Virtual Insanity?

March 25, 2008

Sadly, because Dell sucks, I didn’t get a chance to do much with “Second Life.”  Although, from my limited experience, I don’t think there was that much to do, anyway.  I can understand why online gaming is so successful.  I don’t really understand the attraction, however, to games that don’t so much challenge one in any particular manner, but rather create an entire seemingly useless alternative universe.

I really love The Sims.  Not so much the new ones as the original.  There wasn’t a whole lot to do, but there was still a semi-point.  You had to do certain things to keep your Sims alive and happy.  It wasn’t the most complicated game, but you still had to do certain things to keep everything moving smoothly.  No one wants to deal with a Sim getting all dramatic because you let them wet their pants.  You could also use cheat codes, collect a whole lot of simoleons and spend all afternoon playing amateur architect.  No math involved! 

Playing Second Life, albeit briefly, I was sort of bored.  Furry Sex Island aside, it wasn’t all that amusing.  If I wanted to walk around aimless in a funny outfit, I would just go to LA and hang out with the costumed freaks outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  I was actually reminded of a “Golden Girls” episode, in which the ladies crashed a high school reunion and stole name tags from the welcome table.  After an uneventful evening, Dorothy remarked that “Cindy Lou People’s” life was almost as boring as her own. 

This is not to say there is anything wrong with enjoying Second Life, or similar games, or that those who spend a significant amount of time interacting online are weirdos.  Some of them are, undoubtedly, but I wouldn’t say that spending a few hours gaming or socializing on the Internet is a sign of deep emotional issues.  I’m completely normal ::cough:: and I’ve actually never seriously dated anyone that I didn’t meet online.   Not because I was trolling for dates on the Internet, but because a shared interest(not furry sex) happened to bring me to the same spot on the web it brought the other person and our interaction led to a relationship intriguing enough to take offline. 

Is that any less valid than if someone had been drunk and spilled something on me in a bar?  I know plenty of people who met in “real life” under those same or similar circumstances.  I might argue that a relationship that began with online discussions of constitutional law or the infield fly rule is perfectly valid and as normal as anything else in the dating realm.   

I would think that as younger generations, for whom the Internet was always a part of their every day lives, grow older, the concept of online social interaction will become more commonplace and more accepted.  There will always be people who fall victim to excess.  People drink too much, smoke too much, eat too much, spend too much and can use the Internet too much.  If we’re going to embrace Web 2.0 invading nearly every part of our lives, though, then it only makes sense that entertainment and socializing practices would be included in the invasion. 

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