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The Story Of Neverdie

Written By mista sense on Friday, May 27, 2011 | 9:23 AM

A few months back I asked you guys what you thought of this: A press release from self-styled "virtual worlds pioneer" Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs about the showy online game world he'd made as a tribute to his late fiancée, Tina. Neverdie was a figure from the online world of Entropia Universe (which they apparently call Planet Calypso, now), and he was always putting out press releases full of dollar signs and the world "first."

As such, he was apparently a little bit of a controversial figure to the Entropia players -- a spokesperson and a figurehead known as something of a loose cannon, drawing attention as much for his showboating as for his genuine pioneership, his futurist's view of virtual reality and the concept of the self in a game world.

You might be able to tell that I didn't really know how to think about it, since I kind of just tossed up that press release for you to discuss. My coverage of Entropia for Worlds in Motion, back when I ran that site and its GDC summit a few years ago (it now exists as the 'social and online' section of Gamasutra) was fairly business-oriented, wherein I explored the game as a product in a sea of virtual worlds, which if you recall was the big bubble before mobile and social gaming descended on us all.

Finally, the article I wished I could have written if I'd had the ability back then; hell, the one I wished anyone could have written so that I could read it! Stephen Totilo found the press release here at SVGL and, in what's probably the best piece of games-related journalism I've read all year, he spends time with Neverdie, talks to him about how his intense approach to virtually memorializing his fiancée after her death from illness -- along with his bold stunts -- brought him into conflict with his fellow players, and, most interestingly, provokes thought on the concepts of virtual self and virtual life through the views of a very unique individual.

It's a fair portrayal of an interesting cast of characters and a fascinating must-read. Long, but worth your time.

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