Sunday, August 20, 2006

As Bad As Real Life


I scan the map
for the green dots that represent people.

Warren Ellis is exactly right. Second Life is an obscene amount of land and buildings with a rotating population of only thousands at a time. You walk through a world depopulated by plague or aliens or spontaneous combustion.

I teleport toward a clump of green dots. I have no idea what might be there.

I walk through the door cube. The world around me fluctuates between degrees of completeness.

Shit, it's a country bar. There are a bunch of people stuck in a clipped line-dancing animation. I watch for a few moments. Cowboy hats and jeans. I fucking hate it.

Exchanges of salutations. Over and over again. It's like replaying the first ten minutes of a cocktail party.

"Hello, Sally."

"Hello, Rick."

"Greetings, Rick."

Someone drops the equivalent of a shared LSD trip and an array of billboards with a shirtless hunk in a cowboy hat sprays out of the floor and dissipates into the air. Nice.

I walk outside. The streets are empty. Fuck this. I need to be drunk.

Confederate flag hanging from a pole. Where do I buy a molotov?

---

A welcome center. There are a few clusters of avatars.

Asshole with wings. Guy in military costume. Scantily-clad female with large honkers.

I need to get myself a pair of tits. And/or a giant, swaying phallus. Both readily available for purchase.

I stumble into the middle of a discussion. World War II. Fuck is it a stupid conversation.

"If the Russians hadn't attacked Germany, the US wouldn't have had a chance."

"Yeah they would've. The US is the best."

Then someone flashed a swastika and was asked to remove it, to which they complied. Then a quick lesson about how the swastika is sometimes used by Indians, but nary a mention of its direction of movement and then I try to drive a jeep and am rejected.

Stupid jeeps.

And the conversation goes on and it's got a 1:100 signal-to-noise ratio.

---

There's no way to die, not that I can figure out.

I wonder if I can build a suicide machine that will permanently forbid certain skins and shapes?

I go to Integral Castle, thinking that maybe Mr. Ellis will be there, or at least some interesting member of his readership.

It's just me, alone in a castle with a giant banana chair and a small rocket. Most of the time it's like that, alone in a room with [fill in the blank with something unexpected].

---

I don't have a lot of money. I want to buy a guitar.

There are some great guitars for sale and I try one out, shredding and giving off actual flames.

I don't feel like purchasing any Lindens, so I try my luck at a casino. I'm up, then down, then up, then only a little down, then I call it quits. To win big, you have to play big.

Just like Vegas. Just like any money-sucking operation.

---

I haven't figured out what to do, or even if there's anything to do.

Sometimes I feel like asking, "What's the point?"

2 comments:

Patrick Dugan said...

Well, theres nothing you're supposed to do, thats the whole idea, I guess back in its heyday, when you had 20,000 people, a rough thousand of which were active content producers, things were more interesting and dynamic. Now with only a few thousand players, probably only two hundred or so are serious developers of the world, things are deadening. Buts thats just the first generation of a PCC oriented social game world. I bet something really wonderful will show up sooner or later, probably using a lot of ad funding in its buisiness model.

Johnny Pi said...

Yeah, I got that. I actually enjoy the idea. And it's nice to sightsee.
I just thought I'd be critical - the experience sometimes ranges from an immersive world to a low-performance chat room.

I kinda dread an ad-supported iteration of this idea.

I was actually thinking that having a more static main world and allowing people to buy space in instances would help, especially with performance. It would take longer to travel, but you could cache your repeated meeting spots and purge the places you don't want to see again.

I was hoping to see more narrative-based experiences, and have found a few leads to hunt down. I tend to be fairly antisocial in virtual worlds (though not so much in real life), so social networking is a bit awkward.

I'll probably tinker around in it for awhile now and then. It's nice that it's free to wander.

Oh, and I might post about it later but the creation tools are pretty great, though an offline tool would be nice.