My Life Is A Crappy Star Trek Episode

This is a scary moment for me, really. With all due deference to Wil Wheaton, who’s a pretty hip cat, I really never ever wanted to consider myself to be analogous to Wesley Crusher. Unfortunately, that’s the position I find myself in.
Everyone — well, a lot of people anyway — at work has succumbed to the charms of Second Life.
Now, frankly, I don’t understand the appeal. At all. I mean not a single bit. Except for those who are chat-room addicts desperately starved for human contact, or people who want to live out their Furry Fetishes, the attraction of Second Life is completely lost upon me. I find myself regularly thinking to myself that all the jokes at this site ring true.
You want to play Star Wars Galaxies and pretend briefly to be in a sci-fi universe? I get that. You want to play World of Warcraft and pretend briefly to be in a swords and sorcery, good and evil, universe? I get that, too. You want to play Second Life and pretend to be… a normal person who has to buy clothes, and pay rent on land, and all that jazz? What the fuck dude, don’t you get enough of that shit in the real world?
This virus is spreading like wildfire… first my boss’ boss found out about it, then all of our helpdesk people, now it’s like spreading to other schools, and a good friend of mine it seems mentions at least once a day how she was doing this, that, or the other thing “in SL”.
Yeegads, people, do all those things in the REAL WORLD. You know, The Big Blue Room. The room with the Scary Yellow Orb in the ceiling. The one those Luddites called in the ancient tongue, “Outside”.
And that’s where Star Trek: The Next Generation comes in. I’m stuck in an episode called “The Game”. I’m Wesley Crusher, they’re all the rest of the crew, and I’m really hoping Data figures out how to crash the game for good before they pin me down and force me to join in.

11 thoughts on “My Life Is A Crappy Star Trek Episode

  1. you’re not alone. Still, i’m also guessing this is like folks that hang out on IRC channels with MSChat.
    I just want to know how to hit people.

  2. This is rich coming from Dungeon Master Derek. I could spend 8 hours a day on SL and still not come close to the amount of time you’ve spent in D&D, WoW and going to related cons.
    (I won’t even go into the amount of DVDs you own…)
    I never saw the appeal or the purpose of pretending to be a hobbitt while guzzling mountain and eating cheetos in your Mom’s basement. 😉 But if that’s your thing, and it makes you happy – who am I to judge?
    Remember, one person’s waste of time is another person’s entertainment. Just because YOU don’t see the appeal, doesn’t mean you should start throwing stones. (You know, glass houses and all)

  3. I’ve never claimed that people aren’t finding it entertaining. I’m simply boggled — completely fucking dumbfounded — at *how* someone could find it entertaining.
    And considering how rapidly I watch this addiction spread from person to person, I am forced to mentally compare the situation to a crappy sci-fi episode where the cast of the show all got addicted to some mind-boggling inane videogame.
    I’m not saying “don’t do what makes you happy,” I’m saying “my gods, what kind of people are *happy* doing this? Is it really happiness or is there some weird subliminal addiction thing going on that those bastards at Linden Labs have dreamed up for world domination?!”
    OK, maybe the world domination is a stretch, but you get my meaning.

  4. Ok, let me try. you are exploring a new world. you can meet people to explore it with. you can learn how to do things and share that knowledge. I under a lot of that happens in role playing games. but this is non-violent. I’ve always been more of a builder than a basher, so this appeals more to me. It is kind of utopian. you can work together to make SL a better place.

  5. Gotta be honest… still not getting it.
    If you want to “build”, why not build in the real world instead?
    I get the mindset of “I want to attack people with Swords, but that’s something you really can’t do in the real world” type of online escapism. I get the “I want to wield a lightsaber, but somehow that hasn’t been invented yet” fantasy. I don’t get the “I’d rather build a fake house in an imaginary world than spend time in the real world working on a real house.”
    THAT I don’t understand.

  6. Derek, this is unusually petulant, needlessly antagonistic and intentionally misinformed, even for your usual standards.
    While it’s neither my job or anyone else’s to “sell” you on Second Life, and really, it’s not for everyone (just for a few million), I’ll at least knock a few matchstick supports out from a few of your assumptions.
    First of all, comparing it to World of Warcraft and Everquest and similar heavily-structured game systems is a no-win, since Second Life owes more to text-based MUDs than anything else, and perhaps IRC as well. In both of these latter cases, the addition of features on Second Life. I assume if you are going to consider anyone using Second Life to be delusional, misinformed, and in need of your idea of “reality”, then your proclamation runs down the line to IRC, MUDs, and anywhere else that isn’t a tightly-controlled game system.
    Your supermarket rants and “what the hell is up with the color Green, anyway” essays are cute, but this one’s just off-the-chart insulting.
    Your wedge to smirk and dismiss me: my wife works full-time for Linden Labs.

  7. *chuckle*
    Well, Jason, I did imply perhaps Linden was bent on world domination, and good domination starts at home. 🙂
    You’re absolutely right though, that SL owes its main “fanbase” to IRC and MUD junkies. (and also chatrooms really, something I touched on in my original post).
    I don’t consider SLers to be delusional, misinformed or in need of my idea of reality, and nowhere do I say that. I’m simply saying that — except for a few niche cases like weird fetishes and people who lack social contact — I don’t get it. Fundamentally I don’t see what anyone “gets out of it”. (Although in your case, I would concede that your household gets a paycheck out of it so at least that’s something *grin*)
    It’s not the world’s job to “make me understand”, I’m simply saying “I don’t get it”. Nowhere do I ask someone to make me understand it (although I may have made that challenge to various SLer friends in IM conversations, to be sure).
    I’m simply saying that — from where I sit — this seems like a big waste of people’s time and resources. And yeah, I would say the same thing about IRC or chat rooms pretty much… why not go outside, chat with real people instead of who people on the other side of the world are pretending they are?

  8. Your initial weblog entry, read carefully and assuming the best of all possible positions, is definitely one of “doesn’t work for me”. Your comments after are not.
    As for, for example, your statement:
    I don’t get the “I’d rather build a fake house in an imaginary world than spend time in the real world working on a real house.”
    Well, building a house requires tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, months of going through governmental agencies, payment of taxes after its done, and untold amounts of money on maintenance and upkeep, not to mention you are often not designing it, just the person signing the checks. To compare what happens in Second Life to this and wondering why people aren’t pouncing towards the latter is a straw man. Next you’ll ask why people watch Anime where there are all sorts of films with “real people” in them available.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t play on Second Life much at all; probably 2 hours in the last year. You’re not speaking to one of the Pod People and my wife isn’t aware of this conversation.

  9. Derek… you said “[I] don’t get the “I’d rather build a fake house in an imaginary world than spend time in the real world working on a real house.””
    Just like you can’t wield a lightsaber because it hasn’t been invented yet, some can not build a house in the “real world” because they can’t afford it. Fantasy is fantasy. You don’t understand why they have fantasies that could be acted upon in the real world, but you are assuming they can. Because you can does not mean they can.
    You mentioned killing things with swords. You CAN do that in the real world. But then there would be real world consequences that presumably (nay, hopefully) you are not willing to endure. It is all the same reasoning.
    For the record, I don’t play SL. I do play WoW — probably more than I should. In fact, it is time to run Karazhan with the guild.

  10. Oh how I wish my life was a Star Trek episode. Instead I have had to live in a Channel 4 (British T.V.) Comedy-Docu-soap-arama for the past thirty years. I might even try this “real world” game just to find out what a normal life is like. Hello to all by the way, not only am I a closet Trekkie but I’m also a chatroom virgin (and technology luddite).

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