Two Nights in Second Life
So have you heard about this thing on the internet called 'Second Life'? Most people are either like, 'Duh! Like two years ago, old man!' Or, 'Kinda sorta maybe actually... no. What's that again?' Well, a couple days ago I downloaded the demo off my computer and played in Second Life for the last couple nights. Yes, I'm living the wild crazy life...
Basically, Second Life is one of those game things where 'millions' of people log on as a Sim-type character and walk (or fly) around and do "things". Talk to each other or whatever. You can change your appearance to be anything. Punk human, sexy girl, fat guy, alien, scary monster, whatever. It's big social sort of hangouty place- but in this game people spend REAL money to buy things like land, or clothes, or cars. Like with actual dollar dollars. If you want to know how mental things are in there. This thing... (a virtual mansion thing on an island)...
... is currently for sale on eBay for $1000. Real money. So if I was a mental guy who wanted to be virtually rich... I'd buy that and "live" in it. And people apparently make stuff and sell it. Like t-shirt designer or furniture. People BUY and SELL stuff for their 'houses'. Even sinks and toilets etc. (I know). People apparently can make a good amount of money with their businesses in there. Weird, right? Also real world people promote stuff in there too. Like author chats. Or music premiere parties. No, I didn't spend any money while I was in there walking around.
But here's what I found out by being in Second Life for two days.
Once I got past the orientation thing, I started to explore this world which is super massive. Thousands of different places to go and you teleport around. Like teleport to Koreatown. Then teleport to some kind of beach community. Then over to some dance club where people all dance around to a DJ. (yes there's audio but you communicate by typing.) Then past some house that had some forcefield around it because it was 'private property' (there was a waterslide in one).
Ended up in a furniture store where I listened to some girls talk about how they just found the 'perfect' couch for their house or whatever. They bought it. I asked the girls some general questions and just like regular mall girls they sort of told me to screw off. Like I was a creepy mall guy or something. It probably didn't help that I changed my 'look' to look like a warped monster in too tight clothes with my gut all big and stuff. But for the most part people didn't want to talk to me in general. It was either lonery or clicky...
I decided to change my appearance to normal guy and talk to people to see what the dilly was. I'd see someone sitting on a bench somewhere and sit next to them and be like, 'What's up?' They'd be like, 'Nothing. Sitting here.' I'd be like, 'You're just... sitting here?' .... 'Yeah..' Or I'd see someone lying out on a blanket and I'd ask them what they were doing. They'd say, 'Catching some rays. Relaxing.' Relaxing? Rays? What?! That means someone somewhere in the real world is sitting in front of their computer watching their character lying on a blanket. Relaxing... watching them... relax? What?
It started to get creepy for me but weirdly fascinating. I couldn't figure out what anyone was really doing there. I kept collecting different outfits and stuff like dance moves or whatever (just from walking around you collect things for free). At some point some girl walked up to me and told me she was a newbie (new to the place). I told her I was too. She asked me if I knew how to have sex. I told her I didn't even know there was sex in here (although I did wonder). Someone eavesdropping said there is lots of sex in the place. (While naked I noticed I didn't have any sort of equipment for sex. Like a Ken doll). I shamefully told her that I had no penis. This 'experienced' girl told me that I should go off and find one.
Finally! An assignment! Something for me to do in this place! Find a penis! I searched for 'Penis' and just like the regular internet there seemed to be tons of sex places to go. Most for real money. I was like, 'Oy...' I clicked on one and ended up in this sort of sleazily designed island type place. Some guy was hanging out by himself. He had a goatee and shiny clothes. Sleaze looking. I asked him if he knew where I could find myself a penis. He told me he had a 'free one' and he gave me one. I checked in my inventory and sure enough. I had penis! Whenever I wanted I could put on this big boner like a change of clothes or whatever. He told me I should check out the strip club. So I walked over and sat in a strip club looking at virtual girls slide up and down poles (real people somewhere). One girl offered me a lapdance (for money). I declined. (Yes these are all real people. They answer questions and stuff.) I got bored after a couple minutes and when I changed my look to big monster and ran up on stage to push people around I was thrown (teleported) out of the club into the ocean. To be honest, I really wasn't all that interested in having sex in that world. Just seemed weird and who knows how old anyone is in there etc...
So last night at around 2AM, I ended up picking some place at random to visit. (Frankly, as big as the place is--- it seems pretty empty and dead in most places.) I ended up at some nowheresville place where there was only one guy sitting there looking out over a virtual ocean. I sat down next to him asked, 'How's it going?' He said, 'Fine.' I asked him what he was doing. He said, 'Just getting away. Enjoying the view....' I looked at the view. I didn't get it. I left him sitting there by himself to stare out at the virtual sunset.
I had mixed feelings about the game in general. There's the side of me that screams, 'Who the hell has time for this stuff?! My lord!!' I mean, I do get the social thing to a certain degree. People are chatting in one way or another. And I even get the spending money thing. (I mean, value is value and some jerky rich guy might spend $10,000 on a cannonball from the civil war so who is anyone to talk about what's worth something). It did seem concerning that the sex thing seemed to be pretty rampant but for the most part the place did seems surprisingly clean. Like at one point I was walking around naked (pre-penis) and someone came over and told me to please put my clothes back on.
But the thing I didn't get was the 'hanging out' doing nothing. And that seemed to be the primary activity. Nothing. The laying there and getting a tan. The 'just sitting around'. There's a sadness shadow on the place to a certain degree-- but there is something reassuring about the idea that someone who wants to be totally alone in a virtual world... can eventually work his/her wayback into the society there... and probably can be accepted much easier than he/she could in real life. If that makes sense. And hey, if they save up enough dollars... they can be a king.
Whatever. The place was a total clash between ultimate dorky fascination and creepy other world unnaturalness. A giant brain sucking distraction from the world.
And yes, I totally deleted the whole thing off my machine... if nothing else... it's badly addictive.
Two days was more than enough for a lifetime...
Heading out to get some air!