Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I pick the first life...

Much like Oren’s experiences with Second Life, I didn’t particularly enjoy my time spent in “the grid” of Second Life. My experience began when I created my resident, their name for the avatars, Belle Arsenault. She was your average punk girl with the coolest outfit I could find. Then I entered the beginner’s realm and attempted to figure out what exactly this game was all about it…little did I know that later I would learn from a mean fellow resident that “THIS WAS NOT A F*CKING GAME.”

Anyway, so Belle and I were off to discover what as here. We journeyed from room to room trying to figure it out. Quickly we learned how to speak, gesture, dance, hula and even fly. But after an hour or so, we were both still lost in this second life. The following few times, we ventured into the game were probably just as confusing as the first. Each time, we found ourselves confused in a new place. It wasn’t until one of our final times playing that we found our selves in a chatty realm where many of the characters were actually willing to talk to us. So Belle joined in on a chat with Purity and some other people with some ridiculous name. Even one of our friends was on Second Life for a class, too! So we began asking questions about Second Life and learned how much of a dork we looked like…so much for my cool clothes. Apparently, this avid player could recognize any new person: “you all look like dorks, just walking around and gesturing.” Needless to say he wasn’t nice but did give me a lot of insight into Second Life. He explained that Second Life was not a game. Instead it was a way for people to connect with one another. I found this ironic as he went on to tell me that you rarely see the same person more than once. I know I never did.

Second Life was created in 2003. It was created for its residents to explore, meet other people, socialize, participate in activities and create and trade virtual property with its own currency. Today, there are two Second Lifes, one for ages 18+ and Teen Second Life for children ages 13 to 17. By January of 2010, 18 million users were registered. However, it is unknown how often these users actually use Second Life. I’d sooner believe more of the users were like me, who just attempted to try out Second Life.

My overall experience with Second Life was a big disappointment. I went into playing it thinking that it would be similar to the Sims, my favorite childhood game. However, it really bared no resemblance to the game. There was no house to be built or friends or relationships to be made. Instead, I found myself dancing in the corner being told how much of an idiot I looked like. In addition, there seemed to be no real point to Second Life. There is no objective or goals, no rules and no winners or losers, except me apparently according to Purity.


  1. I had to try Second Life for a class last year and had a similar experience. In a world where you "connect with one another", I felt quite alone. Most people I talked to didn't respond and more of the worlds I visited were devoid of people. I have a hard time grasping what it is that draws people to this game. Zero reward system, little interaction, and nothing pushing you forward should drive all potential players away. Yet some people continue to flock to this game. It would be interesting to see how many people actively play Second Life after the introduction of better experiences like WoW or The Sims Online.

  2. I would agree with you carly. I choose the first life as well. There is something about second life that makes me uncomfortable. Plain and simple: it doesn't feel right. The personal connections aren't genuine, the exploration isn't adventurous, and the overall identity is not fully developed.

    I can't help but feel that the people using it our in search for somehting more. I feel like the only way you can truly gain from second life is if you are in search of something in real life, such as friends, social stimulation, purpose. These are things that most people (normal) have already found in real life, however some need second life to practice, or get them off on the right foot.

    I think we should start merging gaming aspects from second life into real life. This may help second life users transition their online social skills into reality.

    -Michael hoffman