Monday, December 18, 2006

Love, sure, but where's the life?

Why did I join Second Life? I've never been a gamer. I've never been into chat. I had never explored any multiple-member online role-playing games (MMORPGs) . I've done lots of web surfing, but my human interaction via computer had been limited mostly to e-mail and some online forums.

When I read a feature on Second Life in the Globe and Mail in July of 2006, however, something intrigued me. Maybe it was the name itself. Who wouldn't want a second life, no matter how good first life was? So I signed up.

I've never been sure what my particular goal in SL is. To learn and explore, I guess. And even though I have not had some of the experiences I've read about others having, I have learned and explored a great deal, as much of myself as of the world around me. Both by being with Patrice and simply by having a life in-world, I have gained insights, and I expect that will continue.

As for the fun stuff, well, I did learn to build, although in First Life I am a software developer and thus drawn more to scripting and animation than to building. I do enjoy flying, although I'm afraid I've become rather blasé about that. I tend to teleport from place to place, and take that for granted as well—until it breaks! Flying just to explore is fun, but I've run into enough private-property fences to take some of the enjoyment out of it.

I've been lucky to have friends who have exposed me to new things. My friend tree gave me a hoverboard (left, with vapour trail) a long time ago, a fun way to get around. I think she's responsible for the little purple dragon in my inventory as well—poor thing, I hardly ever bring him out! She has shown me cool places too, like the spot with all the different drums called the Lauks Nest.

Patrice has been a major contributor to my SL experience. She has a couple of helicopters and a sailboat, more fun ways to get around. She showed me where to get a great swimming animation, and since we live on a beach, we both swim a fair amount. We also have a diving board, which makes for a great combination with the swimming animation. She gave me an entire skydiving kit, and I've been having a blast learning to be more accurate with my landings. (Do not fail to set the auto-deploy; the blood on impact is disconcerting!) She gave me hockey equipment, although we have not yet organized a neighbourhood shinny game on the nearby pond. She has a horse, and I'm thinking I should get one too.

Yes, like many SLers, we spend a lot of time in clubs, which are basically places where you listen to music, allow your avatar to be animated with one or more dances (or not), and chat with other dancers. Our main hangout is the Velvet, run by our friend Pushbutton Skolnik, a great club with great music and great people. We also go to the Wet Kitty, a mainly lesbian but other-sexuality-friendly club that also has great music. And when we want to get away and be romantic, we've been checking out various jazz clubs: the Blue Note, Phat Cat's, and Red Velvet, so far. It's fun to get dressed fancy and dance cheek to cheek.

And yes, there is a great deal of shopping in SL. I have more hair, skins, dresses, pants, tops, underwear, jewellery, and shoes than I will ever need, but of course I want more. That's going to need a blog entry of its own!

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