Saturday, October 31, 2009

Second Life: a response

Well, JP... Second Life is interesting, because in and of itself, it isn't a "Game" - at least not how people think of it. Within it there are these aspects that function like games, and certainly a lot of the interface and aesthetics have developed from Gaming, but it acts more as a pure interactive technological platform like Facebook or Wikipedia. Within that structure there are elements of gaming and within these elements there are ways to discuss "win-win". At least, that's my take on it.

In Second Life, Red76 has done some projects. One of them is "Second Home" which is a virtual space created in the model and as a way of examining a real life anarchist community that formed in Home, WA around the turn of the last century. The idea is to create new models of collaboration in opposition and parallel to the ones that are more commonly found in Second life (capitalist exchange markets, property flipping, anonymous hook-ups). In Second Home participants are encouraged to experiment with communal living, mutual aide and other horizontal forms of exchange.

Another body of work is being done by a group called Ars Virtua. Ars Virtua exists primarily as a New Media Gallery and Arts Space in Second Life. Some of their work is very ironic and seems most interested in fucking with the presumed norms that already exist in spaces such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. In World of Warcraft they've created a "Guild" intended to explore "the potential of this platform to create a new dimension of media art" within its construct. One project that I think is really pertinent to the concept of Win-Win Games is the creation of TAZ within WoW. There seems to be an attempt to explore horizontal structures and free-space within a construct that is uniformly hierarcheal and oriented towards violence. One meeting was described as "a consensus session to set the rules for our cross-factional and self-governing guild association."

A current concern is to create "an NGO – somewhat similar to Red Cross or Red Crescent. [Ars Virtua] see it as an opportunity to reach out to the minority communities ( on Demon Soul realm that would be the Alliance) in order to bring them the support needed to navigate a hostile terrain. Basic Humanoid Rights are the key here, trade the political scaffold for the social scaffold without prejudice."

Besides the obvious humor and potential learning tools made through the creation of a Pacifist, Anarchist group in a game called "World of Warcraft", there is also something very poetic going on. In fact it verges on the mystical. If one considers the notion of "As above, so below" - the Macrocosmos and the Microcosmos - it seems much more meaningful to explore these themes in a Three Dimensional cosmos. Perhaps this work that they do here will manifest in our own multi-dimensional world at war.

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