Second Life Less Interesting than the First

It seems like everyone and his uncle is always on about Second Life, so I downloaded it maybe 2 months ago. In the time since, I’ve used it maybe 60 minutes total. My sessions always go kind of like this: fire it up, try to figure out where I am and what I’m doing. That fails, so try to figure out how to make something interesting happen. Walk into or through walls, fly around, look for anything that seems the least bit involving. Finally, quit the program in a combination of frustration and boredom.

I just fired it up for the first time in several weeks. I had an invitation to attend a casino. I pressed the teleport button and was taken there. I spent a few minutes wandering about, at which I decided it was not the slightest bit interesting. It took several more minutes to figure how to get the hell out of the damn place, at which point I was asked to tip in appreciation. I finally got out of the building, flew around, got bored and quit. At this point, I’m thinking I might as well delete the damn program off of my computer. I can’t make the fun happen, and I don’t particularly feel like investing lots of time into learning that skill. I’ve always got something productive I could be doing but If I’m going to be wasting time at the computer, it seems like at the very least it should be enjoyable. I have yet to have one second of fun in Second Life.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

29 thoughts on “Second Life Less Interesting than the First”

  1. Frick says:

    I’m with you. I can’t figure out where all the fun is. All I hear is how great 2nd life is. I even bought some additional linden so I could buy land (I figured thats where all the fun came from) and it was too damn complicated to buy an land. So my friend you are not alone.

  2. I agree that it’s overhyped, and unless you get seriously involved it’s not addictive at all. Having played MMORPGs for a couple of years now, I know all too well how bad it can get 🙂

    I’ve logged on, messed around a bit, hung out at Adam Curry’s castle… but just like any online world, you need to invest a LOT of time into it to get the full benefit. Try approaching it as nothing more than IRC with visuals, which is something it’s quite good at when you find the right place to hang out!

  3. David Jacobs says:

    I agree too. It always is empty of people when I am there. Even when there are people, most of them are standing around doing nothing. Maybe I don’t know where to hang out, but that’s half the problem as well. I am far more entertained reading.

  4. dave says:

    Andrew, I’m with David and Frick. If I knew where to hang out, then I wouldn’t be so frustrated. As it is, it is less interesting to me than coding on AmigoFish and at least when I do that I have something tangible when I’m done.

  5. ADam says:

    Am I the only one who could care less about MMORPGs?


  6. I’ve tried, really tried to enjoy it. I’ve wasted about 10 hours of my first life trying to have fun in my second. Its just not worth it.

    You buy things that are worthless.
    You gamble on games that aren’t very fun, and you always end up in some sex shop.

    And the software itself is buggy. Who really plays with this?

  7. Thaed says:

    I’m waiting for and dreading the coming of Spore. Spore looks like the ultimate game. It could be the greatest gaming experience of my life and also get me fired, divorced and homeless.

  8. PJ Cabrera says:


    Sorry you didn’t enjoy Second Life. The learning curve for “making the fun happen” is high. And not knowing where to go see others “making the fun happen” is a downer.

    John B.
    It’s not a game, so the question “Who really plays with this?” is moot.

    I really couldn’t care less about MMORPGs either. That’s why I like Second Life. 🙂 It’s not an RPG! That G, in RPG, stands for “Game”. Second Life is not a game.

  9. PJ Cabrera says:

    Dave et al,

    Here’s a few thoughts I just had.

    First thought: Do you know what 3DMax and Maya are? They’re 3D design and animation packages. Would you boot up at 3D design package and expect it to be fun to load a few 3D objects and just look at them from different angles? It would get old quick, wouldn’t it? The fun for a 3D design package, is in making things, not in sitting around looking at stuff.

    Second thought: Second Life is a massively multi-user 3D design package, with a scripting language. The chat and the avatars, the flying, are just metaphors for moving around and communicating with the other users.

    Third thought: There is no fun in loading up a MMO 3D design package, and just walking and flying around. Expecting the fun to happen.

