12 videos from Metaverse U

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Henrik Bennetsen

Apr 18, 2008, 2:43:49 PM4/18/08
Hi All,

we now have 12 videos live from Metaverse U:




Henrik Bennetsen
Research Director
Stanford Humanities Lab
Stanford University

Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall
Building 160, Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2055, USA

Cell: +1 415.418.4042
Fax: +1 650.725.0192

Bruce Damer

Apr 18, 2008, 11:50:02 AM4/18/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Hello all Virtual Worlds History group members, I would like to welcome a cohort of new members (20+) who have joined in the last two weeks. See all the old and new (total of 41) members at:

How about we do a round of introductions and share some of our experience/bios for the benefit of the group? Especially interesting here is your background in the development of the medium of "social" virtual worlds (user built, user directed).

If you have a new member to suggest let us know. They need to be practitioners or otherwise actively involved in the virtual worlds medium for a significant period of time, ideally 10+ years.



343 Soquel Avenue, # 70
Santa Cruz CA 95062-2305 USA


Jeremiah Spence

May 11, 2008, 6:38:20 PM5/11/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Hi Bruce and members of the VW History Group!

Here is a belated introduction.

I am a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin and the
founding co-editor of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research.

The first edition of the Journal should be out by the end of June and we
hopefully be featuring an article about the History of Virtual Worlds by

I look forward to collaboration with all of you.

Jeremiah Spence

> http://www.digitalspace.com <http://www.digitalspace.com/>

Bruce Damer

May 12, 2008, 1:06:28 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Welcome Jeremiah!

Yes I think any one of the 45 of us in this list could contribute to his new Journal and I encourage everyone to take a look at that first issue! I will be updating my "Short History of Virtual Worlds" I wrote a year ago for ACM interactions. I will run this all past you in May.

Please everyone feel free to post your introduction to the list.

Tomorrow (Monday) I will be meeting with Henry Lowood, Henrik Bennetsen, and Marc Weber regarding this effort (virtual worlds history within their existing Library of Congress grant). I will report back on the meeting to you all shortly thereafter. This weekend we will be journeying to UC Irvine for Celia Pearce's NSF workshop on virtual worlds (Randy, Chip and Pavel Curtis will be presenting there along with me). So that event will also produce some great possible inputs for this effort.


Bruce Damer

May 12, 2008, 1:12:37 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Dear Virtual Worlds History team,

To start your week, take a look at the following rare videos of Habitat and Club Caribe shot by Keith Elkin in the Summer of 1988. This is recorded straight off a Commodore 64 and the text is still readable, even after Google Video's down-rezzing. I am extremely grateful to Randy Farmer for providing this to the Virtual Worlds Timeline effort last year. I hope this can kick off more discussion on the list. As a good parallel to these videos, I will next be posting an off-list conversation about the origin of the word "avatar" (as applied to your graphical embodiment online). This is a fascinating first-hand account and includes words from Chip & Randy & others responding to a question by Celia Pearce. Stand by!

In the meantime, enjoy these historic videos at:


Henry Lowood

May 12, 2008, 1:29:13 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com

I am Henry Lowood, co-PI of the Preserving Virtual Worlds project at Stanford.  PVW is a multi-university project with the research teams located at U. Maryland, U. Illinois, Rochester Inst. of Technology and Stanford.  There are also numerous partners from industry, the non-profit sector (e.g., Internet Archive) and the areas of game development, interactive fiction authorship, and virtual worlds.   

When I'm not involved with the project, I am curator for history of science & technology collection, as well as film & media collections, at Stanford, and I teach in several programs, currently a course on the history of game design in the Science, Technology and Society program.  I have led the How They Got Game project on the history of simulations and interactive games since 2000, and I am co-director of the Stanford Humanities Lab.  Also, I curate the Machinima and Virtual World Videos (the latter with Henrik) collections at the Internet Archive.

And yes, I'll be seeing Bruce tomorrow!


Henry Lowood
Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections;
     Film & Media Collections
HRG, Green Library
557 Escondido Mall, Stanford University Libraries
Stanford CA 94305-6004 USA
low...@stanford.edu; 650-723-4602

Henry Lowood

May 12, 2008, 3:09:20 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Hello Bruce,

do you know who could give permission to add these to the Virtual World videos collection we are building?  I do have contact information for Keith Elkin, who provided some material for our recent ACMI video loop on archival virtual world captures.  Would he be the person to ask?


