GO NOW. On Wednesday, December 2nd, New Trivia Monkeys officially opened to the public (I’ve been busy building the place over the last couple weeks, which is why I’ve been MIA). NTM is a little spot for Gogomodo trivia and games. There are animals to play with and ride, silly drinks at the bar, and lots of comfy seats… but you may be asking, why does this exist and why was Mako involved, exactly?
NTM is an homage to the original Trivia Monkeys, which closed suddenly and without explanation (as so many places in SL do) sometime in early 2008. The idea for NTM started when Honey Potez, longtime trivia hostess, left her position at Club Shiraz in November. While chatting about her future hosting endeavors, we began reminiscing about other venues and got really nostalgic for the old Trivia Monkeys. The SL trivia scene has changed quite a lot since 2007 — there were certainly regular events but the schedule wasn’t as full as it is these days… nor was there a community like we have now. The original Trivia Monkeys, which was just a little tiki hut with some poseballs and Gogomodo, was one of the first places I experienced a sense of trivia community. It was a clubhouse. It was a place to relax. It was a place to laugh with friends and dance on the bar but also a place to sometimes be alone and zone out to the brainstream of Gogomodo. Honey and I rounded up JoshuaStephen Schism, also an old Trivia Monkeys regular, and we acknowledged that there really wasn’t anything quite like it currently on the grid… then discussed whether or not there needed to be. We decided that there was indeed still a place for Trivia Monkeys, and, after suckering in Circe Falta (also an original Trivia Monkeys person) to be our fourth, we set to planning a new Trivia Monkeys.
The new incarnation builds mostly on the clubhouse vibe of the original. We aren’t running paying Gogo or daily contests, though if you choose you can gamble for cash on the machines along one edge of the fence. Most days it will be simply a place for Gogomodo hangout. We don’t expect to make much, if any, money on it — it exists because we loved the place that inspired it and want to share and pass that on to newer players. Gogomodo was how we all got started playing SL trivia, after all, and newbies can come to NTM and find info about other venues and paying games.
Another important part of what NTM is involves neutrality. As the trivia scene has grown over the last two years, several venues have become regular, successful hangouts and developed subcultures of their own. Certain hosts are associated with certain venues. There are in-jokes and friendly rivalries. NTM is Switzerland. Honey, Josh, Circe and I run in slightly different trivia social circles and have loyalties and/or paying gigs at different venues, and so it was nice to realize that by coming together we’d be creating a neutral ground. We plan to use the place for one-off events, maybe things like trivia open mic nights where aspiring hosts can get a taste of what it’s like to face a question-hungry crowd. We’ll see where it goes, but it has no obligation to be anything to anyone specific, which is nice.
I built NTM from scratch. It was important to me that it be a warm, attractive venue. In 2007, I didn’t care much about how places looked — that they existed at all was enough (this is grossly oversimplifying, but for the most part things didn’t start to really look great in SL until 2008. A shift occurred then as SL took another step towards the mainstream and it became less about the raw functional delight of “look what I can make” and more about “look what I can make that doesn’t look like shit”). But, as an artist and in the last two years of being involved in SL, I’ve become more and more sensitive to quality content creation and well designed virtual environments — and I’ve become sensitive to ugly, careless places as well. Environment makes a difference. So I took my time building. We could have had a shack with Gogo up and running in an hour. We could have put in the exact same build from 2007, actually. But I built it from scratch, hand-texturing almost every prim and testing everything with the goal of creating a place that people would feel comfortable — whether or not this is a conscious reaction on the part of guests, I hope I’ve succeeded a little.
It’s hard to explain what was special about the place to people who didn’t experience the original Trivia Monkeys… but the opening event on the 2nd came close. Regular trivia events in SL draw an average of 10-20 people — we had 30+ show up for animal trivia that first night, many of whom entered and immediately said things like “Oh, déjà vu!” and “I used to love this place!” Names and faces I haven’t seen for two years came out of the woodwork — maybe they’ll start playing trivia again! New players marveled at the response, which was fun. All in all, an excellent opening, a build I’m very pleased with, and an endeavor I’m proud to be a part of.
Come visit New Trivia Monkeys [SLurl]. Hang out for a bit and play some games. Have a silly drink — Honey stocked the bar with concoctions that reference other trivia venues. Oh, and join the free subscribo group to stay updated on events and happenings. Stay tuned!