Friday, July 28, 2006

It's A Lot Like Life

...And a lot NOT like life.

In my quest to find other things to do in Second Life besides seducing Avatars, I tried to attend a virtual book signing last night. Julien Dibbell, author of PLAY MONEY was appearing in game to sign books and be interviewed about how he had become rich trading virtual currency with games such as Half-Life and Halo. You could buy the book in two forms - an online version which could only be read in Second Life, or the same thing with a real book included, shipped through Amazon for around $20.00.

Mind boggling, eh?

I couldn't get in because they limit the number of avatars in areas, and this got enough press that you had to reserve in advance. About an hour after it was over I managed to teleport to the auditorium and met a journalist named Pixeleen to ask her about the event. She said it was boring, and for a very interesting reason.

Dibbell, a real writer, was terrible in the interview format. They would ask him a question and his response would take FOREVER, because he responded in fully-formed complete paragraphs, which he couldn't just hit SEND on without revising and correcting the spelling. So the format was Question, followed by "..." for two minutes, followed by a response. And you thought writers were bad on talk shows.

I understand there will be a live-music concert by Suzanne Vega in a couple of weeks, but they're smartly going to allow Vega's real voice into the show and leave the Avatar animation to someone else. Is this cheating? Hell no. Musicians have enough to worry about without also having to click on your head to move it around.

Once in a while I consider the idea of putting a stand-up comedy act in Second Life, but it keeps running into the stark problem of timing. You tell a joke, and there is a lag between punchline and audience response, as everyone scrambles to their keyboards to type /laugh or /chuckle. And if they really are laughing, they won't be able to type. How do you judge if you're bombing under those conditions? It's one of comedy's insoluble problems, and I got real-life problems that demand attention.

Still I'm consumed by the idea of some kind of stage gig in Second Life because it's something I could do to make money in that world. Programming and scripting are out for now because I don't have the skillz. I don't want to be a male escort because, frankly, I don't think it's a growth industry. Maybe I'll put together a Karaoke act? I dunno.

I met somebody in the game who was new, and was complaining that he didn't even know that the object of the game was. I suggested that maybe finding an object was the first goal. In that respect, the game is EXACTLY life real life.

No comments: