Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: The "Tyrah and the Magical Glytches" Game

By Bixyl Shuftan

Second Life isn't a "game" in itself, although people call it one for simplicity as "virtual world" can confuse a few people. Still, one can play games in it, and over the years people have come up with many from inword versions of chess to fencing games, to jousting, to combat roleplays like New Bastogne and Aria Clash, to fishing games like 7Seas, and many more.

For a time, Linden Lab was content to leave the game making to others. Then it began making some of it's own. First came "Linden Realms." Then came "The Cornfield." Following that were "Paleoquest," and "New Horizons." These two gaming adventures had plots, a reoccurring supporting character, Magellan Linden, and a villain.

Then in September 2017, Linden Lab announced "Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches." The plot is a sequel to the events of "Horizons." Magellan is dead, and following a funeral for him given by his former assistant Punkee and Tyrah, the girl held hostage in "Horizons," a new threat emerges. Ruth, the original avatar, appears. Furious at being all but forgotten, Ruth decides to take advantage of Magellan's absence by unleashing magical creatures called "glytches" to interfere and mess with the Grid. Not good at catching things, Punkee decides to rely on his former boss's old tactic: get the residents to help.

The object of the game is to capture these glytches in the various places in Second Life they are. To start playing the game, head to Portal Park, Portal Park 01 (175/118/52), and find the doorway named "Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches." Going through, you end up in the village of Hartyshire. In front of where you appear are displays of the two videos for the game, one explaining the plot and the other on how to play the game. Beyond that are a number of buildings in a circle, around a fountain and statue of Tyrah. What you will need to do first is head to the Gem Apothecary. There, you will find several things. But for beginners the most important one is the starter kit on the counter in front of the door. This contains three items, the game HUD, the starting weapon glass jar, and a notecard explaining more about these and the game. Add both the HUD and the weapon to play the game.

The HUD has several buttons/interfaces. The top left one returns you to Hartyshire. The center left button takes you to the wiki webpage of the game. The top right button gives you the option to mute the HUD's sound effects. The center left button takes you to a location where glytches are, and is the button you will be using the most in the game. On the bottom is a button to display the map of the sim, which shows you where the glytches are, and tells you if you've caught one, swung your weapon and missed, and if you've caught your limit. On the far right is the gem counter, displaying how many blue, pink, and green gems you have. Get 100 green gems, and they're exchanged for a pink one. 100 pink gems will be exchanged for a blue.

There are many kinds of glitches, the names of which you'll see in the Gem Apothecary back in Hartyshire. Among them are the cloudlike Flumpies, the Frosties which look like ice and snow. the Gardeners that look like plants, the Shamaniacs that look like teddy bears from the circus, the Naughties that look like red imps. the Primsies that look like people made from wood blocks, the Keirapillars that look like a cross between cats and caterpillars, and many more. There are three varieties of each. Each that I've come across, many of which are distinctive to one kind, "Mommy, where do prims come from?" "Click on that link, it'll be fun. What can go wrong?" "Miya, miya, you can't catch me." "Leave me alone!"

To go glytch hunting, press the "Next Location" button on your HUD. You will then be teleported to a sim where three glytches are. Many of the sims are Linden-owned or managed, such as Linden Relams or Bay City. But Linden Lab is also inviting the owners of privately owned sims to take part, so you'll come across some of them. Some places I was at had tall grass which can hide glytches until you walk too close and your hunt turns into their ambush.

On your HUD map, you'll see the glytches' locations marked with tiny red circles. To capture one, go up to it in mouselook, then left-click your mouse to use your weapon on it. The glytches don't seem to notice you until you're almost right next to them, even if you're in front of them. Still, I try to sneak up behind them by habit before pressing the button. If successful, the critter is caught, appearing in a cage. You're awarded a small number of green gems and the game will ask you to accept the captured glytch into your inventory. Do so quickly before you lose it.

