An entry in the Destination Guide highlights for July 2nd, 2021 pique my curiosity: the Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery.
He has visited your home. Have you visited his? Come and experience the Very NICE & Very EVIL home and art gallery of the Bellisseria Slenderman. If you can find it, take a ride on “Slender: The Eight Pages” THRILL RIDE!
– From the Destination Guide
For those who may not be aware (are there any?) the Slender Man is a fictional supernatural character created by Eric Knudsen (aka “Victor Surge”) in 2009 on the Something Awful forum. It has gone on to become an Internet “folk legend” spanning multiple narratives – as well as becoming a focus of controversy when fiction connected to the character was connected to a number of physical world acts of violence in 2014, including the Slender Man Stabbing.
The character also became the inspiration for an independent first-person survival horror video game now called Slender: The Eight Pages.
It is this game that in turn forms the inspiration for this new Second Life experience, located within the Log Homes regions of Bellisseria, and which forms a further chapter in the Slender Man’s involvement with Bellisseria, something that commenced in February 2020.
Centred on a gallery images that record the character’s visitations / appearances within Bellisseria that is spread across the three floors of the house, the Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery includes a number of interactive elements, as indicated in the information note card available at the landing point:
- A roller coater ride, reached via a “hidden” teleport.
- A “hidden” basement awaiting visitors.
- A hunt based on the eight pages that are at the heart of the the game – except there’s no trying to avoid the Slender Man (unless he happens to pop-up!), but instead offers various prizes.
- For those with a Bellisseria passport, the opportunity to have it stamped (or maybe “unstamped!”) by the Slender Man.
In addition, the experience makes uses of the parcel as a whole, with various elements indoors and out to make it more a atmospheric setting. These include a dedicated EEP setting that is well worth seeing if you don’t have your viewer set to use shared environments by default (World → Environment → Use Shared Environment).
To be honest, locating the teleports for the roller coaster and basement isn’t that hard, but be aware that not all teleports are referenced in the introductory notes, so careful mousing is recommended.
However, locating the eight pages in the hunt will take a certain amount of patience and careful camming / exploring (unless you’re using a viewer with Area Search and opt to cheat!). The prizes they offer are varied and clearly designed to appeal to a wide range of recipients. I admit to liking the Segway (and its instructions: “Say yes to any animation requests and turn your AO off so you don’t look like a big goof”!), even if it looks as if it has been designed for someone around 10 or 11 foot tall, rather than scaled more towards the “average” avatar heights commonly used nowadays.
My attempts to summon the Slender Man via the HUD failed miserably whilst initially exploring and working through the hunt. However, when returning to the setting to take photos, he surprised me by popping up unexpectedly, and we ended up playing “let’s photograph one another”, as can be seen here and here on the Slender Man forum thread.
Meanwhile, the roller coaster makes for a smooth ride, and is best enjoyed in Mouselook. Taking it will provide hints on what to look for with the hunt’s eight pages for those who haven’t started / completed it; while those not so enamoured of hunts, etc., can wander around the back of the house and either climb to the seating platform on the roof or avail themselves of the bumper boats rezzer and mess around on the lake behind the house.
I admit, I’m not a great one for horror, and the idea of embracing a character that has in the past been controversial in inspiring acts of violence does cause a frisson of discomfort. However, what I do find fascinating about Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery is actually not so much the experience itself, but the fact it has allegedly been built by “Mouse Mysterious”.
This is a character who uses a Profile image / logo that has a certain similarity to that of a nonagenarian mouse logo used by a certain studio. I’m not aware of any link between said studio and the makers of the game from which the experience takes its inspiration, so no idea if this is purely coincidental or a possible hint of something in and of itself. Perhaps time will tell on this – or not!
Anyway, the experience is there to be discovered, and I’ll leave you to do so as the mood takes you.
- Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery (Birchbark, rated Moderate)