“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By JMB Balogh.
When you first create an account for Second Life you are offered a choice of avatars from a bewildering selection of more than 50, with five different categories. You can choose to be female rocker or a male city worker from amongst the traditional human ones, which luckily comes with a complete outfit to start you off. But you can also choose from a selection of many more, shall we say, bizarre ones. Perhaps you fancy being a vampire or a robot. There are also plenty of animals and vehicles, or vehitars as they are called, in the line-up.
I don’t know how many people opt to be a unicorn or a tank initially but it’s not long before a newbie thinks why not? SL is a virtual world where almost anything is possible and I can make many of my fantasies a reality, in SL at least.
There are lots of very creative avatars for purchase (or even at no cost) and avatars of all types can be found around the grid or on the Second Life Marketplace. There are 21,187 nonhuman avatars currently available on Marketplace alone. Of course they are not necessarily cheap, with a minotaur avatar at L$2499, while a female white howler Werewolf will set you back L$1950. Inworld long established creators like Grendel’s Children or Curious Avatars offer some wonderful avatars for your consideration so there’s no excuse for being a mundane human avatar, unless you wish to be.
Although I love playing dress up in Second Life, running the gamut from a Victorian lady with Parasol to Cleopatra, Queen of the Upper and Lower Nile, I am a fairly traditional person for the most part, wearing a human shape and skin most of the time. But even I have acquired a collection of non-traditional avatars over the years and I’d like to share some of them with you.
By far my favourites are the Dollcoco mesh avatars, jointed doll avatars who have special clothes since they cannot use normal clothes for the most part.
Interestingly enough many people have photographed themselves as the white doll, but (as far as I can tell) I seem to be the only one who has chosen to be a sometime black doll. One person who has completely transformed herself into the doll is the delightful Kynne Llewellyn who blogs her life as a doll at Dolls and Demons. She is very creative in finding clothes and accessories for her doll avatar and is a brilliant photographer.
I have another wonderful mesh avatar which was created by the very talented SL installation artist Claudia222 Jewell, which she generously made available to everyone who visited her Spirit exhibit. The naked female figure has a beautiful green reptilian texture for her skin, with a Medusa like garland of snakes crowning her head. She has the typical very striking face which Claudia uses on all her mesh female figures and a large set of feather-like wings.
Of course I did the Na’vi avatar thing when it was first popular in early 2010, although only for photography. But many people did enjoy the Na’vi world and lifestyle in Second Life. Recently I decided to dust mine off when the theme at a dance I attended was “Blue”. It doesn’t get much bluer than this.
A while ago, at an art gallery exhibit opening, I complimented well-known Second Life artist Fuschia Nightfire on her very colourful see-through avatar. What colour would you like? she kindly offered, reeling off a list. Of course I chose red, my favourite colour.
Animal avatars are very popular inworld. Does a dog avatar for L$4100 strike your fancy? Perhaps a snow leopard or a Siberian tiger? How about a spider or a Tyrannosaurus rex? There’s nothing much under L$2000 in this category but lots of choice. The beautiful mesh BC Quarter Horse avatar is listed at L$3000 and can be ridden by another avatar. A saddle and bridle are included along with hud.
I have a white horse avatar which I won long ago at a Lucky Chair, courtesy of the Lonestar Ranch. It seems very basic and hokey-looking by today’s standards. I found this white horse on my travels–and he had a horn. I want one too!
Then of course there’s my Alchemy Immortalis sheep avatar. I ventured over just before the sim changed to visit my cousins and found them swimming in the very frigid North Sea. Stupid sheep! They weren’t drenched enough by the pelting rain there?
This is just a sample of the different avatars I have acquired during my six years in Second Life, despite being a very human avatar for the most part. Imagine what some of the more adventurous souls venture forth as on their SL explorations. Why don’t you share some of your more unusual avatars with us in the comment section?
Screenshot and photographs by JMB Balogh.