Tuesday, March 29, 2016

YouTuber's Creepy Active Worlds Encounter

MMO's are peculiar in the sense that each and every one of them represents a living-breathing world which is born, lives its life and eventually dies when players largely or completely abandon it. While many such abandoned games are eventually taken offline, some of them prevail and they remain, reduced to a sort of digital ghost-town never to be visited by anyone but a handful of online "adventurers" looking to explore MMO history in a hands-on manner. YouTuber vinesauce is one of these adventurers: he shoots videos of himself exploring various off-the-beaten-path titles, and people obviously like his work. It's quirky and in the same time interesting, shining the limelight on a lesser-known aspect of the gaming industry/world.

A few days ago, vinesauce logged on to Active World, a sort of Second Life-like game which saw its heyday back in 1995 and which is quite barren and abandoned these days. It is indeed a small miracle that with no players and no interest, it is still online. What he found in the game wasn't surprising at all. Dated graphics and no activity, aside from a peculiar character called "Hitomi Fujiko" whom he assumed to be a NPC at first. As he tried to converse with this "NPC" though, he began suspecting that there may be a real person behind it. It wasn't long before things took a turn for the creepy. Hitomi Fujiko began acting like a lost digital soul of sorts, looking for validation from vinesauce, he then started threatening so by  that point it was obvious the YouTuber was dealing with some kind of intelligence.

Some 6,000 people witnessed the encounter through a stream the YouTuber was hosting and many of them have indeed confirmed that the chilling encounter had  indeed been real and not staged. That however still leaves lots of room to skepticism: exactly what are the odds that a popular YouTuber meets a character like that when logging into a long-forgotten and abandoned game-world? Some of the people following the stream tried to create accounts and to log in too, but the servers couldn't handle the sudden attention and account-creation crashed. Still, someone could've logged in before the stream even started...the likelihood of having such an encounter on one's first sign-in into a game like Active World is quite minuscule indeed. The odds say that it was all staged, and we're quite certain we'll gain confirmation of that in the future.

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