To feed the insatiable demand for more characters, more levels and more weapons, Blizzard employs a flotilla of designers, artists, animators and programmers. Pushing up on the boundaries “There are two types of people,” says Beth Goza, known as Kealiaha Trudeau in Second Life.

“Those who think it's fine to live within the world of developers’ imaginations, and those that push up on the boundaries.” Goza falls into the latter camp. But she wanted to customize her game-playing experience, and she knew other people felt the same way.

But the grow-your-own quality of these games resonated with players.

There are no monsters to kill, no real objective to speak of.

Players build and design a city in “Sim City,” and in “The Sims,” players control characters in day-to-day activities.

“It’s an entirely open-ended experience.” Second Life does bear some resemblance to the “Sim City” and “Sims” franchises from Maxis and Electronic Arts.

The genius of user-created content It’s true Second Life lacks a designed conflict and end objective. “Content can be very transient in Second Life,” she says.

But the real difference between “World of Warcraft,” “The Sims” or any other game Second Life is compared to is this: Linden does not create the content. “One of my favorite islands was an amusement park, and one day I went and it was gone.” For love or money? “There is no manufactured conflict, no set objective,” says spokesperson Catherine Smith. The term “3-D online virtual world” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as the term “game.” And it’s a whole lot harder to get in a headline. Linden Lab, the company that created the platform that is Second Life, is emphatic that their creation is not a game. The mainstream press has struggled with how to characterize Second Life.The goal is simple: Players enter a multiplayer online world and go on quests alone or with other people. Plenty of addicted players hit that ceiling quickly, so much like someone who devours a book in three hours and can’t bear to part with the characters, “Wo W” players simply go back to the beginning and start over.She and friend Lucius Templar created a movie theater, an art gallery, an amusement park and a shopping center for Djork. For Goza, Djork was a way to take her mind off her mother’s illness.