When I was living in North Carolina years ago, I became sort of addicted to the game "Zeus," in which you really are the master of your own universe. I was good at it--building cities with plenty of running water and entertainment, hiring the appropriate heroes to complete the various mythological tasks assigned, keeping the people happy. I was a smart, firm ruler--am I not merciful?--and I seriously seriously seriously loved that game. "Roller Coaster Tycoon," not-so-much. In "Roller Coaster," I was the opposite of a tycoon, a physics-challenged crusher of park attendees. As opposed to my well-behaved and super-docile "Zeus" citizens, the people who came to my parks (and made it out alive) did not like my death-dealing roller coasters. Luckily, there's no jail time in that game.
Now I study simulation. And so, in honor of my old favorite, Zeus-y, and my new favorite, JB, I recently created accounts at two different places (games? worlds? spaces? I need words here): Second Life and RedLightCenter. [Are any of you in these worlds? Is that even an appropriate question to ask?]
Second Life, the firstworld, as you may or may not know, is a virtual reality in which avatars wander around, well, doing stuff. I'm still new, so I'm not exactly sure what that stuff is. I'll keep you posted. The second, RedLightCenter, is a sex world. Where there are hot tubs and bathhouses and virtual drugs. Yes, I said virtual drugs. The creators of RedLightCenter built it, they say, to let people live their wildest fantasies. It's a virtual Amsterdam--with bordellos and museums and sex-crazed tourists.
I am going to write about these things. There's alot going on here, I know--and there are some very interesting material consequences beginning to manifest from these virtual events.
Right now, though, what I'm really wondering is this: how many people (in this Massively Multi-User world folks used to call the Real One) trudge around their carpeted gray cubicles or their dimly lit factories, counting the seconds until they can get home to their keyboards and get into their Second Lives? There's something deliciously, devastatingly seductive about these virtual places (worlds, spaces, dimensions) and all the opportunities they seem to provide. Ahhhh, JB, whither thou goest...