VRChat and Play

VRChat is amazing.

VRChat is Second Life meets Oculus - a totally open environment with no rules and total freedom to wear any character and face you want. The structures and avatars are constructed by the individual users - you can be a cat person, a muppet, or hands. There is no end game and no goal. There is nothing to do besides explore and interact with other people. The outcome is pure childlike play, where all the rules are made up and the points don't matter. Someone sets up an environment, starts improving what should happen, and you can run with it in your own way.

It's eerily and beautifully like how I remember the internet of 2002-2008, when it was still wild and uncolonized, back before the corporations and normies ruined it. Back before there were any rules, hierarchies, and norms for how you're supposed to be. Pretending to a talking hand is totally appropriate.

I recently attended a Circling workshop (to give a badly incomplete definition circling is a type of group meditation). It started with everyone sitting in, appropriately enough, a circle, with no instructions given to us by the workshop leader. There was awkward silence for several minutes, then someone asked what was going on, and the instructor said he wanted to explain, and then drifted off… and someone else responded with what they thought we should do, and someone reflected back. No one knew what to do, and what emerged was a type of swirling chaos -> order -> chaos -> order dynamic. There was no norm or structure in which to channel the group interactions, and so randomly, or moved by some impulse, people would propose a game - "lets all go around and say our names" - and people would accept or reject, and then it would break down and someone else would propose a different game - "fuck you guys tell us what's going on".

VRChat has tapped into something, an infinite game, thats on a similar wavelength as Circling. The anonymity and customizability of it lets people run their ids in a way that feels like a good improv session or 4Chan in the early aughts. You can interact in any way. There's a lot of harassment, a lot of foul language and crude sexual innuendo, but there's also an energy of play that feels fresh compared to the staleness of the established games of twitter - "lets play you and I make snarky ingroup comments and then pass the hot potato of outrage around" or facebook - "lets play I post pictures of my baby and humblebrag comments".

VRChat is #dragon energy, a new frontier. Get it while it lasts.