Living a Second Life

meOften I escape into the virtual world of Second Life where anyone can be beautiful. It is not an actual game like World of Warcraft — in SL there are no quests or missions. It doesn’t keep people from role playing, of course. It just means that the objectives are user-generated rather than imposed by the system.

The genius of SL is that unlike WoW most of the stuff in it is made by the users — not the founders. SL provides an extensive graphic tool set for creating your own clothing, hair, skins, building, vehicles, etc. if you don’t want to use the defaults. And there is an entire virtual economy there. Designers and builders sell their creations in virtual stores. Sometimes it seems as if most of the sims in SL exist only so someone can build stores on them.

The difference between these virtual stores and Internet websites is that you can “walk around” in the virtual stores as an avatar instead of paging or scrolling through them as you do on the Web. Since the in-world currency of “Linden Dollars” or just “lindens” can be exchanged for real money both ways, it is theoretically possible to make enough money in SL to support yourself in the Real world. Many try to do this, but the ones that actually succeed are usually the talented designers who make the best skins and hair and clothing, and the people who buy and sell virtual real estate.

Can’t afford the great new faces? Don’t panic. Just like cars, last year’s models (or even earlier ones) are cheaper. ┬áMany designers give away older creations to lure customers into the stores. O brave new virtual world, that has such imaginary people in it!

— MRK

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