I’ve been to a surprising number of Microsoft parties over the years. I usually go for the free drinks and end up taking the free software just to be polite. I almost never go for an egg hunt — especially a month after Easter. And yet, that’s exactly what I did earlier this evening when Millions Of Us hosted a party commemorating Microsoft’s arrival in Second Life.
Microsoft’s new island is something of a mystery. It follows the current SL marketing trend of focusing on interesting architecture and game-like elements while downplaying obvious product tie-ins.
The main structure on the island consists of a large meeting area and atrium that looks something like a docking station for a futuristic blimp. Meanwhile, there’s a relatively normal looking blimp floating a few hundred meters over the island.
The game itself is a sort of scavenger hunt that requires you to wear a cyborg-like wrist attachment while searching for eggs. There are apparently ten eggs hidden around the grid (as in, the entire Second Life grid). Players need to find all ten eggs, then solve the puzzle contained in each egg in order to win the game. Is it just me, or does this game seem unnecessarily difficult? It could take weeks to play out, and I can’t imagine anyone but the most fanatical participants will actually complete the task.
Fortunately party attendees were given a special hint to assist in finding the first egg. A hint that I will now pass along to the you the loyal Metaversed reader: The first egg is located somewhere on Microsoft Island!
Unfortunately there was no second hint.
The game, and Microsoft’s presence in Second Life, will apparently promote Visual Studio at some point. Presumably we’ll figure out the connection as the game progresses. Hopefully figuring out that connection won’t be as difficult as finding ten eggs hidden around the grid.
Otherwise the event was just like any other Microsoft party. Except for the fact that the alcohol wasn’t real and there was far more dancing than you would normally expect at a Microsoft launch. Oh, and it was limited to 55 people, including staff — that’s the point where avs started getting blocked from entering. A small queue began lining up in the Microsoft Winners sim next door. That’s right, the people who couldn’t get in were stuck outside on the “winners” sim.
I spent almost 30 minutes looking around the island, under every rock and every blade of grass, but I couldn’t find a thing. Finally I gave up and decided to get a beer in real life.Before logging out I stopped to take a closer look at the mysterious blimp floating over the island. Apparently this is where winners will be transported. Once inside the blimp they’ll receive some super-secret special prize.
I stopped to take a photo of myself with this bottle of virtual champagne inside the blimp. I can’t imagine that I’ll actually get here by winning, so I might as well take a photo now while everyone else is still looking around for the first egg.
As for the super-secret prize — well, let’s just say that earlier in the day I happened to notice that the Microsoft Winners sim has been divided into 920 m2 plots. Wanna make friends with Second Life natives? Just give them free land. It works every time.
Eventually my snooping got me ejected by the Millions Of Us security system. Apparently it sent me home so that I could finally have a real drink and write this story. Hopefully the av that replaced me found the damn egg.
Originally published in Metaversed.com