Monday, June 8, 2009

A Second-Rate Second Life: V. Get Fabulous

Photo 1: Second Life mundacity

Photos 2-5: Second Life Fabulous (Airship Caravan, Immersiva, Vernian Sea, Golgothica)

Written 5 June, 2009

A Second-Rate Second Life

V: Get Fabulous

When I was new I ran into another newbie at the trivia lounge at the Shelter at Wingo. She was bragging about having a house in Second Life with a three car garage with two Mercedes parked in it.

As I said, I was new, but not THAT new. I asked her what was the advantage of having the cars in the garage eating up script time when they could be parked more advantageously in her spacious inventory. She had no answer to that. And she got mad when I asked her what was the use of a Mercedes when you couldn’t really drive it anywhere, especially when it was parked on a 2048 lot with stupid mainland castles and sex clubs on all four sides.

When I was in world three weeks, I hired another newbie (I didn’t know how inexperienced he was) to build a house for me. When I saw him laying in a primmy staircase, I suggested he remove it and we go with teleporters. He doggedly kept on making risers.

When she bought her property, one of my neighbors inherited a McMansion and two huge boats. One day when we were talking, I told her the story of the woman with the Mercedes and asked why, in a world in which almost anything is possible, that woman was so limited to Earthbound ideas of prestige. It was as if a light went on in my friend’s head. Before the month was out the boats and the big house and formal gardens were gone and she had transformed her property into an eccentric paradise full of underwater grottoes, African wildlife, tree houses, improbable foliage, and stunning Asian gardens and waterways.

It makes sense for architects to build houses in Second Life that would be feasible on Earth. It makes sense for corporations and universities to have buildings and campuses that facilitate learning and business (crazy whirling fluorescent flexible rotating prims and particle explosions don’t quite make the grade). It makes sense for people to have warehouses or garages full of cool cars because they like cars. But it DOESN’T make sense to seek status in Second Life by replicating status symbols from Earth. That free Lamborghini isn’t a quarter-million dollar sports car; it’s a rudimentary virtual auto available to everyone free of charge.

Culture in Second Life is different from culture on Earth. Owning a sim is a sign of status. owning a garage full of freebie Mercedes’ isn’t. Being beautiful has advantages on Earth; in Second Life you’re just another hot bod in a world full of hot bods—unless you have the courage to build an out-of-norm avatar.

Let’s face it—considering all the great things with which you can surround yourself, an Earth-normal existence in Second Life is pretty boring.

So don’t give yourself a second-rate Second Life. Put your mundane Earthian beach house or skyscraper back in your inventory, roll up your sleeves, and get fabulous. Live in a blimp high in the sky, or on a submarine. Buy some remarkable plants and animals. Get wings or pointed ears or a tail for your avatar. Live in Babylonian or Victorian splendor. Be whoever you want to be. You won’t miss that beach house at all.


chestnut rau said...

I was nodding in enthusiastic agreement with your post until I got to this:

"Get wings or pointed ears or a tail for your avatar. Live in Babylonian or Victorian splendor."

Wings, elf ears and neko tails are completely ubiquitous in SL. Slapping on some freebie wings is not fabulous and I am not sure how Victorian splendor can be considered breaking away from earthbound ideas of prestige.

Is it great to break away from the confines of RL - absolutely. Is the antidote to RL to assume the uniform of some SL "counter culture" - meh.

I think we all should dig deep in our own imaginations and come up with something new and different and uniquely our own.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

You're right, of course. I was thinking though, and writing primarily for the people who just can't break out of their yuppie routines and appearances. For them, freebie wings can be a big jump. For the rest of us it's 50-meter tall robot avatars and houses made of gruyere cheese and calculus-inspired LSL coding :)

Besides, I finished up at two in the morning and my brain wasn't running on all cylinders.