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November 14, 2006

Same issues, different life

I confess... I find Second Life fascinating and possibly somewhat addictive.  Is there some kind of regular meeting I can attend to help me get over it!?  Oh, right... that's called RL? :-)

The combination of objects and scripting is very powerful and gives us the opportunity of considering SL as a new kind of user-interface to content, services and collaboration.  For example, see this elevator script posting from Jeff Bar's blog (though I confess that when I tried to teleport to the elevator in SL, things failed for some reason).

It's also interesting to note the SL is similar enough to RL that business model and related issues that we are all familiar with in the latter are beginning to arise in the former.  There's a post about Copyright issues in the Official Linden Blog which has generated a lengthy and stimulating discussion.

As we see more and more libraries, universities (and other educational institutions) and content providers moving into SL, it seems to me that we may well need to replicate some or all of the current licence brokering and access management functionality that we see in RL into SL?


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You used the "a" word. This is a touchy word in the games research community, partially due to years of trash media reporting.

From Wikipedia:

A strong criticism [of "addiction"] comes from Thomas Szasz, who denies that addiction is a psychiatric problem. In many of his works, he argues that addiction is a choice, and that a drug addict is one who simply prefers a socially taboo substance rather than, say, a low risk lifestyle. In 'Our Right to Drugs', Szasz cites the biography of Malcolm X to corroborate his economic views towards addiction: Malcolm claimed that quitting cigarettes was harder than shaking his heroin addiction. Szasz postulates that humans always have a choice, and it is foolish to call someone an 'addict' just because they prefer a drug induced euphoria to a more popular and socially welcome lifestyle.

In a sense, being 'addicted' to a substance is no different from being 'addicted' to a job that you work everyday.

The word addiction is also sometimes used colloquially to refer to something for which a person has a passion, such as books, chocolate, work, or the web or World of Warcraft.

Note to self: don't mention the 'a' word flippantly in the context of games research ever again! :-)

My retort wasn't very helpful. The phrases "immersive", "engaging", "involving", "invoking experimentation", "facilitating exploration" and "stimulating", especially if you put "cognitively" in front of them, are perhaps worth considering instead.

Reminded of this as a journalist has just cold-called me with the query (and I quote verbatim), "Apart from improving hand-eye coordination, do addictive video games have any other merits?"

Time to go ex-directory :-)

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