Not in Kansas anymore…..

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”

Ecru_Guest smiles.

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.

Ella Henning

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One comment

  1. Your blog post reminded me of the article we read which had to do with virtual rape. Although, yours wasn’t as extreme, it’s astounding to see how relevant the article is in these virtual worlds.

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