Top 5 Games Beyond Second Life - NWN Readers' Choice

Guild Wars 2 Bees
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Let no one say that Second Life users aren't still gamers through and through. Last week I asked you what your favorite games are, and I'll admit that the enthusiastic response that followed here, in Plurk, and in my inbox took me completely by surprise. Some of your picks were just as surprising, too.

So what are the top five games New World Notes' readers love to play (outside of the metavese, of course)? You'll find out after the jump!

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Game On: Cast Your Vote For NWN's Top 5 Favorite Games, As Chosen By Readers

FemShep SL 1 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Here at New World Notes we've asked our readers what your favourite blogs are, who your favourite designers are, even who the hottest male avatars in the virtual world are... But not what your favourite games are. Yesterday I did just that, and the response (spread out across the comments section, email, Plurk, and Twitter) was much stronger than I'd anticipated... And I'm not one to leave a big pile of interesting data like this untapped. What started out as an honest question is now begging to become a Readers Choice feature just like the top blogs, brands, and boys lists we've run in the past. 

There'stremendous variety among those responses. Big budget RPGs sit shoulder-to-shoulder with tiny independent games in our readers' Steam libraries. Of course there are also many games that come up again and again... And in many cases they may not be the games you would expect. That's why, in my opinion, this may turn out to be our most interesting Readers Choice yet.

I'll be tallying up the top 5 titles and sharing the results next week, but here's what you can do in the meantime: Make sure your voice is heard. If you haven't already submitted your faves, head over and comment on the original post, on Facebookon Plurk, or email me at ophelia.iris [at] gmail [dot] com before Monday. Name as many or as few games as you like, whether they're on classic or current consoles, PCs, mobile, even pen & paper platforms. And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for the full list next week!

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Second Life's Top Brands as Chosen by NWN Readers!

Readers Choice Brands
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

With the NWN Readers Choice Top Brands of SL finally wrapped up it's time for a comprehensive roundup, meticulously sorted and organized into categories for your perusing pleasure! If you missed any of these posts the first time around this is the perfect chance to get caught up on some of our reader favorites. Of course some of these brands are my favorites too, so I've put an asterisk (*) alongside my personal top 5 from the list in case you're curious! Check the list out in all its glory here:

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The Top SL Brand As Chosen by NWN's Readers is...

New years Maitreya Readers Choice
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

MaitreyaGold_Liaison_CherryIt's finally time to share the brand that received the most nominations from NWN readers, and it's no surprise that it's one of the older and more highly regarded brands of the Second Life fashion world. Maitreya's original store was little more than a box with an emphasis on animated modeling poses (which were quite novel at the time), but they quickly branched out into clothing, shoes, accessories and even hair. These days Maitreya is well known for their stunningly realistic shoes and feet, as well as their mesh and sculpted clothing, with an emphasis on the kind of glamour and style you'd find in the glossy pages of a magazine like Vogue.

The dress I'm wearing in the picture above is called Frenzy, and it would be a perfect choice for a virtual New Years Eve party, especially when paired with the sleek Liaison stilettos shown on the right (also from Maitreya). This dress comes in about a dozen different colors, but I've picked black with golden glitter for a fairly traditional New Years look. Whether you're building a last minute party outfit or just looking for something fresh to wear in 2013, be sure to swing by Maitreya!

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Marvellous Mesh Styles from Celoe will Keep Your Avatar Catwalk-Ready (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

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Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I borrowed the picture above from Gogo's blog, since she has a notable penchant for the intensely detailed shoes from this particular brand, and has taken some truly stunning pictures of them. Celoe is a brand that branched out from Lelutka, a store that has been incredibly popular among SL models and model-wannabes, as well as fashionistas with a fondness for the edgy look of runway fashion, since it debuted. Celoe launched backed by the creative power of Lelutka's designers as well as some new collaborators, specializing in mesh shoes and clothing. Whether you love or hate Standard Sizing, Celoe is one of several brands that have made this system as common as it is today. You can find Celoe in the same sim as one of the brands featured yesterday, Mon Tissu, and if you're a fan of one brand it's hard not to fall for its neighbour, since both brands share the same high standards in terms of their quality. 

That's all for now, but be sure to check back in on Monday for our very last NWN Readers Choice brand selection, when I'll be showcasing the brand that received the most reader nominations.

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Mon Tissu is the Costume of Choice for a Sweetly Twee Second Lifestyle (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

Mon Tissu Garden Party
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

  • Brand name: Mon Tissu
  • [SL Marketplace]
  • [SLURL]
  • Blog
  • Estimated average item price: L$300
  • Brand owners: Elie Spot (Emma Gilmour) and Anouk Spot (Juliette Westerburg)

Mon Tissu is the work of two very talented designers who, like the Power Rangers or those kids from Captain Planet, combine their efforts to make items that are even more impressive than anything they make on their own. Designs from Mon Tissu are immaculate, and in most cases perfect examples of SL clothing worth holding up to say "This is how it's done".

