Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The little town of Havenhollow

...This might just be an incoherent photo spam of just how amazing Havenhollow is. You have been warned! I may just end up keyboard mashing my way through this entry!

Okay, so there's always a good amount of Halloween places on Second Life every year, right? Good games, good themed sims, great sales and gifts... there's no end, really! So as another Halloween themed area: welcome to Havenhollow, a little town where you can take your kids, friends, younger siblings, etc, out trick or treating!

No, I'm absolutely serious. They had this last year, but I apparently missed it, but -- this neighbourhood is all about houses that give you candy. You dress up, you wear their trick or treating bucket, and you go knocking door to door. Some houses will trick you instead of give you treats, and some people might not hear you on the first knock so you should go back to their house again (and there are even houses where people are out to get more candy because they ran out!). This place is beautifully rendered and amazingly atmospheric -- dark and hazy with fog and sounds of animals from dogs to crows to NPCs who answer the doorbell and give you candy.

It would have been amazing just to leave it at that, but no, Havenhollow decided they wanted to go just a bit further. And by a bit, I mean a lot. As you go trick or treating, you eventually get information about a house in the woods that gives full sized candy bars instead of the little things that each house will give you. Just through the woods, they say. And with the woods so temptingly close, why not give it a try and get those scrumptious candy bars?

And that's when things start to get... strange. Things start going awry. The forest is hazy and hard to find your way, and you eventually fall and find yourself in a cabin of sorts... with giant spiders and dead bodies. Running will lead you into a cavern... a mine shaft? Some place dangerous, that's for certain! Bodies hang from rafters and dark things chase you through a maze even when you can barely see three feet in front of you. If you're lucky, you come out and it's once again a forested area... except somehow different. The feeling is eerie and the frees form a path around you, leading to beautiful places such as a dangerous pond, a gazebo, and even a cemetery.

 The world is darker than ever until you stumble upon a manor that could only be the one that the people in the neighbourhood was talking about... but this one, more than all the rest, definitely looks decked out for Halloween. Never mind pumpkins and sheeted ghosts in the driveway, this house looks like it was built to be haunted.

And really, stepping into the manor feels like a bad idea. But where else can you go? Surely you don't want to stay in the strange forest, or worse, go back into the abandoned caverns where nothing more than monsters and perhaps your own death awaits you. The road ends at this house despite it continuing both ways... you can't seem to go any further than here.

If you're really, really lucky... maybe they'll give you candy and directions back to Havenhollow?

Now, while all the houses in town are somewhat minimalistic (even though it doesn't look like it on the outside since the houses themselves are very beautifully rendered), this manor is incredibly detailed. Furniture, decorations, and details spill into every nook and cranny here from ghostly music playing from pianos whose keys press themselves, to piles of books and accessories on walls and floors. There's something up with this house, something frightening that you might not be able to name even as you stumble through room after room of a story you can't quite piece together.

It looks rather barren, actually, some areas covered with cobwebs while other areas are covered in dirt and rust. Just where did the people go? The front desk looks like it should be manned, and yet there's no one there...?

Okay, I digress! There's quite the bit of a scare in the kitchen, but that's only the first floor. It's not as if this is the end or anything! In fact, this house has two stories plus an attic, and people who get to the end of the little Havenhollow manor will walk away with an armful of beautifully rendered free Halloween items! (That's not counting the sheer amount of candy that I got here.)

So I highly, highly recommend this sim to people who have a bit of time on their hands before Halloween... it doesn't take long at all! This isn't a hunt, nor is it a full storyline beginning to end like Resting Place or System Failure. In fact, I've seen a tonne of families going trick or treating with young children on this sim, and all they have to do is avoid the forest. It's the older avatars that tend to run through the manor screaming, and that's fun by itself as well!

Five stars. Definitely go take a look, guys!

Monday, October 28, 2013

System Failure

Okay, for anyone who knows me on Second Life and was with me last Halloween, you might have realised that Resting Place had been my very favourite thing during that time -- a hunt that was not a hunt, focusing on a fantastic story with a great area and beautiful backgrounds, creepy and haunting and with a crap tonne of free items. Fabulous free items. 

Well, the creators of Resting Place have done it again -- and once again, it's only available until mid-November, so I suggest everyone go check out their newest game: System Failure. This place is huge and almost feels like a video game with the way you move through area after area, solve puzzles to get in rooms, and get the story bit by bit.  And talk about amazing, but they give you free items from the get-go (which I'm wearing right in the picture) including a mesh coat, flashlight, and badge. And the list of freebies just continue from there.

You have been called into an interview with SHIELD Technologies, a corporate conglomeration  that makes everything from high tech computers to baby wipes. As you step into the building, you're informed that they're having a bit of technical difficulties and don't worry, they've called in a team to help. You speak with Kevin, who apologises for being busy at the moment and asks you to do a series of tasks for him as part of your interview since he's currently stuck in a meeting. As you roam to complete the tasks, things start feeling a bit... strange. Where are the people working here? Surely they can't all be in the meeting...

With fantastic sound effects and lighting, System Failure immersed me the entire way through (despite my own difficulties with Second Life last night) and took me on beautiful adventure far better than games I've actually had to pay for on SL (no kidding). Extremely creepy at times (my friend definitely broke out her guns by the middle of the story, despite us figuring it wouldn't work anyway), this game is straightforward and linear, and I only got stuck once because I didn't realise I needed to do a bit of backtracking in order to figure out a puzzle.

This gets more and more eerie as the game progresses, and I know I'm definitely tempted to go through this at least one more time just to make sure I got every nook and cranny of the storyline... what if I missed little details?

I won't spoil the story for you (that would be immensely cruel), but I know for certain that I would definitely think twice before agreeing to an interview with SHIELD Technologies now. If you go to a giant coporate building and there's not receptionist there to greet you? Maybe there's something wrong.

Also, as a memo (especially since you find this in a memo in the game), if someone says the shipment is strange and off, then you should probably apply horror movie logic and get the heck out of dodge. Because you can always deal with a day off work and come back if they clear the 'odd' shipment, rather than get caught up in whatever aftermath comes from staying in the horror movie... or game.

Shamera is wearing:
Piercings, headband, lunchbox, bracelets, eyes, skirt, attachments,
necklace, arm dagger, pose, cord hair all SYSTEM FAILURE prizes.
Skin - !FREE! Super Pill (5L)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back to October!

Wake me up when September ends, right? Well, it's now October! (Second day, even, since I didn't get around to this yesterday...)

And what does October mean? That's right: Halloween! I know I consider the entire month to be a showcase for Halloween, so we're going to start with a demonic outfit (haha, funny since I usually go for angelic stuffs...) that I managed to put together yesterday!

 Taken at HAUNTED, where they have many different backdrops for all your Halloween needs, I decided on the darker pirate graveyard rather than the brightness of a carnival it was situated next to. I think it's going to be a lot of fun finding the spooky places on Second Life this month again!

Remember, folks, what you can do on Second Life may not be possible in real life... so take advantage of this place!

Go fight zombies and explore haunted houses and get cursed and run through mazes with friends screaming your heads off... I'll let you in on a secret: it's just as fun to go on SL voice and start screaming when monsters coming chasing after you as it is in real life when you hit your face against a glass wall you thought was perhaps a doorway. Well, maybe more fun this way for the people who are too scared to actually go out and do things like that.

Shamera is wearing:
.::[HTxDZ]::. Maleficent's Crown – (old hunt item, now $50)
{dollle*} Bloody Bandages – Free Group Gift
Tactical Leg Holster – Free at Marketplace
F.E. // Demon Wings – Free at Marketplace