Every journey begins with a single step, so they say, and everything that has ever existed has a single point in time and space from which it originated. i can tell you my own origins, right down to day, time and place – a single point in space and history – the moment i came into being.
Perhaps you’d disagree, being of the school of thought that the physical atoms from which we are composed are the recycled detritus of what has gone before… stardust, spewed out from the Big Bang, condemned by Newton’s Laws to endlessly cycle through the millennia until the ultimate Big Chill. You may take a more spiritual viewpoint – recycling becomes karma and rebirth, or you may attribute our being to the creative hand of God, or maybe you subscribe to the view that it’s turtles, all the way down. Whatever your version of the process that brought you here today, there will always be a starting point that disappears further away into the past with every passing day.
The same is true of sl – there is a point in time and a place at which i first appeared in pixellated form. Quite by accident this week, i stumbled across the very Orientation Island where i spent my first moments in the virtual world – a place that i thought no longer existed on the Grid. It was a most peculiar, and somewhat moving experience. The freebie beach house that i picked up there first time round – almost certainly the very first addition to my inventory – is still there and it vividly reminded me of the frustration i felt when i realised that having a home was pretty useless, if you didn’t own land to put it on!
Those are my origins, but what about the Grid itself?
i’ve written before about Linden World, and the alpha and beta Grids and some of the relics that remain from those early days, but what of the present Grid? It struck me that any SLarcheologist worth their salt really should have some logical plan of action when it comes to unearthing the past… every search should start somewhere. So it was that i found myself, once again, exploring the strange and rather depressing sim that is Da Boom – the very first location created in sl as we know it today.
As with so many historical locations, little has been done to preserve Da Boom’s prestigious status. Over the years, unrestricted development and unsympathetic builds have created a crowded and jumbled mish-mash that is, quite frankly, a bit of an eyesore. The most accessible part is the mole-manufactured Linden playground, which always makes me think that the builder must have been on a particularly bad acid trip when they put the place together, that said, it’s probably the only part of Da Boom that could pass as ‘eye-candy’, (provided you squint, that is!).
Officially – and almost certainly, correctly – Da Boom is named after De Boom Street in San Francisco. Some sources say the ‘Da’ is a typo, some say the misspelling is of no consequence, whilst others are more than happy to insist that ‘Da Boom!’ is an allusion to the Big Bang – the quintessential moment that spawned the creation of the sl Grid. i offer no views myself: it’s one of the joys of sl that mark it distinct from a game and firmly establish its right to call itself a virtual world, that it has the propensity to propagate its own mythology and legends, no matter how dubious their origins might be.
There was a surprise waiting for me at Da Boom – despite the proliferation of tat that so typically manages to obliterate some of the most important heritage sites in sl, there is one spot that remains devoid of clutter – and it is a very important spot indeed. In sl terms, it is the centre of the SLuniverse, the singularity from which every other point can only be described as expanding outwards. Da Boom,0,0,0 is the start point for the whole Grid and – if you want to stand at the very epicentre of sl, there is nothing to stop you from doing so. Unfortunately it’s not possible to stand at the true ‘0’ co-ordinate, since the land has been raised into a peak above the water, but cam down a few meters and you’ll hit the spot. Sadly, the screenshot doesn’t really do it justice… as luck would typically have it, the very moment i set up the shot, the whole region in front of me went offline, leaving a gaping hole in the horizon… don’t you just love sl?
And there you have it, a 16m² chunk of pure sl history – the ultimate starting point, both temporal and physical, from which the whole of the rest of sl proceeds.
Let me take you there
I wanna take you there
I know a place that we’ve forgotten
Plain White T’s – Let Me Take You There