May 23, 2011

Are immersionists an endangered species?

Sometimes I use the store-alt to "get away", and go exploring without the burden of a very full contact list. The store alt is a female avatar with a beautiful green skin - without being a pixie or a faery or another mythological creature. Immersionist that I am, when using the store-alt for exploring, it is easy to slip into the character, to be her, to feel like her.

Yesterday I explored a sim from the Showcase, when a 5 day old "Resident" account approached me.

Newb: Your skin is green.
Me: Well spotted.
Newb: I have to ask, why did you make your skin green?
Me: I was born that way.
Newb: rofl. You have a dryad avatar then. Or an Ent avatar?
Me: I am a human. Born with green skin. Don't tell me you have never seen a green skinned human before?
Newb: lololol

This person has probably never heard about immersionists and augmentists before. he was cracking up, thinking I was some kind of nutcase. But the conversation left me baffled. For me, it is natural to BE one with the avatar. When I take the green Lady out, I AM the green Lady. For him, it's like a clothing layer. Today I use the Dryad avatar, tomorrow the robot avatar, and for the weekend I take a bodybuilder.

I wonder hwo had the nicer experience? The green girl, walking wide eyed through a beautiful, futuristic and enchanted landscape? Or the guy who tries out this funny video game where you can meet nutters from all over.

Of course I am biased. For me, SL is about the immersion. SL is a magical country, and enchanted realm. I know it is not for many others. It's a game with lame graphics and no specific goal. Is there a right, or a wrong?

It makes me wonder if immersionists are an endangered species. In my early SL days I barely heard questions for one's age or location. These days it seems one of the first questions new contacts ask. The ASL-question defines you in the real world. Why do we need this RL anchor in a virtual environment? What benefit do I have from knowing that the person I am speaking with is 38 and from New Hampshire, when I am far more fascinated with the detailed mechanics of her android shape.

Are these the ramblings of an outdated oldbie? Or are we losing the magic?