Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world. In other words, it is an online game in which players can become whatever they wish: wizards, soldiers, storytellers or… genealogists? I have been told there is a genealogy section in Second Life, so I decided to check it out.
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world built and owned by its residents. As you enter this virtual "online world," you'll find people, entertainment, experiences, and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your own house or business. You will get to know your neighbors, and you can participate in both local and distant events. You will even find a marketplace where you can buy or sell virtual goods.
Second Life requires each user to download and install a client program that displays graphics in a spectacular manner. This program in your computer communicates across the Internet to learn about locations, events, and other players. The program that runs in your computer then displays the information. Users, called "Residents," interact with each other through full-motion avatars, which are graphical images that represent the Residents.
Second Life was developed by Linden Research, Inc. (commonly referred to as Linden Lab). The stated goal of Linden Lab is to create a user-defined world of general use in which people can interact, play, do business, and otherwise communicate. Second Life's virtual currency is the Linden Dollar (Linden, or L$) and is exchangeable for US Dollars in a marketplace consisting of residents, Linden Lab, and real life companies.
Second Life Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create items (virtual property) and services, and trade those items and services with one another. In short, it is much like real life only set in a fictional universe. For many avid players of this online game, it is indeed their "second life." Many people play Second Life for hours every day.
In fact, many Second Life Residents will dispute the word "game," pointing out that Second Life does not have points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy, or any of the other characteristics of games. Like real life, there are no winners or losers, only participants (Residents). Second Life Residents spend time online for the purpose of personal enjoyment.
More than eight million people have Second Life accounts.
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