Unfortunately, you have a good chance of missing. This invariably alerts the glytch who will then get away, but usually not before casting a spell on you. These can be just annoying such as being compelled to cluck and strut like a chicken, being made to listen to a horrible cell phone ringtone, and others. Some involve the weather turning on you, such as being sucked up in a tornado or a blast of cold wind knocking you down. Some turn the tables on you and put a cage on you or have a UFO abduct you. Some are hurtful such as having a tree fall on you or a bus drive by and hit you. And some are downright nasty such as being set on fire or being enveloped in a deadly toxic mist.

If you have enough gems, you'll be able to upgrade your weapon. Head to the Gem Apothecary, and to the right of the door when entering, you'll see the weapon upgrade platform. Get on and you'll get a chance to upgrade to a glytch net if you have a glass jar and 75 green gems. Still better weapons require more. The platinum flyswatter will set you back 75 pink gems, and the glytch gun will need 15 blue gems. Next to the weapons upgrade is the lost HUD vendor where if you happen to lose the HUD you can get a new one.

Besides upgrading your weapon, you can trade your gems for gifts. To your left when entering the Gem Apothecary is the "Gem Lottery." Here, there are three platforms, one for exchanging a green gem for a common prize, another for exchanging a pink gem for a rare prize, and a third for exchanging blue gems for epic prizes. As the name "lottery" implies, what you get is determined at random in these three categories. Common prizes include balloons and alien shoulder pets. Rare prizes include jewelry and hats and holdable pet dinosaurs. Epic prizes include ridable dinosaur pets, vehicles, and dinosaur avatars.

The other building you can enter in Hartyshire is the gift shop. Here, you can get free items such as cups and commemorative t-shirts. To your left upon entering is the "Hatchery." To use this, you need to have gotten the SL14B gift avatar during the event. Add the egg from the avatar to your inventory, then touch the hatchery. You then get what hatches from the egg, which you need to accept. What your gift will be is a glytch avatar called a Revwyn. The avatar comes with a small HUD that will allow you to make four sounds. You can go on the hunt in the avatar if you like, but the glytches will attack you just the same. Since the game's release, I have seen *exactly one* other one besides mine. So it's fair to say you'll have a rare avatar.

There are also three portals to bonus areas. The one on the left of the three is The Forest of Gathering, in which players can capture glytches, including possible rare and epic ones. You need to pay a blue gem to get in. The one in the middle is The Sanctuary of Wind. There are no glytches here, just gems you can collect. But you still need to overcome and avoid obstacles. You need to pay three blue gems to play this area. The third area is The Rusty Cauldron. This giant tavern area us available only to Premium players. Here one collect gems and capture glytches. Among the possible prizes here are glytch avatars, which unless you have the egg from the SL14B is the only known way you can get one.

As mentioned before, once you capture a glytch and accept it, it's yours to keep. They can be worn like shoulder pets, and when clicked on will make a noise.

How entertaining is it? I've had fun playing it, the the glytch attacks can be funny, even if they're on me. The bonus levels could use less of a fee in my opinion, though it's a small minus in an overall great game.

That's the rundown on the Glytch game from Linden Lab. If any players have a story about the one that almost got away, or a particularly hilarious spell attack, please let the Newser know. Happy Hunting.

Bixyl Shuftan

Editor's Note: Although I planned to do this review just after the announcement, a friend of the paper told us he'd do a reader submission on it. But events on his side of the computer intervened, and kept him from doing so. Sorry about the delay.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hong Kong's "A Christmas Carol" and The Dickens Project

By Gemma Cleansalte

I took a respite from all the fun and winter shops and decorations to visit an old classic in two regions. On Hong Kong University Education Island there is a wonderful depiction of the ever told tale of Scrooge as a virtual Christmas story. I doubt there are many who have never heard Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” in which a miserly old man is met with his past, present and future. I am used to seeing the shortened versions of Scrooge on TV and had almost forgotten how involved the story really is. 

You begin your visit to Mr Scrooge in the office of Scrooge and Marley where you find Mr Scrooge talking with his nephew and refusing an invite to Christmas dinner with’ Bah Humbug.’ . His worker Bob Cratchit is staying on Christmas eve to work in the cold office  . Mr Scrooge leaves him there and goes home to dinner and wine.  Move to his home where he is sitting and you find the ghost  of Marley, his former business partner,  greeting him with ominous talk and the saga begins. He is going to experience some past life and some of  the people he has injured during his life.