There's no real secret behind Mon Tissu's success, so there's not that much to say about them. Their clothing is simply impeccable, with flawless textures and extremely high quality sculpting and modeling. Of course it helps that it's also very on-trend, offering seasonal releases that reflect the latest styles and color palettes. If you love Pinterest, pastels, and pastries, you'll probably fall head over heels for Mon Tissu's ultra-feminine lineup. Check it out for yourself and you'll see exactly what I mean.

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Second Life Fashion Just Wouldn't be the Same Without Elikatira (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

Eyelash edit
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Elikatira's presence on the NWN Reader's Choice Brands list shouldn't surprise anyone. Who knows what the SL fashion landscape would look like without Elikapeka Tiramisu; she's been an institution in Second Life's Fashion community for longer than the vast majority residents have even been in SL. My very first prim hairstyle was from Elika's previous brand, ETD. It was a head full of corkscrewed torii that absolutely pales in comparison to what Elika is capable of these days.

Styles at Elikatira are usually quite casual and natural with mostly straight or wavy hair, and there's a lot available in the store to suit girl-next-door avatars. She's a master of stray wisps and realistically dishevelled locks as well, but even if you prefer edgier styles there are cuts at Elikatira worth demo-ing, like Figure which I'm wearing above. Elikatira has a fairly large Marketplace presence, but for the full selection (including Figure) you'll need to make a trip to the in-world shop, where you'll also find an array of chic shoes to peruse. Whether the hair or the shoes appeal to you more, it's hard to leave Elikatira empty-handed.

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Whether You're Naughty or Nice, Designs from League Will Suit You (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

League gacha earmuffs

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Designs from League are often either flirty and feminine, bold and sexy, or a combination of the two. I picked a sultry, sparkling minidress from League as a top choice for New Year's Eve 2011, but some of my favorite releases from League are Nena's girlier lace-trimmed or pastel-toned items. The vast majority of Nena's shop is filled with clothing, but she's also seen tremendous success with her skin line. Skins from League are realistic and very polished, which understandably makes them a favorite of even highly-descriminating fashionistas.

Beyond that, League also offers unique jewelry and accessories. I'm wearing a set of embroidered earmuffs from League in the picture above, which are currently at The Arcade. I love the stitching on these, but the subtle shaping and texturing on the ribbon looks so realistic that even this tiny detail is a testament to Nena's skills as a designer. You can play League's gacha machine at The Arcade for a chance at these earmuffs as well as others, along with matching mittens, for L$50 per play until December 31st. Don't miss your chance!

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Hanaya has the Perfect Finishing Touches for Almost Any Virtual Living Space (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

-Hanaya- Potted Dandylion New

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I was happy to see Hanaya nominated for this list repeatedly, because it's a brand that I've kept in the back of my mind for when I'm redecorating and a room is lacking that certain... je ne sais quoi. A quick glance at Hanaya's marketplace storefront may give you the impression that there's not much to this brand of furniture and decor, but you would be absolutely wrong.

Hanaya designer Moriko Inshan has kept the focus of her brand quite broad, offering everything from sofas to horse stables. She often favours the same kinds of designs you'd see at Urban Outfitters or on Etsy in real life with strong vintage and rustic/DIY influences, so if you take the time to turn the pages of her marketplace shop you'll almost certainly find dozens of gems you didn't realize you (and your virtual living space) needed.

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Animate your Avatar with Personality-Heavy AOs from Oracul (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

RP-012_Hello_Baby
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

When Oracul began to make a name for itself, getting a fully-featured AO (short for animation overrider, a scripted attachment used to change the animations an avatar uses while standing, sitting, walking, etc) could cost you around L$1000, and was something that even the most devoted fashionistas only had a handful of. daiz Papp's brand Oracul came out of nowhere offering AOs jam packed with animations for every movement an avatar could make; each AO had a distinct personality and style, and they were so cheap that you could buy one for every mood or outfit you had. It's not just personality that makes each AO different, though-- there are plenty of AOs designed specifically for specialty avatars at Oracul as well, including fairies, robots, and even babies like the one in the ad shown above.

daiz's AOs were also one of the last nails in the coffin for AOs that only featured static, un-animated poses. Animated AOs convey much more life and personality through an avatar, and when oracul put them within the reach of anyone with any tastes and on any budget... Well, who could say no? Oracul is the second store on the NWN Readers Choice Brand list that Hamlet himself has been wearing (at least since I made him over last month.) if you're looking for a way to show your personality dynamically through your SL avatar, a trip to Oracul would be well worth your time.

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