My CEO, Mark Harrison, downloaded and installed a new 3D virtual world called Twinity, based in Berlin, that will recreate the world’s coolest cities, starting with Berlin. Mark loves Berlin more than anything, so he tried exploring his #1 home from his #2 home, Mauritius, and here is his story, as reported in an email to his Berlin posse, I think I committed suicide in Twinity:
Mark Harrison – Mauritius – 22 February 2008, 14:05 — After over a week of trying – endless module and update loading, and countless crashes - I finally got logged into Twinity.com, a 3D virtual world, a la Second Life, but set in renderings of real cities. The first of these Twinity cities is Berlin, my favorite city in the world, and my summertime home (and apparently the best-mapped city in the world, as well as the home to Twinity’s headquarters).
I was incarnated as a completely physically average white guy in his late 30′s – quite accurate in many respects except for the color and quantity of hair, and the hue of my eyes. The statistically average white guy, even in Germany – counter to stereotypes – has brown hair and brown eyes. Average Guy Mark was dropped into existence at Hackischer Markt, which is a good place to come into the world, since it is essentially the center of the universe, if your universe consists of only Berlin, you are a wired hipster type, and you are a provincial just arrived in this big, big city and instantly lose your bearings if you can’t see the TV tower on Alexanderplatz.
I decided to walk home – to my apartment in Moabit – and take the path along the Spree river that I take on almost a daily basis in my real-life Berlin when I am there. I walked over to Monbijou park (eventually figuring out how to run by holding down the shift key, which reduced my impatience a bit), bouncing off a few trees, but successfully oozing straight through a pissoir. I walked over to the railing at the edge of the river, looked around, then took one more step. To my surprise, I found can walk through railings just as effectively as I can walk through pissoirs.
I fell a couple meters and found myself standing knee-deep in the Spree – not very realistic at that point in the Spree, considering that it’s a major shipping channel, but convenient for me as an avatar in the river. I could still walk.
I walked along the river a bit, thinking I could perhaps just walk all the way home in the river, maybe climbing up one of the stone staircases I knew should be coming up along the way, if Twinity’s mapping of Berlin is indeed that comprehensive. After a few steps I came to what I assume was the end of the universe… a wall of beige halfway through Monbijou Park, cutting across the river, and t-ing into the riverside wall of the Boda Museum. The end-of-the-universe wall was insurmountable, as was the vertical, stone wall bank of the river. I didn’t really want to spend the rest of my virtual life knee-deep in a fetid central European river, so I hit the “map” button, assuming that there could well be a way to fly, or teleport or something like in Second Life.
This hubris clearly angered the gods. I guess I should have accepted my humaness and walked back up the river looking for a ladder or something rather than thinking I might game the laws of the universe and escape the limitations of my corporal form. My world was wiped from existence with a cold Windows dialog box announcing that Twinity was no longer responding to anything I might ask it to do. Then Vista went looking for Answers as to the Reason for this caprice of the gods, and unfortunately came back, giving me only more questions. Quite realistic, that part of Twinity.
A restart of the program, and a surprisingly quick login process later (considering logging in took me a week of trying and failing, then a good 10 minutes when it finally worked today), I was again granted a view of my Twinity existence.
I think I am dead.
I have only a setting sun in a golden sky, adorned with a few evening clouds and the pregnant belly of a pale, twilight three-quarter moon. I have a 360 degree view of my heavens, and when I spin on my axis – my only remaining mobility in my gentle, but solitary, god-forsaken purgatory – the clouds tremble as if in silent horror at the eternity of loneliness I have been damned to by my unforgivable, cardinal sin of suicide (is self-murder through clumsiness officially suicide? Anyone know a theologian?) in the murky virtual waters of my beloved Berlin.
Life is so short. So meaningless. So incomprehensible.