Follow him to the viewing of Christmas Past where there is a wonderful party going, Fezziwig’s Ball. His memories of his past are filled with failures of social interactions. Take a tour of the venue which is snow covered and lovely with characters of the mid nineteenth century along the way (His home there is better than I expected).   

His  ghost of the present  takes him to view the home of his worker Bob Cratchit and how he spends his holiday with loved ones including his invalid son Tiny Tim. They are seated at the dining table waiting for dinner.

The setting outside the home is lovely and worth exploring and skating on the pond. I stopped in at Scrooge’s cottage on the way around the town.

The ghost of the future is the most upsetting . He carries Scrooge to his final resting place where there is a large tombstone stating, “ Here lies A Bitter Man.. Ebenezer Scrooge... R.I.P." He stands there looking at the epitaph in dismay.  That is where you are left in the story.

Just to remind you, when Ebenezer awakens on Christmas Day, alive. He is so happy to have a chance to make up for the life he has lived. He treats the Cratchits to a wonderful Christmas dinner and tips the carolers that are singing. He changes his ways and becomes a different man. 

Dickens was a prolific author and wrote books and articles about the ills of the time where the rich were very rich and the poor were very poor and the social ills of the day. Sound familiar?

Stop over to see the marvelous exhibit . .


There is an installation on LEA7 where you can go to learn so much more of Dickens.  The Dickens Project of the Seanchai Library in its fifth year. There is so much going on in the region . The venue again is the London of Charles Dickens. Take a tour with the horse and carriage up and down the lanes of the city.Stop in at the Dickens Library. It is a very bookish area near the library and one can learn all about Dickens and his times. 

I stopped in also at the offices of Scrooge and Marley which still bears that name long after Marley’s death.  Caledonia Skytower one of the founders of the project, along with  Aoife Lorefield, says, ”Our vision has always been too guide our audiences 'in the steps of Ebeneezer Scrooge' using Dickens words framed by a themed environment, like walking through a live picture book."

The many events taking place during the month to add to knowledge of this writer and why he wrote what he did. This exhibit goes into so much detail about the author that I have forgotten and much I never knew. I went on the balloon ride that takes you into the early life of Scrooge out on the isles surrounded by raging waters. Try to get to a spoken guided tour of details of the time and life of Dickens. This website gives you information on the activity of the day.   This venue could give a degree in Dickens!

I ran into one of the contributing artists, Mireille Jenvieve-Woodford (mireille.jenvieve), who told me  to be sure to attend some of the presentations and I will. Get to the sim before December 30 just to get the flavor of the times and a fun education.

Gemma Cleanslate  

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Gacha Garden for Littles

By: Alura Denver (Alura Messing)

Now, we full size avi's love our Gacha Gardens, and why wouldn't we?  There is the thrill of dropping a coin into a machine, turning the lever and hoping that our favorite piece goes into the slot to win!  It takes you right  back to your own youth and those silly little red machines outside of the grocery store.  So I thought what a shame that littles (Child Avi's) in Second Life didn't have their own Gacha area.  I mean, after all, gachas are for kids!  

Well, while I was exploring, I stumbled on Little Diva Gacha Garden.  It is a beautiful little park you can explore, that is also filled with gachas that are all designed for a child avi and some even have goodies full sized Avi's wouldn't mind.  In the many gachas, there are seasonal items, clothes, home decorations and even fun trinkets to just play with.  The best part is that all of the Gachas are only $50L a play.  Compared to some out there, that is a total bargain!

Little Diva also has some extra bonuses too.  If you join the group in the store, you can also rez items at the location.  This can be a nice bonus if you have no permanent place to call your own and want someplace nicer than a typical sandbox.  Just for the month of December there is a Group Christmas present that gives you a random gift card to the store up to $300L.  It is transferable, so if you can't use it, you can share it with someone who can!  Also, while you are there you can check out her Seven Seas pond.  It has items from the gachas, even a few rare ones, and a specially designed fishing pole that can be used by all avi's.  Prizes in the pond are changed monthly to keep it interesting.

