My experience in lambdamoo was an interesting one. Like mostly everyone else, I found it rather difficult to navigate. Well, I found it really difficult to do much of anything. I began in the coat closet as Khaki_Guest and started to try typing things so that I could get out. Unfortunately, none of my commands seemed to be working. I couldn’t figure out how to “go” anywhere. I was frustrated by my inability to navigate the game but I also decided that the color khaki was insufficient in really representing my online personality. So, I quit the game.
I did a little research on how to do things (say words, smile, wink, etc.). Armed with what little info I could gather, I logged back in and re-entered the coat closet, this time as Lavender_Guest (much more suiting). The other “guests” in the coat closet waved to me, and I gave myself an internal high-five when I was able to wave back. Ecru_Guest and Blue_Guest seemed to be talking to each other, so I asked how to leave the closet. Ecru_Guest asked me where I wanted to go:
You say, “Paris would be nice, or anywhere really. I need to leave this godforsaken closet I feel like r kelly”
Ecru_Guest [to Lavender_Guest]: try @go #40895
Blue_Guest [to Ecru_Guest]: oooh, you’re good.
You say, “okay thank you”
Extremely happy that someone helped me, I typed the instructions and was off to Paris. The page said that I was outside, it was raining and I was on a bike. There was a café nearby and some stairs across the rue. However, try as I might (and I tried a lot), I still couldn’t figure out what to do. I couldn’t “go” anywhere, no directions worked, and I couldn’t interact with any of the objects in the area. It was a tough decision: do I quit and go back to the closet where I would be reassigned a potentially boring name (Tan? Slate?) or do I remain stranded; spending the final moments of my lambdamoo life shouting questions into the lonely rain. Just then, a friend appeared!
Ecru_Guest is here.
You say, “how do i interact with my surroundings?”
You say, “thank you so much for helping me”
Ecru_Guest says, “I don’t think there’s much to interact with in this room…
other than myself, of course. :)”
Ecru_Guest says, “some rooms have objects that u can do things with, but I
don’t know about this one”
You say, “haha okay I kept getting an error message. What is your favorite
place in lambdamoo?”
Ecru_Guest then gave me instructions on how to follow him (I’m just assuming it’s a him) and we ended up in a place called the Formal Gardens. The description was really cool, there were specific directions, and you could even pick flowers! Ecru_Guest and I sat on a bench, and I was really pumped to have made a friend in this virtual space. We walked around the rest of the house and ended up on a deck. Ecru_Guest went into the bathroom, and I followed him.
Ecru_Guest was a little weirded out I followed him to the bathroom and told me to wait for him back on the deck. When he came out, he said the bathroom was all mine now. I was very confused why he felt the need to go to the bathroom in a virtual world, but decided it wasn’t worth potentially offending my new friend. Ecru_Guest continued to teach me how to do actions, join specific people, etc.
Then things got a bit weird.
Ecru_Guest told me to follow them to the “Pool Hall.” I did, and we ended up in this place that sounded like a very dingy bar with a few pool tables. In the description, it told me how to ask for instructions for this room. I typed the command, and it gave me the list of interactions. The interactions seemed completely different from the room’s description.
The interactions were for restraining someone to a four-post bed or chaining different body parts to the ceiling. It also said how to free yourself using a safeword.
Chains and safewords??? Can I just go back to the garden?? This was somewhere I really did not want to be.
Ecru_Guest essentially wanted me to “utilize” the room’s interactions. I decided I was decently creeped out by the proposition and decided to exit the game.
It was interesting to see what Cherny had said about interations in MUDs first-hand, through waving, smiling, and what not. I liked that I felt like I was traveling in lambdamoo and was unsure how to appropriately interact with other users. I can see how lambdamoo is a platform of interactions that some people enjoy, but I can’t say that it’s for me. It is nice that you can go different places without a concern for safety. In real life I would never follow a stranger to a house or a dingy poolroom, but in the game there aren’t many risks.
Though I was creeped out by my interaction with Ecru_Guest, the game seems to be an environment where many different people can find their niche. If there is a niche for me in lambdamoo, it seems that my confusion in how to navigate the game will prevent me from ever finding it.