RUSH: Rick, Fort Collins, Colorado, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: You're welcome. Over the last six and a half years or so, I have seen the birth of an army of conservative Rush Limbaugh followers in the online role-playing gamers world.
RUSH: No kidding?
CALLER: It's amazing. About eight and a half years ago my sister Erin got me involved in a game called EverQuest. You get online and you choose if you want to be a magician, a warrior, a wizard, whatever, and it's like being in the movie The Matrix.
CALLER: There are computer generated characters you deal with. Most of them, of course, are politicians.
CALLER: It's rough dealing with them, but you have to. You advance by fulfilling quests or missions, and mainly by fighting and killing bad things. Over the years, when I first started it, I was getting really into politics at the time the Democrats took over Congress, and I got so mad that I created a character named RushIsRight.
RUSH: Oh, you can do that in this game, you create your own -- or that was you?
CALLER: Well, I created my own character. You see, you pick out what you want to be, what species --
CALLER: -- and what class, so I said RushIsRight has to be self-sufficient, so I picked what's called a necromancer. It's a horrible being that can steal the life from others.
RUSH: Yes. Yes, I like that.
CALLER: Oh, it gets better, sir. I also picked out the most vile species, an upright bipedal lizard.
RUSH: As RushIsRight?
CALLER: As RushIsRight.
RUSH: A bipedal lizard. Cool. Okay, I'm into it.
CALLER: Yeah. So you are totally self-sufficient in the game. You need no one. I play him, everybody else usually has to get in a group to help each other. RushIsRight helps himself. And when I started this, other players would just run up to me in public and curse at me, scream at me, and this game probably has, oh, up to a million or so people involved.
RUSH: And you get together with each other offline so you know who you are?
CALLER: Rarely, I get together with my sister Erin --
RUSH: Well, how did these guys know who you were when you saw them offline?
CALLER: Well, no, they didn't do this to me, they would curse at me online.
RUSH: Oh, online, oh okay.
CALLER: They would run up to RushIsRight and say vile things.
RUSH: Oh, in the game?
RUSH: Oh, okay. Okay.
CALLER: Now, as things have progressed over the six and a half years, I am up to level 85 now, which is almost at the very top of the game.
CALLER: Thank you.
RUSH: RushIsRight is up at level 85.
CALLER: Oh, yes, RushIsRight rules. Now, people are coming up to me and just saying online in character, "That's a great name," or, "We like Rush," and they're giving me things for free. In the game if you're fighting a dragon or some such creature you can get killed and if you get killed you lose experience.
RUSH: Wait a minute. If you get killed you're still in the game, you just lose experience?
CALLER: Yes. You will come back to life minus a couple of hours of experience.
RUSH: Oh, oh, okay. There is a certain class of characters that can resurrect you, give you back your experience for money. And people are now doing this for free to the character RushIsRight.
RUSH: Wow. Because they want the character to survive.
CALLER: And prosper. Now, they've actually developed a capitalistic zone here. It's divided into all these different worlds. You can zone to a different world in the game and play there, and it's gotten so popular that players are taking real money to buy fake money to buy things online. You actually earn money in the game.
RUSH: Wow, how many hours a day do you play the game?
CALLER: Oh, my wife Janet tells me way too many. I would say, depending on the day, two and a half, three.
RUSH: Can you play it on a mobile device or do you have to play it on your desktop?
CALLER: You can play it on a mobile device, but I prefer the desktop.
RUSH: Yeah. Bigger screen?
CALLER: Yeah, nicer screen, get to sit down and relax, don't worry about lag time, et cetera, which can get you killed rather quickly.
RUSH: Right. And battery.
RUSH: So now RushIsRight has a lot of fans in the game. What do you attribute this to?
CALLER: RushIsRight has loads of fans in the game.
RUSH: What do you attribute it to?
CALLER: You, of course.
RUSH: Well --
CALLER: Yeah, well, credit where credit is due.
CALLER: And then the fact that I made sure the character is very self-sufficient, tough and fair. If someone's in trouble, I'll go help them. I have no problem doing that.
CALLER: Well, I'm looking forward to going online when there's a few people on and telling them to check out your show.
RUSH: So how many people at the outset, when you say RushIsRight, how many people knew who you were even modeling the character after?
CALLER: I would say online many, because even though you're getting accolades now and free help now, when in trouble, when I first started, and again, this was 2006-ish, the attacks, verbal attacks were just brutal. You can challenge another player do a duel online, you have to go to a special zone where you can fight to the death. You were constantly getting challenged. And again, insulted, made fun of, et cetera. But since then things have really turned around, and now I'll ask to donate to people when they give me things and they say, "No, no, it's on me, Rush."
RUSH: (laughing) No kidding. That's amazing. What kind of computer do you use to play this game on?
CALLER: Oh, just a little desktop I picked up at eMachines. It's nothing fancy. The graphics are really good. They upgrade them all the time. And there's probably well over a million people, total players in this particular game. At any one time there may be, you know, five to 20,000 online.
RUSH: Man, oh, man this is a whole new world.
CALLER: Yes. It struck me as odd because it got so popular with people buying fake money with real money, that some players sell their services in real life online to other players. If a player needs help, some player will say, "Well, you're gonna have to wire money to my bank account and I'll help you."
RUSH: Well, here's the thing. I'm sitting here, I would think that this character needs something better than some throw-away computer. Now, I don't know if you're fluent with Mac. I'm sure you probably are.
RUSH: Okay. Well, I've got all kinds. I got MacBook Airs, I've got MacBook Pros, 15 and 17 or 11 and 13 on the Airs. Which would you like? I can't believe that you're sitting here with a throwaway computer. RushIsRight deserves to be on the finest computer you can get your hands on.
CALLER: Oh, well, then I would defer to your infinite wisdom on the subject, sir.
RUSH: Well, MacBook Pro 17. I gotta run because I'm long. So don't hang up because Snerdley will get the address so we can send this to you. There you have it, folks.