Sunday, 3 June 2007


I have been up less than half an hour, and it is quarter to one in the afternoon. Indeed, I am sitting here typing this in my dressing gown and slippers, cup of tea at hand.

Mr WithaY has been gone just over 24 hours and I am already turning into Miss Havisham.

I was up ridiculously late playing Second Life last night, which goes some way to explaining the enormity of my lie-in. However, I think I have worked out why the game is so compelling. I once heard someone talking about "intermittent reward" being truly addictive.

The example they used was fishing. When you go fishing there is no guarantee that you will catch anything. Sometimes you can be out all day and not get anything. Other days you can come home with pockets stuffed full of turbot. (I speak figuratively, Mr WithaY has only once brought a turbot home from a fishing trip and it was too big to go in his pocket.)

Anyhoo, Second Life is entirely unpredictable. Some days you sign in, none of your mates are around, nothing seems to be going on, so you meep about aimlessly, a bit bored, hoping something fun will happen. It doesn't, so eventually you call it quits and go and do something more useful and three-dimensional instead.

No reward for playing.

Other times, you sign in, ALL your mates are there, there's loads of great stuff happening and you have a fab time, ending up staying online till the wee small hours, (which is maybe not such a good idea.) You get a huge reward from playing, so come back the next time hoping for the same thing.

But you can't predict it, so it is addictive.

Actually, I think the dog behaviourist we took our mental "angry" dog to told us much the same thing. Don't always give the dog a food treat, sometimes just praise him when he's been good. Otherwise he comes to expect the food treat and stops behaving because he is used to the reward always being there.

But the best part of all this is that I can now tell people that I am not just a sad old roleplay game addict, but that instead, I have an addictive personality and the intermittent reward culture of Second Life has reeled me in. Much like a turbot.

Ah well. Time for a shower, then to pack my stuff for next week, then sort out the ridiculously complex logisitics involved in getting the painter into the house and Jim out of it while I am away.

Good job we have great neighbours who are around nearly all the time - I will give one of them a top hat and a tailcoat and get them to act as a doorman for me.

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