number of diverse characters. She missed the ending of Traitor Game XVIII and the entirety of Game XIX due to computer problems. A broken laptop, she claimed.
For the most part, she seemed to be a class act, except for the one controversy in Traitor Game XI. After the whole Elektra debacle (the poster under the name 'Elektra' revealed her role as the Vigilante, and showed a surprising unwillingness to understand what the game was about), a replacement Vigilante was needed. DoctorDoom accepted the position.
Problem was, the game had two hosts, one in charge of the Traitors, and the other in charge of the Vigilante and the agents. And to play it 'straight', the hosts didn't tell each other who'd been picked in the other roles. DoctorDoom was already one of the Traitors -- one of the people the Vigilante is supposed to be trying to find. Instead of refusing the replacement Vigilante position, DoctorDoom accepted. This led to much shouting, screaming, and drama on the Traitor Game Discussion Thread when the rest of us found this out. Superheroic took it especially hard, saying DoctorDoom should be banned from the Games or at least never be given a 'role' in them again. However, the rest of us were willing to give DoctorDoom another chance.
Now, however, we find that DoctorDoom has been engaging in most unethical behavior outside of the games. And we find we never really knew the person behind DoctorDoom after all.
Just a few days ago, DoctorDoom was caught appropriating a fellow CBR poster's personal picture for use on Facebook. This was to illustrate one of 'her' other personas. It turns out that DoctorDoom had been deceiving us all along. DoctorDoom was NOT the 'token female Traitor Game player', because 'she' was not female in real life. The picture of the blonde woman in her profile was actually that of a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. And since the 'other' alter-ego was allegedly an ABC employee, the NBC background is likely false as well.
So, every time DoctorDoom used the common abbreviation 'OOC' (meaning 'Out of Character'), it was a lie. Because DoctorDoom was, it appeared, NEVER out of character. Rei Mehari was just as much a fictitious character as Rei Ayanami, or Sylar, or Starscream. The difference is, no one ever claimed or pretended that Rei Ayanami, Sylar, or Starscream were real people. The person behind DoctorDoom, however, spent well over two years claiming to be 'Rei Mehari' in real life. And instead of coming clean, he had to do something really stupid and use another poster's picture of herself for another 'alter ego'. This of course resulted in the poster being rightfully upset, and DoctorDoom being banned from the CBR forums.
Just how are we supposed to react to such a thing? I've been going through many of the stages since the revelation.
Denial, unfortunately, doesn't hold up because as much as we want to believe it's some sort of hoax or something, there's way too much evidence to the contrary.
There's Anger, of course, but that's to be expected when we find out someone has been lying to us for the past two years.
Then there's Depression -- I liked DoctorDoom's contributions to the games, and considered him/her to be one of the 'A-list' players. DoctorDoom was also nice to talk to outside the games, in the Discussion thread and elsewhere. But now I don't know what to think.
There's also Bargaining -- which in this case is asking DoctorDoom to apologize for the whole thing, come clean, and so on. But the fact remains that even if the person behind DoctorDoom did all that, and appeared to be genuinely sorry, the emotional scars still remain. As much as I liked DoctorDoom's postings on the games, I know that most of the Gamers would be very reluctant to accept him/her back after all this. If someone is found to be lacking in integrity outside the games, how can we trust them to play by the rules in the games? And, as previously mentioned, DoctorDoom already had that whole 'replacement Vigilante' thing from Traitor Game XI working against him/her.
So we have to move on to Acceptance -- which means accepting that a long-time player has been lying to us about his/her real life all the time, and was stupid enough to use another poster's profile picture to create another alter-ego (because apparently Rei Mehari just wasn't enough). As much as we may have valued DoctorDoom's contributions, we never really knew the person behind DoctorDoom.
Why did he go through with this elaborate deception? We don't really know (though people have made guesses ranging from repressed transgender to just plain self esteem issues), but something as big as this is a very, very, hard thing to overlook. DoctorDoom is now the Traitor Game's first Fallen Creator, and will almost certainly never be thought of as highly as before.
All we can really do at this point is move on. Reality intrusion in one form or another is kind of inevitable in all our entertainments, though this is one of the crazier examples. People are feeling hurt, betrayed, and confused by this whole thing, but now it's time to try to put this mess behind us. Now that the third of our Awards Show parodies has started, maybe we can help make each other laugh again and once again enjoy our little collaborative crossover games.