What makes us return to Second Life?

Hey, it’s not Microsoft Train Simulator, but it’s still fun!

You know how it is. You are in the middle of some activity — building something creative, enjoying a chat with friends, attending an event — and all of a sudden you get an IM from someone you haven’t seen in a long while. Probably someone who has a profile from 5 or 6 years ago. Someone with whom you enjoyed several weeks or months of in-world chats and common enjoyments (maybe even a virtual lover!). Then, after a while, they logged in less and less, and suddenly disappeared without a trace. After years they come back, see that you’re still on their friends list, and decide to drop you a message. In some cases, they go away again — for months or years at a stretch — and come back much, much later. On other cases, they promise to become “more active again” but, after a few days, you never hear of them again.

While you pick up the conversation interrupted for (possibly) years, the comments are usually of the kind: “oh, it still looks pretty much the same, but this viewer is so awkward” or “I see that Linden Lab hasn’t fixed the lag issue” or “what, we’ve still got the 100-avatar-limit?”. Sometimes you might get some feelings of surprise: “oh wow, meshed content looks so awesome!” And after a few days, you might get some final messages of the type “nobody I know except you seems to be around” or “all the places I’ve used to go to have disappeared”. In my case, I tend to point out that things like the Governor Mansion at Clementina, the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives or even the International Spaceflight Museum are still around, mostly because I don’t remember anything else (YadNi’s Junkyard is allegedly still around too).

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