Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Reality

Continuing to debate what is 'virtual' and what is 'real' these days is about as worthwhile as watching the third installment of The Matrix. Unless of course you want to lose yourself in a philosophical bog that by comparison will make Keanu Reeve's performances seem like an uplifting escape.

More and more examples of this blur between the physical and the otherwise pop up every week. The most fascinating - and remarkably simple - I came across recently was This Spartan Life.

This Spartan Life is a chat show like no other.
Damian Lacedaemion meets his guests, not in person, but within a live, networked game of Halo.

Instead of a casual chat on a couch, the interview is conducted as they hurtle around, returning enemy fire and hijacking tanks. The other players are unaware an interview is going on as they attempt to gun down our host in mid-flow.
This is a unique way to meet and converse with someone, but somehow makes total sense. These are the places we spend time, so they make as good a meeting place as any.

Another success story is Jennifer Grinnell, furniture delivery dispatcher by day, in-game fashion designer by night. Her shop exists in Second Life, where she sells her designs to the various characters that inhabit that world.

Grinnell's success as a pixel stylist meant she could quit her day job to pursue it full time - earning more money in her Second Life boutique than she did selling physical items.

Property is another money maker. One gamer got himself in the news by spending thirteen grand on an island in 'Project Entropia'. He has since made his money back leasing parts of it to other digital entrepreneurs.

It's all getting a bit serious really. Qiu Chengwei, the man who murdered a fellow gamer for selling his "virtual dragon saber" (hmmm) will probably agree as he sits out the rest of his life sentence, having exchanged his MSN buddy list for a cell-full of rapists.

Sorry Qiu, that sensation is most definitely real.

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