Thursday, 19 July 2007

Al's Inferno

Picking up on a couple of other posts, I thought I ought to have a look at the model of Dante's Inferno that has been constructed on the NMC 5 sim, part of the New Media Consortium. Besides, it's a while since I've been there so I wanted to see how the old place was getting on - the NMC, that is, not the Inferno.

As you would expect for a sim here, the purpose of the build is education. In fact there are large numbers of notecards to be picked up, providing a great deal of information about the Circles of Hell, but I won't bombard you with anything more than a few salient facts. Thinks: "there's probably a circle of Hell for bloggers who don't tell all the facts."

Here, then, is the most pertinent information concerning the build, gleaned from the first notecard I picked up. Students at DeSales University are reading Gloria Naylor's novel Linden Hills. The novel is based off the premise of Dante's Inferno, and, in the past, it has been difficult to teach the parallel structure because students are not familiar with the Inferno. Second Life offers the opportunity to build the inferno AND Linden Hills, and, as a result, helps students see the structure.

The build has been carried out by Eloise Pasteur (Eloise Pasteur Educational Designs). It takes you down through the various circles, each dedicated to a different kind of sinner. Teacher's notes are available as you go along. Students are encouraged to make their own suggestions, so dotted around each circle you will see some familiar faces. Each one will give you a notecard telling you who elected to place them there, and why. This has led to some amusing juxtapositions. For example, Jessica Simpson is in the same circle of Hell as Kim Jong-Il. At the deepest most evil level, the final destination for the treacherous, you will find Lindsay Lohan rubbing shoulders with Hitler and Stalin.

Linden Hills is not a book I know - or am ever likely to read, I suspect. But it does have a chunk of sim dedicated to it, which seems to comprise a small number of modern American houses. The main feature of note for me though is the dive-in dumpster. To quote its notecard: An innovative idea for a freebie giver or a camping tool. Go dumpster diving and invite your friends! Realistic trash diving animation included.

It is an interesting idea for a sim, with a great deal of information and a fair degree of interaction. But if you find the whole idea of going into Second Life a bit of a chore, you can always get information from the related website.


UPDATE 3rd May, 2008: My anonymous recent commenter points out that the build has been re-done, and you can read more about it here.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's changed, because I visited it today and found nothing but a flat, impenetrable lake of fire. No notecards, or in fact any objects, are to be seen. Just a lake of lava and a rocky terrain.

Aleister Kronos said...

Yes, I suspect it has changed a lot. It is now 9 months since I last visited, and that's usually more than enough opportunity for things to change immeasurably :-)

Anonymous said...

Wrong Inferno, first commenter, though it was a temporary build. And it now has a 2008 reincarnation -- details on El's blog at