Editor’s Note: The Metaverse Tribune is pleased to introduce a new writer to our readers, BazzaG. A newcomer to Second Life, BazzaG will be reporting on all things sports and athletics in SL, offering a fresh look at the organized, the competitive, and the ridiculous that this virtual world has to offer. If you wish to have your team or event highlighted, don’t hesitate to let him know.
So, there I was, brand spanking new to Second Life standing wide-eyed amongst a dozen or so other hapless, squeaky clean avatars. So what now? Oh look! I can move! Whilst not planned, it was a wonderful experience to bump into other floundering avatars or solid objects that appeared to be there for no purpose other than to provide amusement for the other newbies, as I crashed about for a few minutes. I discovered later that the more experienced residents of Second Life affectionately call new residents ‘Newbies’ or ‘Noobs.’
Having mastered the fine art of movement, I wandered around like a lost kid in a toy shop, apprehensive but full of awe and wonderment. Within about half an hour, which seemed like half a day, I stumbled across a ‘Teleport.’ I definitely knew what a teleport was because I had watched my share of Star Trek, so I bravely went where thousands of avatars had been before.
In the blink of an eye I was teleported to another area specifically designed to make newbies feel more like newbies than ever. This landing point was swarming with avatars. I stood and watched as the other players on this stage moved about. I was immediately struck by what appeared to be a different kind of avatar. These superior beings not only looked really awesome but they glided along and swayed as they walked. Was I doing something wrong because when I walked I looked like someone out of a 1920’s movie.
My local chat sprung to life, “Hi BazzaG – how are you?” Nervously I typed my first word, “Hi.” Now my communication window came alive with, “Would you like some help?” Would I ever! Wow, a stunningly beautiful woman, named Kat, was offering to help me, and it wasn’t even my birthday. She guided me to a bench and as I followed her, looking more like Buster Keaton with every step, I was mesmerized by her swaying hips. At this point, as I lost all touch with reality, I patted myself on the back for being smart enough to venture into Second Life.
After chatting for what seemed like hours, she convinced me that I needed to get a ‘proper’ shape, a new skin and a whole new way of walking and standing. How could I resist? I was teleported to ‘Tellaq,’ a wonderful shop selling whole body makeovers. But wait! I needed Lindens. After much coaching from Kat (and cursing on my part) I soon had a wad of Lindens burning a hole in my pocket. I made my first purchase, an ‘if only that was really me’ avatar called Byron. Within minutes I was looking like a Greek god. But I still walked funny!
So another teleport later and I found myself at an animation vendor — Vista. My Lindens were dwindling fast but at least I no longer walked or look liked a noob. I felt so grown-up, like when I got my first pair of long pants! I enjoyed watching myself walk the walk but still felt that I needed to learn how to talk the talk to avoid being identified as a newbie. That took a little longer to accomplish.
All this raises an interesting question. When does a newbie come of age and stop being a newbie? I am now 8 months old which is still relatively young in SL terms, but am I still a noob? I don’t feel or look like a noob. I guess the answer lies in the eye of the beholder.
I have been involved in various sports my whole life. In England I played junior soccer for a leading professional club and played club cricket (baseball on valium). I also played competitive snooker and volleyball. In more recent years I played ‘A’ grade tennis in Australia. My sporting urge is now restricted to playing golf (poorly). Whilst enjoying the competitive side of sport, I also have a keen interest in sport as a whole.