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If Second Life isn't a game
Second Life is a 3 D online virtual world where avatars do the kind of stuff real people do in real life: Buy stuff. Sell stuff. Gamble. Listen to music. Buy property. Flirt. Play games. Watch movies. Have sex.
But is it a game?
The mainstream press has struggled with how to characterize Second Life. The term "3 D online virtual world" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as the term "game." And it's a whole lot harder to get in a headline. But what is it, really?
Linden Lab, the company that created the platform that is Second Life, is emphatic that their creation is not a game. "There is no manufactured conflict, no set objective," says spokesperson Catherine Smith. "It's an entirely open ended experience."
Second Life does bear some resemblance to the "Sim City" and "Sims" franchises from Maxis and Electronic Arts. Players build and design a city in "Sim City," and in "The Sims," players control characters in day to day activities. There are no monsters to kill, no real objective to speak of. But the grow your own quality of these games resonated with players. "The Sims" is the best selling PC game of all time.
The goal is simple: Players enter Methenolone Enanthate Para Que Sirve a multiplayer online world and go on quests alone or with other people. You play until you can't level up anymore. Plenty of addicted players hit that ceiling quickly, so much like someone who devours a book in three hours and can't bear to part with the characters, "WoW" players simply go back to the beginning and start over.
To feed the insatiable demand for more characters, more levels and more weapons, Blizzard employs a flotilla of designers, artists, animators and programmers. But even "WoW" has its limits.
Pushing up on the boundaries
"There are two types of people," says Beth Goza, known as Kealiaha Trudeau in Second Life. "Those who think it's fine to live within the world of developers' imaginations, and those that push up on the boundaries."
Goza falls into the latter camp. She's played "WoW," and is still an avid fan. But she wanted to customize her game playing "Anaboliset Aineet" experience, and she knew other people felt the same way. "The point of 'World of Warcraft' is not to hang out and dance in a pub, but people do it," she says.
So in 2006, Goza, who was working for Linden and spending plenty of time in Second Life already, bought an island that she named Djork (No, the "j" is not a typo. And yes, she gets it.).
She turned it into a sweeping, palm tree studded oasis for her friends and Second Life newbies. She and friend Lucius Templar created a movie theater, an art gallery, an amusement park and a shopping center for Djork. The residents who visit each month and there are thousands Gensci Jintropin of them spend time snorkeling, shopping, fishing and belly dancing.
The genius of user created content
It's true Second Life lacks a designed conflict and end objective. But the real difference between "World of Warcraft," "The Sims" or any other game Second Life is compared to is this: Linden does not create the content. The users, called "residents," build everything.
The lodge with the llamas outside? Created by "Anabolika Definition" a resident. The cool animation that can change your awkward, new avatar gait into the feline prowl of a supermodel? Created by a resident. The lush, vast "Lord of the Rings" like island of Svarga? Created by a resident. And what's Masteron Subq more, these residents pay for the privilege to build these things in world.
Why? Motivations vary. For Goza, Djork was a way to take her mind off her mother's illness. It was also a way to gather up her favorite things in Second Life and make them permanent.
"Content can be very transient in Second Life," she says. "One of my favorite islands was an amusement park, and one day I went and it was gone."
For love or money?
Permanence in Second Life has a price: The island cost her $1,300, and there's a monthly $195 upkeep charge. Despite this, Goza has no interest in trying to recoup her 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone expenses. She provides all of the experiences on Djork free of charge. For Goza, Djork is her entertainment, her labor of love. But still, not exactly a game.
For many residents, the motivation to create stuff in Second Life is less altruistic. I landed in Second Life clad in default clothing and sporting a mortifying pink hairdo. My avatar walked like someone who'd just gotten off a horse.
Luckily, there's a whole in world cottage industry dedicated to giving you the avatar of your dreams. Or, at least one that doesn't scream "pathetic newbie." The pigtails that I bought for my avatar set me back 200 Lindens, or a little less than $1. The glittery clogs on my size zero feet cost me 400 Lindens. But at least I fit in enough to leave Orientation Island.
Once you've personalized your avatar, you're going to need something to do, and there is an unending supply of activities both fee based and free in Second Life. You've probably heard about the more prurient experiences in Second Life, and there's no denying that gambling and sex litter the in world landscape. But if you're looking for good, clean fun, Second Life has plenty to offer.
Socializing holds great appeal
Chenelle Bremont, known in world Oral Steroids And Back Pain as Tinkar Daligdig, visits Second Life regularly to hang out with friends. She's also an in world DJ with Phreak Radio. "For me, [Second Life] is a game because it's a form of entertainment," says Bremont, who is married and gainfully employed in real life. Like her avatar, she is dark haired, blue eyed and pretty. And like her avatar, Bremont has plenty of friends.
The appeal for Bremont, and many other Second Life residents, is social. It's frighteningly easy Buy Viagra Berlin to summon a group of pals to hear a blues artist or check out a movie. When was the last time you were able to plan a real life group outing that didn't require about 45 e mails and half a dozen phone calls?
Jumping on the bandwagon
No matter: The population growth of Second Life and the real money changing hands has convinced big corporations to set up camp or island in Second Life. American Apparel has an in world shop to sell hoodies and t shirts to comfort craving residents. Toyota's Scion division built an in world dealership and driving track to let residents check out cars.
"Second Life is not a game to Scion, it's more of a community," says company spokesperson Allison Takahashi. "It's a great opportunity for Scion to interact with these communities and reach its target audience of trendsetters."