Monday, November 6, 2006

A chance at a Second Life

What would you do if you could have another shot at winning the big game or going in on that business deal you passed up and lost millions? Well maybe now you can find out. The virtual life videogame Second Life has hit the one million mark and is showing no signs of slowing down. The game allows members to sign up for free and create virtual representations of themselves called avatars. Once enrolled, the members need but engage in the virtual community and set up shop, meet new people or just fly around (yes you can fly). The game has become so popular that the BBC has sent technology reporter Mark Ward into the community to get to the bottom of why this game has captured the lives of more than a million people.

The laws of the land are simple. There are six forms of behavior that members are required to abstain from or risk banishment: intolerance, harassment, assault, disclosure, indecency, and disturbing the peace. Other than that you're free to go about your business building relationships.

There's a tendency for these games to become "pegged" as nerdy and played only by those who have nothing better to do but I beg to differ. Second Life could very well mark the future of social networking. Facebook, Myspace, and other personalized web designs offer limited customization compared to virtual worlds like Second Life. At least your avatar can move and is not limited by "hobby" and "interest" categories. It will be interesting to see if these three-dimensional worlds will begin to influence websites of this nature.

John LaRue
DI columnist

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