"Second life is not a game. It is a multi-user virtual environment. It doesn't have points or scores; it doesn't have winners or losers... Exactly everything was the same... except I could fly"
-Dwight SchruteI first heard about Second Life from The Office clip provided above. At first I thought it was made up, but after a quick Google search, found out that it was not only a functioning application, it was immensely popular.
Being the curious and (trying to be) tech savvy kid that I was, I decided to try it out and convinced one of my friends to try it as well. At first we were incredibly confused. We didn't really know what to do, we looked exactly the same and wore just the default clothes. As we walked, ran, and flew around the Second Life world, we were mocked and laughed at by countless users for being "noobs." As Jim said "Oh... there are losers." Unfortunately, in that world, we were the losers.
A couple of days in, we stuck with it and actually found the Second Life version of New York City. We were finally able to customize our avatars and made use of the free items available. We weren't quite sure what, why, or how the money there works, but to our surprise, people actually use real money to get Second Life money. That was probably the most shocking thing about it for me that people would spend money just so they could buy a 3D outfit. Now we weren't going to start shelling out money just so some chump can make fun of us for not wearing the latest clothes, but we did want to get some money.
So I got a job. A Second Life job. It was pretty simple, really. I checked in, and I sat under a tree. Every 10 minutes, I would get 5 of whatever currency they used. It seemed simple enough, so I began leaving the program on while I was in class and started earning some decent money.
Before I knew it we were hanging out in the hottest clubs in Second Life New York with outrageous outfits. After about a week of trying it out, the novelty of the whole thing wore off and we stopped playing.
It was entertaining to learn the whole thing, but it didn't really appeal to us since there wasn't really any clear objectives to the game and we weren't about to spend real money to access new features.
As I said, the most surprising thing about it for me is the fact that people actually make and spend money off this. Even more surprising was that I had to put this in practice in my internship. It wasn't Second Life, but it's a site just like it called IMVU. I had to create an avatar and then go to various clubs and sell virtual t-shirts. As ridiculous as I thought the whole thing was, I was actually selling some fake t-shirts over this program at $3 a pop! It was crazy and I was amazed that people actually did this.
I guess I'm just not the target of the program and I don't think I will ever understand it completely. I can appreciate why people like it and why it's popular, but it's just not for me. Interesting stuff, though and I'm actually glad I tried it. I've always wanted to fly.