A dispatch from my Second Life

After reading about a program called Second Life for years, I finally decided to try it. I was reluctant because of how much time I already spend on the internet. The least I need is another reason to be online. More so, my gut fears this program like it does realistic-looking robots like Repliee Q1–they seem like beginning of the end to society as we know it.

For those unfamiliar, Second Life (SL) is a privately owned 3-d virtual world. The Second Life “world” resides in a large array of servers that are owned and maintained by Linden Lab, known collectively as “the grid”. The program provides its users with tools to view and modify the SL world and participate in its virtual economy, which concurrently has begun to operate as a “real” market. On October 18, 2006, the population of Second Life hit 1 million Residents.

After installing the software, I entered the grid. Within the first 10 minutes I flew into the sky and discovered a floating barn.

That was weird enough, except this barn was built specifically for people to romance a virtual stable of stud horses. When I crash landed into the scene, there was a girl fellating a grey horse, while another nude woman stood nearby watching and chatting it up. Administering the whole experience was a scantily dressed woman.

The woman asked me what I was doing there, and I jokingly replied that I was “horse curious.” She seemed satisfied with the reason and let me be. I wondered into the barn and experimented with the interface. In the process, I slapped the kneeling lady. This riled the scantily dressed woman, who withdrew two pistols from her boots and started shooting me. I ran outside the bar and she explained that I could look but not touch. I apologized and started wandering around the barn before hiding behind a stall. The scantily dressed woman asked everyone where I was, and I starting laughing in-game in response before bursting out, bumping into her and flying on my merry way. I doubt I will ever stumble upon this bestial barn again.

This description sounds as random as a dream because the SL world is just as random. Since the initial log-on, I haven’t had an experience as weird as the one in the sky, but I have stumbled across some weird things. Unlike other online “community” games, SL allows the users to build whatever objects, architecture, characters, and scenarios they want. This alone makes the world more compelling to me than a game like World of Warcraft. The personality of the player is indulged as deeply as they want. I’ve come across sprawling ornate castles, amazing fully-furnished beach houses, bizarre island installations, real-world stores, fanciful vehicles, recreations of real-world environments as other game settings. I’ve seen all kinds of people and interactions. I’ve confused and annoyed many. It’s an incredibly weird place. If you want to find me, look for this man:

Or ask around for Bodunk Boram.

The Metaverse in the novel Snowcrash or the matrix in The Matrix is basically real now. Is this good?

November 30th, 2006. Categories / Second Life

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