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Wednesday, June 17, 2015


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Nobody's going to win then.

Pep (doesn't coexist with anyone.)

Jo Yardley

" The primary game goal is to co-exist with others.".

No it isn't.

Scarp Godenot

Have any of these people spent much time in SL? Fantasy play platform? How about actual real people from all over the world interacting in real ways. Real ways like listening to music and chatting among a thousand other things. Contained therein is fantasy play platform, shooter game, art gallery, book fair, education system, sex interactive structure etc. etc. etc.

How many times do we need to rehash this? SL is a place. A place that remains there 24/7 even when you are not there. A place where lots of shit happens. Interactive stuff, roleplay stuff, tourism. But you cannot generalize about a place and say it is X. It contains X.

New York city is a place. It contains everything you can think of. Nobody is going to define it as X. Though it contains X.

Virtual Space and Real Space are experienced in similar ways in the brain.

Let's just get over trying to define Second Life's Virtual Space as a game already.


for every reason offered why SL is not a game then there is a counter-example


its not a game bc its a place like New York

as a place SL is not like New York. SL is like the Matrix


i just add on here


when did the idea that SL is not a game begin to become a concious thought?

i think it began way back when there wasnt enough land at the time for the numbers who didnt want to participate in the gameplay. People went over the wall into the then badlands (unsafe zone) and began homesteading on the parcels there

was a pretty fundamental shift this, and really took off when private islands/sims become available

Tom Boellstorff

As Richard Bartle, a pioneer in virtual worlds, once said: “virtual worlds are not games. Even the ones written to be games aren’t games. People can play games in them, sure, and they can be set up to that end, but this merely makes them venues. The Pasadena Rose Bowl is a stadium, not a game.” The problem is that if you say Second Life is a "game" then it's hard to not classify everything humans do as a "game," and a word that refers to everything refers to nothing. When people say that virtual worlds like Second Life are games, they usually mean (1) some people play games in them (which is true); (2) some people engage in some form of role-play in them (which is true); or (3) the things some people do in virtual worlds do not have physical world consequences (which is true). But all of these things are true only some of the time; they are not hard-wired features of virtual worlds, but one way they can be used.

What shapes all this as well is the long history of devaluing anything smacking of games, play (which is not the same thing as gaming), or fantasy. But all these things can be very valuable.

It's unsurprising that we'll continue to need to explain these basic issues that not all virtual worlds are games (or not in call cases, all the time); that virtual reality and virtual worlds are not the same thing although you can certainly combine them, and so on. It can sometimes be exasperating but these aren't just definitional exercises; they are important for getting our heads around everything that's happening in online worlds...


Remember way back when you could rank other residents? That system was totally abused so they had to stop it, but I remember trying to get positive marks for a while.


Is chess a game? If I setup an ornate chessboard, as a display, and never play it, is it still a game? If I invite friends over and we talk about chess, while looking at the chessboard, is it still a game? If we sit down and play a match is it a game?

zz bottom

:) Great points for both sides but i must agree with Tom's post on this topic.

Nathan Hopkins

Veritas, the difference in your example is chess was designed to be a game (successfully according to Suits's definition), but the materials of the game are also being used partly for decoration in your example. If SL was designed to be a game, it was unsuccessfully so designed (according to Suits's definition). If SL was not designed to be a game, then its not surprising that it doesn't fit Suit's definition.

So in your example, chess is a game being used for a different purpose. In almost any example people have given here and in the previous post, it at least looks like SL is not a game, but being used to play them.

Another thing I see people do is try to argue its a game by using metaphors (like the TOS example). You can do this with anything though... "SL is a tree... the roots are such and such, the trunk thus and so, the branches this and that... see, SL is a tree." Well no, not really. In reverse, you can do this to say that anything is a game (life is a game!, the laws of physics or social norms are the rules, you have goals, blah blah blah).

Suits's definition has made him famous partly for historical reasons in philosophy (Wittgenstein's tired example of games demonstrating 'family resemblances' instead of 'necessary and sufficient conditions' for definition... Suits actually showed yes you can give necessary and sufficient conditions for things if you work to do it), but also because it really seems to cover all uncontroversial examples where there would not be rational disagreement about the status of a game as a game. So if it can't be made to fit that is at least a good reason to be skeptical that it fits the category of 'game'.

And just being in SL it should be clear that SL is not a game, but a complicated tool that can be used as one. I had a friend who was an administrator at a university who used SL to train medical students (at least that had been the plan). A lot of people use it merely as a business tool. 3D artists use it as a way to display their work. I could make this list much longer and tedious and boring because these things barely need mentioning, they are so familiar to all of us. And, these uses are not creative re-purposing of a traditional game in surprising ways; these are clearly ways of using a platform as it was intended, or at least should not be surprising uses of the platform. These uses are not examples of playing a game.

Nearly every time I hear someone call SL a game it just seems obvious they don't have a familiar and obvious category to place it under, and so fit it into the one most familiar and available for things that look sorta like SL. I think as whatever more accurate term people settle on for platforms like SL becomes more familiar, you won't hear things like SL called a game anymore. Its just so clearly something else!



yes. agree the thing about play


i think sometimes people dont like what they do being referred to as a game, bc they take the implication of the word to mean that what they are doing is somehow not taken seriously. That their investment (time and money) and self-investment (intellectually and emotionally) should be treated by others in the same way they treat it. Or at least not be trivialised, bc they think that the word "game" somehow trivialises what they do

Games are really important to us. They are a integral part of us

I think sometimes that when people go: oh! noe! what I do is not a game. then is more often attitudinal this than factual

like: I am not a Gamer ok. I am BeyondGame



i think that "virtual world" adequately describes virtual world

that a virtual world doesn't need to be further described by what we might think it is not

like: is SecondLife a virtual world?

answer: Yes

is SecondLife not a game?

answer: SecondLife is a virtual world

what do you do in SecondLife?

answer: we play in it

like in a game?

answer: Yes

or answer: No [then a really long story about how come SL is not a game]


is that question "like in a game?"

the operative answer the questioner is seeking is to the word "in"


just add more

"in" the game


playing football in a stadium

the players are playing "in" the game

playing football on the beach

the players are playing "in" the game

and so on


Carlos Loff

There ate thousands of people using SL many hours a day amd the last thing they do is gaming in any way - SL is a platform were games also have a place but is not a game

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