The identities, or avatars, created on the web allow people to escape their unhappiness, so the question remains, is fully enveloping yourself in the life of an animated character productive for society? (Life 2.0 tracks the lives of several “Second Life” players that have become obsessed with their avatars.)
As seen in the trailer for Life 2.0, it is quite possible for individuals to be sucked into their ideal situation, created in front of them by simply clicking the mouse. Reality is created and destroyed all within a computer screen. So what is are the pros and cons behind the ability to create a perfect life that doesn’t actually exist?
- These users can live a life that they feel they truly deserve. Players derive happiness from the lives they create.
- It is possible that these online lives can lead to real life events. The video link above clearly shows two people who met on second life and began dating outside of the game.
- These avatars provide people with an identity. They can make players feel like they belong to a community that they may not have in real life.
- These false realities pull people from their everyday lives. They enable someone to escape from a reality that they inevitably have to live.
- The ideal lives that players create make it even harder to grasp their role in society and become productive everyday citizens.
- The connection that players feel with their avatars stems far beyond an emotional longing to live their ideal lives. They assume the identities of their avatars and become physically dependent on playing the game. They can’t separate their identities from their avatars, and cannot live both lives simultaneously.
It seems to me that the distortion of reality experienced through games like Second Life is a large price to pay. The person that plays this game becomes half man, half machine dependent on one half in order to thrive. This seems like the next step in an irreversible process that will forever connect humans and computers on a level at which one cannot exist without the other.