So the Lab's SL8B will open to the general public from 10am SL time on Monday 20th June, and if you give yourself a couple of hours to take a wander around the sims given over to it, you'll be in for a treat.
I did just that this past Sunday afternoon, guided in part by the SL8B MegaHunt by Octoberville which is great for encouraging you to look around more than a single plot of interest and actually cross sim boundaries and loved seeing what others had created. Now, I'm sure some more rampant, more politicised and more critical SL-bloggers will spend much of the next two weeks finding whatever fault they can with the concept and/or the execution of the event, but if you look at it for what it actually is - a celebration not just of the platforms' longevity but also the diversity that the residents bring to it - you'll find yourself treated to a wealth of creativity and talent. Sure, some builds are less polished than others, but what they lack in fine detail they more than make up for in fun, which for me is what SL is all about.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the theme of this year's event is 'The Magic of SL'; for the Raglan Shire plot I took a more literal interpretation of the theme and helped set up a fun little circus-cum-carnival style plot replete with things to sit on and jump on. It's all been very well received by the visitors it's had so far (limited at time of writing to fellow exhibitors) and having had a look around, I've seen many others have chosen to do something similar; but I've been occasionally reading some of the official SL8B blog and was blown away this post especially about how magical SL has been to another resident in a completely different way.
There'll be the critics, of course; an office-type build about the joys of LSL won't be to everyone's taste but for some, it's exactly what they're looking for. And I am pretty sure that the harshest critics will be the ones who have teleported in, flown across two sim boundaries, have racked up no more than twenty minutes of searching and declared it a waste of time. These types of events may only offer up a very small cross section and highly condensed picture of what's out there on the Grid but it does serve to remind me that whatever one may read or hear about 'the state of Second Life' by some of those who feel they are more qualified to write about your experience than I am, that SL is actually very well populated by a large number of very passionate and creative people who want to encourage other residents to explore and discover all that if offers. That discovery doesn't take much to do and you come away from it - or at least I did - feeling that Second Life is a platform that is still very much loved by its users and on a daily basis brings at least a touch of magic to someone's life.