Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lou's Clues—Live!

Well, I've finally gone and done it: I'm running my own trivia game!

As I've made abundantly clear in this blog, I've been playing trivia in Second Life ever since I created my account. In fact, trivia was kinda my main reason for getting into SL—which is a little embarrassing but, there, I've said it: the truth shall set me free!

One thing that's irked me: I've always been a trivia consumer. Although I try to tip generously and be a positive presence in SL's nerdiness-for-money community, I've always felt like I'm a bit of a leech. I'd show up, poach a few questions, crack wise, say thanks…and then pop to the next game and do it again. Yay me.

I'd long considered starting my own game as a way to give something back to the SL trivia community, but the logistics were kind of daunting. I'd have to buy or rent some "virtual land," build a venue, figure out a game format, commit to a regular event, promote and advertise it, find Linden dollars to fund prizes, and all that jazz. Plus write trivia questions! Although I've answered untold thousands of questions, I'd never once written any. And, after I'd gone to all that trouble and work, well, it would just figure that no one would show up. After all, irony is alive and well in virtual worlds.

So when Jez Oh and Sinnamon Sands asked out of the blue if maybe I'd be interested in hosting a trivia game at their brand-new club [MonoChrome], I was completely and totally flattered. But my initial instinct was to issue a polite no-thank-you. What did I know about running a trivia game? And who would show up, anyway? But then I suddenly thought "OK, why am I thinking of saying no-thank-you?" There was really no good reason: Jez and Sinn were taking a lot of the hard work out of running a game: they'd built the venue, they have a ton of experience running and hosting events, and they have about five and a half million oodles of credibility on the trivia circuit. I had nothing to lose.

So I said yes. Squee!!! If you're in-world at noon SLT on Saturdays, pop into [MonoChrome] to see Lou's Clues, live and in-person! Or, in-pixels, anyway.

Running my first ever trivia game! (Image from Chaddington Boomhauer.)

Turns out one of the toughest parts of establishing a regular trivia game is picking a time. I don't know if it's always been this way in Second Life, but all the decent times to schedule a regular trivia event seem to be taken. A ton of events have established daily and weekend time slots, along with established crowds and audiences. But another huge variable in running an event is my real life: until now, Second Life has largely been something I can log in to—or not—purely as real life allows and enables. Once I start hosting a regular event, I'm kinda committing to being in-world at a particular place and time on a regular basis…and that's when I realized part of what I like about my RL schedule—it's flexible, ever-changing, and never-the-same-twice—was going to be a liability in Second Life.

So, I tried to pick a time that would be workable for a good portion of the trivia crowd I know and see regularly, but that was also at least feasible for my real life schedule: 12 noon SLT on Saturdays. I know there are other trivia events running at the same time, and I'm sincerely not trying to cause a problem for them. Right now, I'm running the game as general knowledge trivia in open chat (for $50L per question, which is pretty good by Second Life standards—almost 20¢ Canadian!), and as I get my hosting chops together, I'm hoping to add additional elements to distinguish my game further from other things going on in Second Life: that way, there won't just be different games, but each game will be clearly distinct from the others. More types of games = more fun for everyone…or at least I hope so!

Running my first "official" trivia at MonoChrome (image courtesy of AnaMaria Quintessa)

Having never hosted a game before, I threw a surprise impromptu trivia on May 21 at [MonoChrome], just to make sure my tools and scripts worked and to get a quick taste before diving in with both feet on my first Saturday outing. I was a total bundle of nerves…and thought for a moment that I might have completely misgauged my audience when my very first trivia question ever asked in Second Life blanked everyone. Gah! No one had a clue. (BTW, the answer was "megamouth shark.") But things picked up pretty quickly, and I'd like to think everyone had a good time. Because that really is the whole point!

I launched the regular Saturday game last week on May 23, and it seemed to go well—a ton of people turned up (thank you thank you thank you!), Sinn spun some tunes, and I gave away a lot of Lindens. I'll be running another one May 30—turn up if you want to get rich or get blanked trying!

As for writing trivia questions? Not as difficult as I'd feared, but it sure does take some time! Fortunately, it's really the kind of thing I can do onesey-twosey throughout the week, so it hasn't been a problem…so far. At least until that flexible schedule kicks into a more "interesting" mode.

But the best part about it is feeling like I'm finally giving a little something back to all my friends in Second Life who've been so gracious and welcoming to me. Thank you all, and if you can turn up on Saturdays I sure hope you have fun!


  1. Yay, Lou! Speaking as someone who has hosted and attended a fair number of trivia events, the main things needed to be an effective host are personality, patience, a sense of humor, and the ability to make people feel welcome -- and you have all that in spades! And you're right about the commitment to a time slot thing -- that was the big mental obstacle to me as well, picking a time and saying "I *have* to be online doing trivia" then. Made SL almost seem like a job. But a fun job. ;) And one you can skip on a given week if RL interferes.
    Oh, and in terms of "oodles of credibility" (*giggle*), I think probably 5,499,999 of those are attributable to Jez, the sensible one. I may be worth one oodle. Maybe.

  2. Careful, Sinn, or you'll find yourself lined up for a lashing with a wet oodle! :)


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