main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Videogame: Second Life
Second Life is a sandbox MMORPG heavy on user customization, or a world sim-meets-3D-chat-program, or the Internet's largest alternative-digi-porn-emporium. No matter which of the three definitions you prefer, it's generally agreed upon that Second Life is not a game or even a work of fiction so much as it is a simulation of real life made much more interesting. There is no story line and no goals, instead putting an emphasis on chatroom-like conversations with friends and buying virtual property. It's the sort of environment where a hacker attack involves self-replicating spheres/penises spreading across the biosphere, and banned users find themselves in an endless corn-field with only a TV showing a promo for Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life. And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. You may find yourself standing beneath a tree on which money grows. You may find yourself pole-dancing while what can only be described as a sentient light-show stuffs cash into your G-string. You may ask yourself, "Why am I wearing this beautiful house?". You may ask yourself, "Why am I running through the junkyard in a swimsuit?".

It may be the dawn of The Metaverse in Real Life. Also a bit uncanny-valleyish, and often disturbing in a very sexy way. Or sexy in a very disturbing way.

(There was also a cordoned-off area for teens that was merged with the adult grid in early 2011.)

Open Simulator is intended to be an open-source alternative.

Tropes include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Many a griefer was kicked out of a sim (or banned) by a mod who admitted their behaviour was actually somewhat amusing.
  • After the End: Many CCS combat system RP sims are set in a post-apocalyptic world with vampires, werewolves, demons, angels, and other assorted races running around.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You also get to play architect.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Just because you can.
    • Your choice of gender only affects which avatar you're wearing when you log in the first time. After that, you can easily switch to a different body of whatever gender you prefer as often as you want. You start with several of both genders.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The default skins for avatars are non-detailed, although custom skins and umm... attachments are readily available.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted. While players are expected to buy things with real money, there's no real "progress" to be made, making the victory part of the trope moot. It's best to think about spending money on the game as DLC to enhance the user's experience if nothing else. In some cases, if you know what you're doing and have the skills to do it, you can actually make money on Second Life and convert it to real life money. Some people managed to make an actual living this way, which caused Linden Labs to change several policies regarding virtual money so that there's no hyperinflation. However it's not easy to make money off Second Life and very few people will actually make a ton of real life money this way, so don't think you will be able to quit your day job to make money from Second Life.
    • At the game's peak of real world exposure in 2007-08, out of about 4 million accounts, 117 people made $25,000 or more. Just to show how long your odds are.
  • Collectible Card Game: Second Life has its own, Logos and yes you can play it on motorcycles!
  • Controllable Helplessness: RLV was designed with pretty much this in mind. Also crosses over with Videogame Perversity Potential/Videogame Cruelty Potential in that whoever holds the key to your restraints chooses exactly how long you stay helpless.
  • Cosplay: It's very easy to find avatar sets or parts that can let you dress up as your favorite fictional character.
  • Digital Avatar: While having avatars is pretty universal to MMO settings, Second Life is renowned for the lengths and variety to which avatars can be crafted and customized, given its Metaverse inspirations of which the tropes share the same codifier.
  • Flash Step : You can buy a device that teleports you several feet in the direction you want to go, allows you to go through walls and effectively fly in areas where you are forbidden to fly. (Just flash step upwards.)
  • Furry Fandom: A sizable chunk of the fanbase. Some are attracted by the degree of customization possible with avatars, some got into the fandom through the game, and a vocal minority are interested in what the game is famous for.
    • In fact, there have been studies to indicate that that the Furry Fandom is closest thing the game has to an ethnic minority, due to the fact that they are readily identifiable and usually only chill with each other.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There are a lot of things that can cause your viewer to chug or simply crash outside of the typical bugs and glitches Linden Labs introduces with each update. Having too many objects clustered in a sim can cause viewers to have drops in framerate and people/objects that use too many scripts or scripts that eat up a lot of memory can also cause the same result. Griefers tend to abuse objects and scripts to force sims to crash while others may not even know that their objects or scripts are eating up resources. Because the coding of Second Life is heavily outdated and Linden Labs themselves have been extremely slow to resolve outstanding issues, expect many bugs and oddities to remain for a long time.
  • Gainaxing: the 2.6.3 update implements this as an option.
    • Specifically, it makes the parts of your avatar that are normally jiggly in real life jiggle on your avatar. It just so happens to include this trope but also bellies and other places that accumulate noticeably jiggly fat.
    • If one sets the sliders to ridiculous settings, breasts and other body parts can spontaneously jiggle for several seconds without stopping.
  • Griefer: Second Life is heavenly for these guys. Ranging from the mildly offensive (text spam or wearing offensive attachments, both which can be easily remedied by muting the user) to the heavily disruptive (constantly rezzing prims or using several laggy scripts) which can hamper the sim's performance, making everyone suffer (which require a land owner or moderator to kick and ban the offenders).
