The ingredients missing in Second Life

Fifa10: now that's what I call a game!

An article on ASTD caught my eye this morning: Ten Ingredients of Great Games.

Which of those does Second Life not have?

While SL does have "self-representation with avatars" and "three-dimensional environments", obviously, what I found missing until I vowed never to return was "narrative context" (engaging narratives, in other words and feedback — which ASTD describes as "progress bars, zooming numbers, and status gauges, all in a well-organized dashboard that lets players know how things are going, good or bad".

Maybe I've just played too much Call of Duty, but my problem is precisely that Second Life not a game as I understand it. Who was it that said "I'm excited about any technology that excites the learners"? One reason why I'm not bothering with SL is that I just don't think it will, at least not learners brought up on Fifa10 and the like.

ASTD is the American Society for Training & Development, which modestly describes itself as "the world's largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals". Its website will be of interest if you are involved in e-learning.

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  1. Surely you're missing the point? Second Life isn't, nor has it ever been described as, a game – it doesn't have 'narrative context' in the same way that Twitter doesn't… your comparison doesn't really stand up. Second Life is an engaging social space in which it is indeed possible to play games, learn, chat, exchange, etc., but comparing it with a traditional computer game is unfair at best, spurious at worst.


  2. No, clearly SL isn't a game (though, yes, you can play games in it — and lots more besides).

    But that's my point! If it was a game, if it was attractive for the reasons that computer games are, engaging for the reasons they are, I'd be more attracted to it and, I suspect, so would people brought up on Call of Duty, Fifa2010, etc., to whom SL must just look SO boring — like, young learners of English, for example.

    You could be in Dundee on a wet Tuesday night when there'll be just nobody about or be in the crowd at the World Cup semi-final, nay, actually on the pitch playing in the WC…

    I know where I'd rather be!

    Have you read the original ASTD article…?

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