I’ll preface this commentary by saying that I’m not the target audience for MetaPlace. The least of what I am as a gamer is social. Hell, I’m barely social in real life. Heavy social features and social tools don’t interest me much in my gaming. Yet, I checked out MetaPlace because Tipa at West Karana had posted about a Steampunk(SP) area that had been commented on by Cuppytalk. I ventured into the SP creation which was cute, hopped around various other zones whose descriptions interested me, played a mini game, didn’t see many players as I wandered along and logged out.
When I’m interacting in games like MetaPlace (MP) and SecondLife (SL) I always think, this would be interesting if I had more time - time to actually figure out where everyone is hiding (as in see other players), time to shuffle through the mediocre content to find the gems, time to find the area with content that would appeal to me, time to figure out what I’d do in such virtual spaces other than walk around, etc. Unfortunately, for me, time is a very precious commodity and I guard it fiercely.
I’m in the adultween stage. You know, that one IN BETWEEN when life was young and stretched out before you, with more time than you could use (1 to 30). And the later years, as you wind down into retirement planning and leisure, where time is yours to spend in more lavish ways and on personal indulgences (55 to until). In the adultween years, you’re recovering from choices in the earlier days, raising a family, working at relationships, forging careers, keeping an eye on financial empowerment and stability – basically, managing today and working toward securing that ever closer tomorrow. Time feels more finite and has a higher cost.
My gaming tastes have changed – well that’s not wholly accurate, it’s not that my gaming tastes changed in the adultween, it’s that my tolerances changed. I’m much less tolerant of wasted time, especially in settings where I’m expecting fun and entertainment. Working through the grind, pushing past poor design, dealing with massive time sinks and looking through the haystack for the needle of fun, are things I’m less tolerant of as an adultween gamer.
When I’m poking around games like SL and MP, I see the things that I would have enjoyed at other times in my life. Like building a reading sanctuary reflective of my fantasy tastes, share some poetry and digital art. I would have created virtual spaces about my large work-in-progress fiction projects, with representation of primary characters. But these days, my road to fun in a game needs to be immediately evident and readily accessible. No time to search for it by turning over every rock.
So while I “get” the social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and the alike, and understand the ideas and creativity behind social games like SL and MP, I’m clearly not the target audience, being less social than many. Moreover, living through the adultween years of my life, I’m particular in how I spend my gaming time and less inclined to "look for the fun" in a game.