    • And just as worse in privately owned areas such as ones used for role-playing and are managed by one person or a small team of moderators; if the owner or the moderators are not online when a griefer is running wild, things will get out of control fast. Private areas that show if owners or moderators are online or not will attract griefers if they see nobody is on to stop them.
    • Griefers always seem to have all the time in the world to put effort into into whatever they're doing. So fight less, avoid more. They're more likely to leave when they have no one to grief. Unless it's a main account - which can be reported.
    • The same level of annoyance applies to the polar opposite of griefers, that call themselves "Anti-Griefers", though it varies. Some anti-griefers are actually helpful, letting the ones in actual power handle things themselves while giving the newbies tips to help them out. Some, such as the Justice League Unlimited, annoy sim/land owners that are trying to resolve the problem themselves through simple, yet effective, mute/eject/ban commands, by taking charge and doing things that egg griefers on and make them grief the sim more, such as demanding that they leave, using their own scripted tools to try and repel the griefer, and in general antagonizing him/her to do more damage, causing an even bigger mess for the sim's owner to clean up.
    • Amusingly enough, there is a sim where you are actually encouraged to try and crash the sim. If you do manage to crash it, you're asked to explain how you did it to the people running the sim, and then they can give other advice to people running their own sims to prepare against griefers.
    • There are also groups that are invited by sim owners to help keep griefers away. Using objects built by players in the game, owners can delegate their admin powers to what are effectively teams of on call moderators who assist multiple sims.
    • Even Griefers have Standards: Some griefers may have fun doing things like flooding a sim up with Tetris blocks or sending silly images flying around the sim, but draw the line at actually crashing the sim or putting up shock images.
  • Guide Dang It: Linden Scripting Language. Want to create an item that does something other than just sit there? Have you ever written code before? If "yes" to the first and "no" to the second, have fun looking up documentation for hours to get up to speed.
    • However, once you get acquainted with the syntax and layout of LSL (which is child's play compared to the big boy programming languages like C and Java), there's not one, but two wikis that list every function, event, operator, constant and statement in the language, complete with all their uses, caveats and issues. It can be a little outdated (often articles have been untouched since 2008), but it's a damn sight easier to navigate than the average computer science textbook.
  • Hide Your Children: While you are allowed in general to make your avatar be a child (referred to as a child avatar in the virtual world), some sims discourage or prohibit child avatars. This is mostly due to the terms of service from Linden Labs prohibiting any form of sex or violence against child avatars.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Expect to pay out the nose or take a crash-course in 3D modeling to acquire or make them, though.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Yeah, like you're not going to find this in a 3D-chatty-thingy where people can make their own stuff.
  • Invisible Wall: Every sim has invisible barriers at the edges and trying to go beyond them gets your avatar pushed back. You can also create your own invisible wall by making a simple rectangle object and making the textures invisible.
  • Interface Screw: It is notorious for the ridiculous amounts of lag you can find. The game is utterly massive and thus will slow down your internet. Pages on other websites may not load while the game is running. In game, you may encounter errors such as your character refusing to move an inch no matter how many times you press the button, or your character refuses to stop moving and clip through solid objects as if you turned on a no clip cheat. This is to say that if the error occurs while your character is walking, they will keep walking after you've stopped pressing the button and will walk through walls and if you encounter a hill, they'll just walk right through the ground. These issues happen when you're temporarily "disconnected" from the server when lag gets bad or when your connection is dodgy.
    • Even if your computer and internet are running fine and the area you're in is fully loaded, the place can still lag if the server is having problems. Sometimes sim owners have to force a restart on their land to flush out the lag.
  • Just Eat Him: Oh, this can happen. Particularly in Erebus.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: See Rule 34 below.
  • Knight Templar: Some anti-griefing groups in Second Life's history have become this, doing things like declaring people griefers for even small offenses and outright thinking anyone who does anything disruptive or immoral needs to be perma-banned. The Justice League Unlimited takes the cake though. They outright try to seek out and create enemies, will do things like insert alt accounts of their members into groups they declare are griefers in an attempt to eavesdrop on their conversations, and if they think you are even remotely affiliated with one of their bigger targets, they'll root through your entire player profile for anything they can report you for. They also never let anything go, if Woodburry is any indication. They were at odds with the JLU for years, disbanded forcefully several times, each for a different reason and some by different Lindens, and every time they merely returned to playing SL the JLU raised a massive fuss about it and returned to harassing them.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Going places in Second Life is like watching the mind erasure scenes from Eternal Sunshine at half speed in reverse.
    • The notorious lag in SL is due to the issue where SL is always downloading. Other games have a cache of their entire game world, models of all game characters, and weapons/items preloaded. In comparison Second Life is unable to cache things to the same degree as everything in the world from landscapes, characters, any item and even programs (aka scripts), textures, and animations are designed and built by thousands of players. This leads to constant real-time download which causes lag full-time.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Avatars exist for various characters from various fictional universes. Optimus Prime, Sonic the Hedgehog, Dante, Twilight Sparkle, Superman, Son Goku... To name a few.