Henry Lowood

Margaret D. Corbit

May 12, 2008, 10:02:59 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com

Hi there,


I don’t think I have introduced myself to the group. I have been using virtual worlds for outreach education since 1996 at Cornell University. First I put VRML visualizations and worlds online for science communication. Then I met Bruce and fell in love with the multiuser spaces. Almost all of our work has been in Active Worlds, I have been in Croquet a few times, including being at BU when the team demonstrated its first computer to computer interaction. I do have an account in SL and am very interested in working with OpenSim in the near future.


For the past ten years, our focus at SciCentr has been on teaching teachers and students how to use virtual worlds in K-12 education. We have been hosting a private universe, CUni, for that purpose. And this year we served about 500 kids. You can learn about our projects at www.scicentr.org. While we have done a bit of work in designing content-centered worlds to be played through as in serious games, our best experience has been in learning to support teams of youth in designing and building their own worlds to share with others. We call our approach the SciFair Model. SciFair worlds are usually “about” an area of science that interests them, but not always. We call them “knowledge spaces.” Some are more gamelike than others. We have more than 150 worlds serving right now.


I have also been active in trying to grow and support a community of educators using virtual worlds and thus for 5 years (beginning in 1998) we ran VLearn3D.org as a community. We being Bonnie DeVarco, Katy Borner, and myself. While the program is done, we maintain a small library of publications there. I am extremely interested in making sure that kids get constructive access to this medium, especially those with limited Internet access. It’s really fun teaching teachers who are frightened of computers enough about the medium so that they can let their kids explore and create :>) And we do have data to confirm that this experience is associated with improved attitudes toward learning for at risk populations.





Margaret Corbit

Director, SciCentr

Cornell University Outreach

533 Rhodes Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853-3801

PH: 607.254.8716

FAX: 607.255.2900




Matt Kirschenbaum

May 12, 2008, 11:18:29 AM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Hi everyone,

Like Henry Lowood, I'm part of the Library of Congress Preserving
Virtual Worlds project. I'm looking for to some great conversations on
this list. Meantime, for anyone in the DC-area:


"You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building.
Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and
down a gully."

Recognize these lines? They're from the opening screen of Will
Crowther's ADVENTURE (1975), the first example of the genre known as
interactive fiction and arguably our first example of a virtual world
(and as such the distant ancestor to places like World of Warcraft and
Second Life). There is also an appropriate literary resonance: this
path in the forest where the straight way is lost is reminiscent of
another great underground epic.

As part of our work on a project funded by the Library of Congress
dedicated to Preserving Virtual Worlds
(http://www.ndiipp.uiuc.edu/pca/), MITH will be hosting a table-read
of the original version of ADVENTURE, recently recovered from backup
tapes at Stanford University. We will read through the complete text
of the game, and also (geeks that we are) have a look at its FORTRAN
source code.

We're inviting anyone with an interest in gaming, interactive fiction,
or virtual worlds to join us for an hour or two on Thursday, May 15,
at 12:00 noon in our conference room (MITH is located on the basement
level of McKeldin Library). Appropriately, we will provide tasty food:
pizza. As with all adventures, we're unsure of where this one will end
or exactly how we will get there. But there are sure to be
breathtaking views along the way. Please RSVP to mgk at umd dot edu if
you would like to attend.

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor of English
Associate Director,
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
University of Maryland
301-405-8505 or 301-314-7111 (fax)

Henrik Bennetsen

May 12, 2008, 12:58:27 PM5/12/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Excellent to see all the introductions.

I am working with Henry on the Preserving Virtual Worlds projects. We are just getting started but it feels pretty cool to have access to you all as we are starting to chew through the issues.

Before this project I worked on LifeSquared. An attempt to build an animated archive of Lynn Hershman's work using Second Life. Here is a short intro movie:




Matt Bittanti

May 13, 2008, 1:17:04 PM5/13/08
to virtual-wor...@googlegroups.com
Hello everybody,

My name is Matteo Bittanti and I am an Associate Researcher with the Stanford Humanities Lab. I work with Henry Lowood and Henrik Bennetsen. I also teach a Game Studies class at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Truth is: Being an academic is my official excuse to play lots of games without feeling guilty.

I have been interested in establishing game studies as a discipline for a few years. My interests range from transmedia interplay (how games interact with other media, from cinema to comic books) to Game Art. More info about my research is available here: www.mattscape.com.

My currents project include Digital preservation, game cartography, and machinima. I am the editor of an academic book series on games called Ludologica (www.videoludica.com) which is currently being published in Italy - we've published monographs and collections of essays on seminal games, genres, and game-related phenomena.

I am thrilled to be part of this task force and I look forward to working with all of you!

Matteo Bittanti
Associate Researcher

Stanford Humanities Lab
Stanford University

Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall
Building 160, Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2055, USA

Cell: +1 415.260.0516
Fax: +1 650.725.0192
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