Computer Games:Virtual Lives

by Julie Fletcher

If you have not heard of Second Life, it is not surprising. Most of the popular video games that people are very familiar with are on gaming consoles such as Xbox, Playstation, and Wii. Even if someone does not have a computer, these gaming systems are known.

But virtual reality games such as WarCraft and Second Life are very popular online. These are not virtual reality in the sense that you need special goggles or headphones, but virtual worlds. With Second Life you can build what is called an avatar and it can look like virtually anything you can imagine. The most popular avatars are human and human-like.

Second Life has received a lot of bad press due to the availability of sex in cyber form. The game is open to people 18 years or older and yes, you can find quite a bit of sex if you look for it. Sometimes if you are not looking for it. For those who wish to avoid the sexual overtones, there are a lot of PG rated sections open.

People often go to Second Life to escape from their ‘First Life’ or RL (real life) as it is known on Second Life. They build friendships, romances, and even commercial empires. The systems uses cash, much like real life, but there the dollar (or euro, or pound,) is the Second Life Linden. Lindens can be purchased through the game’s main site, on the game at exchanges, or you can get a virtual job and make lindens.

I have visited Second Life and found it to be very interesting. You can meet people from all walks of life, all over the world. Unlike chat rooms and instant messaging, your avatars speak ‘face to face’. It gives the meetings and conversations a new life and depth.

There are pros and cons to any online virtual world which include finding yourself addicted to the ‘life’ you build. In moderation the game is fun, offering new ways to express yourself and meet others. In a recent discussion with another Second Life Member, ‘Brett‘, he pointed out that the virtual world and romances built are a wonderful outlet for people who may not have a way to leave their homes. People with phobias, those who are handicapped, or those who just have very bad social skills can become ‘new’ people in this world.

I agree with ‘Brett’. Though I have the opinion that all issues can be overcome to allow most people to incorporate themselves into the real world, Second Life can be a learning experience for those who need help interacting.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2008 at 8:34 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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