After you have played your fill of gachas, done some fishing, and checked out the Little Diva store, be sure to wander the garden and find some of the fun off the beaten path.  There are little fun things hidden all over; buildings to investigate, a tea party with Mr. Thumps, picture perfect spots, a piano to play, what will you discover there? Before you leave be sure to look for a little pink ornament bulb in a cup of tea.  In it, is a hidden surprise just for our readers both big and small alike.  Hope to see you around the Garden, at Little Diva Gacha Garden!

Alura Denver

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Aruba DeCuir: Fine Art and a Flavour of Paris

By Klaus Bereznyak

I have paid several visits to the gallery of Aruba De Cuir since I first saw a small selection of her work at Gallery 23 in Virtual Chelsea. I own a couple of her art works and to me it has a different feel from what you usually see in Second Life. There's a sense of actual 'materials' being used (papers, fabrics, crayons) and it has a striking simplicity. She also makes attractively designed and reliable low-LI furniture and decor items as well as hats.

Aruba has recently finished work on her "Petit Paris", which gives a flavor of Parisian street life, just alongside her gallery. There's a florist, a wine bar, apothecary, furniture and decor stores, a fromagerie, and a pleasant seating area. She kindly agreed to chat to me on the record for The Newser.
On my visits to Petit Paris I had got the impression of a particular affection that had gone into making an authentic sense of place in a fairly small area. I was curious about the inspiration behind the build.

"I build to entertain myself. I started on my Petit Paris out of a deep love for Paris and France. I think I have visited Paris more than 40 times. My version is not a copy of any, or a special, street. Each time I come to Paris I get high and run in overdrive for the first 20 hours or so - totally exalted and almost raving mad inside. Outwardly I just blend in and enjoy to be in this exciting city. I go to very few museums and the sights I have seen long a go. But I spend hours in parks, markets, or just sitting at a cafe, and suck up all like a sponge." She smiles.
By her own admission, Aruba can discuss art for hours but, like many, she has found by experience how hard it is to get AVs interested in looking at art in Second Life. She administers a group to share information about art and art-related matters, and she is very clear "Art is free and should not dictated by gallery owners or 'curators'". Her own work suggests a continual experimentation with techniques and approaches and a variety of subjects that has issued in a wide array of very appealing art. I ask her what is most interesting to her at the moment.

"Almost impossible to answer. I do paintings, etchings, collages and some photo based art in real life. I found a way to copy the feeling of etchings in here (in SL). It does not mimic an etching perfectly but it works and many people like them."

She goes on to describe to me a little of her creative process in Second Life:

"The way I create in here is mostly by creating a lot of scraps and cuts. I then look them over and ideas are born. I make one - sometimes 3-4 versions - save them and look at them again after a few days. Sometime I just trash all of it. Others I keep and upload."
I ask Aruba what she'd like to do next now that she's settled the area. Of course it is impossible to put the brakes on creativity:

"It will be refined and tweaked, and one day I will do something else. My gallery will stay in one form or another. Even it is a struggle to keep it running - any sponsors out there? In a wider perspective, I am inspired by a lot of things: Music, poetry, literature, history are some important sources."

A visit to this location is not to be rushed. Aruba guesses 10 minutes to get a superficial look. I'd double that. There are three floors of art to be savored and, if the visitor's virtual feet get tired, there are cafe tables to sit at in Petit Paris. If anyone is rushed she hopes they will take an LM and come back another day, or perhaps take some souvenir home to decorate their home. The art on display will change over time and I will keep going back to see what's new.
Finally, I ask how people can find about the gallery and any future events.

"They can visit, they can ask me, and they can join my art group "The Art Messenger" - as I say: "Support your Local Artist". Many people say they do not understand art - they are wrong - it is all about opening the eyes and seeing."


Klaus Bereznyak

Friday, November 10, 2017

"The Well: Ultimum" By Loki Eliot

By Bixyl Shuftan

Loki Eliot, the self proclaimed "digital mischief maker," is noted for two things. One is being the leader of the "Goonies,"  a group of adventuresome Second Life child avatars. The other is for being a skilled and creative builder, such as builds for the Second Life Birthday "The Behemoth" and "Dungeons and Nightmares."  A few days before Halloween, he came up with an adventure named "The Well: Ultimum."

