New York and Virtual Entertainment - it's a Meme Thing
Within the space of only a few weeks, 2 of Second Life's major construction and consulting companies - Electric Sheep Company (ESC) and Millions of Us(MOU) - will have launched 3 different models of New York to vie for your attention. Furthermore, each of these is tied in with the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry.
So let's consider the options:
New York #1
First up, we have ESC's "I Am Legend" site, designed to tie in with a movie of the same name, that is due for release by Warner Bros in mid-December. The movie trailer suggests to me a remake of the old Charlton Heston sci-fi classic(?) "The Omega Man," though it seems both are derived from a 1954 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson. In the new movie, Will Smith plays the last surviving human in New York following the release of a rather nasty man-made virus. His only companion is his faithful pooch. Unfortunately for him, the city is also populated by mutants, who are not that keen on him having the run of the town. It's a classic "man vs mutant" tale.
As part of the marketing for the movie, ESC and Warner Bros have launched the biggest (movie tie-in) game yet seen in Second Life. It has its own orientation zone for newcomers, together with a game orientation zone where you can opt to play human, dog, mutant or mutant mutt. You should then undergo a set of training exercises before you reach the bridge that takes you over into the game zone of New York itself. Being a self-confessed coward I made my excuses and left at this point. No SLURL for this - but if you use MAP SEARCH and look for "IAL" you won't go far wrong. Oh... nice textures by the way... if a bit laggy.
New York #2
Next, and also from ESC comes the interworld game / programme / entertainment behemoth of CSI:NY. This was blasted all over the recent Virtual Worlds 2007 Conference, and launches in Second Life on 24th October. Bookies are still taking bets on the exact moment that the grid will crash. In an Omega Man kind of way, I may be the only person left on the planet who has not seen, and is not particularly interested in, CSI:NY. However, this is ground-breaking stuff for virtual worlds, where the linear narrative of the Real Life TV show intermingles with the gameplay and narrative in Second Life to produce some kind of Ultimedia extravaganza.
If you want a more complete story about this, you are best off popping along to Ugotrade, which has reams of top notch info for you.
Not only will there be orientation zones and game sims, but to make life easier for newcomers to Second Life, the Sheep are also launching their own, browser-based viewer: OnRez. Personally, I might give CSI:NY a miss - but I'm looking forward to trying the new viewer. For many of us this might solve some of issues we have with the standard Second Life viewer. A number of my colleagues, for example, are unable to run SL on their work-supplied laptops owing to issues of memory and, more often, graphics driver compatibility. This might be the solution.
New York #3
The third version of New York comes courtesy of MOU. This is a virtual version of 7 square blocks of the Upper East Side, and has been built as a tie-in with "Gossip Girls" on behalf Warner Brothers and the CW Network. This is described as a teen drama, based on a novel series of the same name. An article in wikipedia describes it thus: "Gossip Girl revolves around the lives of socialite young adults growing up on New York's Upper East Side who attend elite academic institutions while dealing with sex, drugs, and other teenage issues." Yeah...well... whatever.
The show first aired in the USA on 19th September, 2007 - followed a day later by its launch in Second Life. In a blog post dated 20th September, MOU boss, Reuben Steiger, said: "[soon] we will start a very interesting social game that will take place in the city." More recently MOU announced The Gossip mobile, a heads up display that lets you to see the style, coolness rating and status of the people around you. Here's a video tutorial if you find this to be this season's must-have accessory. Hmmm...
So there you go... 3 New Yorks for you to explore, play in and reach your own conclusions.
First posted at Ambling in Second Life.