Party 24 hours a day around the world in virtual space…
One of the hallmarks, and indeed the great appeal, of 3D virtual worlds like Second Life and Red Light Center [NSFW] is the amount of time and effort one can invest in overlaying realism and detail onto an otherwise fictitious environment.
People develop their characters in the same way they develop themselves; personalizing their homes, customizing their appearance, choosing their friends, choosing their surroundings (park, club, restaurant and so on), and generally leaving their mark on the universe around them.
These worlds mirror our own, and the people who run them have the same desire for social encounters as the rest of us. As such, community events pop up everywhere. Red Light Center, the Massively Multi-User Reality modelled after Amsterdam’s red-light district, offers frequent public events, such as parties, live entertainment and gallery openings.
Users organize and promote these events, creating ideal atmospheres in which to live out their fantasies and sharing it all with others who seek the same.
In just the last few months, Red Light Center members have held a masquerade ball, countless DJ/club nights, Christmas celebrations, gay nights, auctions, rock concerts, ladies’ nights (with male strippers), comedy nights and various other parties to celebrate everything from New Years Eve to Wednesdays.
The concept of a virtual party can be strange at first, but makes a lot of sense once scrutinized. How else can you meet up with people from around the world at any time of the day? How else can you let your hair down with anyone who shares your definition of ‘party’, regardless of geography? How else do you lend authenticity to sexual dalliances and affairs in a virtual world?
The mechanics that govern interaction in virtual worlds are the same as those we work with in our real world dealings. Public gatherings and events are just as necessary online as off to integrate strangers, sub-cultures and community pursuits, and they’re embraced by virtual communities for the same reasons they’re embraced by real communities: They are the organic way of creating relationships–sexual and otherwise–between people who would otherwise remain strangers.
That’s not to say the idea of a virtual party is easy to get behind straight away. How would you feel if someone invited you to an online shindig?