There can be very few of us who do not have at least one Linden Bear sitting in Inventory somewhere – and most likely more than one (I have a good handful tucked away, and I’ve not been a major collector). Primarily created by the staff at the Lab (together with the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works), they are one of the Great Staples of Second Life, much sought-after by many, and held as prized possessions.
Linden Bears were, alongside of Linden Collector Cards, the brainchild of Nicole Linden, who joined Linden Lab as the first female international liaison, and the first female Linden from Australia, far back in the mists of time. I have no idea if she ever realised how popular they would be, but Linden Bears have become something of a rite of passage for Lab employees, who are expected to create one (with those at senior level being asked at virtually every public appearance they make if they have one available to give to collectors!), with special in-house courses being given in their construction.
At one time, Linden Bears used to all be made to the original template developed by Nicole Linden – but I have absolutely no idea if that is still the case today. What I do know is that, as well as individual bears being produced by Lab staff, there has also been a long tradition of creating celebratory bears to mark events and occasions – such as the “1,000,0000th Bear” produced to mark the 1,000,000th user entering SL (at precisely, for those interested at precisely 8:05:45 SLT, October 18th, 2008).
All of this is by way of introducing the fact that for the bear minded, Claire Atheria has opened the Bear Castle, an incredible display of 497 Linden (and Mole!) bears, 281 of which are from her personal collection(!), with the rest being provided by Maryposa Paine, Michael Takakura, Nicci Pond, Melvin Starbrook and Prokofy Neva.
Located alongside Route 8A within the continent of Satori, Bear Castle sits on a table of rock overlooking the road (and so hard to miss when casually travelling through lower Satori) and is brimming forth with bears from Lindens and past and present, Moles and from Claire and other residents. So many in fact, that they call cannot fit inside the main building or its courtyard, but can instead be found gathered in the pavilion alongside the museum proper and also lining the road (so be sure to cam around / descend the steps from the landing point and have a good look around). Such is the collection that, look long enough and you’ll find some of Nicole’s original bears as well as some more recent creations such as Magic Mole’s Ebbe Linden Bear, as offered to help raise funds for RFL of SL, and various “Team” bears offered on behalf of different Linden working teams, and more.
Of course, not all Linden Bears are bears, so within the collection might be found Leo Linden’s lion, Blue Linden’s dragon, one of April Linden’s bunnies, Terrance Linden’s Monkey, Torley Linden’s … abstract art (no-one could create a bear quite like Torley!), and several of Alexa Linden’s annual bears, to name but a few. Not all bears are of the same approximate size either – so be prepared to zoom in at times – and also zoom out!
For those wishing to start their own Linden Bear collection, Claire also offers some hints and tips on where to find them through a note card giver, and even a “starter pack” of 50 sharable bears by LL staff and members of the LDPW! All of which makes for a pleasing visit / trip down memory lane.
Given this is all about the bears, I cannot help but close by “borrowing” a song from Disney’s version of Baloo Bear and tweaking the lyrics a little:
Look for the bear necessities
The Linden Bear necessities.
Forget about your worries and your strife;
Our Linden Bear necessities
Are why avies can rest with ease
Collecting bears right here in Second Life!
With thanks to Claire and all involved in this project.
- Bear Castle (Dechene, rated Moderate)