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Monday, December 6, 2004

Worlds Away and VZones

Worlds Away: The Past

The many faces of Worlds Away

Some years ago, around 1996, I got into Compuserve’s Worlds Away*. It took place on a virtual island called Kymer, and it was addictive and fun in its own way; a 2-dimensional cartoonish place where you could select your persona, walk around, meet people, and chat away.

*Worlds Away/ WorldsAway, also known as Dreamscape, was based on the Lucasfilm tool Habitat and originally developed by Fujitsu.

I remember my head nearly got stolen in the first minutes because that’s what happened when you entered the game fresh: you would be asked to drop your removable head on the floor, only to see it be taken away by an expert thief. In the beginning of the game you didn’t have enough credits to buy a new head, so some people stayed temporarily headless – a surefire way to spot a newbie! The more experienced members in the community in the meantime often took the next step and met in the Real World... and some of them even got married.

After Worlds Away, I had a brief stint in Ultima Online. In Ultima Online, you will end up doing a lot of actual work to earn credits. If you are lucky you will also get on an adventure quest, or attract one of the many pets around as loyal follower. My humbling career as artist in Ultima Online (a career choice not officially available, if I remember correctly) was ended when a horse ate up all the fish I tiled up on the isometric ground to make for a larger pattern. All I can say is these attractions did earn me some money from bystanders while they lasted.

VZones: The Present

The VZones start screen with my default avatar

Today, there’s VZones. The style is similar to Worlds Away, as VZones utilizes the same 2D engine in grander scope. There are three different “dimensions” to choose from:

You can have a free 7-day trial in any of these worlds (on the VZones homepage, start the demo movie to click the trial link at the bottom) and continue with a permanent avatar for around $11 per month.

Note though you won’t be billed anything for the trial, you still need to submit your credit card data.

Google 1969

The sixties were a time of love, peace... and apparently, search engines. When you check the Google Cache for cross-trainers-directory.html, you will see it reads:

“This is Google’s cache of as retrieved on 31 Dec 1969 23:59:59 GMT.
Google’s cache is the snapshot that we took of the page as we crawled the web.
The page may have changed since that time.”


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