'Second Life' is a PC game that really is not like any other game. For a start, it really is a second world in which an individual can create an open-ended, ongoing second life. That second life can be as mundane as the first life, if one simply wishes to create an avatar whose existence mirrors the existence of his/her creator. One could lead a sort of 'shadow life' as it were, using an avatar with the same appearance, lifestyle and goals as yourself. Most players, however, are drawn to Second Life because of the infinite variety of experiences one can have there.
On the mundane level, one can buy and sell real estate or any other commodity in Second Life. One can pursue an ordinary domestic existence, 'awakening' from bed to watch a sunrise, take a bath or shower, eat breakfast, then face whatever the day may bring... Some people go to Second Life for the shopping. It really gives new meaning to the expression: 'shop until you drop'. One could spend a hundred lifetimes in the shopping malls if one wishes.
Other individuals are 'party animals' and spend most of their time attending parties and functions. Every sort of event exists in Second Life, from formal affairs to disco parties and sexual orgies.
There are people who go to Second Life for romance or sex, and those who go for exploration. There are individuals who never learn how to build anything and others who acquire a passion for building, actually creating a second career and real livelihood for themselves in the Second Life universe.
For those who love history, fantasy or science fiction, Second Life offers rare opportunities actually to live in another period or setting as any creature or magical being one could imagine. There are islands and communities dedicated to specific fantasies, time periods and 'themes'.
Whether a person is interested in science or the arts, in joining groups with specific interests and purposes or in 'hanging out', Second Life offers infinite opportunities.
That having been said, the first step towards the portal that leads to Second Life is downloading the programme. The programme is free, as is registration. You can create an avatar and explore Second Life without ever spending any money at all.
To do this, simply go to:
Register, then download the programme.
You can choose any name you like for your first name. Your 'last name' or surname must be chosen from a list. Although you do need to give your real name and a valid email address, you do not have to share any other personal details with Linden Labs unless you wish to become a Premium Member, a paying member with the right to own land and/or conduct a business in Second Life.
You can be male or female, old or young, human or non-human. If you wish, you can create more than one avatar. There is no cost for this in monetary terms. The cost is in terms of time and energy alone.
If you wish to 'upgrade' immediately to a Premium Account in order to be able to buy land and have fewer restrictions on the amount of money you can spend (in either world), YOU CANNOT DO SO AT THIS POINT. You must wait until you receive an email from Second Life activating your account. You then must open the Second Life programme on your computer and log into Second Life using your Avatar and password.
It is only after you have agreed to the stipulations of the pop-up documents that will appear that you can return to the site to upgrade your Account status. Until you have logged into Second Life at least once, you are not 'recognised' by Linden Labs as a member.