I just checked out a nice website that Robin Randwick created as a part of Kikai’s Second Anniversary, I wanted to compliment him here and add some of my thoughts.
Kikai is a private residence that was set up to provide a place for kid avatars to live without the griefing and other negativities they were experiencing in the public areas of SL. I first started visiting my friends Russy and Tsu at Kikai, who were some of the first residents there. Later, in June of 2007, I heard they were thinking of expanding with another sim, and I applied for a small plot and was accepted to join the community.
At first I didn’t think I wanted a monthly expense, albeit small, in a virtual world. Why did an avatar need home, I pondered, but I was assured if I decided to leave there would likely be someone who wanted to buy my parcel, so I became the owner of a few square meters of beach property.
There are some pros and cons to living in a “gated” community such as Kikai. Everyone must be in the group to enter, and we have to manage a collective list of visitors in a group list. Unfortunately, the reality is that our lives are much easier having a place sheltered from public access. Of course, when a resident wants to bring a visitor they must take responsibility for that person, add them to the visitor group, so they can teleport in. That is problematic in that many active avatars don’t have extra group slots, and occaisionally we inadvertantly end up inviting someone that doesn’t understand the rules. One side-affect of having an area closed to the public for our protection is that it can create an artificial illusion that we are trying to exclude or we have something to hide.
Of course, Kikai isn’t the only place that provides private sims for kid avatar residents – there are many – and the net effect is that it creates these isolated pockets of people when before, there were a number of public places like Nemo beach that were always bustling with people playing, hanging out, chatting, shopping, and otherwise making it a part of their normal in-world visits. Now a lot of these places languish, sitting emptly much more often than not. I guess the challenge is for us to keep visiting each other, patronize the great clubs and events that people organize, and try to remain open and friendly to new people.
For me the benefits of a living on a private community group of sims outweigh the downsides. I love my home there, and the friends I share it with. Part of the design is to have open water and spaces, which means we can sail, fly, swim over our collective spaces. I can log on, jump on my riding whale, or in a flying contraption, or some sort of boat or jet ski and go for a ride until I see one of my friends hanging out and have a nice chat, a hug, and a laugh or two. Its a good life, even if it is a second life. Long Live Kikai!
Thanks again to Robin Randwick for his hard work on the website restrospective. Also to all the guys that do the behind the scenes work of helping to make sure our community works, like Ron having to hassle with monthly tiers and Danny and others that keep us happy and healthy with minimized lag.