I think that how we each decide to define Second Life has to do with what we bring into it. Coders and programmers might look at the metaverse as kind of a technical exercise. Video gamers might see it as a huge game. Artists might use SL as a new forum for their work. We can be whoever we want, of course, but who we want to be comes from where we started.
I've always seen SL as a sort of story machine. I never played video games too much and I don't have any technical expertise at all, but I've always been a reader and a movie freak. I've even been known to pick up a comic book or two. So, when I found myself in a world where pretty much everyone communicates in text in a really interesting visual landscape, well, movies and books were the only real experience I've had that even came close.
We're all really in a story, whether you look at it as a video game or comic book or whatever. Even you strictly business types get to play a role, since you pretty much have to accept it on some level; especially when chatting land prices with an 18 foot tall dragon or neko cyborg.
There are a lot of stories in SL. We've got our Star Wars sims and Gorean sims, you can play as a knight in shining armor or a futuristic bounty hunter. Each sim has it's own theme sometimes with pieces inspired by if not outright borrowed from someplace else. For the immersion, well, we've got designers making skins, attachments, weapons, hairs, accessories and everything to make the world a little more real. Snowflake Skins aren't all that new to the metaverse, Snowflake Chaika's creations have been inworld since 2007 at least, but they still deserve mention as beautiful and imaginative examples of adding to the story of Second Life. What's interesting about Snowflake isn't their realism, these aren't haute couture runway skins. These are skins straight from the world of anime. Tones, shading and makeups are straight from the painted pages of your fave mangas, and if you're a fan of the genre, these are the skins for you.
What's really cool about these skins is that while more 'traditional' skinmakers have seen their work sometimes maybe fail under the increasingly realistic glare of the latest and greatest windlight viewers, Snowflake's won't. Realism isn't the point here. The Battle Angel and Drow skins are beautiful because they're so unreal, not in spite of it.
Snowflake Chaika also has a shop called Bleach with some anime inspired hairs to add to your look. Not a huge selection but what is there is really quite nice too.
So enjoy! Pop in your Akira DVD and log in. Snowflake Skins are gorgeous examples of just another possibility in everyone's favorite metaverse.