OK, back up the bus. Looks like I need to step out of character to frame the discussion again.
First, in real life, I work with computers. All day, every day. In fact, I can confidently say that, if it were not for my work, several small internal details of your computer would operate differently than they currently do. Yes, the computer you are using to view this blog – be it a PC, Mac, Sunfire, IBM mainframe, or whatever. Not that it wouldn’t work, just that it would work differently.
Why do I tell you this? Merely to frame the point that, after working with computers, I have no desire to play with computers. Computers are the bane of my existence. Accordingly, I have always stayed far away from computer games. Sure, I had an intense but short lived addiction to the original 8-bit Zelda and Link Nintendo games, but that’s it. I have tried things like Lesire Suit Larry, Doom, Myst, WoW, etc. Bored to tears in five minutes flat.
With that out of the way, Second Life is an immersive 3-dimensional digital world, where one acts out a character (“avatar”), in an online environment with other people. In this, it bears a superficial resemblance to MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games – I think I got that right). However, there are several key differences that make it so much more –
1) There is no universally defined goal to SL. Once inworld, what does one do? What do you want to do? I am inworld in order to perform my music for others. Others are inworld to build things, to program things, to go clubbing, meet others, have cyber sex, whatever. There are even those in SL that are inworld to engage in standard MMORPG activities (kill or be killed – though this is limited to certain identified areas). Like real life (RL), the goals are as individual as the people who have them.
2) Almost everything inworld is created by the residents themselves. Ordinary people like you and me. Landforms, critters, dances, cars, buildings, wings, clothes, lighting sources, sounds, games, etc. There is almost nothing you will run across inworld that you could not create yourself from scratch (given enough time and study).
3) SL has a real functioning economy. There is an inworld currency (the Linden Dollar, or L$) that is freely convertible from and to US Dollars. True, the L$ is a fiat currency, created out of nothing by Linden Labs (the RL originator of SL). However, this currency creation follows strict rules on how much currency can be created, and at what time it will be created. In this regard, the L$ is actually a more stable currency than the US$, which is created out of nothing by the FED according only to their whim. This currency system enables many real people to support themselves in RL strictly from providing goods and services in SL for L$, and converting these L$ for US$.
So after gigging in RL for longer than I care to mention, to people in my geographic vicinity, for little money, I now bring my music to SL. Hopefully, I can entertain a handful of people, and make enough RL money at it to cover guitar strings and a microphone or two.
Oh – one other aspect. A couple of blog posts back, I spoke of Kazzabee Runningbear helping me with my first stream inworld. Just so happens that the human who is the alter ego of Kazzabee was in Australia at the time. So picture this – in RL, I am sitting in my house somewhere in the USA, performing my music for someone who is literally half a world away. In real-time. If not for SL, I would not have had an opportunity for Kazz to hear me. First performance. Half a world away. How cool is that?