Second Life

I happen to be a huge fan of Second Life. It was one of the first truly social online games and the first to use micro-transactions, and I feel would be a good game to, if not be played by the Game Culture class, at least looked into and examined. Second Life has always been a game of creation and social activity. I had always wanted to play with it when I heard about it initially but never got to until 7 years ago, when I had a computer that could handle running the game well, but now just about any computer can get onto Second Life, even phones.

The best thing I like about Second Life is the creation ability. If the player has a dream item the player want to make in SL then you can build it. In fact I made a version of the American Brewery ( in Baltimore in SL. With SL though the player can build their own clothes, their own furniture, their own buildings, their own cities. They can can make something come to life with a few clicks. Granted it does take some time to build in SL but it feels very much like a simple 3D art program. Also right now they have it so if you wanted to make a mesh item in something like Maya or Blender you can transfer it over to SL as a mesh.

Once the player build these wondrous things SLs micro-transactions will help them be able to sell it online in the Second Life Marketplace or in SL itself. I have personally built a few things and have sold a few things myself but nothing to really write home to mom about, but there are sellers on SL that actually make a living off of it. The other excellent aspect of this is that once the player sells their items they can exchange it for real cash, or use that money to purchase something they want in world themselves.

For these reasons and many others I feel Second Life would be an excellent addition to the Game Culture Class.

Windosill and the use of Agency

Windosill is a simple point a click game the fully relies on motion from a mouse or finger depending what medium you are viewing it in. But with this simplicity comes a lot of fun. You have to touch everything in order to proceed to the next level. In a game like this agency is everywhere, but it’s up to you to figure out what needs to be done in order to proceed. Agency is “the feeling of empowerment that comes from being able to take actions in the world whose effects relate to the player’s intention”. Meaning that you can affect the game world in some way. In Windosill almost everything you do can affect the game. It gives off the impression like most old school point and click adventures where you go to a certain scene and have to figure out what you need in the scene in order to move forward in the game. With Windosill though each scene is it’s own personal little puzzle that must be solved before you can open the door to the next room. I always loved games with this type of agency where you touch or click something and get a response. My favorite series is the Monkey Island series especially when it become all mouse based. The Curse of Monkey Island features a rich animation and every click Guybrush, the main character, will either collect something or have a witty remark about the surroundings.

Some people say having too much agency in a game is distracting but for me it’s the puzzle aspect I love. Never knowing what you need and trying to find it in a rich environment leads more to exploration, thinking, and actually enjoying where you are and what you have to do. With Windosill you basically have to touch everything and make things happen in a specific pattern in order to get the next piece, but it’s exploring everything that makes it fun. This is a well thought out world where everything is weird but makes sense and you need to explore it in order to go further. It’s just like life, in order to move ahead you must explore things. If you are to stay in one place, yes you will live but will that life have been very fulfilling in the end.