    Do you get it now?

  10. PJ Cabrera says:

    BTW, the MMO 3D design package that Second Life is, it’s buggy. 🙂 And it’s probably someone’s research experiment, rather than a full product intended to take over the 3D design package market. (Hint: the makers are called Linden **RESEARCH**)

    So don’t expect an online multi-user Maya killer.

    Like I keep saying, it’s the Snow Crash metaverse, implemented with today’s technology. Don’t expect it to be any more than that.

  11. chris says:

    Yep. Seems like a huge waste of time to me.

  12. PJ:

    You may not consider it a game, but it is still a form of entertainment and you can still “play” with it, regardless.

  13. be23rk says:

    The reason why you dont like Second Life and do not enjoy the enviroment,
    is because unlike any other MMoRPG, there are no objectives. No NPC to guide
    you, no quests to do… THis is actually a MMORP WORLD, not MMORP Game…

    This game is mainly based on its community for it to properly succeed. If you would have
    taken the time to use the search engine, you would have the many things this
    game offers. Because everything in this game is USER built, many genres can
    exist within. You have to keep in mind that is this a designer/builder game.
    If there was an objective in the game, that would be it. Build and script
    something really good and sell it. Thats another thing, the currency in this game
    is actually worth soemthing. If i grind high end missions in any other objective
    based RPG, sure I get a reward and some credits/gold, but its all just pixels.
    At least here if build and spend the time, I can make REAL CASH.
    I admit that the game can be boring and very overwhelming to the new player.
    But if you take the chance to look at the enviroment for what it is, it surpasses
    any game out there. Im sick of doing the mindless NPC girnds to get some cheap
    satisfaction of a reward and some 13 yr old cackling PWNED JOO.
    To hell with a quest, Ill make weapons, killer scripts, duel arenas, lightsabers, cars,
    avitars, animations, katanas, or my OWN game….. Play by my OWN rules.
    60minutes isnt even enough time for you to take a virtual class.
    So dont knock something. Until you apply yourself.

  14. kyle says:

    second life is a great game, u can do anything! i totally agree with the comment above. if u just please give this game another try u can im me in game. : arconos kilian

  15. Dave says:

    It’s just a chat room for people without imagination.

  16. Eric says:

    This site is the ability to meet people from all over the world in cyberspace. I spoke with an avatar from Brazil who was building a motorcycle. I’ve interacted with several individuals in the novice islands. Once it becomes more user friendly, the potential for a true worldwide community becomes possible. And, since everything you do there can be recorded, wouldn’t you have some built in morals? jat

    Long Live Second Life (or it’s eventual successor)!!!!


  17. Tony says:

    to Thaid, I also saw spore, and it looks frikkin’ awesome! the first pwnful game where violence is not neccesary, and you learn stuff. OMG, its almost- educational!

  18. hobo says:

    sl is made for griefers, thats the only fun. either that or furry cybering..

  19. jami says:

    I’ve played in Second Life for about ten hours now before I knew there was a zoom lvl on the map function and you can teleport everywhere pretty easy.
    Walking or flying around looking for stuff to do was getting to be a drag.
    In my travels found many naked dancers and casinos along with all types of enviornments and architecture and then more naked dancers.

    The people that will have the most fun with this are the script writers and modlers, in which I am neither.
    It’s an open door for malicious behavior, having been provided all the tools.

    People weren’t unfreindly but, I didnt see many conversations that didn’t include something on the lines of “wanting to cyber”. (Of course they want money for that, which I have none.)

    Hmm…sounds like fun I guess 😛

  20. ironmodem says:

    So SL is boring and unimaginative?

    May I refer you to the axiom “boredom exists only in a boring mind.” This is where imagination comes in…

    I was involved in the vrml community that was in its early stages of its inception in 1994. This marked the birth of a potential 3d web – cyberSPACE over virtual paper. Therein lies the intrigue, it might not yet be all bells and whistles (though it makes my early vrml worlds look simply crude), but second life is (much like the first) what you make of it.

    Social interaction is a big part, I have many friends exclusive to SL but also some RL friends there that are separated from me by a gulf of RL geography. We have fun there, we make it – often literally. We spend a lot of time in sandboxes building fun stuff and scripting it, so it’s a build your own mmorpg too – great no?
    (incidentally you can also build offline using Blender or even Maya!)

    It strikes me that many people who have been under whelmed by SL have simply failed to give it a chance and learn about what it has to offer. Many people are simply looking for a prescribed videogame experience and it simply doesn’t get more unimaginative than that.

    By the sound of it, others of you have simply cruised the seedy underbelly of SL and bumped into some pretty awfull examples of the detritus that lurk there. But hey, visit Manchester and walk through all the wrong neighbourhoods and you’ll come away with exactly the same impression.

    Bad experiences aside, the chances are that if virtuality and the metaverse don’t float your boat, then you are unlikely to warm to what will otherwise seem like a crude and always lacking approximation of reality.
    Personaly I waited many years for the inception of a 3d web and I have been enthusiastically on board since 1997. I even have my own VR rig complete with data glove that is fully compatible with my beloved virtual society.
    During my time in SL I have met game developers, programmers, ex vrml junkies and cyberspace enthusiasts of every kind. We have chatted played created and had fun in a world where we can co-operate and bring ideas to life that would otherwise never have happened.

    SL encourages fresh young minds to be creative, and has spawned all kinds of interesting and down right insane artwork. Machinema has been a craze for a while now too. A novel use of SL to create film (movie) sets and then use virtual cameras to create short (and often well directed) films.
    For the gamers there are entire sims dedicated to roleplaying and combat, no – not weird just bdsm sex stuff!

    Thank you Phil Linden, may the open source direction continue – I hope to be running my own Sim on my own server within the next 2 years, happy days.

  21. dave says:

    ironmodem, if your goal is to change minds you had blown it by your second sentence where you made it a moral failing of anyone who fails to enjoy SL.

    For all you SL proponents who make fun of those who don’t like it, here’s a thought experiment. Every SL booster always responds to people who don’t like it the same way – by telling us we aren’t imaginative enough, we have the wrong expectations, etc. In short, our lack of satisfaction is our fault and not that of SL and not just that it isn’t our bag. So, is it your contention that SL must be loved and every other reaction is invalid? If not, how can one possibly dislike the experience in a valid way.

    I’m pretty fricking sick of these cult-like reactions. Y’all react the same as Scientologists do when you make fun of Xenu. I haven’t liked Second Life and don’t anticipate that changing. Your love of it is no hair off my ass, so why is my dislike of it any hair of yours?

  22. ironmodem says:

    Touché. But my response was in part addressing those who claimed that Second Life users were unimaginative chat room wannabe’s. I was simply trying to point out that imagination is exactly what is required to get the most out of it.

    Yes I claimed that perhaps some people lack the imagination required to get something back, but I wasn’t pointing any fingers. Yes I said that many people were looking for a more conventional video game experience and yes I do believe that that would make them a little less inclined to invest some cerebral currency… But what I didn’t say was that you personally (or any other posters here) fall into that category.

    As for trying to convert people? Why the hell would I want to do that? If I had a linden for every cunt that walked on by slating the graphics or telling me how shit SL is, I’d be a very rich man. There’s simply no room in my virtual haven for half hearted “converts”.
    But then the accusation of “converting” falls neatly into your presumption that there is something “cult” like about SL. I ask you, what is cult about a phenomenon that can be traced back to the early nineties and has its roots in science fiction that predates even that stone age of VR?

    From your venomously defensive position I can only surmise that I hit a raw nerve. Do you regularly experience anger as the result of deep-seated feelings of inadequacy?

    Indeed sir, my ass is prodigiously hairy and your dislike for SL has done nought to remedy my condition.

    Keep on hatin’ bro, the floor is all yours.

  23. ironmodem says:

    LMFAO, I just scrolled back up the page, you’re the guy who made the chatroom minus imagination comment. I can’t wait for the next flame, perhaps it will singe my anal beard.

  24. dave says:

    That wasn’t me, that was a different dave.

    I don’t really have much more to say on this topic. SL doesn’t do it for me personally, and SL lovers act like fundamentalists for whom disbelievers are a threat to their religion. SL fans talk it up as a platform for creativity, but I’m not spending my time building things in their silo that I can’t take out. I’ll exercise my creativity elsewhere thanks. That’s about it from me.

  25. ironmodem says:

    Oh great Philip Linden, we praise to you in this time of sin and unbel…

    Shit wrong forum.

    To be honest you seem as fundemental in you hatred of SL as I or anyone else appear to love it, perhaps more so. Ah but we’re arguing in circles here – you no likey, me likey. I’m a big boy (and not a fevered, cult following fundementalist) so I can can accept that, easily and thankfully.

  26. ironmodem says:

    l@@ks up… Boy can I not spell at 9:00am having spent all night doing productive things (like replying to forums at 5:00am). I should get a second life *slaps own head* >_

  27. Anonymouse Mouse says:

    okie, i play SL, too much so here are tips
    1. it is a GAME.
    2. it has ABSOLUTELY NO POINT.
    3. everybody when they are a noob ends up in a strip joint boinking other noobs.
    and you all are poor so if somebody is quoting you a price, tell the person to get lost “cant you tell im a noob!” if they give you lip, teleport someplace else, escorts dont usually pack heat
    4. you get bored with it and dont come back for a little while.

    Then you hang out someplace and meet someone, have a nice conversation and you and that person end up going places, getting freebies, basically chatting.

    then you use those freebies to cut up and make something you cant afford. then you learn how to sell things, you try to make something somebody might want to buy.

    then you might break down and get some money for land and make more stuff. probably get ripped off by some jerk and end up getting sucked in a little more.

    point is, there is no point to sl, most people come in alone, float around and get bored after they boink somebody from austrailia or britan or indiana, play some slingo and try to find ways to buy stuff.

    when you meet someone you can talk to and hang out with, then the game becomes interesting. but you gotta approach it like a blank canvas.

    what do YOU want to look like, and dont worry about having or spending money, a bunch of the people who play from waaaay back dont even have skins.

    basically, dont buy sqat, go to the hobo place and get their box of hobo stuff, and travel the grid, boink all those rich folks,with their fancy crap like me hehehehe

    if someone is mean to a noob just ignore them, everybody was a noob once

  28. Theresa says:

    I have to say that we all have our opinions of what is fun and what is not. Second life has made it possible for me to make friends all over the world. If people take the time to find the right places the game is full of fun….of course fun is what you make it. The fun of the game is in the chatting with people in interesting animation. Your ability to do things you would never dream of doing in rl or could do. This game is not for everyone much like Zelda was not or even Mario Brothers. No there is nothing to beat in the game it is all about making friends and if your not into doing that then stay off the game. I find it pointless that people trash talk other people because they dont like the same things, not to mention childish. If you dont like the game and refuse to take the time to learn it then leave it alone it is that simple.

    Second life its a wonderful game but it is very addictive one you learn what your doing and make a bunch of friends.

    I hope second life is around for years to come because if nothing else i have friends all over the world now and that is a wonderful thing.

  29. Zoo says:

    to me it just looks all sad and scary..i’ve been into computers and simulations from when i was seven years old..i did the first simcity and so on and on..i don’t regret it but as years went by i discovered what i was missing in life number one..and my friends are here, i can touch them and they’re around when i need them and vice versa..not just words..more..i love to play my guitar..the one made wood..and i love to kiss my girl..the one whom love makes me feel complete..second look sad and scary from here + cold!! and this civilization really sucks.

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