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  Second Life’s Changing Culture  
Posted 2005-01-10 by Tony Walsh
Second Life: Do anything, be anyone, go anywhere... as long as it's a nightclub. Today's Second Life just ain't the same as it was in the "good old days." The versatile virtual world used to be more experimental, more intellectual, more adventurous. Nowadays, it's jam-packed with clubs, casinos, and sex-farms--so much so that the fundamental "feel" of the digital environment has changed for many experienced users. Once blurring the line between game, simulation, and social space, Second Life is moving steadily towards "chatroom" territory. Seasoned Second Life resident Artemis Fate gets up on a soapbox and shouts "Enough with the Clubs!"

Fate writes: "[Second Life] went from a game that catered to the creative element of the technical community, programmers, engineers, and technicians, as well as just the everyday person with the rather risque areas of [Mature] areas, (at that time less than 25% of the entire land mass) to a lame imitation of Las Vegas life – a landscape speckled with gaggles of near-identical people boxes, religiously frequented by an evergrowing community of new players."

It's apparently become standard practice for local club owners to latch onto impressionable newcomers as they enter the Second Life Welcome Area (the starting point of all first-time visitors) in order to lure them into club membership. The motivation here seems to be financial. Inworld business-owners earn more play money when their establishments are heavily-frequented.

Update- Torley Wong has posted some educational tidbits about SL's changing face. Like Torley, I wish there was a comprehensive outworld archive of the virtual world's history.
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