On the internet nobody knows you're a dog. Following this logic, gamers are able to create a new virtual identity for themselves. It seems to be the extreme of the way people express themselves on social media. Games like Second life enable the users to choose from a wide variety of avatars and endless combinations of accessoires, basically giving the user full control on how they will be (superficially) perceived by others. It's even possible to upload your own creations into the game. So if you can be anything, what will you be? It's even possible to be multiple people at once. Or maybe you'd rather be a sexy unicorn than a person. That's fine too. If there are no boundaries, maybe the result would be more expressive of that person's character than their physical appearance. What are the consequences of this freedom? I was curious what kind of person plays Second Life and what how they relate to their avatars. I created an account and started playing. Not before long I came across a female avatar offering to show me their house. I agreed and recorded my conversation with who turned out to be a man from Michigan. In the conversation I mainly focussed on his avatars and the reason people play the game. It seems like Second Life has become a safe place for people with sexual kinks and unusual preferences. As he talked about the different objectives in the game, such as finding love or making money, I couldn't help but see the link to real life. So what's the difference?
What is the difference between Life and Games? As I played the game I saw the different "skyboxes" people used to surround their simulations with. I found the name skybox quite interesting as it seems to combine two opposing words. On the one hand we have the sky, endless, in-tangible and open. Skyboxes portray images of skies onto a confined box in order to create the illusion of spaciousness. Maybe that was the difference between life and games. Games project elements of real life in a way that tries to mask the limitations of the software. This reminded me of the notion of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. But the limitations remain visible as you can see in the image below. So what happens if these visible flaws dissappear in the future? Will we lose touch on this difference? I compared the structures in life with the ones in games and I found similarities as well as opposites. Both in life and games we are an entity which faces objectives. Today my objective is to buy groceries and finish this wiki page. And then I have my main objectives like building a career and family. On the way I collect things that can help me with that and make the game worth playing. The longer I play the better I get. But unlike in games, there is no restart button. If you end the game you can't return. You can't go back to a previous point in the game and try again. Life has a linear course, one day after the other. No going back when you fucked up. So in which realm are we more in control? Which one is more desirable? What would make it worthy to delete days of progress?