UnNews:New MMORPG "First Life" gaining popularity

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6 January 2007

“This is the best game I ever eaten. It made my stomach tingle!”
~ Homer Simpson on Tasty doughnut game disc
“Wow, I can't even run faster than this game's load time!”
~ Sonic the hedgehog on Load speed
“I can't believe how long it took to level up to level ONE.”
~ George Bush on Leveling up
“I thought blond monkeys were extinct.”
~ Christian Slater on Leveling up
Lolo Ferrari

Some players' First Life avatars cause distress to other players.

BOOSTERISM, Techno-Utopia — It's the newest social networking fad, a place of unparalleled delights and frightening possibilities. It's First Life, a new Massively Multiplayer Offline Reality Playing Game, produced by Jehovah Labs six thousand years ago and only accelerating in popularity.

While First Life is referred to as a game, it does not have points, scores, fixed levels or an end-strategy. The environment is known to players as "The Real World." As of December 2006, over six billion users are in the World at any one time. It is famous for its ultra-realistic play and its amazing high-resolution 3-D graphics, framerate and physics engine.

In First Life, you are assigned a body type. You cannot trade it up or easily change its basic characteristics, though you can outfit it in various ways.

"It's weird," said one player. "You can hardly buy cool replacement penises anywhere. But sex in First Life is amazing. It's really hard to level up to, though, and it cost me a fortune."

Journalists wonder at the long-term robustness of First Life, comparing it to the tech bubble of several years ago and saying those who fell for the hype were part of the problem. "It's a result of someone extrapolating what something could have been worth," said games journalist DeathBoy Nozomi, "rather than what has actually happened. It's a classic example of bubble journalism, where we print what we believe, rather than what we've checked."

Many now suggest that First Life could be a passing fad, with the World being all but abandoned after a few decades. But nearly half of all Americans who belong to the First Life community claim that it is almost as important as the virtual world.

Some worry about the apparently addictive nature of First Life. The huge growth in reality gaming in the last century means a sharp increase in the numbers of people who take their passion for the hobby too far. "I know of people who are spending their week's holiday from EverQuest playing First Life. An addiction to a game like this is far more costly in time than any substance. Keep track of time, make sure your Eve Online characters don't go stale."

In the game, you can buy accessories for your character with an exchange mechanism called "money." People have started working in First Life to earn "money." Part of the addiction problem is "jobs" — in which players have to perform long-winded, mindless tasks, up to forty hours a week or even more, to bring up their levels and gain access to more adventure.

Stories of gamers spending ten to fifteen hours a day in First Life are becoming more frequent. And the impact that is having on their families is quite distressing for some. "He said that if he could spend 24 hours a day in the World, he would," sobbed the avatar of one player's mother. "His Kingdom of Loathing character's died of neglect. An Adventurer isn't Him any more."

The Archbishop of Alphaville condemned First Life's moral integrity. "Whoever designed First Life has watched too much EastEnders and read too much Tom Clancy.

"It's a psychosexual nightmare given virtual form, where giant flying penises are nowhere to be seen and disturbed people fail to wear even slightly less disgusting forms when having repulsive intercourse."

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