The Wages of Play, Part II: Social Devolution

by Alphaville Herald on 11/10/05 at 10:40 am

Second Life residents attempt to crash the Off the Wagon sim

Well, Pat the Rat’s film finally came back from the lab, and except for a few tequila-stained shots, the Herald is happy to present an even more in-depth look at the weekend’s events. From dance contests to game development, conspiracies to goldfish, a good time was had by most, and there may even have been some work that got done (shudder). The Herald staff combed the conferences for leads, and came back with a surprisingly creative roster of stories, many of which will appear here as soon as we finish tweaking the facts to suit our purposes. In the meantime, we present the pictorial proof of whatever it is we eventually have to say:

Pathfinder Linden (right) shells out his last L$ to pick up some swag

Herald Editor Urizenus Sklar interrogates Betsy Book over the recent Ludium cheating scandal

Second Life and Tiny Life: Herald Editorial Director Walker Spaight (left) and LambdaMOO sex-crime reporter Dr. Bombay have each other on /ignore

Herald freelancer Seldon Metropolitan, whose report is expected shortly

Game development at the New York Law School
Perhaps not surprisingly, the weekend featured its share of impromptu RL game development, including a Dance Dance Revolution contest that ended tied between two light-on-their-feet teams:

VW pundit James Grimmelmann with the Queen of State of Play, Beth Noveck

Jade Lily (left) with Hamlet Linden. (Judges were at first uncertain whether Jade and Hammie’s entry didn’t qualify for the mixed doubles tournament due to a disparity between Jade’s SL and RL avatars.)

Judge SNOOPYbrown Zamboni holds court at the New York Law School

A meeting of the virtual minds: Cyberspace visionary Howard Rheingold (left) and MUD1 creator Richard Bartle

More moments from the Herald after-party:

Cory basks in the inextinguishable glow of Howard Rheingold

Capitalist running dogs Anshe Chung and Prokofy Neva plotting Grid-wide domination

Philip (left), surprised to find himself unable to ban Prok (right) from the party

EVE Online lead designer Kjartan Emilsson (right) bore up bravely under your correspondent’s interrogations

Game development at the Tribeca Grand
You just can’t stop those game developers. Despite the scandal that rocked the recent Ludium event, the Herald suite became the site of yet another game development competition. The winning entry was a turn-based multiplayer shooter called Tequila Gear Liquid XVII, in which players competed in deathmatch elimination rounds that left none of them standing.

Philip Linden’s TGL entry

SNOOPYbrown Zamboni takes over after Philip is eliminated

Herald Publisher Urizenus Sklar clearly had the winning entry, but was robbed again by collusion among the judges

Official “winner” of the goldfish prize, Cory Linden

Editor’s note: Though the goldfish survived having its water replaced with Sambuca, Cory’s demonstration of conflagration techniques learned in a former career resulted in an unfortunate loss of marine life. Pat the Rat’s camera was unable to capture the brilliance of the explosion itself, but here we present Cory’s goldfish in its last moments, just before he pitches the cigarette in that ended it all. May the goldfish rest in peace.

62 Responses to “The Wages of Play, Part II: Social Devolution”

  1. Stellsy Fallen Ava

    Oct 14th, 2005

    You guys are really unkind to eachother. Since when is it ok to pick on lil old ladies? You have no manners and should be ashamed of yourselves. Im not sad i missed your lil get together except i wish i could give Uri a big warm hug. That man has a special place in my heart. But most of you induce vomit. All the best people have already left Second Life The rest are crawlin over eachother to kiss bum and politic And for what? to be king fuck of shit mountain. yipee

  2. Antje

    Oct 14th, 2005


    There is no spoon.

    Shut up, you would be architects of nil.

  3. Urizenus

    Oct 14th, 2005

    Aww Stellsy, all I get is a *hug*????

  4. whatever

    Oct 14th, 2005

    I wonder if people would still rag on prok so hard if she had been a hot Playboy centerfold. I seriously doubt it.

