Have you ever taken the afternoon off of work and gone to a dance club? Well, today I "virtually" did just that. Check out this News.com story: "Virtual nightclub offers teens alter egos" and the accompanying photo gallery: "A fantasy nightclub."
According to the story, "[Andrew] Littlefield is the architect of The Lounge, an Internet nightclub that threw open its virtual doors late Sunday... The club is a cross between MySpace.com, the social-networking site, and 'World of Warcraft,' a multiplayer online game."
Unlike the expensive reality of nightclubs, "Guests attend The Lounge free of a cover charge and communicate with each other via AOL's Instant Messenger service. Small prompts appear over a character's head when its real-world user has written something... the characters are automatically prevented from engaging in fighting or any sexual activity. The characters are mostly limited to walking, dancing, and listening to music."
The Lounge has bouncers who "patrol the club in their own virtual characters and will boot anyone who harasses patrons. Club-goers who want to avoid someone can list them under their Ignore section. The offending party will be prevented from sending or reading any messages to the person who complained. Littlefield hopes this will help protect his site from sexual predators... Parents can also act as the club doorman to prevent their child from entering."
My curiosity got the best of me, so I downloaded The Lounge beta and checked out the scene. This environment was designed for ages 13-19, so I felt kind of like a relic, even in my trendy avatar skin. I absolutely love to dance, but this was an entirely different experience. It was hilarious, and a blast, and I can certainly see the appeal for kids - both young and old. It also reminded me of awkward school dances, approaching people (or being approached) in a virtual meat-market kind of way. I might have to check it out a little more before I make a final decision on how much or little I like it. I may also create a photo gallery of my own along the way. Stay tuned!
Here I am, getting ready to go into The Lounge. I think I'm pretty cute, if I don't say so myself!
And here I am getting down. My real body has never moved like this in my life.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.