I Was Forced to Play Second Life

22Nov09

For Argumentative Writing, our class was forced to play Second Life.  Had this requirement been listed on the class listing, I would not have taken this class.  I was familiar with the game through general geekdom and I knew I wanted nothing to do with it.  It’s for furries and pedophiles.  The fact that my university has a presence within the game is even more embarrassing.

We all signed up for Second Life while sitting in one room of the library–we have a section of the library staff dedicated to this shit.  20 people playing Second Life in one room.  Adam and I spent the time playing Monopoly on top of a building that was supposed to represent one of our dorms.  We have had assignments in Second Life, including one where we had to spend an hour on the server and write about our impressions of the game.

You want to know my impression?  It’s a horrible game over-glorified instant messenger client with horrible controls and dismal graphics.  I dropped from “fly” and spent over a minute stuck in a corner.  Nothing about this game is intuitive; it requires a lot more time to learn it than I’m willing to put in.

I’m absolutely convinced that the only reason we’re playing this thing is because our teacher needs to justify her addiction to it.  I think it’s similar to the rest of the teachers playing this game.  The only department that could possibly justify classes in Second Life would be the multimedia department.  We still haven’t really been given a reason why we’re participating in it.

The BBC recently posted an article, detailing the world’s changing thoughts towards Second Life.  It makes me feel better when the rest of the world starts to realize what crap it is:

IBM bought property in 2006, American Apparel opened a shop the same summer, Reuters installed avatar journalist Adam Pasick – also known as Adam Reuters – to report on virtual happenings, and countries established virtual embassies.

The number of people joining the site jumped from 450,000 to four million in 2007.

But just as quickly as it had flared, media interest ebbed away. References plummeted by 40% in 2008 and dropped further this year. And businesses diverted their resources back to real life.

American Apparel closed its shop just one year after opening. Reuters pulled its correspondent in October 2008. When asked about his virtual experience, Pasick says: “It isn’t a subject we like to revisit.”

I’ll agree that Second Life may be a worthwhile hobby for some people, but I think that businesses and organizations (and countries) really shouldn’t have a presence.  It’s one of those things that may be a lot more interesting with future technologies, but right now, it’s just depressing.

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