There are some places in SL that I find myself naturally drawn to. If I was to tell you that in the real world, my favourite movie of all time is probably Bladerunner, then you can surmise the sort of inworld sims that really get my heart pumping, and in which I can happily spend many, many hours simply exploring and losing myself in the illusion of it all.
There are a number of such places in SL – Hangars Liquides, Toxian City, InSilico, The Offworld Colonies; all of which tick all the right boxes, but there is one sim, the great-granddaddy of them all, that has sadly and maddeningly now passed into oblivion: Nexus Prime, (not to be confused, please, with the Transformer of the same name!)
Nexus Prime was old, even by SL standards – this dark, brooding city of futuristic tower blocks, underground tunnels and neon roadways, conceived in early 2003, stood within sight of the Welcome Area at Bonifacio – an imposing demonstration of the creativity of SL residents and the strength of the community that built it. Not forgetting the sneaky reference to Bladerunner encapsulated in the group under which the city was founded – Tyrrel Corporation. Over the years, the city survived a number of changes and iterations, yet continued to thrive; until recently, without ceremony, it appears to have vanished off the Grid for good – not altogether sure what’s happened to the city itself, but it seems to have been subsumed into the Doomed Ship – if anyone knows more, please enlighten me! To me, this is a terribly sad and untimely end to a great venture, and SL is the lesser for it. This, of course is a story we have become used to in the virtual world, sims come and go – even the very best of them – and often all that remains is memories and images, too little, too late.
Nexus Prime may not, in all honesty, have been the best of its kind, but it was certainly the oldest and the most interesting. It was, of course, a haven for roleplayers, and even for someone like me, for whom roleplay is one of those mysteries that I doubt I’ll ever really understand, I can certainly appreciate the attraction that these places hold for those who wish to indulge in such things. Surely an environment that works hard to create an atmosphere and surroundings that indulge roleplay can only serve to enhance it, and places like Nexus Prime and those in a similar vein do so incredibly well.
And SL is brilliantly suited to creating environments of this type – given enough imagination and and eye for detail, the fantastical is only a matter of turning that which is imagined into virtual reality. The normal rules don’t apply, and the imagined futures spawned in the mind can take real shape, colour and form when exposed to the creative environment of SL. You can build your dreams – or even your nightmares – inworld, and provided you have the inclination, time and space, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t.
And I have!
I’ll grant you, my effort is no Nexus Prime, neither can it hold a candle to any of the amazing futuristic dystopias that are scattered across SL, but it’s my own personal tribute to to a special place that is no more, and although it’s tiny in comparison, and bears little resemblance to it’s seminal forebear, I’d like to think that it captures the spirit of the place, even if it’s not anything like the real thing! Why not come along and explore Cyberhaven, and see if you can find the ancient SL relic that lies at the city’s heart?
After all, isn’t that one of the things that SL should be all about – capturing our own individual take on those things that inspire us, and thus ensuring a constant and evolving virtual experience that is always building on what has gone before.
Ultimately – (dare i say it?) – all of these things be lost in time, like tears in rain! But as long as their memory is preserved, somehow, then nothing surely is lost permanently?
At least, that’s what I hope.