Hippos at Second Life

Does anyone play the game at SecondLife.com? I’ve heard of this game several times over the past year, but it wasn’t until I found out that they are hippo-friendly that I decided to check it out. Here’s how they describe themselves: “Second Life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its Residents. From the moment you enter Second Life, you’ll discover a fast-growing digital world filled with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.” So basically it’s a role-playing game where you choose an avatar and create a life. A basic membership is free, but I’ll take a wild guess and say that you won’t get much for it.

I’m a little unclear on how the hippos fit in but I understand that the hippo is the unofficial site mascot. A little more information can be found at the site’s wiki. There I learned that the hippo mania started with “Darwin Appleby’s thread about hippo,” (which I was unable to read). I also learned that a hippo lived in Hikaru Yamamoto’s zoo (whoever that is); that “hippo statues and hippo avatars became very popular in Second Life”; that “Hippo mania touched Lindens themself” (I have no idea who the Lindens are); and that “You could see the word hippos in the menus/lists while they where still loading, on some occasions.” There is also a place called Hippotropolis where developers can meet to talk about source code.

Further, I discovered that, while playing, if you discovered a bug, “hippos would be unleashed and they would skip through SL stopping bugs and evil gnomes (who planted bugs)!” I’m not clear on whether these are virtual bugs like cockroaches and beetles or software bugs. At any rate, there seems to be a cult that venerates the hippo, calling him, “Oh the great hippo! Stomper of gnomes! Savior of all Second Life! How we worship thee!”

Confused? Yeah, me too. I’m almost tempted to sign up to find out what all the fuss is about and to see if I can track down any hippos. If you know anything about Second Life and the hippos therein, please let me know! And send a picture of these hippos stomping bugs and evil gnomes – that sounds intriguing!