What Second Life Thing Are You? (Warning: You Might Not Want to Know!)

Second Life Quiz
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's yet another online quiz making the rounds... At least it's making the rounds in Second Life's narrow little slice of the internet. "What Second Life Thing Are You?" is not a quiz for the faint of heart or the fragile of ego, and you should only venture down its dimly-lit corridor of questions if you have an extremely healthy sense of humor about yourself and your hobbies.

Even so, it's a brief hit of nostalgia and a couple bitter chuckles (at your own expense) to brighten up your afternoon, so give it a shot

As for my results...

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No Skin Thick Enough: Don't Miss This Eye-Opening Article About Online Harassment in Gaming

No Skin thick Enough
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

An interesting piece about gender and harassment in the gaming industry was posted in Polygon's opinion section today. Written by game developer Brianna Wu, the piece cuts right to the quick with a series of case studies from other women in the industry, each one debunking a specific myth about online harassment. If you've ever caught yourself saying "everyone gets harassed online" or "you just need to grow a thicker skin," please carve a few minutes out of your day to read it. 

It's a phenomenal piece, but one quote included from games journalist Carolyn Petit really resonates:

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In the Least Surprising News of the Day, The Sims 4 Will Have Premium Memberships

Sims 4 Premium
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Sims fans have caught sight of something alarming in a recent 20-minute Sims 4 gameplay demo posted to the series' official YouTube channel. A banner advertising "The Sims 4 Premium" popped on screen while the hosts were en-route to check out community content sharing features, promising discounts, early access, and exclusive items. The comparison is being made to the premium memberships offered for the Battlefield series, in essence a subscription fee that provides a good deal for players who plan to buy all or nearly all of the DLC content released -- and a good deal for EA if subscribers who planned to buy decide to abstain. 

But when it comes to this particular community and this particular franchise, I don't think the issue is quite that simple...

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No Flossing Required: Here's How to Get A Perfect, Picture-Ready Pixel Smile

Jessica Pixel  tooth smile shape
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Here's a tip I'd never even considered from SL user Jessica Pixel's Plurk: If you're the kind of person who likes an expressive avatar, you might want to make yourself a special shape to get the most out of a toothy smile emote. Jessica's own animated gif, shown above, illustrates the differences between her typical shape and a smile-ready shape pretty well. Depending on the dimensions and features of your facial shape, Second Life's built-in grins might look compressed, or just not quite as nice as they could. Not every shape will need it (and not every player will want it) but for those that are interested few tiny tweaks to the mouth area are all you'll need.

As most fashion-minded SL users know, multiple subtle tweaks of the same avatar shape can be a pretty crucial part of your wardrobe, especially if you want to fit perfectly into your favorite mesh attire and accessories. Likewise, shape tweaks can help make your avatar look more consistent across a variety of skins. So if showing your avatar's pearly whites is a priority, try this out for yourself.

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The Perfect Male Avatar Might Not Look Exactly Like Nomak Nyori, but it's Probably Very Close

Nomak Nyori Monday
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

In case you were wondering, in case you somehow fell out of the loop in the interim between now and one of my previous posts about him, Second Life artist Nomak Nyoki continues to be the absolute gold standard for male avatars. His styling? Still flawless. His photography? Beyond compare. His boston terrier? Well that's a new edition, but I love it just the same.

Nomak shared a few new pictures on his Flickr this week, and they're just as stunning as you'd expect -- even more of what has made his face and name a force to be reckoned with in the world of men's fashion in SL, even if he isn't the most prolific artist in the scene. Whether you're looking for a dash of modern style, or you want to motivate yourself towards a head-to-toe male av makeover, his Flickr stream should be your number one source of inspiration.

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The Glossy, Voluminous (and Free) Virtual Moustache You've Dreamed of is Now a Reality at Hair Fair 2014

Hair Fair INK FreebieJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life bloggers aren't the only ones having a little fun with their Hair Fair 2014 photography. It's no surprise that hair designers themselves have been cranking out some stunning images to promote their new releases.

A lot of the focus is on glitz and glamour (as is so often the case) which is why this snap of INK's immaculately groomed moustache, available for free at their Hair Fair booth, stands out so much. That's not to say that these handsome handlebars aren't glitzy or glamorous in their own right of course, but they certainly offer a welcome change from all the smoky eyes and smouldering gazes. 

You can pick up INK's free moustache at Hair Fair 2014 [SLURL] until July 27th.

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My Five Favorite Styles (and Snapshots) from Second Life's Hair Fair 2014

Hair Fair Oakley Foxtrot
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I have a confession. Whenever I set out to take pictures for a Second Life event like Hair Fair, I get absolutely overwhelmed by the amazing work that other bloggers and photographers are doing. To be entirely frank and only marginally self-deprecating, at the end of the day I'm a million times more interested in showing off what others have been doing than adding my own (comparatively worse) work onto the pile. Here's what I mean...

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The SIM-ple Life: Here's Why I'm Looking Forward to Losing Everything in the Transition to The Sims 4

Sims 4 CAS Demo  (11)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Fans of any series are surely familiar with the excitement leading up to the release of a new installment, and likewise the concern that somehow, at some point, the developers will mess it up. Maybe it won't be as good as the previous games. Or maybe it will be a million times better. It's an emotional push-and-pull that many Sims fans are experiencing right now, but with an added layer almost unique to them.

Between the base game, the expansions, the stuff packs, the store content, the mods, and of course the sim lives created, every game in the series can be a tremendous investment of both time and money. And then the new game comes out, and you're back at square one. Even though it is a brand new game, even though the older game doesn't go anywhere, it still feels like (and is most often described as) a loss. It's a huge mental hurdle for many players to get over, and one that I personally struggled with when The Sims 3 came out back in 2009.

But this time around, I'm not. I'm actually, strangely enough, looking forward to losing it all. Here's why:

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Assassin's Creed is a Franchise Built on More Than Just Violence (But You'd Never Know it From This Trailer)

AC Unity Trailer
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Earlier today Chris Plante shared his thoughts on the latest trailers for Assassin's Creed Unity over on Polygon, and if you're an avid gamer his post should give you a lot to think about. Obviously AC fans aren't strangers to gorey gameplay, but it feels like Ubisoft's marketing material is trying to take it to a new level, and Plante's not interested. Frankly, neither am I. He writes:

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Virtual Vlogger Ami Yamato is Back... in Tokyo

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Our favorite virtual vlogger, Ami Yamato, is visiting friends and family in Japan this month, and she's chronicling her trip along the way. In her latest, Ami's walking the streets of a Japanese suburb just before midnight, camera held out, and musing about the differences between her homes in Japan and England.

If you've already taken a peek at the video embedded above but are otherwise unfamiliar with this underappreciated YouTube personality, you might be wonder why I'm talking about her as if she's a real person. While she might look like she belongs among a lineup of the latest Disney princesses, Ami is presented as a real flesh-and-blood vlogger. Every now and then she makes tongue-in-cheek references to the programs and people that have made her existence possible, but for the most part she's playing it straight, and that might just be the best thing about her.

If you're looking for an extra dose of Ami, be sure to catch up on the videos available on her YouTube channel, and check out her new Instagram account for some unbelievably unreal selfies.

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