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Monday, September 12, 2005

BURNING LIFE '05: THE BLING-MAN OF USHUAIA TOKUGAWA

Another glimpse of Burning Life 2005-- context here.

"Bling-Man," Ushuaia Tokugawa tells me, "is a somewhat faithful implementation of a popular diversion from years gone by... In the long run, I plan on making it into a full event-style game with levels and ghosts and power-ups, the whole package." He hopes to see it have a permanent place in SL, after Burning Life is over.

But, he suggests, its fundamental intent is less arcade than artful.

"[M]uch like Second Life itself," Tokugawa announces, "Bling-Man is not a game. The point of Bling-Man (also much like Second Life) is to collect as much bling as possible."

In SL, as in hip hop, "bling" are the sparkling jewelry that hard-bodied, club-crawling Residents often wear. Residents who amass beaucoup bling tend to be casual users, or less charitably, noobs.

"One does not play Bling-Man," Tokugawa continues, "one experiences it. While you are experiencing Bling-Man please do not enjoy yourself. If you find yourself on the verge of enjoyment it may be time to reflect on a few of the hidden truths Bling-Man represents...


- Disparity of Technologies
Welcome to Second Life, a cutting edge advanced 3D simulation employing the latest enhancments in streaming technology which enable Residents from across the globe to come together to virtually participate in laggy two-dimensional board games.

- The Plight of the Blingtard
The unwashed masses of Second Life whose over-enhanced physiques, prim-laden hair, mesmerizing jewelry, and proclivity to play laggy two-dimensional board games provide the uber-class with both a topic for entertainment and a target for derision.

- Economy of Classes
Not only are the rich getting richer off the spending habits of the consumer class, they are the ones who actually develop and distribute the very skins, hair, jewelry, and laggy two-dimensional board games which transform each of these unassuming Ruths into the very mockery the uber-class despises."

In other words, it's interactive satire of the social divisions between the casual SL user and the serious content-creators (or if you insist-- and must you?-- the Feted Inner Core.)

"Of course," Ushuaia Tokugawa goes on, "this may all just be an elaborate smokescreen to disguise the fact that I've used Burning Life to create a gigantic Pac-Man. I'll probably turn this into laggy two-dimensional game to sell to venues so they can attract customers to their stores full of skins, hair and jewelry. Have fun!"

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