Second Life is Not a Game

One of my teeny tiny pet peeves is when people harp about Second Life being a game. This is often followed by declarations that games should not be taken seriously. Therefore, Second Life should not be taken seriously.

But putting the benefits of play — such as learning, teamwork, relaxation, and therapy — aside, there’s a lot more going on in Second Life than playing.

Here are some other ways in which Second Life is being used. You can find them, as well as direct links to their locations, in the Second Life Destination Guide.

Garden for the Missing

Garden for the Missing. (Image courtesy )

In the Academic Showcase, we have the Garden for the Missing, a sad gallery featuring four floors and 200 posters of missing people in the United States. There is also a note card listing the names of all the missing by state.

Neil A. Armstrong Library & Archives

Neil A. Armstrong Library & Archives

The Academic Showcase also features the Neil A. Armstrong Library & Archives located in NASA’s CoLab region. This gallery exhibits over 200 records and documentation about space exploration throughout history.

Andy Warhol: Behind the Camera

Andy Warhol: Behind the Camera


Sound:Print:Record: African American Legacies

Under Art, I was thrilled to discover Andy Warhol: Behind the Camera, a special exhibition at the University of Delaware Art Gallery. Warhol is one of my favorite artists and here we have dozens of rare photos taken by him. The gallery also has a really wonderful selection from Sound:Print:Record: African American Legacies, which explores the visual arts and black musical traditions.

Natural History Museum of Vienna

Natural History Museum of Vienna

Steampunk Structures by Bryn Oh

Inspired by its real-life counterpart, the Natural History Museum of Vienna is huge, strange, and fascinating. The use of textures was disorienting, but you can’t go wrong with steampunk sculptures by Bryn Oh.

IRS Careers Island

IRS Careers Island

In an interesting display of the intersections between government and business, real and virtual worlds, IRS Careers Island is home the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Listed under Business, it’s a place to find out more about careers with the IRS. There are also taxpayer services and, oddly enough, a sandbox, freebies, some shopping, and a dance club.

As you can see there’s much more to this “game” than games. Second Life is a virtual world and a viable one for art, education, and business.

(A version of this article previously appeared at Second Mode. It is adapted and reprinted here with permission.)

Cosette Paneque

Cosette Paneque, also known as "Jupiter Firelyte" in Second Life, is a project manager at Metaverse Mod Squad and a social networking coordinator at Cherry Hill Seminary. She blogs about the Second Life virtual world at Second Mode.

21 Responses

  1. You forget Château de Versailles and Dresden Museum, for say something 😀
    The first case is a stricking replica of the original palace combined with a educative RP, and the second is a serious project of painting museum, also a replic of the Swinger of Dresden.

  2. Ener Hax says:

    yes and no – i did see it as a game because i had 19 sims. the game being to see if i could win and make money. a game like a sporting game where winners make money

    that was how i did see Second Life but for OpenSim, i have much more of a purpose

    my perspective has shifted drastically since i first started in 2006 . . .

  3.' Pserendipity Daniels says:

    Of course Second Life is a game. Proof? Real Life is a game, and Second Life is a subset of Real Life. QED!

    Pep (As soon as anybody treats something as a game that others are treating seriously, it becomes a game, whether the serious people like it or not.)

    • As Sri Sathya Sai Baba said, “Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is Love, enjoy it!”

      Thanks for commenting!

  4.' jayoval says:

    Second Life is a place to visit where you can play games or see art or socialise with friends or learn something or make money …. etc etc etc. I agree, sl itself is not a game.

    •' Anonymous says:

      Second Life is full of potential. Thanks for your comment!

      •' Gren says:

        The potential has been wasted it’s in its final years now. Unless theyy restructure it and re-write the programming code from the ground up then it will just decline further and further.

  5.' Heike Philp says:

    Great blogpost. Thank you for sharing.

  6.' occasional player says:

    second life IS a game. If you think it isn’t, you need to go outside and see what the real world looks like.

    • I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.

      You could say the same about, say, Microsoft Word — “if you think Microsoft Word is not a game, go outside and see what the real world looks like.”

      I don’t think anyone is confusing Second Life with the real world.

      The question is — to what extent can this platform be a tool for actual, meaningful, work?

      In that respect, you can increasingly make the argument that Second Life is, in fact, a game, in that it’s run by a guy from the gaming industry, it dropped support for the enterprise version of its software, it’s increasingly marketed as a game, and distributed like a game.

      Which, to me, is a real shame because I saw Second Life as a paradigm-shifting platform.

      •' Gren says:

        Yes that’s good response Maria, I see sl as a virtual cha world with graphics and a lot of porn, more shops than you can count and with a few roleplay systems within it, it has no points to win when doing SL in general, no levels, no medals, and no endgame. SL only shifted to promoting it as part game and part virtual world out of desperation to increase retention.

  7.' gridhopper says:

    I see Second Life for what it is a alternative to First life for many with disabilities and lonely men and woman. Some people live alone in remote areas, or old and disabled, in SL than can be 20yrs old again and be happy with many friends from all around the world. Also create a business to sell there creations maybe to make ends meet in RL many reasons SL is a positive place. And then we have Opensims which is for the Rebels of Second Life who have issues either with the rise in costs or other unknown reasons. Second Life is here to stay with a HUGE community, HUGE economy and not forget the leader in technology in a 3D Virtual Platform. Any opensim grid thinks they can compete with SL needs to be woken up from that dream there having. SL is fact is a Virtual World and being so should be the first in any virtual blog