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Tuesday, August 03, 2021


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Adeon Writer

It’s true but you forget one detail: It’s only a dystopia for the plausibility. Works of fiction regularly have dystopian worlds that people do actually want to live in. It’s fantasy. It’s escapism.

Adeon Writer

Case in point: James Cameron’s Avatar is a world that made people depressed it wasn’t real - people wanted to live in it. Yet is a dystopia, the earth is is stripped of natural resources and dying due to pollution. Yet you’d be forgiven for not noticing; as it is not not the focus - the focus is on this new alien world. But that’s not any different than the Matrix or the Metaverse. The old world is doomed to make way for the new.

Aliasi Stonebender

I mean, if we're talking THE Metaverse, then you want to talk about Snow Crash, which used that name and is what SL specifically drew from. And while the world of Snow Crash is chaotic, with a balkanized US and stuff gone amuck, it's not necessarily all that *dystopian*, oddly. Especially if you consider it "The Diamond Age" to be a sort of sequel as what might happen in the future of the setting. It's a world where both good and bad stuff happens.

And, funnily enough... I think Snow Crash was dead on the money when it mentions that, of the small percent of the population that have the ability to afford a Metaverse-capable computer, only a small percent of THEM actually use the Metaverse in any regular capacity.

Adeon Writer

Snowcrash also says that during peak American hours it's filled with internet trolls in giant dick avatars, so, yeah.

I'd say Snowcrash's metaveres is the most accurate to what we got in SL.


In a way, many people live their own personal dystopia everyday, and some of them escape to virtual worlds to forget their pain. It happens with just plain games too, still better than drugs and alcohol. I have seen that a lot in Second Life: PTSD, social anxiety, physical disabilities, transgender people, lonely people, self-harming, and so on. I'm someone who listens and cares, and most people I got to know better, turned out having those and other difficulties. The virtual world may give you a sense of relief (unless you meet someone toxic that damages you even more, but that's another story). Arguably the SLers' average age may be a factor in having more difficulties, but I have seen something in VRChat too, e.g. the sleep worlds there seem helpful to someone.

Clearly, virtual worlds look good if you want to escape. Maybe especially good in that case. But I don't think it's a requirement. Rather, as with plain games, it's something accessible and enjoyable to many. So, even if you have big difficulties in real life, you too can join the party. And you forget your problems for a little while.


We have novels with escapist devices: "life sux, but let's imagine I could travel to an alternate dimension... or timeline or... a computer-generated world".

If we build virtual worlds (HMD, desktop, mobile or whatever) based on an idea conceived as an escapist device, we shouldn't be too much surprised if that appeals to escapists and it's good too them. It may also intrigue other people, but you have that starting idea.

If instead we start with a game, it becomes Fortnite.

Each one is good, even important to someone.
But if you want the Metaverse to be so ubiquitous and used by everyone, guess which approach has better chances of becoming popular.

In the first case you need everyone thinking: "Yeah, the life, universe and everything sux. From now on I'm gonna dwell in this computer-generated world, with my friends Tron and Neo. Oh, and anime girls."
In the second case you need something so enjoyable (but also so accessible) that everyone plays/uses it.

Or as ubiquitous as... your smartphone and the Net, once identified as "cyberspace". Someone decades ago though everyone was going to have a funny thing over their head; it turned out a pocket device was more practical. And I think "practical" is the keyword here. Maybe one day there will be something even more accessible and readily available and usable.
Still, immersing yourself in a virtual world for a while can be pretty enjoyable.

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