  • Mini-Game: Tringo, and a few other player-created games.
    • The breedable animals, if you have enough land and breedables (you can get horses, dogs, cats, chickens, corn and other vegetables) you essentially have an expy of Farmville.
    • The breedable animals are actually against Second Life's TOS as they lag and crash sims. They're classified as griefer items if you share residence with others in the same sim but different parcels.
    • There are even MMOs built within SL. There are some open source stat tracking engines such as DCS meant to allow others to develop their own MMOs without having to figure out all the coding and game mechanics themselves. Eventually, even Linden Labs got in on the act and now offers its own MMO in world for premium membership.
  • The Moral Substitute: The Teen Grid, a Closed Circle created to keep younger players out of the more ... interesting regions of the Main Grid, is a half-example. Eventually, it was shut down and age verification implemented on the main grid for the more adult areas. The part of the teen grid that would be going on to MG rejoiced, the poor souls that would have their accounts frozen started protesting, and the Main Grid residents aren't exactly happy about it either.
  • This Loser Is You: Unlike most escapist "games", it is genuinely possible to utterly fail to accomplish your goals in Second Life, which can be pretty devastating for somebody who was escaping from a bad life situation anyway.
  • No Export for You: A particularly appalling example in that users outside the US have increased trouble registering for accounts. This problem was brought to the attention of Second Life staff. In 2008.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: In sims where the health feature is enabled, having your health reduced to zero just teleports you back to your home point.
  • Oh Crap: Pretty much everyone's reaction when there's a forced sim restart by Linden Labs. Anyone who doesn't leave the sim before the timer expires will be forced to log out. Needless to say, this can get annoying if you're in the middle of role playing or are building something.
  • Old Media Playing Catch-Up: For a few years, Second Life was a media darling and a headline commonly ripped from. Dozens of corporations set up in-game buildings and facilities. Then it eventually got around that nearly everybody uses it for sex...
  • Powder Keg Crowd: A "virtual riot" managed to break out in SL in 2007, between the French National Front and anti-racism activists. This also crossed over into Uncanny Valley territory, and the novelty value of the weapons used, such as pig grenades, cranked it Up to Eleven.
  • Power Perversion Potential: You have the power to create almost anything you want in this world. So what do you do? Why, use it to have sex or send giant penises storming through the G-rated sims!
    • To the point where they created a separate continent just for that (at least, for the more explicitly sexual sims.) As a result, outside of that continent there are more and more creations that are not based on some kind of sex.
  • Quicksand Box: Second Life is a big, confusing place. This tends to turn away many new users, who wander around their welcome area of choice, try out the build tools, and get bored fairly quickly.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Where to begin with this?
  • Role-Playing Game: Entire regions can be dedicated to just this.
  • Rule 34: Obviously.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: It is very easy to dress this way. Tidbits of outfits are cheaper than whole outfits, so it is easy to mismatch items around, quickly becoming a cluttered mess. You can attach something like fifty items to your avatar, and those fifty items can have hundreds of pieces (although this is frowned upon). The avatar creator Bare@Rose is a big culprit for this style of dress.
  • Scenery Porn: Some sims are very artistically detailed, and when coupled with Kirsten's Viewer (lighting and shadows) adds immersion bliss. Of course, if you take the trope name literally, look three lines up.
  • Shout-Out: The three servers which run the grid of sims are named Magnum, Le Tigre and Blue Steel.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: One user is actually creating an attachment that "enables" this. The endless possibilities that can be done with scripting...
  • Steampunk: A sizable community within Second Life, concentrated in a loose confederation of sims called the Steamlands (Caledon, New Babbage, Winterfell, Steelhead, Steeltopia, and probably others I'm forgetting).
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Water serves nothing more as an aesthetic appeal and have no affect on your avatar's performance.
    • Though many animation overriders will change the flying animations to swimming animations when underwater.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The things that you can do with Restrained Love Viewer...
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: With the vast freedom of the customization options in this game, was it inevitable that half of it would be porn, hardcore fetishes that can't be done in real life, or furry porn?
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The sheer variety of clothing options, along with skin, hair, complete furry avatars, and other clothing/body related items available runs into the millions.
  • Wallbonking: Avatars wallbonking can be a side effect of lag. Sometimes there's a delay between your avatar's actions and what you're seeing, and sometimes there's a delay in the commands your avatar is responding to, either way you're guaranteed to unintentionally walk into a wall at one point.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Kinda. Sorta. It's not a sandbox game in the usual sense, since it's not a traditional game, more of a mediated environment, partially under the control of its denizen-creators.
    • Put another way, there are vast areas that can be explored, but almost as many areas that are restricted to authorized avatars and owners. And some of the more, shall we say, serious citizens can get very touchy around intruders.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: VWE, Virtual Wrestling Entertainment, which is broadcast on one of Second Life's television channels as well.

Seal OnlineMassively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing GameThe Secret World
Scarface: The World is YoursWide Open SandboxSecrets of Rętikon

alternative title(s): Second Life
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy