So I was flying around aimlessly, waiting for something interesting to happen and I spot this strange looking building…
…seeing as there is little adventure to be had at 1,000ft above sea level I swooped down for a closer look.
Apparently, this is Ben Linden’s Jetball Arena. The surname ‘Linden’ implies that it belongs to an employee of Linden Labs, the company that make and run Second Life, so I think this is close as you can get to an ‘official’ structure.
There are some words that speak directly to the testosterone in a man. These are Magic Words that hook into some primal biological receptors developed to ensure evolutionary competition.
One of these words is ‘jet’. Another is ‘ball’. And when you put them together like that, without even a space to give you pause for thought, the resultant adrenaline surge demands further investigation.
Jetball! Balls! With jets! Or balls that jet! Or maybe you jet and then FIGHT. For the ball!
The sign outside is very informative:
In order to play Jetball you need to have the right equipment. I mean, this should be obvious from the start, any sportsman will tell you that it really isn’t a proper game unless you have the proper equipment.
Fortunately the sign is the Magic variety and it’s willing to provide the proper equipment, free of charge.
It’s probably a consequence of the structured, object-oriented scripting system that is running most of the custom content of Second Life but beyond all that is the simple symbolic delight that the sign presents you with a Box of Stuff.
The inventory system is organised into a slightly confusing tree of folders arrangement. The folders contain objects of different types and purposes and it’s somewhat off-putting when you have no idea what some of them are or what they are for.
It’s not fooling me though. The sign outside the arena has given me a Box of Stuff and there are few pleasures in life as simple or as wholesomely Good as rooting through a Box of Stuff.
Here’s what was in the box:
A Jetball Uniform (a Uniform!) Shirt:
Some Jetball Uniform pants:
Some Jetball Uniform socks and shoes (socks!):
And best of all, a Jetgun:
OMFG! A Jet! Gun! You can’t play Jetball without a Jetgun. My throbbing male hormone glands might just explode if there are any more two-word combinations of this potency.
Now I look the part. I look like (a twat) someone who is about to walk proudly onto the Jetball court and get sweaty.
I admit, it took a while for me to figure out how to actually get into the Jetball arena. For one dreadful moment I thought I was going to cut as sad and as pathetic a figure as can only be illustrated by the sight of someone dressed for Jetball but unable to work out how to get into the Jetball Arena.
Luckily any passing maidens that might have been driven to tears at such a scene of pure pathos were saved from their grief by me accidentally clicking on the forcefield that crackled across the entrance, deactivating it long enough to gain entry. I stepped boldly onto the Jetball court.
These are the rules of Jetball: Two teams face off across a court very much like a basketball court. There is an orange ball. Running into the orange ball causes it to be sucked up by your Jetgun. You then have five seconds to fire the ball elsewhere or the Jetgun fires it for you, in whichever direction it happens to be pointing. The object of the game is to fire the ball into the goal at the opposing team’s end of the court.
Sounds like a great idea, simple and yet competitive and strategically challenging. Unfortunately, it was just me, bouncing the ball against the wall and bemoaning the quality of the physics implementation.
I want you to try and share a little of my Jetball experience. Go out and buy a cheap basketball, don’t spend more than say, a fiver though. Now go and get a breadknife out of the kitchen (you might want to ask your parents to help you with this part). Drive the breadknife into the basketball so it bursts and goes a bit saggy and limp.
Next, go and lock yourself in the garage, if you can find the time to spraypaint a lycra bodyglove with grey carpaint, so much the better. You can also turn the light on if you want. Now spend five minutes ‘bouncing’ the partially-deflated basketball (JETBALL!) against the wall. Come back when you’ve had enough.
Sigh. Maybe that’s a little unfair. The costume, the arena, the very game itself has been constructed from the tools provided in-game. It’s a videogame constructed within a videogame and as far as I can tell there’s nothing to stop me trying the same thing as a signed-up member of the Second Life community. This in itself is a fascinating achievement. It’s only the level of technology, advanced though it may be, that prevents my Jetball experience from being one of the best things ever. And in this day and age, all technology needs is more time.
For Wandering Yaffle, all is not lost. You might have noticed the advertising boards that encircle the arena. It took me a while to realise that these advertisements are for actual places and not just fakes to add authenticity to the arena. Nestling in the middle of them all was this one:
Hmm. Maybe they have Bunny Slippers.