"Ultimum" is the fourth installment of "The Well." The first he opened in November 2012 after Loki and his fellow Goonies visited a haunted hospital, and he decided to try and make something scarier. He came up with an adventure in which the player investigates the disappearance of a team that went down an old well to find a boy that fell down it. The second adventure took place a year later, with more areas to explore. The third, which ran from Halloween to early December 2015 started with the player waking up in a mental hospital and having to make his way out. Loki promises the latest "The Well" will be his last, describing it as a prequel that takes place before the other adventures.

To play "The Well," head to Escapades (218/232/3002). One board shows the recommended settings to view the game. Another has three buttons to click on. The first is to allow the games experiences to automatically affect your avatar. The second allows you to purchase a pass to the game (200 Lindens). The third allows you to start, you automatically having the game's HUD attach to you, showing your avatar's level of sanity (your own may be another matter).

The story starts in a boy's bedroom. Looking around, you find a boy's diary with all the pages torn out except one, in which he describes himself as being scared of "the THING." Leaving the room, you find yourself outside the house at night, with a station wagon still running and shining it's headlights onto a path into the woods. Looking around, you find a flashlight, and more pages of the boy's diary. Occasionally you will see a TV with a video, which require media to be enabled to view, but are not necessary to progress into the adventure. The pages help explain what's been going on, and one needs to get all of them to descend down the well, located at the end of the forest path.

Down the well, the player has to navigate a dark maze of tunnels. Unfortunately for you, the passages have ghosts floating around that in the darkness are barely visible. If one touches you, you hear a loud scream (real fun when you're wearing a headset), and your hud loses some of it's sanity level. Once you run out of sanity, you start back at where you first appeared under the well. Depending on your tolerance for shrieking, you may find yourself more terrified than frustrated as you try to get pasts the ghosts and tunnels.

There is a video available of the game, made by Strawberry Singh as she braved the spooky woods and terrifying caverns under the well along with Draxtor Despress and a few friends. There are more than a few spoilers if you watch it, so consider yourself warned. She found the ghosts more than a little frustrating, "Loki's trying to give me a heart attack! ... I don't have much sanity left, in both worlds."

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All in all, a worthwhile adventure that fans of horror should enjoy that takes good advantage of Second Life's capabilities. Whatever Loki will offer next year, he's set the bar high for himself.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Gemma Cleanslate

Well,no sooner is one holiday gone than it is time for another. Thanksgiving is at the end of the month of November but Dj Frannie always gets her parades going so you can enjoy them for a full month or more. The Macy's Parade is famous in New York City for the marvelous floats that go down 5th Avenue not only on the ground but in the air. People go to the city just to see the parade on Thanksgiving Day. Experience the excitement and fun on Far Island where New York City awaits you. 

Walk outside from the entry and turn to 5th Avenue where you will find people standing to witness the spectacle. The floats will come down the street . I find it better to walk up the street to the area of the  boarding zone .  

Check out each float and pick the ones you want to ride and jump on. Some will give you accessories to wear . Look up to the sky too. Hop on some of those to try.  

All the floats are animated with charming dances that fit its theme. It is all very festive and gets you in the mood.

Halfway down the street, enter Macy’s store through the green curtain and who is there?  Santa is waiting to hear your wishes for Christmas.

After you see all the wonderful floats walk around the corner to Rockefeller Center and see the giant Christmas tree at the ice skating rink. In NYC the tree lighting is another big deal with live entertainment  and that will be on November 29

DJ Frannie has many events and you are invited to join her group FAME to keep track of all her parades and parties .  

And so the season begins again for a wonderful Christmas Holiday and winter season. So many fun activities with snow and ice and decor in Second Life, it is one of my favorite seasons here. Have a wonderful time at the parade! Look for me on a float! 

Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Furry Fashion's Halloween Area

By Bixyl Shuftan

Furry Fashion is going all-out for Halloween. Besides being part of the "Quest Fur Cover" shopping hunt, they also have a special Halloween area above the sim. Besides the frightfully fun scenery, it also offers a Halloween Hunt with thirty items to find.

