It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it

My avatar in Second LifeLife can be complicated. It’s more so if you start a second one. The other day, I began my free trial of Second Life.

Is it a game? Is it a chat room? Is it a 3-D design tool? Maybe all of the above–maybe none. The first thing you learn when you’re dropped into the Second Life virtual world is that you navigate the world using an avatar: a character that you create to interact with the world and its inhabitants. Your avatar isn’t you–it’s merely your eyes, ears, and hands in the SL world.

After spending an hour or so exploring, I met several other SL users and chatted with them. Some were scripters making games within Second Life, like sumo, for example. Others were builders, creating elaborate architectural masterpieces or vehicles. At one point, I borrowed someone’s dune buggy and tore across the landscape.

Later, several people gathered in a small amphitheatre for “show and tell”. People took turns on the stage conjuring their latest and most interesting objects. One person produced a 30-foot tall skeleton. Another showed his airplane and even did a couple of loops and rolls.

I’m not sure what to think of this… thing, but I’m hooked. It’s a shame that it crashes every ten minutes though.