  5. Chad Statosky

    Oct 15th, 2005

    Oh leave prok alone, once I met her in RL my attitude changed about her. Why pick on someone because of how they look? Such things people cant change, a person who on the other hand can do such a thing is very ugly inside and cant change that either, yet it’s not physically apparent and they don’t suffer for it immediately. Lets not be so judgmental about people and give them a chance before casting them away in a quick “OMG SHE IS UGLY”.

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 15th, 2005

    I’m Prokofy. And Prokofy is male. I don’t need anyone to defend me. Are you done yet?

  7. Stellsy Fallen Ava

    Oct 16th, 2005

    yeah ok FINE youre a MAN whatevah ALL IM SAYING IS you look like my grandma in rl and i dont like it when people are mean to you NOW can i have a cookie please


    Oct 28th, 2005

    Prok your issues are so apparent it hurts. Want to dish out the truth…lets see if you can take it.
    You are obviously stung by a lifetime of put downs about your formless and ugly body and your lack of social skills. What you call the metaverse is really you as a “male” cartoon venting frustration because you don’t really have the guts and will power just to get the sex change you obviously crave. And yes n your case it is role playing because you aren’t a male no matter how much you try to convince yourself and others. You are just another fat dumpy lady who cant accept who and what she is. You are using SL to display your anger, frustration and animosity as well as your bitterness and paranoia. It’s really just an outlet for issues which therapists and psychologists should be treating you. The angst over your ugly body and your extemely bitter, defensive, paranoid self is endless as we have all witnessed in game, forums blogs and now in NYC.
    Truth is you aren’t Prokofy. Just some lady who has a dictionary and thinks she is smarter and better informed than others. You aren’t anything special and I hope you kissed Phillip’s feet for creating a place where you can go and display all these traits for the rest of us to regrettably live with. Your going away would give most of us joy and let me asure you, you would not be missed.
    Now it is time for you to reply to this with some of your usual “I know I’m smarter than you” diction and the “I’m just a victim” canned respose and we will have come full circle again.
    Truth enough for ya Prok or should I elaborate next time on some of your lesser qualities.

  9. stellsy

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Uri I cant stand these people Can we change the name of the blog to WoW Herald? You did it before its not that hard. These people are assholes.

  10. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 28th, 2005

    ROFL this is a pretty funny and wierd put-down all its own, and rather a nasty one. I guess it’s a Herald gold-star winner for the most vicious personal attack every published in the Herald against me.

    I could just ignore it, because I really don’t like to discuss my RL and my SL and their conjunction. It’s a private matter, mainly. But I do think this attack is such a spectacularly hideous post, that I should try to rebut it, if only to help educate the unformed young minds that read this.

    I guess it’s been oft said that while they have indigenous rights, and gay rights, and women’s rights and such, we’re a long way from having fat rights and ugly rights LOL. A very long way. And I could also point out that even though the world believes it has now virtuously accepted tolerance of “GLBT,” it’s the “T” in the “GBLT” that even the GLB don’t accept as much as you think they would.

    Well, first I wouldn’t say I have spent my RL in a formless and ugly body at all. You don’t know me. It’s hardly a requirement to try to set everyone straight about my private life — I guess I’m entitled to my privacy? But I think I’ve done pretty well over the years. If I don’t look (as my favourite movie character Dolores Claiborne says) like I “ain’t gonna be doing no beauty pageants today,” well, so? Aren’t there enough beautiful people — and avatars — in the world for you to look as so you don’t have to fuss about me?

    I don’t have any “issues” with my appearance in RL or SL — if I thought it was such a terrible thing, would I come to a RL conference where everyone — like yourself — would likely ridicule me? I’m thinking I’m a lot more comfortable with my appearance and level of social skills than you are! I don’t feel any sense of frustration, or feel that having avatars in a game is some kind of psychotic break and refusal to accept yourself. I think it’s just a second life. And that’s ok to have.

