Just finished reading a nice essay about the adoption of virtual games World of Warcraft and … Second Life? I’ve heard this debate before, usually from Second Lifers, that SL is NOT a game — it’s a virtual marketplace, it’s an ongoing virtual networking event, it’s a virtual mall, it’s something but it’s NOT a game. I mean, you can look at the dictionary definition for ‘game’ and find points to support an argument either way, but I’m definitely leaning towards it being a game because of a couple reasons dealing with personification: 1), you can fly (without a jetpack, helicopter, set of wings or anything), and 2), you can’t feel pain or die. Now of course in most games you can die, so does that mean most games are not actually games because of life and death? Well, in this real world, you either think that you die and you’re done (in an afterlife or not) or you die and reincarnated as something else. In WoW you die and come back immediately, and in SL you don’t die at all. It’s a different definition of a game; the virtual world, in and of itself, is a gray area — parts of it are very much like real life and parts of it are not (like the flying part).
So, does it matter? I don’t think so, because we can spend time acting out who we are in the real world or in a virtual world, and in either case we can act like someone we are or we’re not, save a tree, act irrationally, make a friend, lie/cheat/steal, whatever. But it’s fun to think about this issue and stand on one side of the fence or the other, or in my case, to straddle or sit on it (I think).