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Author Topic: The definition of Second Life  (Read 26260 times)
Doctor Schomer
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« on: June 06, 2008, 01:37:05 PM »

Recently, I got into a heated debate with my nephew about Second Life.

My nephew told me (this is something along the lines of what he said) That Second Life is a MMORPG; a game, a massive online game, but still a game.

My point; a game, and a MMORPG, denotes fiction, role-playing, make believe.
Second Life uses non-fictional enviroments, where imagination creates cyberspace-tangible objects. Where you deal with non-fictional people.

My nephew gave the defintion of a game; that of a program with a controller to operate within an envrioment.

Counter-point; by the above defintion, every single program on a computer 'is' a game, when, of course, most (or some, if your an avid gamer) are not.

I am struggling to find a stronger counter-point. Second Life can be a game, it can be just about everything else as well, apparently. Yet I cannot see exactly how to get the verbal 'check-mate' here.
Please help, this could prove to be interesting...
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 02:13:52 PM »

A couple of definitions of 'game' from Tony Hirst's Digital Worlds blog

Juul defines a game as:
'a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.'
Hirst defines a game as:
'a directed activity played for entertainment that consists of an aim or set of objectives, which are achieved using specific components by means of a set of rules.'

discussion of these and other definitions at
http://digitalworlds.wordpress.com/category/what-is-a-game/
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Achilles Schomer
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 02:43:26 PM »

'a directed activity played for entertainment that consists of an aim or set of objectives, which are achieved using specific components by means of a set of rules.'

Second life has rules but no objective -Checkmate
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Marko Schomer
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 04:07:02 PM »

I'd say Second Life is a MMORPG, but in the same way as Conway's game of life is a game- there aren't objectives except those you set yourself, but you do try to achieve certain things in the framework of the client software and of other users.
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 05:41:20 PM »

Recently, I got into a heated debate with my nephew about Second Life.

My nephew told me (this is something along the lines of what he said) That Second Life is a MMORPG; a game, a massive online game, but still a game.

My point; a game, and a MMORPG, denotes fiction, role-playing, make believe.
Second Life uses non-fictional enviroments, where imagination creates cyberspace-tangible objects. Where you deal with non-fictional people.

My nephew gave the defintion of a game; that of a program with a controller to operate within an envrioment.

Counter-point; by the above defintion, every single program on a computer 'is' a game, when, of course, most (or some, if your an avid gamer) are not.

I am struggling to find a stronger counter-point. Second Life can be a game, it can be just about everything else as well, apparently. Yet I cannot see exactly how to get the verbal 'check-mate' here.
Please help, this could prove to be interesting...

Well in traditional methods, games were played interacting with real people, so I think doing this online would (or could) count as a game.
You spend real money for privalages on second life much as you do with Habbo Hotel, Club Penguin or Runescape which are described as online games for children.
In games there is a purpose you are trying to achieve (usually before anyone else), whether this could be compared to the purpose seeking of second life users I think is argueable as objectives in the environment are up to the users themselves rather than set objectives.
I got up to this point and then was stumped by whether i considered it a game or not. I think the fact of the matter is that it can be a game if you choose it to be, but it can be a career, a learning experience, a business environment, a social network and so much more.
The best way to think about it is a platform. At this point I am fully expecting Kathy to jump in with Linden Lab's definition of second life.

Your point about games being fiction is invalid, as I have seen many real life environments and cities stunningly created in what are considered games, factual history has been portrayed in them, I have seen people making friends, I have seen people challenge the game creators, escaping maps, finding glitches. These people are blurring the border between fiction and non-fiction.
I will get back to this once I've eaten :)
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Doctor Schomer
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 06:13:25 PM »

My nephew is quite aware of 'sandbox' games.

But Second Life is more, surely? If you were on Schome, in a class, would you say, should someone ask you, 'I'm playing a game'?

This 'blurring' I suppose is the product of an increasingly digital world, but there is still a point where I'm beginning to feel we encroach upon the limits of the English language.

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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 06:22:15 PM »

Linden Lab define Second Life as a "platform", although they call the mainland of Second Life a "place." Easy enough. Or, more specifically, it is "an online world that advances the human condition." Philip Rosedale also defines it as "a country."

Also, a game requires goals. Second Life provides no goals, so it's not a game. You can use it as a game by making up your own, however.

Second Life is only a game if the Internet is a game; both contain games, but neither is a game in itself. (Actually, one of Linden Lab's goals is to make Second Life as ubiquitous as the world wide web, through AjaxLife-style clients on phones and such as well as the 3D interface.)
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 06:24:12 PM »

Technically could it not be desribed as a micronation??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micronation

Although a landless one. But could it not fit??
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2008, 06:25:46 PM »

Micronations can be online based.
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2008, 06:29:39 PM »

They can be, or they can be landless ones, I just thought Second Life may fit into the landless catagory.
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2008, 07:42:05 PM »

i see it as a platform.. a platform for 'communication' as the main purpose - be it personal communication, for business or education. I think its main difference from other computer-mediated tools is its being 3-D, rather than being put together on an interface.. Then, as more people communicate and get together, they become groups, communities or micro-nations.
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2008, 08:31:57 PM »

One question is - do we gain anything by referring to it as a game - or by not referring to it as a game?

I think we lose out if we define it as a game, because that obscures all the other things that it is.

Why is your nephew so keen on it being a game, Doctor?
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2008, 08:34:04 PM »

Does it really make a difference what people refer to it as?

Alot of people at my school see it as a game, but I suppose if I had to define it, I would class it as a 3d virtual word which enhances communication.
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Doctor Schomer
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2008, 09:26:58 PM »

But a sandbox game has no goals, ether, it has the very wide goal of 'being fun' but that cant really count as a goal.
 
Your not running to your base with the enemies flag, your not killing....unless you want to...

My goal is to try and find a word that describes it, but that word cannot be so vague as a 'place'

After talking with my nephew, he has quite happily repeated his sentence of a game being a program that you obtain results by using a controller (be it keyboard, mouse or otherwise).

So, after noticing this loop in his logic, how do we snap him out of it?


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Kathy Schomer
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2008, 09:30:02 PM »

Tell him that doing his homework is a game called Microsoft Word. :P

"Sandbox games" aren't actually games - they're technically toys. Problem solved.
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