Thursday, March 15, 2007


Written 7 March, 2007


I’ve heard Second Life described as a MMORG. That’s an acronym for Multitudinous Metaphysical Orgasmicizing Radicalizing Pulchritudinous Gallumphus.

No, wait! Could it be Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game? Maybe that’s it.

Acronyms are cool. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Radar Detection and Ranging. Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Committee to Re-Elect the President. Situation Normal, All F**ked Up.

But Second Life is not a MMORG.

However they are played—with cards, on boards, in sports stadiums, on the computer, or in the mind—games are goal-based. The player must pursue a pre-determined, externally-imposed goal and hopefully reach it—hit twenty-one, take the king, avoid the Pac-eating monsters, kick the Packers’ asses, defeat the evil wizard and his minions and steal the Pearl of Wisdom.

Second Life is different. It doan need no steenking goals.

SL has rules of course, but they are merely rules of conduct designed to protect citizens from being harassed and to protect the privacy of individual avatars and the free enterprise system—and there are of course the physical laws of the Second Life universe—but there are no externally-imposed goals. There’s no preordained quest to undertake, no pre-selected opponent, no grail to pursue.

Instead, each player is free to do whatever she wants. She can make and pursue her personal goal, and pursue it by herself or with friends.

This is a radical departure—and I believe it is precisely because SL is NOT a game that so many people try it and drop out. Without a goal imposed upon them, many gamers don’t quite know what to do with themselves.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that Sweetie recently saw 30 avatars on their knees, scrubbing floors for 8L an hour. Perhaps those avatars’ humans think it’s some sort of arcane rite of passage.

What it is is just fucking stupid.

It’s because SL doesn’t impose goals upon me that I am so hooked on it.

I have, after all, any number of goals I’m ready to impose upon myself.


Cheyenne takes on the goal of developing her avatar

Photo 1: Before

Photo 2: After (Photo by Melissa Yeuxdoux)

Cheyenne takes on the goal of creating a tropical paradise.

Photo 3: Before

Photo 4: After


Michael Keukert said...

You have a point here. If only it would not be so unstable lately.

And - yes - cleaning jobs seem to be the latest trend in camping. I think most of those cleaner-campers didn't even remotely realize how ridiculous and/or pathetic this is. The creator of cleaning-camping must lough his ... off. said...

Great points!