As if World of Warcrafters needed another way to isolate themselves from the world, the WOW Pod, as described by its creators at MIT, is "an immersive architectural solution for the advanced WoW player that provides and anticipates all life needs." Translation: it's an individual bungalow simulating the look and feel of an authentic hut from the game's universe, and if you think the outside is scary, wait until you open the door.
Once inside the tiny space, you'll notice it's entirely self-contained, and that's to discourage the player from ever leaving. Almost all basic human needs are provided, including a throne that doubles as a toilet (lovely), a cookpot, stove and, of course, a computer and monitor for WoWing.
The hut is designed to solve one of WoW's biggest pitfalls: breaks. A quick pause of the game to take a break can be catastrophic to a player's avatar. Even a dash to the loo or a simple snack can result in death, or worse, banishment from one's guild, so anything a player can do to restrict distraction is good. And here's where it gets scary.
When a player gets hungry playing inside the hut, he or she just selects one of the prepackaged food packs on the wall (labelled 'Soothing Turtle Bisque' and 'Beer-Basted Ribs' after in-game refreshments, to further the fantasy), holds the printed semacode under a scanner, and places it on the hot plate. From here, the hardware takes over and physically adjusts the hotplate to cook the food for the right amount of time while the player's corresponding avatar pauses the game and loudly announces the progress to others in the realm: "Vorcon's meal is about to be done!" "Better eat the ribs while they're hot!"
When the meal is done cooking, the game is automatically placed in AFK (away from keyboard) mode to allow the gamer sufficient time to eat without fear of reprisals. Once satisfied, the avatar actively returns to continue exploring, but there are virtual side effects; for example, overeating can result in avatars feeling sluggish and unresponsive to control.
The only thing missing is the one amenity that all nerds truly, desperately need: a shower.