Analysis of Play: Second Life

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Information about Analysis of Play: Second Life

Published on March 8, 2014

Author: AlexanderMSU


Quick History Lesson In March of 2002, the first resident came to Second Life. In October of that year, the public beta started. Second Life opened to the public at large in 2003. For eleven years people have “lived” in Second Life.

A couple impressive avatars

Let’s watch some video…

So what it is… • Second Life is a sandbox, where you can build things out of “prims.” • You can buy stuff. And wear it/use it. • You can, of course, sell stuff you make. • You can interact socially. • You can exchange real money for “Lindens” to spend in the game world.

Can we “play” there?

Playing… • We could role-play in Second Life. Lots of people do. • We could find a pre-made game or make/make up a game. • We could likewise make a game of “messing” with the expectations of the software. • We have the free will to do a number of things we might want to.

But is it a… game?

I’m going to assert… • …that Second Life is not, strictly speaking, a game. • Because of the lack of a defined rule set that would form any sort of competition, • The lack of any really centralized goals, • And perhaps most importantly, something we haven’t stressed in our definitions, but there’s no real reward for skill (beyond being able to make money). How do you “get better” at Second Life? How do you become elite?

Let’s try the key points from your definitions.

Does it have goals?

Is it immersive?

Is it participatory?

Is it organized?

Is it intuitive?

Are there obstacles to overcome?

Is it about the journey, not the end?

Are there boundaries?

Is it relaxing?

Is it an “experience” to undertake?

Is it voluntary?

Is there a feedback system?

Is it enjoyable/fun?

Is it engaging?

Next class: we will spend some time in Second Life, tooling around and seeing what we can see. Come ready. Be ready. Fight the power!

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