The End of Second Life

Three avatars in a grainy black and white photo in an ancient cemetery contemplate The End of Second Life
Vaneeesa Blaylock, Kate Fletcher, Natalija Blaylock, at the Realm of Avalon cemetery. (click images to see them full size)


The End of Second Life

I hear you, “Not again!”

But this time it’s real.

I joined SL in April ’09. Peeps have been lamenting the end since longer than I’ve been around. As far as I can tell, the peak, the golden age, was ’07. By ’08 the luster was already off. Sure there were cool Obama – McCain virtual pranks in ’08, but the Apparrel and Technology corporations who’d opened sims were already starting to figure out that they hadn’t ever figured out what they were doing with them. Peeps were already starting to say the best days were behind this virtual world.

Since then the doomsayers and complainers, often including myself, have ranted on. And yet the virtual world of so much creativity and flexibility still stands, still welcomes new residents every day, still hosts a seemingly endless parade of inventive artists, architects, and culture hackers creating “Impossible IRL” experiences. If you don’t listen to the doomsayers, you’d think everything was fine – I did – till this morning.

There I was, minding my own business, working quietly, when a friend suddenly and unexpectedly sent me a deeply disturbing video. I cannot caution you enough to watch this video only at your own risk. Please understand that what you will experience, once seen, can never be unseen.


The Final Insult

Taboo: Forbidden Love, by one of those supposed-to-be-reputable journalistic sources, National Geographic, made me sick to my stomach and pulled the rug from under my virtual feet, leaving me to fall 4096 meters to the bottom of the virtual ocean floor. To be fair, I only watched the first 2 of the documentary’s 45 minutes, but I think the shocking news was already clear: this was a documentary filled with “weirdos” in “bizarre,” “delusional” love relationships, and it wasn’t going to mention Second Life at all!

Grainy black and white photo, overhead image, of one person looking at another in a coffin in the ground. The death of the individual a metaphor here for The Death of Second Life
Like a scene out of The Art Star and the London Orphan, I adopted Natalija in April, and then she didn’t see her deadbeat art mom for 6 months. And here, only to find her in the ground. Even though we don’t really know each other, Natalija was heartbroken. My own daughter, just more carnage on my heartless crawl to the top of the virtual art dung heap.


The End of Days

Second Life can survive sim closings. Second Life can survive user account deletions. Second Life can survive designers folding up their virtual shops and towing all their creations off in a huff. Second Life will never be Facebook (thank gawd!) but I thought SL would always survive as long as there was a collection of oldtimers and newcomers who found this a compelling space for any of many varied activities.

All that changed this morning.

When the filmmakers of the cinemaverse no longer take pleasure in making documentaries about the twisted weirdos in Second Life and their wretched, pathetic relationships, then Second Life truly has reached the end of days.

grainy, black and white photograph of two women standing in a cemetery. They both look forward in the general direction of the camera, and both turned in toward each other in a subtle sort of acknowledgement.
Natalija Blaylock, Vaneeesa Blaylock. Realm of Avalon cemetery.


Thank you to Kate Fletcher, Avalon Junior Knight, for her assistance and for joining us in the photograph.
β€’ Order of
β€’ Avalon Design / SL Marketplace
β€’ Avalon – medieval fantasy role play SIM in Second Life

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

11 thoughts on “The End of Second Life

  1. OMG Van! No no no no, no no no, NO. Geez, I’m looking for new inspirations. It’s way too soon to declare SL dead. Well, maybe it is almost dead but you need to do more of your wonderful performance art shows, you need to come visit SL New England more often. I need to get you a cup of pixel camomile tea and I’ll talk you off the ledge. hehehe. 2013 will be the best year ever! Hugs & love, your ever luvin’ Yordie

    1. Oh my Yordie! You’re sayin SL can even survive filmmakers not having fun saying what creepers we all are?

      You ARE the greatest cheerleader! Yay for Speedboat2013apalooza! I say The Blake Sea’s best days are still to come!

      1. You lay out a mighty fine case, Ms. Blaylock, but I can always find that little ray of sunshine for you, as long as you’ll find it for me when I pull a Van.
        Actually, I wrote a similar piece, same title, and it upset several of my so-called friends. One “friend”, a nutjob of the first kind (praying that she’s reading this and stewing in her juices), even defriended me for being “so negative”. The funny thing is, I was just commenting on an article someone else had writted called “The End of Second Life” and said it’s too early to say that. And so it goes. hehe.
        Actually, and to the music from “Annie” (i think that’s where it comes from):
        I can see a bright new day… lala lala lah lah lahhhh… that’s all i remember but it’s sooo cheerful. heh hehe.
        Seriously, 2013 is gonna be totally different. Everyone now knows that LL doesn’t give a damn about SL so we have a form of serile anarchy. And on our own land we aren’d serile at all. hehe

        1. Speaking of rays of sunshine, I heard a rumor that you’re off spending RL Gift Cards — hmm — maybe I should get virtual gift cards for all my peeps! Share the love AND stimulate the economy! πŸ™‚

          PS: maybe EVERYONE, should write a “The End of Second Life” blog post… kind of like a required rite of passage… sort of like your point… once everyone’s declared it dead, then we can just get on with it. πŸ˜›

    1. OMG, really Rosie? Bummer. I hate that “not available in your country” BS. You really don’t need to see it at all though, it’s just another one of those “look at these weirdos” documentaries. I was just being sarcastic that they didn’t even bother to include Second Life residents on their list of weirdos! πŸ˜›

    1. aww, so sorry nowonder, but again, you’re actually more lucky than you know, it’s a kinda boring video (IMHO) so this way you get all the fun Vaneeesa sarcasm without having to watch the tedious video – yay!

      You didn’t really need to see a girl making out with the Berlin Wall, did you?

      1. I stopped watching the vid when the guy who was in love with his VW was preparing to have sex with it. I am curious where he sticks his… OOPPPSSS never mind.

  2. So, this was written in 2012 and it is now June of 2014. Guess what? Second Life is still going strong. With meshes becoming more advanced, countless role play sims and every kind of breedable pet possible, including little Dwarfs, it doesn’t seem likely that SL will be dying any time soon. As their technology gets better, so too does the game play and they are constantly improving it. Even earning a bit of $Lindens is easier with several ways to game it.

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