Zoom not cutting it for you? Try exploring a virtual world
- May 4, 2020
- Tom Boellstorff, anthropology, Wired, May 4, 2020
During the pandemic, videogames are becoming destinations every bit as legitimate as their analog counterparts, as WIRED’s Cecilia D’Anastasio wrote earlier this week. Just look at how many people are obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons or even get married in it, despite the game having a notoriously clunky chat interface. I recently took a trip to Anteater Island in Second Life, where UC Irvine professor Tom Boellstorff is teaching his Digital Cultures class this semester. Boellstorff, an anthropologist, has studied Second Life nearly since its inception in 2003, but this is the first time he’s teaching class using the program. Boellstorff custom-built Anteater to include an office, spaces for lectures and group projects, areas to hang out, and even a roller coaster (which obviously I rode). He uses the island in tandem with Zoom for classes, partially because Second Life doesn’t run well on older computers and can’t be accessed from a smartphone. So far, the setup is working well. Being in the same virtual space “does seem to have supported interactions that would not have happened if only using Zoom or a similar conference call program,” he says
For the full story, please visit https://www.wired.com/story/zoom-not-cutting-it-virtual-world-online-town/.