I tried. I really tried. I downloaded the Second Life viewer, installed it on my computer and eventually saw my avatar Cathy Xootfly standing on the welcome island. I had a pretty cool bald spot going on for a while, as the computer tried to put hair and clothes on the avatar.
About this time my laptop started to go into pre-meltdown mode. I’ve been trying to keep it going because I refuse to buy another one after only three years (I know, I’ve skipped two cycles of Moore’s Law in that time…) but Second Life just proved to be too much for my poor old RAM. I recognize the warning signs well and since I (technically my husband) installed the new OS on my Mac I’ve avoided meltdowns. I couldn’t let Second Life bring me down after all that….I did try to navigate to the different parts of the island but that took me more than 30 minutes to walk around the first two areas of the welcome island so I gave up.
BUT…I did read all about Second Life from the class blog. I’ve got to say, I was really amazed at how passionate people were on the Q3 2010 page on the SL blog. There were 161 responses and most of them were fairly detailed about SL. I knew that people really get into MMOGs (I’m married to a level 80 something or other who just got a new horned helmet in WoW) but I’ve never personally looked into them before.
(my husband’s avatar/toon, note the horned helmet. I think it would be cooler if the horn was capable of spearing people…but it’s just basically non-functional bling)
My experiences with gaming are limited to the Atari 2600 (Dig Dug, Asteroids and all that – when I could drag the controller away from my older brother, which was infrequent at best), a brief Tetris addiction (did you know you can play it so much you see those darn blocks in your head and you can’t flip them into place???), and of course, my personal favorites, Freecell and Solitaire. Other than that, I don’t play games on the computer. I bought my husband a Wii but I am a sore looser with no hand-eye coordination and can’t compete with him, even when I make him play left-handed. Plus he likes the Xbox better than the Wii so it was a waste of money. I kick butt at Trivial Pursuit though…
Anyway, back to MMOGs.
I was struck by the amount of work that people do for free in SL.
After all my travels around Second Life, it’s becoming apparent that virtual worlds, most of all this one, tap into something very powerful: the talent and hard work of everyone inside. Residents spend a quarter of the time they’re logged in, a total of nearly 23,000 hours a day, creating things that become part of the world, available to everyone else. It would take a paid 4,100-person software team to do all that, says Linden Lab. Assuming those programmers make about $100,000 a year, that would be $410 million worth of free work over a year. (Businessweek May 1, 2006)
Talk about crowdsourcing!
As Garrett mentioned in class a few weeks ago, we tend to think differently (negatively) of the person who spent all weekend playing an MMOG (an inherently more social experience than TV) yet sitting in front of the TV all weekend is more socially acceptable. Why is that? I’ve seen firsthand how WoW has kept my husband and his brother in closer touch (and yeah, thanks for getting him hooked on WoW Dave….grr!) so it’s probably time for me to readjust my thinking.
Checking out SL has shown me there is a huge other world that I was unaware of. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here on Luddite Island playing Solitaire.