Nostalgia: Ain’t what it used to be

Ah, the the good old days… when summer was never-ending, money had real value and children could play unsupervised without the fear that they might mug someone when your back was turned.

i seem to know a fair number of people who are, by sl standards, old-timers… people who first rezzed four, maybe even 5 years ago. That seems to be a ripe old age in the virtual world and i think i’ve only come across a couple of avatars significantly older than that, and nobody at all from the very early days of sl. i’m told that the very first avatar – Steller Sunshine, is still active in sl and i’ve visited her beanstalk in the hope of bumping into her, but with no luck yet.

One of the beauties of the old system generated second names was the way they made it simple to instantly recognise your peers, (although i’ve yet to run across another Haven, even though there are 874 of us in sl; interestingly, there are only currently five Serendipidy’s); the new style names just don’t have the elegance that the old ones did.

Oops, you caught me at it! There i go, reminiscing, and i’m still practically a noob myself! See what happens when you hang around with virtual geriatrics… their habits rub off on you! To be fair, though, it’s human nature to reminisce about how good things were in the past, and whether we’re talking about rl or sl, we tend to see the past through distinctly rose-coloured eye-wear. This was certainly the case recently when a group of friends, whose average age was around 5 sl years, got caught up in misty-eyed nostalgia for the sl that once was…

‘…remember the good old days, when there was no such thing as adult sims and you’d walk out of a clothes shop straight in a brothel next door? Remember the fun we had camping for lindens and how we never had prim hair? Most of all though, those were the good old days – when there was sex and gambling going on all over the place!’

SL, 2003 style. - Photo credit: Hamlet Au

Now, you might think that this particular wander down memory lane was the preserve of just a few of the older or more, erm… ‘sensuous’ avatars in the company, but no – pretty much everyone of ‘advanced years’ who was present seemed to think that sl was a much better place in the days when every other property was a sex parlour or casino and i gained the distinct impression that, given the choice, every one of them would have no hesitation in choosing sl past, over what we have today.

If i’m completely honest, they did make it sound quite an exciting and fun place to be – in a kind of edgy, Wild West sort of fashion – the kind of place you shoot first and ask questions later. Don’t get me wrong; i’m not particularly an advocate of ‘exotic massage’ or playing the tables, although i’m certainly not so hard line that i’d deny people the freedom to indulge in such practices, if that’s their thing. It’s just that the sl of the past seems that bit more appealing and exciting simply because it wasn’t such a straitlaced and rigidly defined place. That’s not to say olde-worlde sl was perfect by any means, i’m sure those very same people who were reminiscing about the good old days when they could gamble and cavort lasciviously to their heart’s content would – if they were to consider how things really were for a moment – feel more than justified in moaning about the the quality of clothing and attachments, the infuriating lag and the preponderance of irritating and annoying bots. i’m sure they’d say that sl is vastly improved these days in those particular areas!

The fact is, sl is vastly improved but in the process it’s lost some of it’s brashness, some of it’s edginess and just that touch of anarchism that made it such a fun place to be. It is, of course, still fun today, but in a less free and easy fashion.. You can still find the sex and erotica, but they’re kept in their place, out of harm’s way and if you should happen to stumble across something a little too risqué in a ‘mature’ sim, you can RA the owner’s ass off! As for gambling, well that’s no longer on the cards, (sorry, appalling pun!), although you can always find ways to pit your ‘skill’ zapping aliens for cash, or some such trivial pursuit – i did stumble across some blackjack tables and roulette wheels the other day – strictly no lindens required or paid out – and they seemed a pathetic and sad nod towards times now past.

Rules and regulations, stipulations and the sl nanny state have put paid to old fashioned fun and high jinx and with it the ability for us to exercise plain old commonsense, self-censorship and, to a certain extent, our freedom of choice. i’m all for sl being a safe, non-threatening and welcoming environment but i can’t help wondering to what extent we really need to police it?

We’ll see… if i’m still writing this in three year’s time and have become an sl pensioner myself, (by which time many of my partners in crime will be veritable dinosaurs!), no doubt i’ll be harking back to the good old days of 2012 and how it was so much better than modern-day sl!

S. x

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changing

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One Response to Nostalgia: Ain’t what it used to be

  1. Shauna says:

    When you become an SL pensioner you’ll be just like me, and start your sentences with “Why, back in my day . . . .”

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