[intro] "Virtual terrorists" are rampaging their way around Second Life. Well, it beats a Jimmy Carr gig... [/intro]
A plague of Super Marios, a virtual atomic bomb, exploding pigs and even a quite irate Thomas the Tank Engine are just some of the weapons used by a new generation of terrorists in the former online utopia of Second LIfe. To quote Morrisey "Come, come nuclear bombs..."
It's due to SL's self-perpetuating success, you see. After the first sniffs of success, bands, "comedians" and general creative types began to use the online environment as a platform, but as SL continues to hit the headlines, we've seen Democratic politicians using it as a campaign venue, high-street retailers setting up flagship stores and even the controversial French right-wing group, Front National, creating a virtual HQ.
The Second Life Liberation Army (SLLA) are an "avatar rights" group which has been hitting the headlines for setting off bombs in Reebok and American Apparel's virtual stores, as well as staging sit-ins at political conventions. And other groups and individuals have been following suit – from Bush supporters sabotaging a Democratic HQ, to some creative soul unleashing the Mario blight on the SLLA themselves.
Even our own poor old Jimmy Carr was not immune when he performed his virtual gig in SL – some card reportedly offered him a spiked drink, which, when accepted, made him repeatedly fall over on stage. Oh dear.
Lots has been made of the actions of these "griefers", but I say push the button. For one, the effect is purely visual – it doesn't even create virtual damage. For another, it enlivens what is the essentially dull as ditchwater pursuit of existing in SL. And lastly, it's fascinating to watch this micro-society's trajectory from idealistic Shangri-La, to sickly mass-marketing tool, to anarchic nest of exploding pigs... Vive la revolution!