Two Hours in One Second (Life)

March 21, 2007

Second Life

Yesterday I signed up for and installed Second Life. “Great, yet another member joins our ever-growing, ever-shifting paradigmatic community” some of you may say. Some others will be more like “Second Life, that’s so gay, man… quit being a f***** n00b and pwn some WoW now”.

Well for all of you, here is my short account on my first experience with SL.

The first thing I noticed is how overly cluttered and complicated the interface is. One thing I can’t fully understand right now is how they have so many users (and aim at appealing to even more) when the amount of interface elements alone is scary or any newcomer. The avatar movement control also didn’t prove very nice; but since you can just fly (or even teleport) and banging your virtual head onto a virtual block of concrete doesn’t really hurt (but it may virtually hurt, mind you) I just shrugged away from walking.

Then came the avatar customization. Taking the risk of sounding like a badly-disguised Barbie collector, I admit that this is where I spent most of my (self-imposed) two-hour time slice for trying SL. I started by making a likeness of myself, saved the different “parts” that compose me and afterwards I made some sort of digital alter-ego. I was awestruck by the degree and detail of customization you are allowed to do (mainly in the avatar’s head), although the adjustments are done through sliders; sometimes to get this one thing right you may have to fine-tune three to five sliders. My virtual nose and hair took a whole lot of time, and are still far from perfect. I take pride in my (big) nose 🙂

After completing four short tutorials, you are granted a “pass to the mainland” and so the fun begins. Or should begin anyways. My laptop did its best to provide fast graphics but, the seamlessness of SL doesn’t help very much. Then I came across some “virtual barriers”, something like “sorry,but you are not on the list of people allowed to enter this property”. The “property” consisted of an empty house. So someone actually paid some Linden Dollars to buy this property, set up a nice house, block it from unwanted access, all just so it would stay empty. “That sucks” I though out aloud. And so I was flying around, banging my head on virtual-virtual walls, or double-virtual walls – anyway, “force walls” on a virtual world, I say, walls that are virtual-squared or whatever…

So I got bored pretty fast. I used the Search interface to try and find a location by the keyword “art”. I found some, I clicked on a very inconspicuous one (I swear) and my avatar was instantly teleported. How nice, it had lots of pictures of naked women… well it seems that Internet, either in HTML or seamless 3D space, always comes down to the same: sex.

At this point my (self-imposed) 2-hour time slice for SL was alredy up.  So  that’s it. Today If I have time, I am going back to Guild Wars.

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