“We think of this as like 3-D album art,” says Watson’s Warner Brothers collaborator Ethan Kaplan. “It’s about enhancing the experience, and the possibilities are endless. For a rap artist, you build a 50-feet-tall Hummer.” Then he adds, “For Slayer [who’s also on WBR], you could build, I dunno, an underworld?” It likely won’t be long before Second Life spawns its own version of Gorillaz.
SL is already creating its own marquee names. Take Aimee Weber (her avatar name), an SL fashion designer who left her real-world job to work in Second Life full-time. Thus far, her two highest-profile projects have been the Regina Spektor listening station and the American Apparel store. “I think Second Life will be like the Web eventually,” says Weber. “Almost everything cool will need to have a 3-D presence online. Just like now if you say that a company doesn’t have a Web page, you’re kind of like, ‘What happened? Why no page?’ I think that’ll happen with 3-D.”
“SL is going to be a part of your online experience, no different than the concept of a browser,” predicts Linden’s Fleck. Presently, “all the sudden your browser pops up and allows you to see whatever it is that you searched for, or clicked on in somebody’s document or e-mail. Similarly, I believe that’s what SL is going to be: another browser that pops up and allows you to experience whatever it is you’re looking for [in 3-D] online.” He adds, “When that seamlessness happens, we’ll be well on our way to having something that’s part of everyday life.”
It’s Thursday at 8pm EST — 5pm SLT — and I’ve seated my avatar at the Russian-roulette table beside three others: Sirius Gateaux, who’s in a tight powder-blue T-shirt and dark shades; Sonny Fisher, a traveler-looking dude in a hat, camo vest, and construction boots; and Rihpez Ogg, an ogre-like, keg-torsoed, bespectacled cigar smoker with uneven spikes jutting from his bald head.
I’m nervous. In real life. Even though the gun is in fake life.
To be honest, Lily, my avatar, has become something of a phantom limb — weirdly, I’ve already had a dream from Lily’s perspective — and I don’t want to see her blow her brains out. Plus, I keep thinking of The Deer Hunter.
Gateaux is first. He bets one Linden dollar, spins the revolver in his hand, and holds the barrel up to his temple. And then . . .
Blast! His body falls sideways onto the floor. He’s dead. Already. On the first try.
DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION: Lily, Tapioca, and Gateaux play Russian Roulette
But then he’s not. No holes, no blood, nothing. “#$%#@$%,” he curses.
“That was freaky,” I type, sitting across from his now-empty chair.
“Haha,” he responds, already upright.
Haha. That must be how death feels to an immortal.
Then it’s Fisher’s turn. Hollow click. He shakes his head.
My turn. I bet a buck. Inhale deeply in real life. Raise the gun in my fake one. Click. Empty. Lily shakes her head wearily.
“Freaky,” I virtually squeak.
Ugg’s next. One try and — blam! — he’s done too. On the floor. Dead. Then he rises. “Ah, rebirth.”