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Wednesday, July 08, 2015


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CronoCloud Creeggan

This again?

As I've said before SL isn't a game just because you can play games within it. And I say that as one who plays with fashion within SL.

You wouldn't call a table, "dinner" because you can eat on it. You wouldn't call a table, a computer, a java install, or a telnet session in a terminal window, a "game" because you can play games on it. No, it's a "tool", that you can do many things with, but it is not those specific things.

As another example, a PS4 itself isn't a game though you can play games on it. Sony has always referred to it's PlayStations as "Computer Entertainment Systems" Heck Home on the PS3 wasn't a game, though you could play games within it, it was a virtual world like SL.

Second Life is an online interactive massively multi-user virtual world that one can play games within, but it is not a game itself. It's a tool, or a platform, just as LL has always said.

What is with your focus on SL being a game? This post does NOTHING to resolve this because it is just your opinion, and as we both know, many SL users don't hold that same opinion.

I personally never refer to SL as just a "game", because it's not, it's MORE than that. Calling it a game confuses people because then they expect it to be like a game with set rules and goals, when it isn't like a game and the only goals are what users have for themselves.


Someone found a picture of the Fove headset on an album cover from 20yrs ago.



Oh thank heavens if this is this blog's final word on this. Can we hold you to that? Be a man of your word.

Final retort: Nah.

George Karmand

There are very few publications where you could get articles about Second Life published if you (Wagner James Au) framed it as a non-game. For example, that article you wrote for Polygon (a video games blog) repeatedly referred to Second Life as a game. Polygon almost certainly wouldn't have published it otherwise.

It's not like you're an objective, external observer. You have a stake in SL's categorization.

SL is only a game in the sense that *everything* is a game. Life itself is a game, so then is Second Life.


tbf to Hamlet, the last time this came up on here he did say that he would write this, as Tom B. challenged him to do

so Hamlet has and... The End

hopefully. maybe (:

Carlos Loff

So Coporate foljs that hold a conference on SL, Me who gave a Photography clsss on SL, Louvre Museum that shows RL paintings, Life concerts with direct RL voices singing, etc, etc, etc is... gaming ? If so by definition than lets smoke a joint and get philosophycal - Facebook is a Game, Yahoo is a Gane, Webpages are a game, hummm nice joint, nice philosophical sides, the Sky is the limite

sirhc deSantis

Hmm well if 'Playing a game is the act of solving statistically varied challenge situations presented by an opponent who may or may not be algorithmic within a framework that is a defined systemic model' then I know where I have been going wrong, as that sums up Blender, the Gimp and Visual Studio all in one. Brilliant! Back to 'playing' then.

Cube Republic

It's not a game, it's a weird sex simulator ;-)

Issa Heckroth

Can you sodomize a man-squirrel while dressed as a horse in a video game?

I rest my case.

Cube Republic

not stable enough


SL is a game. Yahoo, Flickr, Blogs, Facebook etc? YES, they are gamified platforms. I mean really do you believe EVERYTHING anyone uploads onto these pages is their real life?

Connie Arida

Meh, It's just a hobby.

zz bottom



It's a game with UGC. Academic answer: SL is inherently "ludic," involving playful activity. Not all games need a winner or clear-cut goal to qualify.

The biggest game in SL is played by LL on its customers. LL tends to always win that one!

Shockwave Yareach

Okay. Fine. It is a game.

So all the rules banning confederate flags and swastica a, we can get rid of those. After all, it is only a game. The rules against gambling, we can eliminate those too. After all it is only a game. And the rules against inworld banks? Age restrictions? Pg land limits? advertising restrictions? We can get rid of all those as well - it is only a game...

I accept it is partly a game in that nobody can be physically harmed by any activity within it. But it is not just a game to most who while away many hours building stuff to sell or create campsites for Relay for Life. If it is just a game then why do we have the absurdity of real life laws getting involved over IP rights? I've yet to hear a court case or dmca demand when people play candyland...

