As a sporadic player in Second Life, I was of course interested in this excellent article in yesterday's Lawrence Journal World. The article concerns a second life player who was swindled of the equivalent of about $180 worth of Lindens, the Second Life currency. Apparently the player, Carissa Hill, was swindled in a real estate deal by someone who had stolen another players identity for a pay pal transaction. I have never met Carissa or her Second Life Avatar, but she claims to make money at Second Life.
What I find fascinating is less the swindle, but the reactions of people in the discussion who say inane things like "fantasy is nice but get a real life" or "...take the energy, ambition and smarts and apply it to the first life. I think that would make you happier and more successful in the long term."
Nice sentiments, or so it seems; but what makes Second Life any different other aspects of what Richard Dawkins terms the extended phenotype?
After all, Second Life may be based on bytes and pixels, but is it really that different than other sorts of fantasy that we spend lots of money on? Consider in Second Life, designers and scripters are constantly coming up with new games and designs, some of which are making their way to the "Real World" and there are some really talented designers.
Indeed, businesses such as IBM, Scion and Sun are setting up shop in Second Life trying to hawk real life news and products by taking advantage of Second Life's 3 dimensional interactive universe. Second life requires imagination and vision to "play", especially since there are few rules. Sometimes the results are banal such as the shopping center by my SL home, but others are quite stunning.
One thing is for sure, Second Life sure aint Kansas!
How to Get a Second Life
Living a Second Life
Performing a Play in Second Life(youtube)