There weren’t many people online when I joined for the second day, nor was my new friend online. In his absence I took it upon myself to do a bit of exploring, starting from the landmarks he gave me the day before.
In my travels I was particularly struck by how tight-knit the community seemed to be. When exploring one world I’d see rooms or pictures devoted to other users, apartment buildings with apartments for friends, or altar-like tribute rooms. Avatars belonging to these other people would be added to rooms for effect and interacting with them would sometimes have them say something, presumably in their usual style of typing. Even after a short visit around a few worlds I got a sense of these people and their personalities, through the way other people saw them and created things for them. It made it all the more poignant when these tributes sat alongside links to their homepages that would no longer load. Their pages running the gamut of earlier ‘free hosting’ companies like Geocities, Homestead, Angelfire and Tripod. I felt like it was a strange kind of grave, where the avatar and room were as they always were, preserved, but the context and character of their tributes had passed.
One place in particular struck me personally. A library dedicated to a history of Worlds.com’s users who specialized in avatar-making. In the words of its creator, “This is my tribute to the Worlds program past, present and future~~ Read the History of Worlds http://members.tripod.com/themindseye4u/worlds_history.html . These are the pioneers in customized avatar design…they brought about an evolution in Worlds Chat.”
The page no longer exists, and the Internet Archive has no copy.
I felt a real sadness. I was sad that I had missed it. Missed this. I was online when worlds.com existed and was in its prime, but I’d not heard about it. I felt sad that the history they made for themselves and each other could only be viewed by me as a kind of alien, a different species of avatar from the user that felt compelled to build it. Nevertheless, I intend to explore further.
As always, if you’d like to join me just send me a message on facebook at Robert Lorayn.