Midday Get Away: Whatever You Do, Don't Miss This Adorable Aeronautical SL Machinima

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

When I went poking around on YouTube for new Second Life machinima to share, I really wasn't expecting to come across this little gem. An adorable avatar, a gleaming red plane, a long stretch of runway, an even longer stretch of water, dotted with beachy little islands and cozy-looking homes. I'll admit that I never really understood the culture or the allure that developed around piloting virtual planes in a world where characters could fly with the tap of a button... But I think now I'm starting to get it.

If you like this sweet, cinematic little music video, you may want to poke around the rest of creator ChanAndMe C's YouTube channel for a few other outstanding videos in the same vein, including a series inspired by western films and this action-packed surfing montage.

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Watching the World Cup? You Won't Want to Miss This Second Life Machinima Music Video

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

Japanese machinima maker Ume Sib has developed a following for his fun and irreverent Second Life music videos. They tend to feature casts of unique characters, vibrant colors, inspiring set designs, and some very interesting choreography and camera work.

His latest video is a celebration of the 2014 Wold Cup currently taking place in Brazil, and it's a pretty good example of why his videos are so popular. It's bright, it's funny, and it's a solid demonstratio of SL in action. That said, it's nowhere near as charming as his second most recent video, "Dance", which features a ridiculously adorable virtual couple and outfit notes for any fashion-minded viewers hoping to recreate the avatar looks shown for themselves.

Watch more of Ume Sib's Second Life music videos on his Youtube channel, or follow him over on Facebook.

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Watch it This Weekend: A Second Life Artist Who Found Real World Inspiration in the Virtual World

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

The latest episode of The Drax Files: World Makers (now sponsored by Linden Lab) is out, and it tells the story of flockers, an artist who draws real portraits of Second Life avatars. This isn't just about her artwork, though; it's also about how SL has changed her life for the better, bringing her out of her shell and helping her achieve her dream job. It's one hell of an inspiring story, you won't want to miss it.

If you're new to Draxtor Despres' ongoing mixed-reality mini-documentary series about the faces behind some of Second Life's most iconic characters and you're not sure where to even begin catching up, you're also in luck. Draxtor recently posted a video with highlights from the series, so if you're just looking to get your toes wet it's a fabulous place to start!

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Pharrell's "Happy" in Second Life Makes Me Vaguely Glad

I'm often the last person to listen to the latest pop hotness, and consequently, Pharrell's much-loved, much video-memed "Happy" single has only recently ear wormed its way into my head -- so I'm now happy to inflict "Happy" on you too:

This is the best SL version of "Happy" I've seen so far (by Smel Auroline), with a large cast, lots of scene changes, and the all-important inclusion of pogo sticks and bouncing pigs. I'd love to see other versions with more diverse avatars beyond the club kid variety:

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Is a Virtual World Lab Better for Students Than a Physical One? Find Out in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files

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

If you're interested in the role that virtual worlds can play in education, you won't want to miss the latest episode of The Drax Files: World Makers, Draxtor Despres' ongoing mixed reality documentary series about what, how, and why people are doing what they do in Second Life. 

A chemistry professor at Texas A&M University has been running a particularly interesting experiment -- on her students. By having one group work in a virtual lab while another works in a physical one, both she and her research partner have been observing some pretty powerful benefits for students given the opportunity to work in a digital environment... But I won't spoil the juicy bits. Watch it for yourself above, or head over to Draxtor's YouTube channel to catch up on any episodes of The Drax Files that you may have missed. 

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Scrape Your Jaw Off of the Floor After Watching This Second Life Brand's Latest Promo Video

The Secret Store Gooey Promo
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The new promo video for Maylee Oh's ultra-feminine SL fashion brand The Secret Store makes me want to do three things: Buy Adobe After Effects, buy a Glass Animals album, and buy out every single item in Maylee's shop... Excluding what I own already, of course.

This entracing music video is easily one of the most flawless machinima productions I've seen in a while, and it showcases her brand's aesthetic better than any still snapshot ad ever could. It's short, it's sweet, and even if the fashion isn't enough to entice you it's still an absolute must-see for SL users and machinima fans alike.

Watch it for yourself here.

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Where The Magic Happens: Draxtor Despres Interviews an SL Entrepreneur Whose Focus May Surprise You

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

It's been a little while since we checked in with Second Life mini doc-maker Draxtor Despres, but that isn't to say he hasn't been busy. The latest episode of his series of mixed-reality resident profiles, The Drax Fles: World Makers, went up recently, and features yet another incredibly interesting creator that many of us may never have heard of. Zach Barkley makes magic in SL. Literally. Scripted, particle-powered spells and mystical effects for fantasy roleplay... Or just for showing off.

All in all this episode is an interesting look at a niche that may not spring to mind when you think about Second Life content creation. Just as interesting is hearing how Zach, who is still quite young, fits virtual worlds into his life (and how friends and family react to them). For me, learning about Draxtor's subjects outside of SL is always as interesting as learning about them inside of SL, if not moreso.

You can catch up on The Drax Files: World Makers over on Youtube, and if you need an even bigger Drax fix don't forget to check out the weekly Drax Files Radio Hour podcast.

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Listen This Weekend: The Drax Files Radio Hour Interviews Celebrity Griefer Esteban Winsmore

Tdf-rh-show-3-alt
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you're a virtual world enthusiast who's not keeping up with virtual world documentarian Draxtor Despres' new podcast, The Drax Files Radio Hour, then you're absolutely missing out.

The latest episode is packed with some pretty controversial content headlined by the notorious Esteban Winsmore, who has developed a reputation with some as a griefer, while others find his voice chatting antics downright entertaining. Draxtor and co-host Jo Yardley (known for her work in SL's 1920s Berlin sim) also discuss net neutrality, Oculus Rift augmented reality, Second Life's HTTP Project, and more.

If you go for the Esteban interview, just be sure to stay for the new virtual world documentary by Loki Eliot. "The Lost Virtual World" examines the ups and downs of virtual worlds, painting a picture 2 decades in the making. Check it all out for yourself here.

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Watch It This Weekend: Don't Miss This All-New Episode Of The Mixed-Reality Mini-Doc Series That Dominated In 2013

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

We can't really talk about the best Second Life content of 2013 without mentioning Draxtor Despres and his mixed reality machinima profiles of characters, and creators. This year The Drax Files: World Makers filled NWN's Machinima category with short mini-documentaries about the real lives behind the avatars, and covering them has been one of my favorite parts of writing on this site. It's always interesting to see who Draxtor will cover next-- I'd even say it's half the fun of following the episodes. Maybe it'll be a name you've known for years, or maybe it will be your first time hearing about someone and their amazing work. It's a mixed bag, and a great way to expose yourself to people you may never have crossed paths with otherwise.

Suffice it to say that The Drax Files is a must-watch for anyone interested in virtual worlds and the people behind them. You can watch the latest episode in the series embedded above, or catch up on past episodes on Draxtor's YouTube channel

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NWN's Five Favorite Second Life Machinimas from 2013

SL machinima

Happy holidays all - for your leisurely viewing and holiday party background eye candy, here's my top five favorite Second Life machinimas I blogged about over the last year. Sad to say, there seems to have been less great narrative-driven machinima in 2013 than there have been in previous years, but at the very least, these are all sumptuous visual treats for the season:

From January, this is "Bad Trip" by Tutsy Navarantha:

From February, this is an SL machinima by Lala Larix called "Myself, Me & I" inspired by Michel Foucault's Utopian Body:

After the break, first featured here in March, "Invisible Man" is an SL machinima music video by Japanese SLers umejintan Beck and sakurahime:

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