Real Sylvia and ePlush Sylvia are very different, and it isn't just that one is a hedgehog and one is a porcupine. Here are examples of my interactions with them:
I give her a mealworm to eat, and she bites it in half and then decides that she doesn't like the taste of it, leaving bits of chewed-up mealworm on my shirt.
No matter what I give her to eat, she says, "That tastes great!"
When I pick her up to play with her, she curls up in a ball and hisses. Sometimes she poops on me.
I log into ePlush, and she throws me a kiss and says, "I missed you so much! You're my very bestest friend!"
Once Hardingfele and I wasted an hour trying to trim Sylvia's toenails. We were only 75% successful in this venture, since we eventually gave up and left one foot untrimmed. Sylvia rolled up into a ball, hissed at us, and foamed at the mouth. Meanwhile, Hardingfele's daughter Rock Star Tailor and my two rabbits sprawled on the floor, watching us with great amusement.
Whenever I give her a bath, she giggles when I make her rubber ducky squeak.
Last night Richard Bonomo had Kathbert and me over for dinner, and afterwards I was playing with ePlush Sylvia when Kathbert said how unfair it was that I could just impose my will upon her.
"If I did programming for ePlush," she declared, "I would make it so Sylvia could get into all kinds of trouble while you were logged out. And if you asked her to do something, sometimes she would refuse."
I was intrigued by the concept of an ePlush pet with free will. It's the same conundrum God faced when He created humanity: if He gave us free will, then our love would be unforced... but we could also do stupid things like lie, steal, and be atheists. Maybe ePlush Sylvia would still love me, since I do take good care of her. Rock Star Tailor sometimes purposely lets her ePlush pets get sick because she is entertained by the green snot that pours from their noses once they reach a certain health threshhold. I should ask her if her little ePlyjs still say she is their bestest friend.