We're Not Sure What to Think of This Bizarre Second Life Wrestling Match Machinima Channel

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

Nanakurata Nagy kicks ass -- a rather broad range of it, in fact. One week she has Andre the Giant in a headlock, the next she's delivering a series of punishing blows to Gomora, or fighting alongside Ultraman himself as her 100-foot tall alter-ego Ultra Nana. She's even fought (and completely demolished) two Mr. Bean's, Vlad Tepes, and the specific version of Dracula from the movie Van Helsing. In her latest machinima she actually takes on the viewer themselves. Sometimes Nana wins, sometimes Nana loses. Either way, the end result is a library of iincredibly unique wrestling machinima with a Super Sentai-inspired spin.

But I have a confession to make: I've been sitting on this novel channel for a while. Even though I've been so close to posting it on more than one occasion, I've thrown completed articles in the trash. And for good reason...

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This Second Life Pilot's Machinima Shows the Surprising Details of Virtual Flight

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

File this one in the "Huh, I had no idea" box. I knew that people drove and raced all kinds of vehicles in Second Life, and that there were airports and landing strips specifically for a more realistic experience when flying virtual planes, but I'll admit that I had no idea that it went as far as controlling the articulated jet bridges passengers would be boarding through. But that's exactly what SL pilot Kevin McLaughlin does in the video above as part of his take-off procedures.

Just as interesting as this detail, however, is how the flight's take-off and landing procedures take twice as long as the flight itself. The flight from Second Norway to Hollywood. It's a notoriously short route, you know, what with all the jetstreams and such. 

I guess it's a testament to how much is possible in Second Life that almost 9 years since I joined (March 12th, 2006) I can still be totally surprised by what other users are getting up to. So far this video is the only one on Kevin's YouTube channel, but with any luck he'll post plenty more of his flights in the future.

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Iconic Second Life Designer Nylon Pinkney Tells All in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files

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

For those of us who regularly watch Draxtor Despres' Linden Lab-sponsored mixed-reality mini-documentary series, The Drax Files: World Makers, this particular episode has been a long time coming. Draxtor finally got the chance to sit down with Nylon Pinkney, offline wedding photographer and online fashion designer, and neither of them disappoint.

Nylon Pinkney has been one of Second Life's most popular (and esoteric) creators for years now. From the Deimos Boardwalk to Tableau, her distinct painted technique and vibrant style have been a mainstay of Second Life for the better part of a decade. Because of this I was pretty excited to see what she had to say...

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This SL Machinima Music Video Set to "Farrah Fawcett Hair" May Make Your Own Hair Stand Up

This is a Second Life machinima music video cut to Capital Cities' "Farrah Fawcett Hair", and seeing as it's one of the most impressive SL machinimas I've seen in some time, you may want to see it now:

Much thanks to Alicia for the tip. Created by Trace Osterham, I particularly love the use of video/TV displays, so the music keeps playing out within various, well-chosen Second Life settings, and the photography with dynamic lighting, helping convey the sense of a lived-in world. (Seriously, this thing had me at the virtual curtain flapping in the virtual wind.)

This video brings up another thought: Are we in a mini-Renaissance of Second Life music video machinima?

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How to Live Stream/Record Second Life Footage in Steam

Second Life Steam streaming

This is a super useful-looking and crazily exhaustive tutorial for streaming/recording Second Life in Steam from Ai Austin. The record function should be great for recording Let's Play-style Second Life videos (and I'd love to see more of those, as long as they're not yet more lame troll vids), and the stream feature lets you squirt your Second Life experience to another display -- like so:

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Watch This Excellent SL Machinima Version of Melanie Martinez's "Dollhouse"

Notwithstanding the lip sync, which is distractingly off in places, this is a really impressive version of Melanie Martinez's massive hit, "Dollhouse" -- watch:

Shot by Glam House Films, it's not a direct one-to-one copy of the Martinez's original video, but an inspired and ambitious re-interpretation of it. Watch the OG "Dollhouse" (now viewed over 14 million times) after the break to compare and contrast:

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The Drax Files: There's More to Second Life Supermodel Absinthe Than Meets the Eye

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

I'm all about the latest episode of Second Life-sponsored mixed-reality documentary series The Drax Files: World Makers. It focusses on the first and second lives of SL supermodel Absinthe, and you'll want to watch even if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea. The fact is she has a wealth of personal wisdom to share that extends well beyond the realm of the runway.

In reality Absinthe works with patients living with HIV/AIDS, so being able to come home to Second Life gives her an outlet for her love of fashion and creativity that she might not necessarily have otherwise. It's a means of exploring not only your interests but your identity, and even seeing intangible things about your personality materialized right in front of you. That's why Absinthe has absolutely no patience for people perpetuating the tired old idea that Second Life's users live lives any less varied or interesting than anyone else's. 

If you want to see more of Absinthe's work in SL then be sure to check out Ferosh, a fiercely stylish digital publication that prominently features her work alongside a slew of other talented virtual fashion enthusiasts. 

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Follow a Manta Ray on a Tour of One of Second Life's Most Beautiful Underwater Landscapes

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

Speaking of deep sea adventures, one of the most disappointing things about exploring Second Life sims is often how little attention is generally given to designing underwater spaces. While the shores and even surface of the water will get the full five-star treatment, what lies below is often left in it's plainest, blandest, most unremarkable state. On the other hand, every so often you'll come across a sim with just as much care given to designing the submerged sections as those on dry land. Those rare locations are perfect for exploring with (or without) your virtual scuba gear.

... Or your mesh manta ray avatar.

This machinima from SL user Laurent Rathle is the perfect way to get a taste of that experience. Laurent took to the waters of the AlaFolie sim to record ten minutes of uncut underwater exploration, and the results are a perfectly relaxing virtual tour of the kind of area that most players have never seen unless they've deliberately sought it out.

Of course, if you'd rather experience things first hand you can always swing by AlaFolie [teleport link] and dive for yourself.

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This Second Life B-Boy Battle is a Thirty Second Machinima Master Class

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

Here's a Second Life machinima posted this past weekend with some serious style. Blaq Magik's "Battle" is brief, but in that brief window of time it demonstrates a lot of powerful techniques. If you're already about to skip to the comments to deliver some choice zinger about baggy pants and rap music, you can keep your #dadjokes to yourself. Not everyone's going to like Blaq's work, but everyone should still respect it.

Even if you can't appreciate the style, the music, or the seamless b-boy animations on display, you should absolutely be able to appreciate the technique demonstrated in this thirty second slice of a Second Life dance battle. Here's why it works so well:

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What Second Life Looks Like With Features on Full (Even If Few Outside Second Life Any Longer Care)

An SLer named Kaya Angel got sick of the poor portrayal of Second Life as depicted in so many of the badly shot SL videos he'd seen lately (the kind that typically show up in troll-ish Let's Play YouTube videos, I'm guessing), and so he shot this machinima, which you should watch right now:

The video is pretty much a promo for Kaya's Angel Manor Estate private Second Life sim, but since it's so beautifully done (both the video and the sim), I say: Well played, sir. In fact: Click here to visit the sim yourself.

The video's YouTube comments are interesting, because they show a key problem Second Life faces now: No matter how great the graphics have gotten over the years, the poor perception of SL having bad graphics is so deeply rooted among hardcore gamers, it's near impossible to refute outside of established SL users. Take this comment from a core graphics geek:

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