"Every human being is interested in two kinds of worlds: the Primary, everyday world which he knows through his senses, and a Secondary world or worlds which he not only can create in his imagination, but which he cannot stop himself creating." W.H. Auden
Everybody keeps watching Linden Lab over the years to see whether they will get bought out by some bigger media company, and they forget to watch to see what they themselves acquire -- or just take (like the did with GOM). Of course, that includes Windlight, and didn't they buy or get a stake in some customer service thing? (Or was that just a rental lol). Now they've bought Avatars United, something that nobody ever went to, even before it was one of those Yogi Berra places like it is now where "nobody ever goes there, it's too crowded". Of course, some people will go there just to chat with Lindens who are in a suddenly socialable mode and easier to find on there, unlike SL, where they alphabets have made themselves impossible to search for -- deliberately.
When I was a child, we lived in a series of dumps in a small upstate town, the kind of wooden homes build in the 19th century that were originally for the wealthy of their day, complete with carriage steps and stables, and then became known 50 years after their prime as "multifamily dwellings," which was a way of saying "they got all chopped up and rented out". We would live in funny arrangements with two or three other families, say, we would have half of a downstairs and one upstairs room, which would be shared with people also on that second floor in two rooms across the hall, where they put lockable doors. Today, all the multis have been kicked out and they've been refurbished for a new generation of wealthy 100 years later, but back then, they were dumpy, with sagging porches and stairs, high ceilings in rooms that never got warm, peeling linoleum. Even so, we loved them precisely because they were dumpy, but interesting, with dumbwaiters, strange earthen basements, barns with odd implements, bannisters to slide down, and witch's tower.
When we had to move into a shiny new split level suburban house like a 1,000 other houses in a treeless tract, it was supposed to be "better," but it was depressing and we didn't like it. Nothing for the kids to do, except go down in the ill-named "family room" and watch TV.
That's how it feels being driven over to Avatars United, a site run by Enemies Unknown, which I had never heard of. I'm not very "social" to be honest despite having lots of "friends". I went over there, just to see if it had anything -- it doesn't.
Appallingly, as Ordinal has pointed out, this antidote to the Facebook-uniting features that M Linden wants to push obviously accepts avatars -- you suspect this is the ghetto where the people who refuse to out their RL name will have to go -- doesn't have verifiability for the avatars. There are already three Prokofy Nevas, only one of which is me -- and one of which is the known enemy type who wrote "communists" blah blah and the other was Ordinal testing what she could do with the system -- which was make any name, including Linden names, to spoof anyone. Is there a Spartacus Linden? You know, there could be, there are Lindens springing up everywhere like kudzu now.
That's just inexcusable. It might dampen membership velocity, which is all these suits care about, but having a kiosk you touch inworld for verifying identity would make it grief-free on that score. Instead, the owners -- and their new Linden overlords -- have outrageously said that they figure the fake IDs will simply be driven away. That's retarded, because on Twitter, there are still people friending the fake Prokofy as there are on Facebook and never realizing (the Prokofy on FB is not me but Woodbury griefing).
I'm loving Small Worlds. I haven't been to it in awhile, and somehow, I must have become Small Worlds FIC because I logged on to find that I had a Founders' Cape and 50,000 small bux.
It's located somewhere between the Metaplace Island Life that Raph Koster has going now and Second Life. Island Life doesn't feel like much of a dumbing down of Metaplace to me, because I never built much or did much "development" there but just played the little dumb games, explored, and tried to put stuff out on my lot. So it isn't very different than Island Life, which I like a lot better than Farmville, because the graphics are better, and there isn't this forcing of me to deal with waiting for plants. In Island Life, somehow the motives are set up not to be so punishing, the stuff can die, but it doesn't seem to die as much. You can leave it overnight and not set your alarm to do planting the way some junkies are doing now with Farmville. Dr. Phil has even shouted at a mom addicted to Farmville who is neglecting her kids and telling her 'GET OUT OF FARMVUL! MAKE A GARDEN IN REAL LIFE!" You can tell true farm people from the Midwest or South by the way they say "Farmvul" instead of "Farmville" with the short "i" the way they also might be caught saying wuuul like Khamon Fate does.
Island Life is very much a quick get-in-and out. It now has rare salvages. Not to be confused with The Dry Salvages. I think I gave Raph the idea, telling him he needed rares and salvages like the 7Seas Fishing Game. Of course, it's not as if Raph, being a game god, didn't know the memes of game construction with the rares and the salvages, except it isn't quite like 7Seas, where you collect stuff to make other stuff. It's ok, I never do that on 7Seas because I don't have the patience.
Island Life is just about the right size and time-suck for a Facebook game with a feature others don't have -- chat inside the world -- to not really bother you. Cafe World made me go bankrupt -- Loren Feldman's wife Michelle was bombarding me with strawberry shortcakes and guac and chips, and as the founder of the 1938 Media Dopes fan club, I didn't think I could say "no". I still haven't deleted it because Michelle's posts about these games are so hilarious. She has this video up of the Farmville thing, "Fence the Farm Bitch In!" that will make you convulse with laughter. But...I hate being chained over a stove to cook, and then having it make me clean it up like a Sim, for 5 whole minutes online...like real life. I am not good at being *forced* in a game. I get out of them when that happens.
Farmville has been excellent for keeping in touch but not really keeping in touch with people like a guy who used to be in DPKO Haiti (now what can you possibly say to an acquaintance like that, that wouldn't sound like a stupid cliche?) and a college friend of 32 years ago (yikes!). Farmville gifts are just the right sort of thing for moribund sections of the social graph which you might like to keep in "archive" mode but not really have to *talk* to as they might drive you batty.
However, Small Worlds is more like the Sims Online in feel, except that there are no motives and things expiring or rotting or needing plowing as in TSO or Farmville, you just roam around. (Points keep going off above my head for doing things like arriving or drinking coffee, but I don't seem to be *punished* if I don't do those things). I was especially impressed with the "real estate" now which isn't going to be an Anshe Chung thing any time soon -- there is no cashout or user generated content -- but which makes a huge space for a relatively low cost. It has some really nice landscaping and you can put your stuff out easily (it was the inability to put out stuff easily in MP that drove me nuts).
The only thing a bit hard to get used to like movies is the huge letterbox view in your browser -- it takes awhile to finally find where you can get rid of this and make a full screen. But of course, that's the whole thing - it's a dirt-simple browser game.
Another big plus unlike MP or even Blue Mars or even Second Life (hard to imagine something better than SL) is the way you make your avatar. It is outside the world, and very easy and very visible so you aren't struggling. There are many presets for things that you don't see preset in other games like eyebrows cocked or scars on the face. When you get in world, your handiwork is not undone by having your character be too weeny in size, which people bitched about on MP. If you go to the trouble to make an expressive avatar, you want to *see* it.
In fact, there are few annoyances in Small Worlds. Having to leave the game to read help stuff is annoying, but you won't need it.
There is a system of quests that are the flywheel of SW action. I haven't really done those but I think some people find them fun and you can make your own. If you can't make content, being able to put together game action through a set of building blocks is as fun -- and maybe a good substitute.
Some might find the alerts/ads for events annoying, but I don't mind them, they are like the old days when Lindens used to announce many events on the blue screen dropdown.
It's a little weird, like the old Kaneva or the Sims to go to stores where there's only game-god stock. But they've made this a bit more interesting by selling it for either game gold, which you can earn or buy, or tokens, which you can also earn or buy, and earn even just by spinning the roulette wheel when you join. You earn these also by doing stuff in-game, but some of the stuff is tacky, like terminals where you click and are taken to those "offers" -- those tacky online things where you fill out surveys and click through menus and give away your RL info and such to get game tokens. But, again, some people love that. Obviously it works as some companies are just coining money on this stuff.
Camera action and visuals in SW are great. I still find it uber-annoying in Island Life not to be able to move around without the screen constantly slipping out of my mouse-clicking grasp. It constantly jams, stops, boomerangs, and I have to keep clicking to try to move it. The Small Worlds motion is just click, drag, click, drag and very smooth. What is the technology that does that stuff, and why does it work well on some worlds and not others? Is that Java?
Another big plus in SW is that I have a little pet that I can also dress up and pat.
Yet another SUPER feature is how dirt easy it is to ban people. This was waaaaay too hard in Metaplace; in Island Life it isn't necessary but there isn't choice -- you can't make an open lot and ban people, you can only make friend/not friend and then those friends get to be your "neighbours" with visiting perms.
In SW, you search for the name, pull up the profile and click BAN FROM SPACE or BLOCK AVATAR. Simpler even than in SL, which requires first the wonky accessing of the ban tab off the land menu and then typing into the space, etc, often with the damn list refusing to load, or refusing to appear in alphabetical order to see if you have them in the list already.
So far, I don't have any friends. And that's ok, because the other people on there seem to be about 12, and I'm not interested in them. They tend to do things like type "Im bored" every five minutes. Meanwhile, I am going to keep my space going here, because if SL dies, this would be a place to go. And eventually, I think it will be more useable as precisely what it is, something that isn't as dumb-assed as a Facebook game, but with some stupid games inside it for those that want it, and something that isn't as hard as SL.
Many people are interested in the question "how many people can fit on a sim". They have rooms/spaces/land whatever, and it looks like the answer is "20". Twenty if plenty when they are all typing things like "u rock" and "VIP hates it when you poke pets" and "so u wanna go out" to people they've met five minutes ago.
Somebody has an eye on these things though, because a system message came up "Tyler is being booted for using inappropriate words in a Small Worlds space". "Cute or boot," says somebody.
Wow, you have to feel sorry for EA.com, starting a beta for a game for this discredited, tanking sports hero, Tiger Woods.
Eek, bad call. Probably some game exec thought that if enough time went by to look discreet, they could launch the game and people wouldn't care. And maybe they won't. And it's only a free beta. But I wonder what they were thinking. Tiger's advertising backers, which are some pretty big moneybags, have dumped him, causing him to lose oodles of revenue.
I have to say, I never understood the Tiger Woods thing. Golf is by its very nature as boring as shit. Have you ever tried to watch golf on TV? It puts you to sleep. Like baseball. Awful to watch on TV. Slightly more interesting to watch in RL, but basically, a game you have to play to enjoy. Like golf. Golf is just one of those things you play as a device to be able to walk around on a nice green lawn with your business chums and then drink at a club named the 19th Hole afterward. Why not just walk in the woods with a stick in your hand and then go to a bar afterwards, same effect?
And Tiger Woods is somebody I never got, either. He always struck me as one of those blacks who became famous for not being black. Like that Twitter hash meme, #justbecauseyoureblack which I responded to as follows: #justbecauseyourblack doesn't mean you're black lol. He is famous for not being black yet being black, like the Hootie and the Blowfish Guy. Do blacks like Tiger Woods, or just whites? Do people REALLLLY care about golf or are they just interested in seeing a guy who is black play golf instead of basketball?
And then, the part I didn't get is why this talented black man with the fabulous golfing career worth hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and endorsements would have to have his career die because he cheated on his wife.
Is there a different standard for sports stars? Or a different standards for blacks who go into white people sports like golf? You never see Hollywood stars or rock stars, black or white, suffering because they cheat on their spouses or have a bunch of different spouses in a row. I mean, the tabs live for that, that's how you sell tabs and People magazine and such, how could you fault those starts for not making the copy interesting? Ok, so he cheated with like two waitresses. Or maybe six. But who's counting? It's not like it hurt his golfing elbow.
So why did his career have to die? I'm all for being moral and being true to your spouse. But maybe, you have to get out of a marriage that isn't working out and move on and become a swinging batchelor, why not? It isn't a particularly moral or richly rewarding life, but it's no different than a lot of people in the news. Why the particular savagery on people who cheat...and only *some* of them? Like Edwards or Sanford. Why do we care? They end up lying merely because the public still seems to be Puritanical enough to care -- but they care selectively. Rappers beat their girlfriends and people endlessly argue on YouTube whether they should get to complain about that or not. Yet Tiger Woods wasn't a wife beater, correct? Wasn't it his wife that hit him with the golf club? Or? I may have gotten the story wrong.
Anyway, advertising agencies can get more skittish than they need to, but the EA.com people may in fact have shrewdly figured out that their demographics for this game will not care at all, if anything, it will seem to make Tiger more cool to them that he has all these fabulous waitress babes on a string.
On the other hand, we don't need to feel sorry for EA.com, they are a big heartless game company that shut down the Sims Online because they couldn't handle user-generated-content and cashouts, so fuck 'em.