    I made the point in my blogging and posts about SLCC that a lot of the people turned out to be fat or shapeless or skinny and short — except for a few obvious Beautiful People like Philip Linden himself, most of us are not going to be going to any beauty pageants anywhere soon except maybe the Star Wars bar. I didn’t single anyone out for personal or vicious attack about their appearance, I reported *the facts* about the demographic realities of this crowd. I said this helped explain what powers the search for beauty and adventure in Second Life. I don’t imply a put-down or judgement in that statement, because if anything, it’s a comment on the craven, commercialized tastes in beauty prevailing in our first world with its bombardment of media images and advertising, and the freedom with which something like Second Life gives you to script your own media experience and star in it yourself. Second Life and other virtual worlds you can control mean that no longer does Hollywood make the movie, and no longer do the people who buy the tickets dictate what movies Hollywood makes, YOU get to stage, script, and prop the movie and star in it yourself.

    As for having the “guts and will power” to have a sex change in RL, again, I’m not really required to discuss my personal sex life but hmm, I dunno about that. Obviously, isn’t it just a lot easier and cheaper to have an avatar lol? I guess one of the reasons I tend to be formless and ugly is that I’ve been forced to have surgeries for illnesses (not to change my sex), and God, that’s painful and you don’t fully recover and can’t run around and be as chipper as you once were. I can’t imagine deliberately and voluntarily having surgery just to change your sex — and you know, while modern science does a good job going male to female, I don’t think they are particularly optimal going in the other direction but I may not be briefed on this.

    I just wish to have a male avatar. I’m Prokofy, and Prokofy is male. Please call me “he”. It’s my choice. In SL, you get to chose. It’s sad that people have a very hard time respecting my choice, and have to ascribe to me all kinds of psychoses, frustrations, actings-out, mental imbalances, hatreds, paranoia, and lack of acceptance of my self merely because I wish to have a male avatar in a virtual world. I mean, really, why can’t I do that? I can’t help noting, as others have, that people don’t get half so worked up about males taking female avatars.

    As I first learned in TSO, there is nothing hated more in our world, than the woman inside a man, or the man outside a woman.

    I don’t think I’m particularly bitter or angry or paranoid, I think I’ve just very hardily sustained a protracted battle with a particularly vituperative, nasty, vicious, and cruel bunch of people such as yourself that wish to hang on to their power and prestige in a virtual world, and believe they are entitled to that privilege by virtue of their technical expertise and intelligence. But they don’t. Their inhumanity to man and their social Darwinism are among the many reasons why they shouldn’t be left to rule our world.

    I don’t believe myself to be any victim, though I have been victimized — because I always fight back. And I didn’t kiss Philip’s feet. I’m glad he made his game, he seems like a fun guy, but I’m indifferent to him. I’m critical of many of the features of his world with political ramifications. It’s a great game. I spend time in and and spend money on it. I have a lot vested in it, but for many compelling reasons, only part of which have to do with my actual avatar and his personal adventures. And neither Philip, his game, or the Herald are vital to my existence on this planet.

    I actually think the Metaverse is something a lot grander than me than the silly cartoonish notion of me as a male cartoon venting frustration. And it’s not the sum of parts of many people cartooning whatever they don’t have in first life and venting frustration.

    I don’t tend to look at it in that negative and hysterical and judgemental way. I view the whole Metaverse thing as more about a dimension of human consciousness, perception, and interaction that is not available in first life. Traditionally, the other self, the essential I, the lucid dreaming, etc. were made available to people through either religious experiences or altered states of consciousness or intense physical endurance, but in our modern world, game companies have simulated these same experiences electronically in the Internet. We could judge whether they are good or bad or whether they did a good job of it, but one thing is for sure, they could not (any more than religious or political systems) change the evil part of human nature which your post so well exemplifies: hatred and judgement of a person not only for being different, but for standing up for what is right in the face of such arrogance and viciousness.

  11. stellsy

    Oct 29th, 2005

    “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to.”
    - Dolores Claiborne

    I dont know why you bother with these people tho Prokofy. They arent clever enough to understand or value anything you say. They dont have the decency to be embarrassed by their own behavior. And absolutely nothing you say here will change that sadly.

  12. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 29th, 2005

    Stellsy, I reply for the educative value for the audience, not for the sake of the poster who is probably beyond hope. I don’t want anyone to think I’ve been hounded off the pages of the Herald blog replies by this kind of hateful post. When the hate attacks get particularly fierce and I feel it is just getting too tiresome here, I have withdrawn in the past. This might be a good time for that now lol.

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