It’s hard to believe when you consider the international success of the Twilight saga that it hasn’t breached the virtual world of the MMO. After all, what could be more appealing to a Twi-hard tween who sleeps underneath their Edward Cullen bedspread every night and wakes to the chime of their ‘New Moon’ alarm clock every morning than a totally immersive environment where they can live the dream as Bella Swan, brood as intently as Edward Cullen or run wild with the wolves like Jacob Black?
Fortunately a brave and hard working bunch of Second Lifers have taken it upon themselves to create a roleplay area for fans to experience the Twilight saga in a far more involving way than can be offered by the fiction or the movies. This is a place where you can BE your favourite characters, and run wild with the wolf-pack in their frantic chase after Victoria, dive off the cliffs into the ocean or just chill in the arms of Edward on Bella’s bed… It’s every fangirl, and fanboys dream and it’s completely open to all to participate.Forks is the place to be, and when you rez there you’ll find yourself at the epicentre of the Twilight RP area. This is a place to mingle out of character with new acquaintances and old friends as you rehearse ideas for the next skirmish. The location is pretty much spot on too, with a small amount of shops and buildings surrounded by dense forest that creates the impression of this small American town. It also rains a lot too. Once rezzed you may find yourselves shocked to see some of the fictional characters around you because they are so easy to recognise. During my visit I encountered Edward, Bella, Jacob, Esme Carlisle and Victoria and it was easy to determine who was playing whom. Great care has been taken in the creation of the character avatars, who look resplendent with their iridescent skins, golden eyes and ‘designer’ clothing. The only disappointment for me was that I didn’t see any sparkling, not once, but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen!
I was lucky enough to speak to Tabby Vanalten and Carlisle Farlock who run the sim and RP as characters from the novels. From previous experience I have found that RP areas tend towards being elitist movements that are very hard to break into. Sometimes this is out of necessity, but often times it’s sheer snobbery, so it was a really pleasurable surprise to find these guys were not only very welcoming to an outsider like myself, but bubbling over with tangible enthusiasm for the subject matter at hand. I know that if I were Stephanie Meyer I would be delighted to know that my creations were being virtually experienced by such a charming, and knowledgeable band of fanatics.RP here is a carefully constructed affair, which is what you would expect for a subject matter as vast and as popular as the ‘Twilight’ saga. Events take place on Wednesdays and Sundays at 7pm SLT and are structured episodes. At the moment the team is currently RP-ing scenes from ‘New Moon’, so this means that you’ve missed out on key scenes such as Edward and Bella in the meadow from the first novel, but that’s not to say that these events won’t be repeated at a later date. In fact, judging by the popularity of the place, they’re going to have to be. Recent weekends have seen an upsurge of visitors with at least 10k last weekend, making management an unenviable task. Yet manage it they do, with some of the key players being capable pf RP’ing more than one role should necessity require it.
At the moment Carlisle Farlock is also RPing a wolf, and as we talked it became apparent that there is a huge need for wolves to join in the action. In fact I was lucky enough to see Carlisle as a wolf, and it happens to have been one of the best anthropomorphic avatars that I’ve ever seen. Not only that, but he also took me for a wolf-ride around the sim.
We moved through the forest towards the cliffs where Carlisle cheekily asked me if I’d ever been cliff-diving, and before I knew it we were in the water. I half expected to see the golden tendrils of Victoria’s flaxen hair reach toward me in the water, so I was relieved when we reached dry-land and continued our explorations there. The sim really does foster a feeling of having stepped into the pages of the novels. There’s a Police car parked next to the station that you half-expect to see Charlie step out of, and of course there’s the school, diner and of course Bella’s home, with her trusty old truck parked outside. The beach holds a roaring bonfire, and far beyond the lush forest hidden amongst the trees is the Cullen mansion, with it’s executive vehicles and styling it’s hard to not recognise it immediately as being the home to Vampires with exceptional taste.
Like the rest of the area it’s kitted out sympathetically for RP, and inside is Edward’s piano, as well as Carlisle’s office, but it’s worth noting that the area is still very much a work in progress lovingly crafted by a small party of enthusiastic fans working within the limitations of Second Life, so you won’t find exact replicas of items that you have seen in the movies or read about in the books. Instead what you will find are representations, evocations and an atmosphere that resonates with the prose from the Twilight saga, allowing for your imagination to explore the RP environment as if you were Vampire, Werewolf or Human.
So, if you’re a Twilight fan and you’d like to experience Forks for yourself, or even join in the RP as a vampire, a wolf or one of the many humans who inhabit the area, what do you need to do? TP over to the Forks sim and you can fill in an application form and deposit it at the office on site. Obviously you will need dedication, time and energy to be able to participate in the activities, but you’ll be rewarded with new friendships and an even deeper understanding of the beloved characters and novels that are enjoyed by millions around the world..not very often you come across an opportunity like that, is it?