The idea of virtual worlds becoming a place for interpersonal growth is one that I am familiar with. As someone who plays video games in their free time, it is very hard to ignore the increased social aspect of each and every one. As the ability to play online with your friends in real time becomes more prevalent, the interactivity becomes the selling point for many of these games. While I have witnessed social spheres in Internet programs before, I cannot say I’ve been fully engaged in one. This is why I have found Second Life to be quite interesting. I am used to hearing about World of Warcraft and participating in games where groups are necessary in order to accomplish tasks. Personally, the only time I’ve really been involved in these types of interactions would be Call of Duty and even so, I was playing with friends. My own experiences relate to ideas described in Joe Sanchez’s article, A Social History of Virtual Worlds, which explains how much of the interactivity in an early virtual world was adventure or task-oriented (2009). Clearly, this idea has continued to be prominent yet it is most interesting to know that communities such as Second Life do exist and are striving. While I may not have fully participated or even heard of virtual communities as in depth, Sanchez describes a shift in focus from adventure to creation and social interaction that does remind me of a different world (2009). That world would be Minecraft, in which the user is given free reign over a world made entirely out of blocks. Each user can create anything they wish with any of the materials the world contains. It is essentially, the game Legos should have made. Yet while the simple game can be single player, there is a massive multiplayer component in which groups of people build incredible creations that fulfill their imaginations. While I have not participated in such creations, I am positive that there must be a large social aspect to the building process. The link below shows an entire Minecraft recreation of the capital in the TV series of Game of Thrones. This kind of virtual building on such a massive scale can only be accomplished through social organization as it is extremely detailed and precise. While it may not focus on actual daily living components as they do in Second Life, the idea of coming together to interact and create is very similar.
Sanchez, J. (2009). A social history of virtual worlds.Library Technology Reports, Retrieved from http://vizedhtmlcontent.next.ecollege.com/CurrentCourse/Readings/sanchez,%20social%20history%20of%20virtual%20worlds.pdf