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What new virtual world does the Second Life creator have in store for us?

Virtual reality, today, means Oculus Rift. Project Morpheus. Samsung Gear VR or HTC Vive. But say “virtual reality” just a decade ago, and the first thing that likely would’ve popped into people’s heads is Second Life. Second Life seems ahead of its time  To those not active in its virtual world, Second Life may seem like a poorly aged artifact of the internet, where people spend real money lavishing digital luxuries on their customized avatars and land or engaging in awkward role-play with others. But now that modern virtual reality hardware has begun to impress the mainstream with its technological advancements, something…

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The weird abandoned spaces of virtual worlds

I went to college in a rolling campus up on a forested hill, where the woods served as a playground on bored Sunday evenings, and frequent late-night power outages meant sneaking into empty administrative buildings, or finally searching for that deserted amphitheater tucked away in the forest, resigned to wood rot in its abandonment. There were days I would walk across campus and not see a single other student anywhere on the winding roads, dirt trails, or cement plazas of the school. But even then, the emptiness of these real, physical spaces rarely felt as eerie as that of the…

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Very first virtual world, from 1978, acquired by Stanford; librarians to get their mob-slaying on

Stanford has gotten its grubby archival hands on the source code for MUD1, which was the first online virtual world and great grandpapa of big, life-consuming MMOs like World of Warcraft as well as computer-simulated communities like Second Life.  For those of you who aren’t exceedingly old, a little history lesson: MUDs, or multi-user dungeons, are part BBS, part texted-based Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying, and part interactive fiction, which if you do the math adds up to all very nerdy, but in the respected, historical sense of nerdy. Not to be confused with MUD2, or the outburst of copycats that…