Virtual Worlds

Over at GTA, Andrew found this link to Virtual Worlds Review, a review of the crop of virtual environments/avatar games that are becoming increasingly popular. I'm still noodling on how I might craft a virtual worlds writing assignment for the Internet Writing & Society class I'm teaching next term. I poked around a couple of the virtual worlds that actually work on Mac this afternoon, “Coke Music“, “Faketown” and “Habbo Hotel.” None of these three seemed to be among the “most cool” of the bunch (although it was fun popping into Faketown's virtual arcade to play Space Invaders), and all seemed pretty crassly commercial. I'm still wondering about the potential for narrative in such virtual environments. I think I still lean towards the viewpoint put forth by Richard Powers in his essay “Being and Seeming” — that is that even if we could develop virtual worlds as realistic and limitless as Real Life, we'd still need old-fashioned narrative to limit it, to bring order, coherence and poetry to lived experience.

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