Monday, July 03, 2006

Second Life And What It has Taught Me

I have avoided the online role-playing game Second Life up until now, for three reasons: I thought there was a monthly charge, I thought they didn't make a Mac client, and I feared it would suck every minute away from my real life. I was wrong about the first two.

But it's been a couple of days now and I think I'll be able to keep out of there. From what I've seen, it's a pretty boring little world if you're not looking for avatar sex. And like in reality, sex is expensive. A decent penis will cost you $L700! That's right, you have to buy a penis. On the plus side, drinks are free. Maybe that evens out.

The exchange rate for Linden Dollars (the world's virtual currency) is about $700 to $1, so you can look at a $1 penis as a bargain, but in the real world, I got a perfectly delightful one for free as standard equipment. In addition to the equipment, you can buy character animations for the sexual positions.

So much of Second Life is built to resemble a tropical resort - there are lots of bars and shopping malls. In the time I've been there almost everyone I've met with a virtual job was a bouncer or a sex worker. It's JUST LIKE A REAL RESORT!

I'll tell you what creeps me out the most. This evening I logged on and looked at the events - there was a group therapy session/lecture about Social Anxiety Disorder. I checked it out. Pretty well attended. What good will a thing like that do people? The best result you can hope for is the participants learn better skills to cope with other avatars - thus making Second Life a better place to spend their time than in real life, where their SAD is so severe they are driven into an online singles bar to make friends. I teleported outta there and shopped for better eyes.

1 comment:

SL-UT ? ;) said...

"there was a group therapy session/lecture about Social Anxiety Disorder. I checked it out. Pretty well attended."


That's hilarious, man!

And somewhat touching, too, acually.

In fact, I think those people may be the only ones to - possibly - reap a tangible (among other attributes) benefit from SL.

It's funny: I find it extremely easy to communicate in real life (except by phone, which I hate) - but in SL I don't like interacting AT ALL. Which is why I am mostly on "busy". (Take note, those of you who don't like interacting - click on the tab "World" and then select "set busy". You could also set yourself as "away", but it would seem a bit odd if you'd continue to move around...)

Anyway, I go there to enjoy the "nature". Really: I do. Some of the landscapes are breath-taking - although they, too, start to resemble one another all too soon.

All in all, I find it a very sad - very oddly sad - place. I'd recommend a visit any time; but as a place to "live" in (and, believe it or not, some do), it's a pretty dismal prospect...