Second life - Game Communities on the web
Second life and other communities on the web
I seem to be old-fashioned. Do people still meet in real life, have real drinks, and do real things? Or do I just have weird friends? It seems to be getting quite the normal thing to do to `chat´ online more than in reality, to meet up in places named after medieval battle fields or heavenly realms, one of the most popular being warhammer online. 
What does seem nice about the whole thing, is that these people often actually meet in real life. They even rent whole castles (or battlegrounds) on these special events when the anonymous voice/typist from the unknown other end of the DSL cable turns into a live human being.
On one occasion, I was witness to such an encounter. A friend of mine, who is a DJ at a club in `Second Life´ , had invited the `clubowner´ from (real) England to a (real) party to which he had invited mostly friends from his real life. It turned out that he was very much the opposite of his boisterous character in `Second life´, a quiet, reserved man.
Now you might say: That´s the idea of the whole thing, that´s what it´s all about. In every game, we get a chance to show or live other aspects of our personality, or we actually discover these other aspects. In Ludo, we can be nasty (if we choose to) or nice (which is boring). Games are not always so very different from real life, but we are more willing to act the way we spontaneously choose to, as we do not have to worry so much about the consequences.
In `Second life´ it is much the same, but what exactly is the level of character identification in a scenario where one plays a figure that basically follows the same interests as oneself? After all, there is no `goal´ in `Second Life´. In that respect, it can only be called a game to a certain extent.
But why do people bother to meet in `real life´?
On the one hand, I suppose they are simply curious. Who would not want to know who the person is he or she has been meeting and talking to for weeks or months or years.
Also, maybe it is to get back in touch with good old down-to-earth reality. It makes me dizzy just writing about what is real and what is not - what must it be like when you´re on your way to work and suddenly remember talking to a cat-like being called Siamanis about metaphysics the night before?
I ask myself if this kind of interaction and social networking is the future or just a passing fashion. There are definetly positive aspects to it, and obviously dangers, too.