Nostalgia at :nostos:deer: in Second Life

:nostos:deer:; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
:nostos:deer: – click any image for full size

Second Life is always changing. Not just technically in terms of capabilities and options, or even visually in terms of the overall look and feel; but physically as well. Regions come, regions go – often with much lamenting in the case of the latter. Regions change hands from public to private; settings change with time both in reflection of the seasons and as of the evolving nature of design and model building.

Such is the way of things, it is sometimes easy to forget that there can also be found in Second Life a sense of constancy; travel through the mainland continents, for example will reveal places that many not have changed for a very long time, offering glimpse’s of the grid’s past and a reminder that it does have a history.

:nostos:deer:; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
:nostos:deer:

While they can be harder to find, such places do exist among the myriad of private regions scattered across the grid. Take :nostos:deer:, for example, the full region held by Dora Nacht and Hide Mint, and home to their Little Hopper brand. I first visited it almost six years ago, in February 2013, when it was already over a year old. I’m not sure I’ve actually ever been back, but sorting through photos on my hard drive recently brought me to a folder of images taken during that visit; seeing it was still on the map, curiosity got the better of me, so I hopped over to take a look, and it was like stepping back in time.

In 2013, I was struck by the simple design of the region and the sense of fun and whimsy within it, and it is true to start that, but for the snow present in 2018, almost nothing about the region has changed. The mine shaft entrance / teleport up to the skyborne store is still there, nestled by the deep gorge of the river that cuts through the region; the little purpose-built (by Hide) tram clatters along its single track, rolling from little station and out towards the coast before committing a 180-degree turn and trundling back as if it had a sudden change of heart; the east side beach is still watched over by the single finger of a lighthouse.

:nostos:deer:; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
:nostos:deer:

And there is the other little tram, still caught it time as it skitters on spinning wheels at the end of a track from which the bridge has vanished out from underneath it, rail sleepers tumbling like a twisted staircase into the sea below. Throughout the region, there is still an air that this is a place for doing things in a not-really-actually-doing-things kind of way.

For example, the canoe awaits paddlers down in the river gorge, while the swan pedalo boats similarly await attention in the north-west. Elsewhere, wooden logs lie like abandoned sleepers to form paths both up hill and down dale for those wishing to follow them. But there is not sense of having to do all or any of this, with the region offering many places where people can simply sit and rest and let time pass them by.

:nostos:deer:; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
:nostos:deer:

Compared to the sophistication of modern region designs, some might view nostos:deer as “lacking”. It relies entirely on simple terraforming; there is no use of mesh landforms or other elements, the tress are predominantly prim-based, and so on. But that doesn’t make the region any less attractive per se.

Rather, the fact that it has stood so unchanged for so long allows it to stand as a glimpse into a bygone era of Second Life’s history. Equally, for those of us who remember it from visits taken four or five or six years ago, its unchanged nature causes a warming rush of familiarity, almost a sense of homecoming in keeping with the first part of the region’s name, mixed with a deep sense of nostalgia and re-discovery.

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2 thoughts on “Nostalgia at :nostos:deer: in Second Life

  1. Oh, I remember Nostos:Deer from long ago. Wasn’t there a nice Japanese town on a simwide platform in the sky with the Nostos:Deer store in it? They sold some pretty things there. I guess my friend Fiona Haworth scripted some of their stuff if I’m not mistaken.

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    1. The region-wide town might have been before my first visit in 2013. At that time, the store was inside a large rock. Now it’s in an underground bunker-like environment with and open demo area forming the “ground” above it.

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