Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Obsessive Behavior

Yesterday, I installed Second Llife on my computer. I wanted to try it out after reading that IBM bought an island inside Second Life and set up a copy of one of their research centers. They and other companies are setting up presences inside the virtual world. The SL virtual world is huge, You can spend hour upon hour looking around the place. There are casinos, clubs, and public events to keep you entertained. You don't need a car to get around. The creators were thoughtful enough to allow you to teleport, fly, or walk around. You need a good graphics card, I've discovered, to allow your computer to smoothly render new scenery as you come upon it. Next time I get on Second Life, I'm going to have to set a timer. You can easily kill hours exploring the virtual world.

Probably the most interesting aspect of Second Life is that you can buy and sell things. You can own a piece of land and set up a house. You can buy clothes, furniture, and even a new sexy body. Surprisingly, there are people who actually make a living in the real world through second life. The online community offers currency exchange into real dollars.

It's very interesting, but you can easily burn up an afternoon just wandering around the virtual world like you lost your mommy. I can't help thinking of a South Park episode in which the kids have an epic battle with a killer player in another online world, Warcraft. They have the kids spend every waking moment online to build up the strength to take on a super player. In the process, they all get really fat, lazy, and out of shape. At the end, when they take out the bad guy who was killing everybody off and preventing them from enjoying the game, one of the kids asks, "what do we do now?" The answer was that they would just play in peace without getting killed, which is all they wanted. So they sat there and kept playing.

I'll definitely set up a timer next time. In case you have an alter ego in Second Life, my character name is Shaine Houston. Mata was not available and I picked the most familiar last name I found. I'm not very creative, right?
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