BTL (Better Than Life), also commonly referred to as “beetles,” “mindbenders,” “playback,” “tracers,” and “zombie chips,” are an addictive form of Simsense chips. BTLs are known for their lack of peak controls, the legally-recommended limits to ASIST signal levels and modulation, resulting in a more intense experience than commercially available simsense, and direct stimulation to the limbic area, or “pleasure center,” of the brain, wreaking havoc with brain biochemistry and leading to addictive behavior. This addictiveness combined with a limited longetivity on most BTL chips provides a lucrative market for organized crime. BTLs have become the modern drug of choice and junkies, called “chipheads,” are a common sight.
Most countries have standardized peak control limits, although the California Free State, thanks in part to lobbying from the entertainment industry, and a few other countries commonly have higher peaks than the UCAS and the CAS. These high-peak chips are popular amongst the black market and are known as “Californian hots” or “cal-hots.”
The most known form of BTL is the “dreamchip,” which is a standard simsense recording that has the been modded into a BTL. Most dreamchips are private simsense recordings, while some are studio-produced simsense with the peak controls simply removed. Pornographic one-shots, recorded crimes and heroic fantasies, known as “fairy tales of the street” are popular. There is also a growing submarket for snuff chips, in which the recording individual dies.
A common form of BTL is the “moodchip,” which heavily focuses on the emotive track, sometimes to the point that other sensory input is edited out. Popular moods are euphoria, aggression, and sexual desire. Street names reflect the nature of the simsense experience, such as Blue Passion, Red Meanie, and Cool White. These simsense chips have the RAS override disable so that users can move around under the influence of the chip.
A variant form of BTL is the “personafix chip,” which transforms the personality, thoughts, and memories of the user to a particular personality, usually famous. A person slotting a personafix chip of Maria Mercurial, for example, believes that he or she is Maria Mercurial, and reacts with the emotions and personality of the starlet. These chips are popularly used in bunraku or meatpuppet parlors, where the prostitute can become any personality the buyer desires. Modified personafix chips are also used in covert infiltration, to enhance the acting and disguise of a mole.