It's Your Game

It's Your Game
Architecture and Vice

Dave Thomas | 2 Aug 2005 12:03
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Further, it turns out you don't need a computer to play Second Life. We do it all the time.

Although 10 years have passed, I still vividly remember the face and the curly red hair of the girl I almost ran over with my bike. For that moment, her face looked up, the sun shone down in painterly streaks, she smiled, time stopped and I fell in love. I didn't plow her into the gutter and instead peddled on home to my family. But right there, in that second of cliché so perfect that they could use it to sell soap on TV, I slipped into my second life.

We think of time as something that pushes us through life, relentlessly conveying us from station to station, piling on experiences at each stop before dumping us into a coffin for final shipment. This is time as the eternal taskmaster. Really, though, we press time forward with the weight of our expectations, the gravity of our demand for things to happen the way we expect. We go home after work because, well, that's what defines being at work, going home. And then we get up in the morning to head to work to afford having a home. We press and press and press.

Fantasy stops time and we fall through the floorboards of those mental shanties of expectation.

At least, that's how I felt when time literally stood still not just long enough for me to avoid mangling the red-headed girl, but long enough for me to spend a lifetime in that smile, to imagine another life where I see that smile every day and the sun always shines like a Bob Ross painting.

You see, we all have a second life, and we bottle it up in our fantasies and stop time.

When a cute waitress brushes your hand as she hands you the check, when a glowing mom and dad walk by hand-in-hand with their children as precious as lambs or a Jaguar glides down the street, a glimmering metal beast, you slip into fantasy, into your second life.

These images of fantasy are powerful. And frozen. We collect them and collect them until our fantasy life is a junk drawer of unrelated things.

In Second Life, these bits and pieces come back to life, tangible and in motion. It's like opening that junk drawer of experience and suddenly realizing you have all the pieces you need to build a moon rocket or make cheese.

Want to talk to that waitress, or dominatrix, or guy dressed like Mork? Want to try out the family life or drive a fancy car? It's our collective fantasy, so go for it. Build the place where and the person you want to be. Besides, I like you better when you start pretending to be the person you want to be rather than pretending to be the person you are.

I've never had sex in Second Life. I've seen people having sex and certainly know plenty of people who have had the kind of cartoon higgly jiggly that passes for intercourse on the Internet. My pal Jack once offered to show me his penis - in game. Apparently it comes equipped with an erectile animation as well as an ejaculation command. I asked him how much he paid for that and he scoffed.

"Man, I never paid for any of my dicks. Girls buy them for me."

In Disneyland and on the street, our fantasies are moments of experience captured in the amber of memory and held as precious jewels. On the canvas of Second Life, people extract those fantasies and recreate them in a sort of Jurassic Park of imagination.

When Jack talks about his collection of penises it's not because his fantasy is to have a box of cocks. No, his fantasy world is filled with interesting and exotic women ready to equip him as they see fit. Why women would want a customizable unit, I can only imagine. And why a guy like Jack has managed to meet so many of these women, I can only guess. The great thing is that I don't have to think much about it because Jack and the tribe of cock-gifting women are my Second Life neighbors. I don't have to wonder about why they are, they just are. They fantasize, they concoct and create a big crazy world that visualizes, as far as I can tell, the collective consciousness of the people I meet on the street.

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