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A Day in the Life of AlphaWorld

Witness a (real) virtual wedding

On May 8, 1996 at 9:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, history was made with the world's first Internet-hosted wedding held inside a multi-user graphical virtual world. The happy couple, Tomas Landhaus, 27, and Jeanette Stanhope, 31, were married in real life inside AlphaWorld in a pavilion specially constructed for the occasion. They had first met at AlphaWorld Ground Zero, then met later in person, and fell in love. They felt it was only appropriate to host their wedding back in AlphaWorld, and invite all their AlphaWorld friends.

Figure 7.64: awed5a.jpg
The minister asks guests to clear the aisle and be seated. The groom awaits the arrival of the bride.

Organizing this event took the efforts of many people: to build the pavilion, to rehearse, to arrange music (piped in through MIDI files), to design special custom avatars for the bride, groom, and best man, and to script the ceremony. Estimates are that 50 or more friends and onlookers showed up for this event, which was advertised mainly by word of mouth in AlphaWorld. The minister, New World Times editor Dataman, presided and kept the aisles clear. NetGuy, AlphaWorld's police chief, served as best man, and friend Yellow Rose served as a bridesmaid.

Figure 7.65: awed9a.jpg
The bride says “I do.” : )

Figure 7.66: awed10a.jpg
The minister (Dataman) performing the ceremony.
The groom says "I do.”
I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Figure 7.67: awed13a.jpg
The party begins (where is the food?).

Citizens floated their avatars, crowded the altar to witness the words “I do” from both the bride and groom, and then flooded in around the couple to wish them well. The event was assisted by a live Powwow conference running on the side. The festivities went on for about an hour after the ceremony. When the bride tried to toss her bouquet, she discovered that it was permanently glued to her avatar. This author, as official wedding photographer, was very busy trying to capture the magic of the moment.

Figure 7.68: awed14a.jpg
An ecstatic groom and best man. (NetGuy, you'd better be happy. You have only that one facial expression!)

Figure 7.69: awed17a.jpg
The happy couple sneak a kiss.

The wedding of Janka and Tomas felt real. I fell asleep that night exhausted and fully believing that I attended this wedding. You may think me mad, but any kind of community and culture, real or virtual, is about presence and communication. Both were there that day in AlphaWorld.

The story of two dudes

Our second story involves two surfer dudes we met one day in the hinterlands. The two of them came sailing over the horizon to join a Sherwood community build. They were both named Drumgod, obviously an avatwin (a shared avatar). "Where's the beach," they asked. "There is the famous Seth's Surf Shack," I said. "Been there, done that,î they replied. So I offered to give them land at Sherwood Towne. They agreed to settle in town and the Sherwood Clan agreed to throw a building lesson into the bargain.

Figure 7.70: shday22a.jpg
As anAvatwin, two surfer dudes (from Alabama, it turns out) share an avatar for common building on one site.

They were in luck, for one of AlphaWorld's luminaries and pro builders showed up. BlackThorne is a real surfer from Brisbane, Australia who spends his nights in AlphaWorld. BlackThorne gives them a pro building lesson. What do they want to build? ìA beach," the avatwins reply in unison.

The surfers build for 10 hours and create a surfer's beach bazaar, and then take off late in the evening (Central Standard Time in the U.S.). Talk about surfing the Internet!

Figure 7.71: shday19a.jpg
Take it easy, man. Two dudes skysurfing outta here. Talk about surfing the Internet!

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.