Many have argued over wether Second Life is a game, or merely a platform where games can be created.
Over the years some have proposed that a lack of defined goals to your Second Life existence is the reason behind SL’s poor recurring user base. That perhaps adding more gaming and achievements to SL will improve things by giving newbs more instant ‘fun’. Im one of these people, except i want Linden Lab to give me more tools to create more fun experiences rather than the lab making areas such as Linden Realms.
Anyways, i stumbled upon a video presentation posted on Rock Paper Shotgun from UX week by Ian Bogost. In it he talks about what ‘FUN’ means, then what fun actually might be and how we’ve possibly been wrongly sugar coating everything in an attempt to gamify stuff.
From a long time SL user’s point of view i feel Bogost seems to hit the nail on the head in explaining what Second Life is, or more that his idea of what we find ‘fun’ is exactly how Second Life gives ‘fun’ to us users.
I think that everyone would agree that Second Life is not what many would describe as ‘Finished’ or ‘Gold Master’ software. In many respects the Second Life Platform is constantly broken, being repaired, patched, fixed and added too. It is this ‘Broken’ environment that creates the ‘game’ of ‘fun’ for many Second Life users and ‘Play’ is the result of our constant use of the platform. The ‘Fun’ in Second Life is in how we learn to respect the platform and what we can do with it, in how we push it to its limits and share our ideas and achievements with other users.
I love this idea that the reason Second Life is so endearing to many may lay in the fact its not a perfected designed ‘hold your hand’ experience. That the more broken Second Life becomes, the bigger the ‘game’ SL becomes. Thinking this way makes me realise again how awesomely huge Second Life is, and how very little is seen from the outside world.
Bogost also touches on how the Media isn’t interested in something that does not gratify instantly and describes how ‘fun’ originates from ideas of being foolish and in trying out all possibilities what ever the outcome might be. So when i call all Second Life users fools, i assure you it is in fact a compliment. 🙂
Check out the 20 minute video.