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Second Life: Online Game or Social Replacement?
By: KC Morgan
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    Table of Contents:
  • Second Life: Online Game or Social Replacement?
  • Whatís Available to Players?
  • Whatís it All About?
  • The Bottom Line

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    Second Life: Online Game or Social Replacement?

    (Page 1 of 4 )

    If you've been wondering about all the fuss surrounding Second Life, or just haven't gotten around to taking a look at it, keep reading. This article will not only explain the basic idea of how it works, but possibly offer you some reasons to give Second Life a first (or second) look. It also gives you a few words of warning if you tend to get too absorbed in your gaming.

    Most games are designed with an element of fantasy. The players suddenly find themselves in a long-past period of history, in a world which does not exist, in a setting thatís rife with adventure and action. Players are allowed to create their own characters in some cases, changing superficial features. But these video game characters are still often imbued with qualities and characteristics the player does not have -- fabulous athletic ability, powers of flight, you name it. In the world of the online game Second Life, everything you know about gaming is suddenly changed.

    Second Life - Whatís That?

    Second Life is a game thatís played wholly (and solely) online. This online world is extremely vast (made up of different locales, known as sims) and populated by gamers. In these respects, Second Life is hardly different from any other online game -- World of Warcraft, for instance. But Second Life isnít so much a game as it is a world unto itself. In fact, Second Life isnít much like a game at all.

    An Online Game Thatís Not a Game?

    How is this possible? It may be hard to define Second Life, but itís not difficult to define the parameters of online gaming. In every game, there should be goals achieved and rewards given -- you complete the task, you receive some benefit which allows you to further your progress in the game. Many online games, unlike traditional games, have no defined end point (the creators of the game are loathe to give you a definite end, as they want you to continue to play). But most online games at least have tasks to complete and new levels of success to reach. SoÖhow is Second Life different from all those others out there?

    A Second Chance at Life?

    New players arriving in the world of Second Life will find no taskmasters, no missions to complete, no set steps to follow to reach a desired end. They will find themselves in the world with little more than the clothes on their characterís back and exactly zero Second Life dollars in their pocket. You see, Second Life isnít an online game in the truest sense of the word. You wonít find helpful taskmasters offering money in exchange for monster-slaying, you wonít gain experience that helps you reach higher gaming levels. You wonít feel like youíre playing an ordinary game at all. Think of Second Life instead as just that -- your second life.

    In the real world, in your real life, when you find yourself with no money and very little to call you own, your first goal is to find some sort of employment. Second Life is absolutely no different in this accepted realty. If you want money to buy new clothing, property, perhaps even a car to cruise around in during your time on Second Life, then your task is simple: make money. You can not earn it through the slaying of monsters or the solving of puzzles in Second Life, however; instead, you do what you would in the game of real life and you find some sort of paying work. When you agree to work, thatís exactly what you do, either by providing products or fulfilling a service at pre-determined times of day (for specified lengths of time). It is, after all, a job.

    Thatís pretty intense for a game, and thatís why Second Life is unlike so many other online games out there which are available to players. Second Life gives players the opportunity to create an entirely new existence in a make-believe world which is, nonetheless, populated by real peopleís characters. The dream job you never got, the dream house you could never build, the dream car you always wanted can all be yours through Second Life. Think of it as the game of LifeÖon steroids and without the constraints of a gaming board. Youíre allowed to make of it what you will.

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