Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Second Life Addict

I suppose I'll kick off my blog by exploring the activity that consumes most of my time of late: Second Life. Before my boyfriend told me about it in early September, I was blissfully unaware of its existence.

I've never been one to get hooked on computer games. Sure, I've played my share of Solitaire and Text Twist but spending hours at a time on games of any sort has never been a favorite pasttime, at least not until I discovered the amazing virtual world of SL (Second Life). Of course, some would argue that SL isn't really a game and I'm not so sure I view it as such anymore.

I was hooked from the very beginning. I quickly shed the awkward, newbie look of the plain-Jane female avatar sporting a polka-dot dress and created a more sophisticated outfit from a basic jacket and pants in the inventory library. I adjusted the face and body to my liking (why can't we do that in real life?) and set out on this glorious new adventure.

Initially, I was enthralled by the sheer beauty of the scenery in-world. I explored places I'd like to visit in real life, such as Ireland, Japan, and England. I began chatting with other avatars during my explorations and found that meeting people from all over the world, even if only in a virtual world, was the most exciting aspect of this new hobby of mine.

I met an amazingly friendly guy from Sweden who gifted me with a new skin, complete with a sexy walk and new clothing. I tweaked this new skin a bit, shrinking the big boobs and adding long black hair, something I've always wished for in real life. Why not give my avatar the physical features I'd choose if I suddenly had the option of "Editing Appearance?"

Thus began the journey of Alastriona Braveheart, one of the coolest, hippest newbies ever.

It wasn't long before I upgraded to a paying account which gave me Lindens, Second Life money. It was then that I decided that shopping for clothes in a virtual world is perhaps more fun than in the real world. There were plenty of freebies and cheap, yet chic, clothing to choose from. As in real life, I became a clothes horse, snatching up snazzy, young outfits to clothe Alastriona in style. My avatar could wear clothing that her 40 year old creator couldn't easily pull off, such as the ever-popular school-girl look or a short t-shirt, barely covering the boobs.

Within a couple of weeks, Alastriona had three boyfriends, something else for her creator to envy. One was strictly for sex (I'll explain SL sex later), one was great fun to hang out with, and the other was a combination of both.

In Second Life, as most people will tell you, relationships begin and often end very quickly. I was determined to remain a free spirit and not "partner," something that I found puzzling, to say the least. A month or so into my journey, however, I met Eli.

We met in a coffee shop. He asked if I had a MystiTool (an object used to protect one from griefers...those annoying people who come on SL to make everyone else as miserable as they are) and then offered to teleport me to a store where I could buy one. One thing led to another and, before I knew it, I was actually partnering with him, something he'd vowed never to do as well.

We didn't officially partner. Partnering on SL is somewhat like a marriage and you have to pay to get out of it. We did, however, move in together. We were quite domestic for awhile. We even had a dog (Meg), a black lab named after his real life lab. We had a big screen television and even media. We never got the luxury of watching movies together, as we were always so busy fixing up his club. I did take it upon myself to watch "Shrek" one night when no one else was around. I even put Elmo pajamas and slippers on Alastriona.

Eventually, he bought his own Sim (land) and we set about fixing it up. He made me manager of his club, as well as the hotel. I shopped for and decorated our house and had it looking very cozy.

As I said earlier, SL relationships often end just as abruptly as they begin and this one was no different. I won't get into the reasons, partly because I really don't understand them myself. Suffice it to say, it hurt just as the demise of a real life relationship does.

So, as I'm still a little tender from my SL break-up, I'll now dwell on it. Believe it or not, I'm a very sensible person in real life. I'm still amazed that I let this happen to me, especially when I said from the very beginning that I'd never travel that road in SL.

For those out there considering exploring SL for the first time, be forewarned. The experiences can be very powerful. It's not merely a game. There are real people and real feelings involved. Unless you're planning on being an explorer or builder and not socializing at all, be prepared to get involved in people's lives somewhat. The anonymity of SL makes people much more open about their personal lives than they ordinarily would be. I've heard about marriage woes, potential infidelities, and war stories from an ex-German soldier, to name a few. And I've been on for less than three months.

Second Life is what you make it and I intend to make mine an adventure. So far it hasn't let me down.

No comments: