No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #83: virtual world edition

I hate it when that happens. Between my project being on hold due to unforeseen circumstances and my mind being on 3D art these days (what started as some illustration work turned into more), I find myself at the end of the week with just one topic for you. One. Pathetic, isn't it? At least that gives me extra room for comment.

It was via Chris Meadows of Teleread fame that I heard about this virtual tour of abandoned Second Life sites, and while SL is still populous overall, that instantly reminded me of the months I spent in 2009 exploring empty MU*s. And those usually were completely deserted, forgotten even by the sysadmins running the servers. Apart from the medium -- text versus graphics -- similarities are striking. Outdated announcements stuck to a wall; weird objects in surreal surroundings; the feeling that someone could pop in any time, despite the server stats showing the last login to have been years before.

Which only serves to remind me that Seltani, which I reviewed with much enthusiasm two years ago, became a ghost town before the year was over. Even I abandoned it for the most part, shamefully so. That's what happens when you fail to establish a tight community, I suppose -- absent that, virtual worlds remain a solution in search of a problem, and pretty graphics can't help. What did we expect when we reacted to the complete freedom of cyberspace by trying to recreate the limitations of meatspace within it?

In completely unrelated news, it's not often that a gameplay trailer catches my eye, but Rolling Torque looks very much like a low-poly, highly colorful, spiritual successor to Marble Madness, and the retrogamer in me can't fail to find that compelling. I'd play it, and that's rare these days. See you next week.