“People often underestimate the creativity in Second Life. If you can dream it, you can probably find it.” -Onder Skall
I recently just tried out Second Life, a new Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) . Well, it’s not really new – it was launched by Linden Lab in 2003 – but new for me. I have heard about it before but never really had any idea what it entailed. My first impression was…well, pure confusion. I’m more of a Tetris kind of girl; I’d rather play games that keep score and have a clear purpose or goal. In SL, there is no score – there’s money. The purpose or goal is far from clear – it’s what you make of it.
I focused on the only thing I knew how to do (sort of), which was making my avatar attractive and dressing her nicely. Of course, this took some time. I had a hard time determining whether I wanted her to look just like me or completely different. I tried my best to make her look like my real self, but found myself giving her certain “assets” that the real me doesn’t have. It got me thinking about how many others go through the same thing. It makes sense to me that with much control over the avatar’s appearance, it is inevitable that users will create a more ideal, and sometimes cliche’, image.
I eventually figured out how to fly and transport to other “worlds.” The vast array of worlds in SL is mind-blowing; there is a world for every interest imaginable. If the user can’t find it, they can create it.
The idea of the game is very clever, although I would argue that it could even be considered a game. It strikes me more as a hobby, and for some, a business. The benefits of using SL as a business platform are evident, but where do we cross the line between real life and second life?
Could users become too engulfed in this alternate world to a point where they completely lose sight of what is real? Could SL completely take over the web? What are the economic implications? The questions are endless, but one thing is certain; as long as there is an alternative to real life troubles, this “escape” will continue to be developed (with newer and faster technologies) and used by many for years to come.