The first thing I experienced using Lamdamoo was an overwhelming sense of blindness. There are no images or visual cues, just white text on a black screen. There were only words to set the scene of a closet or living room and I had to imagine these things for myself, as if I were reading a book. In fact, Lamdamoo was almost like a “choose your own adventure” book, with different commands opening up different chapters. At one point, I ended up in some sort of office with someone warning me about a cranky editor. Having just come from a house, I felt like I had walked into an entirely new story. It was difficult not being able to see where I was going or visualize how all the different areas were connected. I found myself struggling to put together a mental map of the world I was in. When I heard that Lambdamoo was a virtual community, I suppose a part of me expected it to visually mimick the physical world. I certainly was not expecting a game with no graphics at all or with a large amount of reading.
This definetly affected the sense of community I felt playing the game. It was harder for me to imagine myself in this space with other people when I couldn’t see them or what they were doing there. I had no visuals of who these people were, like avatars or profile pictures. They were completely anonymous aside from their user names. It definetly reminded me of how anonymous the internet truly is. You could talk to people on Lamdamoo with absolutely no clue as to who they were in the real world. It reminded me of the commercial we watched in class about how the internet meant the end of gender, race, and age. Modern online communities make these physical traits fairly noticeable with pictures, stats, and avatars. But in Lambdamoo, you couldn’t judge people based on these demographics. It really was an anonymous community.
The lack of directions and clear commands also made it difficult to navigate and understand this world. I didn’t know the scope of what I could do in each space. The text would tell me what was around me but didn’t give me specific directions on what I was supposed to or how to do it. Almost every command I typed was not understood. I suppose I could have looked up directions online, but I almost felt like this was cheating. I felt like part of the fun of the game was trying to figure out how to play it. I kept getting stuck in different places, not knowing how to proceed forward or make anything happen. All of this made the world of Lambdamoo feel very mysterious and foreign. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like it.