Written by: Leaf Spiritweaver
Images by: Natacha Haroldson
Those of you who know me, will support me in the statement that I regularly, to quote the proverb, “bite off more than I can comfortably chew.” I have to admit that some part of my brain has come hardwired to seek out large, complicated, completely overwhelming tasks. To date, this has served me well. I have learned much about the grid from these lemming-like plummets into uncharted territory. I have also, nearly always, managed to emerge victorious – usually having learned something lofty about life or the human condition. No, seriously.
THEN · THERE · WAS WHO
When I volunteered to cover role-playing the Dr. Whoverse, I figured that something so timeless and iconic would be a very simple topic. Undoubtedly, Second Life would be swarming with Gallifreyan builds. This was going to be the easiest month in history. Boy was I wrong!
I would love to tell you I have strolled under the carmine skies of Gallifrey. I’d love to tell you I found Rose’s house, or the pub where Mickey went plastic assassin, or even the time vortex itself. However, despite hundreds of Dr. Who references in profiles, landmarks, and searches, I could not locate a single sim that seemed unerringly dedicated to providing the definitive Dr. Who experience.
What · I · did find, nearly every time, was a mall.
By this time, I was panicking. How could I write an article about role-playing someplace that doesn’t exist? In fact, I was so caught up in this feeling of defeat that I very nearly didn’t notice the Tardis appearing right in the middle of the Millenium Centre. Nor did I remember that, as the result of a sweet but unusual birthday gift, I was currently dressed as a monkey. Again, no, seriously. I couldn’t make that up.
The Time Lord piloting the Tardis ushered me inside with no more ceremony than as if I were the third monkey he’d picked up in a mall that afternoon. He gave me no more of an invitation than, “Okay, Monkey…in you go.” Once inside, there was no tour. He didn’t offer me descriptions of his travels, pompous lectures that regurgitated series canon, or a tutorial of any form. He piloted the ship as I wandered around the console room – curiously poking twiddly-bits with my prim banana. A few moments later, the door opened, and he led me to another sim through the open door of his Tardis. It was perfect.
I explored several sims with him in this same, informal co-tourism. He mused about our location, and I scouted for interesting things to climb on. It took me a full half-hour to realize we were role-playing. Suddenly I understood.
Dr. Who cannot be played on a sim – not really. A sim may be crafted to bring the community together, but shoving The Doctor in a box is the fastest way to kill his magic. The reason there were no grand, official sims, is because the only way the adventure of hopping between worlds can be recreated is to literally hop between worlds.
This inspired me to do a little experiment. I returned to one of the many Dr. Who merchandise shopping centers in search and waited. Within the span of an hour, two other Tardis…es (what’s the plural form of Tardis?) had appeared. Both Time Lords were friendly, charming, and welcoming. The second also invited me aboard and took me to a rather lovely jungle before dismissing herself to look after something and pointing the way to a supply of bananas.
Over the following week, I recreated this adventure at least a dozen times. It was then that it hit me that this –is- the who experience. Exploring the worlds, seeing the wonders, forging friendships and experiencing, for a little while, companions and strangers is what the series has always been about. While on the television, it always seemed so impossibly epic – to the point of causing me to wonder what sort of person would willingly fly off in a box with a strange man. Yet here, I was doing it regularly. The Doctor is such an organic and primary part of our human experience that it nearly eluded me entirely that I was living the adventure until it was virtually over.
I · wonder · if Martha felt the same way.
Suddenly, the malls made perfect sense. They were not set up to capitalize on the legacy, but rather to make the legacy possible. They were the welcome room, and the rest of the grid was the game. The point was not where I was, but where I could go. I understood!
Since, I have also purchased a fantastic Tardis from Novatec. Novatech’s Tardis allows not only linking to an interior space on your own land, but also the ability to transport a number of passengers between locations with you. I am almost certain this was the Tardis owned by those first Time Lords I have the pleasure to meet. I have also procured a sonic screwdriver (handy for opening doors), as well as a host of other gadgets. I still don’t have a timey-wimey detector, nor can I find an apparatus that dings when there’s stuff – but I know how to look for them. I will pick up strangers, and drop them into beautiful locations that will, hopefully, be part of their SL experience for a long time to come. Maybe, dear reader, you and I will meet and have an adventure together. If so, I promise not to roll my eyes when you notice the Tardis is larger on the inside.
~ Just for fun, readers, please submit photos of yourself having a Dr. Who adventure somewhere on the grid. Be creative with your poses and themes. Play with the idea that you can play Dr. Who anywhere, and most of all – keep it fun! Make sure that your name is somewhere in the title. We will select our favorites for a chance to win a Novatech type 40 Tardis or a Dalek avatar to further your Adventures in Time and Space.