What simply appears to be "a game", though eBay seems to disagree and continues auctioning virtual items at low and high non-virtual prices, may as well have become a global phenomenon. Only yesterday was I reading about eBay putting a stop to selling MMORPG (that's Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game for those of you who might not know - though massive xD) items, leaving Warcraft, Lineage and other online gamers with less options of bargaining their "hard earned goods", but, and here's the surprise, letting Second Life run scot free. As read on the link, eBay spokesman Hani Durzey said:
If someone participates in Second Life and wants to sell something they own, we are not at this point proactively pulling those listings off the site. We think there is an open question about whether Second Life should be regarded as a game.You can read other vague statements of such sort if you go to the Kotaku post.
The thing is, I was on the phone with my friend Cathy this morning and she - out of the blue - mentioned her brother was as hooked on the net as I am and he has been entering this whole other "Second Life" world every day. Curiosity kicked in and after we hung up, I rushed to the PC to visit the site.
You have to enter a name, select from a list of surnames, enter your own private info and a password and of course choose what your character will look like. Appearances can change any time in-game. In fact, there is a number of shops scattered all over this online world where you can buy clothing, templates, accessories, home appliances and furniture and even tattoos.
Where's the catch? All these things cost Linden dollars, the game's virtual currency. But, fret not! Before finishing the sing-up process online, you are asked whether you want to give your credit card's info, in exchange for $250 Linden dollars. You can of course carry on with the process without giving away any valuable info, but then you miss out on this once in a second life chance.
Anyways, after downloading the setup.exe and installing it (a 30MB download for PC users with minimum requirements), you find yourself, or your "other" self, on Orientation Island, where you'll learn how to interact with others, use the map, chat, look around, change your appearance on the spot and... fly! What would a second life be, if you couldn't fly, right? When you feel ready to venture on to the "real" world, you teleport to a random city.
I was watching a place rise up from the ground in front of my slightly slanted, greenish, virtual eyes and shops scattered all over. Even ads of real businesses... A goggle-wearing young man with a scarf, was fooling around with a ball and we ended up throwing it one to the other like we were on a beach, when in fact, we were standing on a plaza with a huge fountain. We did not exchange a single word. Then a black clothed, purple haired, goth girl materialised out of thin air, and I commented on how awesome she looked. She was wearing a - custom made for sure - dress which made her look like a dark fairy. She said as little as "Uh, you look fine" and then the guy from earlier asked if we two were new to the game. I said yes but the girl said she wasn't. Then, she asked: "Do you know how to make money?"
I was thinking I could get a job there, like any other regular joe in real life, who doesn't have to have a certain level of education, so I just said "nope". Though in Second Life, there are universities, municipal buildings, corporations, a Big Brother house, brothels, anything you can think of. The Swedish government was recently thinking of establishing an official information center in the virtual world, where anyone could go and read real world news concerning Sweden etc...
Back to the evil nymph: "OK, I'll show you" "Who needs a job when you've got fruit?" The first thing that came to my mind was a vision of myself, dressed up like Heidi, holding a basket, gathering fruit. But people in Second Life don't have needs. They're not Sims... So how would gathering fruit be any good making money? Lo and behold! After I followed her, teleporting to another place on that world, I was suddenly surrounded with lucky slots, a whole virtual casino. I didn't even want to read anything. I had been fooled, conned, or whatever, from the start! *sob* Here is a screenshot of the "lucky" place, where vacant looking slobs were sitting for 10 minutes a time to earn $3 Linden dollars. As for the goth girl, her work was done so she split. *sigh*
Oh, Stephan look! They're even selling lightsabers in Second Life! Bummer I uninstalled the game now right? Have to take care of my first life first, before moving on caring about any other. It's only recently that I've stopped biting my fingernails and I wouldn't want any added stress for someone I don't care about and who can't die. What about you?