Once upon a (Greenie) time in Second Life

Once Upon A Time celebrates the Greenies

Back in the early years of Second Life, the platform attracted many businesses and organisations to its shores. One of these was UK-based Rezzable Productions, who at their peak in early 2009, operated around 40 regions in-world. Founded by Jonathan Himoff (Rightasrain Rimbaud in-world), Rezzable quickly established a reputation for building some of the most engaging content available in-world at the time. Perhaps the most famous of their creations – and one of the first they created  – was the world of the Greenies.

These were a horde of (literally) Little Green Men who, whether from a tiny world or the result of a Douglas Adams-esque miscalculation of scale, had arrived on Earth to find themselves dwarfed by everything around them. Undeterred, they set out to explore this strange realm, which was offered as a gigantic, region-wide house, where they ended up getting involved in all sorts of mischief. Such was the scale of the house, SL avatars were not too much bigger than the Greenies, and so were able to witness their escapades first-hand.

Presented as a series of vignettes throughout the house, some one them semi-interactive, the Greenies and their adventures captured people’s imaginations. So popular did they become that the house was a must-see destination for incoming Second Life users (helped by the fact that Rezzable were also a part of the Lab’s original SL Gateway programme, and so could direct their own incoming traffic to their regions, including the Greenies). Interest was further maintained by Rezzable periodically adding assorted games to the environment, alongside of new Greenie vignettes.

Sadly, all this came to an end in June 2010. The previous year, Rezzable had announced their withdrawal from SL in favour of their own dedicated, open simulator based grid, Heritage Key. They allowed the Greenies to remain in Second Life for almost a year after the announcement, but in that June of 2010, the little green folk loaded up their flying saucers for the last time and departed Second Life.

A Greenie eye view of the Once upon A Time house

Since then, the legend of the Greenies has been celebrated in Second Life in many small ways – Greenie-like characters have on occasion popped-up in rides at things like SLB celebrations, for example. And now there is a new opportunity to recall their time here. It comes in the form of Once Upon A Time, an installation built by Justice Vought, owner of the excellent :Oxygen: (see: Getting some :oxygen: in Second Life) and admitted Greenies fan.

Having opened on April 29th, Once Upon A Time offers visitors the chance to enter Justice’s take on the giant house where the Greenies could once be found (you even do so through a mouse hole, just like the original – just follow the teleport prompts and arrows from the landing point, and keep an eye out for the cheese in the alley). Sadly, there are no original Greenies to be found inside – they are subject to copyright, after all; instead, the rooms offer visitors the chance to explore Greenie-style, and recreate some of the (mis)adventures the little green folk had.

Long-time resident Rug Halberd gets into the spirit of things with a Greenie avatar, posing with some of the toys

This is a place to be explored carefully, because there are many interactive elements – balls can be rolled, Dominos knocked down, poses to be found (so very much in the style of the Greenies (although again sadly, no sugar “baths” or playing on frying pans – but you can jump into the kitchen sink and float around on a sponge, Greenie style or find yourself paddling in the loo … among other things; I’m not going to spoil it all!).  As such, the secret really is to mouse-over everything.

And don’t confine yourself to a floor-level exploration. Be prepared to jump / fly onto the tables, bed and other furniture.

Playing see-saw in the kitchen – Greenie style

Throughout, there are many touches that offer reminders of the the original Greenies build. Food is spilt in places, electrical wiring offers opportunities for some shocking times, an iron (sans quished Greenie sitson the ironing board, an Atari games console sits waiting to be wrestled with, and so on. For those wishing to recall the Greenies directly, the TV above the bedroom games console presents a host of original Greenie photos Justice pulled together from his own archives and from friends.

Anyone who can remember the Greenies in Second Life is liable to find Once Upon A Time a memory-filling visit. Whilst it is something of a unique build, it contains all that is required to bring back happy memories of spending time in Rezzable’s original and watching the Greenies at play. And while the little aliens themselves may not be present, anyone who has a Greenie avatar really should consider digging it out and wearing it during a visit!

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