Everything You Want Out Of Life: Computer Games, Money, And Sex - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
1/26/2007
05:48 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
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Everything You Want Out Of Life: Computer Games, Money, And Sex

Pity me, my job is such torture. I've been spending a lot of the last week explicitly, and with the enthusiastic support of my managers and colleagues, doing an activity which gets people fired from most rational jobs. I've been messing around with computer games. Specifically, the virtual world known as Second Life.

Pity me, my job is such torture. I've been spending a lot of the last week explicitly, and with the enthusiastic support of my managers and colleagues, doing an activity which gets people fired from most rational jobs. I've been messing around with computer games. Specifically, the virtual world known as Second Life.

I've been keeping a journal of my virtual adventures on the InformationWeek Blog, so you can follow along. Here's a roundup for those of you who've been distracted by real life.

I kicked things off two Fridays ago with an interview with Corey Bridges, co-founder of the Multiverse Network, describing how virtual worlds are becoming mainstream.

Monday was my first-ever solo visit to a virtual world, as I logged in to Second Life for the first time. My first impression: I find my first life pretty confusing already. Also, my hair looks terrible.

In my second, longer visit, I encountered a sentence that you just don't ever hear in real life: "Your clothing is still downloading."

Next, I took a detour into the real world to interview one of the best science-fiction writers ever to wield a word processor, Charles Stross. Stross has done a lot of research on virtual worlds, and has great ideas about them; his novel Halting State, to be published in October, is all about a robbery in a virtual world, taking place about a dozen years in the future.

I returned to Second Life to do my first two interviews with SL players. I did the interviews in chat, inside the game and discovered to my surprise that my first interview was with a virtual exotic dancer, and the second was with a charming and friendly person (they're called "avatars" in SL) who, in real life, has Asperger's syndrome.

I then talked to my friend John Kusters, who poured cold water on my evolving theory that virtual worlds are becoming mainstream. John doesn't think that's likely, even though he himself is an avid World of Warcraft enthusiast.

Next, I expressed my frustration with horrendously slow response times in SL after removing my pants in public and discovering I have no genitals.

I interviewed SL's first authentic celebrity, Anshe Chung, who says she's made $1 million on virtual real estate.

And through it all, I recount my uncomfortable encounters with cybersex, which seems to be surprisingly common in SL.

So there you have it: sex, money, and computer games. Everything you want out of life. Go forth and read.

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