I had a few words with the owner of Furry Fashion, Amethysia (Amethyst Crystal), about their display. She told me, "Albright and I are both pagan and adore Halloween, witchcraft, etc. And we went to the occult shopping event a few months back and got the idea from buying way too much there, heh. Then she managed to get hold of a rare DRD mansion from a gacha that was just perfect as a witch house. And we just built around the house using it as the centrepiece. Over the years we've done everything fr a sim wide maze to a zombie game map to a asylum so we wanted something we hadn't done before. It's getting quite difficult to come up with new ideas after so many years.

"There's not only the witch house, but a skeleton basement (decorated by Klomonx), and a graveyard and a maze hidden under the basement. The hunt objects are red balloons - inspiration taken from the new "It" movie and encouragement from FF Admin I might add. And as usual QFC and Sim Merchants got offered free shops too for displaying their Halloween/fall products on top of the hunt. We'll be having a full weekend of Halloween parties in the Halloween area for the final October weekend."

Asking about the influence of the movie "It," Amethyst told me, "Yeah, 'It' is the new remake of the Stephen King movie. (I'm) not a clown fan myself, but several of the staff got hyped about it and when the suggestion of balloons was made for the hunt item, I was encouraged to use it, heh."

So what was the feedback from those who braved the area? "Most enjoy it," Amethyst answered, "Some say it's too scary, especially with windlight, heh. I plan to add extra prizes towards the end of the month as we get closer to Halloween too. Security have been doing shifts up there to make sure cheaters don't win. They've got to dress up in  Halloween avatars and outfits, and I think enjoy it." I asked what kind of Halloween avatars, and she pointed to the small avatar near me, "Rick behind you has been making Halloween stuff too. That's a mod he made that he's wearing right now. It's a Halloween pup version of the Crux. Rick's one of my staff leads." The pup's ears showed a definite Crux style, but the modded avatar was less strange and more cute in appearance, "He might even get me to wear it," Amethyst told me with a smile.

Amethyst reminded me as a business, Furry Fashion had multiple openings for jobs, "I've been pretty busy anyway. We're open for every position right now, and all staff are pitching in (smile). (It) always gets this way for Halloween. It's our favorite time of the year. I'll do a Xmas thing as expected, but Halloween is everything for me." Amethyst stated she wouldn't play Christmas music until well into December, "I was in catering, in a hotel kitchen, the same Xmas CD on repeat Oct to Jan., 7AM to Midnight every day..." One of Amethyst's staff spoke up, and that led to a conversation on the subject that lasted a few minutes.

Finally someone came over inquiring about where to find the Halloween area. Amethyst mentioned of the people doing the Halloween hunt, "we've had over 500 hunters so far." She offered to show me the place. Looking around, what I noticed the most was the darkness and fog, which gave the place an erie spooky air. There were various stalls, made to look like old buildings, where various merchants had their goods, outfits, avatar mods, and other goods.

There was also the witch house, which had a few cats and a "broom parking" area on the outside, in addition to a spooky cemetery next to it. One could open the door and to inside, looking among the rooms. Some rooms were stranger than others, one room full of books, another with ingredients, another with scrolls. Underneath was the cellar, which had a few skeletons and the entrance to the maze. I had my headphones on, and could hear various barks in the distance, screams, cries for help, and near the witch house cats meowing.

In places were various tombstones of the Furry Fashion staff. The first I noticed was Amethyst's: "I told you I was sick." I asked her about it, "Yeah, I let all staff pick their own graves, heh." She pointed to the one for Minty Melody: "Rainbow Overdose." Amethyst explained, "Minty is a unicorn in SL and rainbow addicted." She showed me a few others, which included, "should have gotten decaf." Amethyst grined, "I take no blame for the sayings, they all picked their own." She did say they tried to be fairly PG about their epitaths. Other than that, they all had a free hand with them.

Remember, there are 30 red balloons around the Halloween area to find, each with a free item. Looking around I found a number in less than a half hour. While many are just for women, some can be used by the guys. So visitors get some treats along with the tricks.

To get to the Halloween area, head to

Happy Halloween from Furry Fashion,

Bixyl Shuftan