Bill Freese

Your good friend Tom Boellstorff is right. You should listen to him.

Krinkles Q. Klown

In order for it to be a game, it has to have defined goals and rules of play.

You can win a game. You can't win at Second Life. (Not with LL making the rules and changing them at whim. LOL)

A more accurate definition of SL is it's a simulated environment. It's a pastime. It could even be called a toy. But game. No.

I would even go so far as to call it a simulated environment/social network application. As has so often been montioned, SL is pretty damn boring if you're all alone in it. It becomes interesting when you meet and get to know other people. Where else can you meet a robot, a talking squirrel, a scantily-clad nymphette with jiggly everything, and a dancing fox all in one place?

LL has never known how to define this miasma they cobbled together.

The most laughable attempts they made were trying to sell it as a training/business collaboration/conferencing platform. Then there was run a sim behind your corporate firewall. All in the hopes of growing their customer base to ridiculous new heights as the Grid melted down at the 90K level.

What they should have done is market it for what it is...A simulated world where you and others like you can express yourselves in new, fun, creative, and yes (oh woe is me LL) *adult* ways. (They hate that porn built the Interwebz and have always had this sense of corporate shame about *gasp* adults having sex in SL; had they embraced it they would have vaulted the company beyond a billion in value).

LL has always been too stodgey and too close to SL that it suffers "Can't see the forest for the trees" inability to see (for God's sake, they *don't* even use it!). Rather than provide the palette to allow others to express themselves freely, take care of theft, and rake in the money, they shot the golden goose, found no golden eggs, plucked it and it's in the oven as I write this.

When confronted with the "weird sex" or "expressions of adult themes" in SL, rather than be Puritanically embarrassed, they should have laughed and said, "We're always amazed how people use the platform. If you had this simulated world as your canvas, what would you do? What would you create?" In other words, rather than acting like a 13 year old boy caught with a Playboy, laugh about it and take delight in all the innovative ways users made use of the technology--even if it's uncomfortable. If it's not illegal, revel in it. After all, LL is nothing more than an overpriced, overblown hosting company. (Many hosting companies take the tack, "Not responsible for what's on the servers. If illegal, we'll co-operate with law enforcement and do a take-down."

Game, no. Simulation, yes. Canvas for expression, definitely. Badly managed and marketed, positively.

As for this being the final word about "SL is a game," that's ludicrous. Good link bait though.

Thomas Galbreus

According to the law in my country, participating in virtual sex would be illlegal and even a criminal offence, because SL has no proper age verification. Even where it is not illegal the image of SL as being mainly a place for porn addicts, true or not, is an embarrassment. They should have done a completely seperate virtual world under a different name for porn content, as Youtube and Pornhub are seperate websites. But they will repeat the mistake with Sansar again, and as a result, Sansar will also embarass too many people to become a bigger niche.

Back on topic:

When I was playing one of the first (and best) MMOs, Mankind, there was certainly a large group of inhabitants who took it far more seriously than a mere game. And the funny thing is: It was easier to take it seriously than Second Life BECAUSE it was a proper game with proper game mechanics, albeit a sandbox which offered a lot of freedom. I think it needs a fine balance: Too few game mechanics and too many (linear) game mechanics both miss the sweet spot. For me, both World Of Warcraft and Second Life miss it, from different angles. Mankind is the only MMO that did not miss it, Jumpgate came close but hindered freedom too much already with predifined factions.

I would indeed appreciate if SL becomes more game-like - but "achievement and ratings systems" will surely not do the job. Proper physics enabling vehicles to cross sim borders smoothly - or getting rid of (narrow) sim borders as OpenSim with var-regions - PLUS getting rid of avatar flying and arbitrary teleporting, would be a way more weighty step to achieve a better balance somewhere in between god like powers and linear gameplay, the two extremes which lead to boredom.


What's missing from the graphic above is the label for the graph paper on which the Venn diagram is drawn. That graph paper is labelled "life", which includes both pixel-based and molecular life.


All of the above, or maybe none of the above.

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