Friday, June 29, 2012

there are mountains to climb, so let me carry you

This is an exceedingly weird article for me, not the least of which is the author seems to gush about what an unusual experience this is for gaming in general:
Of course people already use online games to meet people, and sometimes romances develop from online interactions. But you’re not usually interacting in ways that so closely imitate real life flirtation and social interaction. And you don’t usually have the option to have sex with another character. The potential for the matchmaking platform is interesting to say the least.
Obviously, she's never used Second Life. Which baffles me, a little--I mean, of course not everyone is going to have experience with SL, but not to even mention it? Writing the entire article as if it's the single most amazing thing since raw toast, this sort of dating/gameplay experience? Because it's not just SL; there have been a lot of games with internal (or even external) dating components.

Still, the author of the Zynga article does share an intriguing comment, almost as an aside:
Cultivating romance online is now the norm.
Now, for me and mine, this is true; but then, for me and mine, it's nearly always been true. While my lady wife did not jump on the internet bandwagon when I did, by a certain point we both had online loves, and offline loves, and sometimes those loves changed categories. It became a facile means of referral to use "long-distance" to cover both those people we only saw occasionally, and those people we only interacted with online. For us, there was never a separation between online and offline, per se; it was just a matter of distance, over means of interaction.

When I started dating in SL, I did develop a mostly unspoken understanding that SL and RL were kept separate, but not for the reasons most people seem to foster this division. At least for me, loves that were "only SL" were not pushed to that side because I never intended to meet them, or get to know them better; in fact, in some cases I grew very close to certain individuals. But they were held within the sphere of SL relations because there were things I could do in SL that I could not in RL.

And I'm not limiting this to sheer deviance; mostly, it's things like growing fur, or being able to coordinate my outfit with my skin and my hair, or dating non-humans. Walking around as a doll, or a faun, or fae. These are things I cannot accomplish in RL, things that I thought contributed largely to how I interacted with these individuals.

What intrigues me most about that comment is how commonplace she seems to think dating online is; not just for me and mine, who half-live on the net full-time as it is, but for everyone. Is that truly the case? More people are meeting each other, talking to each other, becoming intimate friends, online rather than off?

[Help] Omega-Maiden: Pocket D is like Caprice in Champions Online, just not as terrifying
[Help] Crisp Ego: Caprice was terrifying? I had some okay RP there. xD
[Help] Hard Zero: Then you're terrifying.
[Help] Omega-Maiden: The vampire transexual toons are scary

Never checked out Caprice when I was playing Champions, but this amused me. I'd assume it's equivalent to roleplaying in Pocket D in City of Heroes, or, you know, Hentai High in SL.

In non-sex news, this is adorable beyond all reason. A young girl was asked what she wanted to be for Hallowe'en; her answer? "Batman Princess". So her mom made the costume, because her mom is cool like that.

And I just heard about one woman's quest to play every piano in Second Life. I don't know the state of the project now, since that was from back in 2007, but it might be fun to find out.


Deoridhe said...

The other odd thing is that this has long been a staple of the Sims games - which is what, a decade? You even have children in Sims (though not the online one).

Emilly Orr said...

Decade at least, maybe longer. I never played the online variant, but as far as the Sims, plus Sims 2 and Sims 3, you could get your sim involved with someone, get pregnant, then have a child--in Sims 3, you can even choose to age the infant to toddler, then to child, then to teen, then to adult. So this is something that's been around for a long time.

You're right, it's also odd that she didn't mention that aspect of the Sims. Maybe she's making a mental differentiation between the Sim person, which is NOT the player character, and the little 'Ville person, which she might see as being closer to herself.