I was braced for this to be a rough one. Landing only half an hour after the sims opened to the public – on my first attempt, no less – my first impression was “Where are all the people?”
Then I looked at the minimap. Green dots all over the place. And when I opened the world map, the dots were everywhere. It’s a sight that I can’t help smiling at. I felt the same way at Fantasy Faire when we opened up there, and would probably have had a similar case of the warm and fuzzies at last year’s birthday if I hadn’t been liaising with a Tiny dance troupe while playing air traffic control for a squadron of dragons. For the opening ceremony. That’s the trouble with getting caught up in the details of running a thing – you miss the big picture.
My first stop was the time capsules. A wheel of displays from years gone by, with the place of honour awaiting this year’s competition winner. Onward, then to a giant statue of RacerX Gullwing, raised in his honour by… ummm… RacerX Gullwing. In gold. I’ve heard about the statue before, from people who saw the original in Northpoint, and it certainly lives up to the legend!
Still heading south, I came to the first Exhibitors. It’s difficult to miss the Firestorm build, but next to that is Loki Elliot’s towering Behemoth, which some moment of random joy has placed right next to the First Responders’ display to present you with the image of a giant monster towering above a broken and burning house with a rescue helicopter hovering above it. Perfect positioning, I’d say!
Loki’s build requires further investigation, though, as I have fond memories of his build last year. I attach the HUD provided and start to climb and learn the monster’s tale, pausing halfway up to watch the flag going up next door in Astonish as part of the opening ceremony. A smile, then at the memory of Skylarian and company swooping above me last year and then on and up, reaching the end of the story just behind the Behemoth’s head. Loki and some of his friends were back at the base, so it was nice to be able to tell him how much I enjoyed what he’s done this year before heading along the road, pausing to say hello to Troy Vogel and admire his Anarchitecture, then taking in the sight of an enormous helter-skelter. I heard another familiar voice then, and chasing it down revealed Chaffro and his accomplices from Raglan Shire inside the tower. After greetings, and many assurances that the lift was safe for Biggies, I rode to the top and discovered an amazing view of the rest of my day’s route… and the way down.
The way down was, as you might expect, the outside of the helter-skelter. And it was fun. So much fun I had to try it again. And a third time. All for science, you understand – repeatable results are important and I’d hate for someone to discover it didn’t work… Ahem.
From there to Marianne McCann’s History Walk. On this build I’ll simply just say this: go there. To read the boards and follow the incredible journey that Second Life has taken so far, then to walk out and see so many amazing examples of where we are now… It makes you hopeful for what is yet to come, what new wonders we will create here and what visions we have yet to behold.
From here I could see my destination, and passed through Bay City’s display to reach the gates of Toady Nakamara and Flea Bussy’s Live Stage. Two sims of glorious green, with statues and paths all over leading to stunning views everywhere you look. I walked uphill, north, to look out over the stage and into the sims beyond and found, in a small quiet clearing, a flame burning “In memory of those who have gone before.” The perfect place to pause, I thought, with the sight beyond that flame of a crowd gathered for a live performance. We mark our endings and miss those who no longer walk with us, but celebrate each milestone that we pass.
This is a hunt, and you’re looking for one (or more) of these. It’ll be somewhere on the route but even I don’t know exactly where you’ll find it so there’s no point asking me for hints. Explore! Have fun! Live a little!
If you’re joining us late, you can catch up with the whole thing here.