The world of LambdaMoo is something I find very fascinating to be exploring in the year 2014. This bi-directional, interactive, text-based communication is something very different compared to today’s virtual spaces. But I still found it very interesting to interact with the program.
LambdaMoo seems to have almost its own language that one must learn and use to allow the program to work how you want it to work. I think that was the most difficult part in immersing myself into the world. I received a lot of messages of “I don’t understand that,” so I ensued in a lot of trial and error to figure out how to work the program.
I ended up at Un Café Parisien on the corner of Blvd. Raspail and Blvd. Montparnasse after reading a postcard from France I found in the living room. What? That was actually quite awesome. One second I’m in the living room of the initial home of LambdaMoo, and then I find myself in Paris. But the problem was I got stuck there and had no idea how to leave or move to another location.
Although I don’t think LambdaMoo is a program I would use regularly, it is definitely a space that allows for people to make/get whatever they want out of it. It allows for total anonymity within the space, giving you the option of “escaping” your real world self and changing into a different identity in the virtual space. It’s not that far off from a lot of the games we play online too, such as Minecraft, Runescape, League of Legends, etc. Although LambdaMoo just happens to be solely text-based communication.
It’s what you make of it. I think it brings together different people with the similarity of just enjoying the space, and this shared experience builds community within this virtual world. I would compare it to a band’s fan base or cult movie following – we like to interact with people who have interests similar to our own.
LambdaMoo allows for such an experience where you have to learn the lingo to immerse yourself within the community, but once you get into it (more than just a guest in the space), I think it almost brings a kind of togetherness and bond among the members. Especially since the LambdaMoo community seems to be somewhat small (there were only about 43 people signed in when I entered the space); it’s somewhat exclusive, or “old-fashioned” in today’s age.
I wouldn’t agree with Rushkoff’s proclamation that humans’ possibility for anonymity leads to a dehumanized experience, but there is always the possibility of fully engulfing oneself within the virtual world, like LambdaMoo and several other multi-dimensional, interactive, online games, and “living” in the online space more than in the real world. Each person’s online experience is highly personalized and varies, but it’s just what you make of it. LambdaMoo may not be for everyone, but that’s the point; the web is vast enough for everyone to find their own community, either integrating their real life with their virtual life or keeping them completely separate.
Rushkoff says that we lose our humanity in these interactions of anonymity, do you agree or disagree? Please explain.
Would you personally keep your virtual and real worlds separated or integrated?