All over our virtual world there is a culture forming; a culture that brings residents together, a culture that provides for those who have little and gives them a lot more than they can handle. This culture is the ever growing Hunts, a series of treasure-hunt type events that happen every month around the Grid.
Hunts are simple. Residents are shown an item they need to search for over a number of store locations. Each location gives a hunt hint, which can either be as simple or as deviously clever as the hunt organiser and store owner want it to be. The Hint leads to a hunt gift which is an item ( gesture, clothes, shoes, hair or animation) that has been provided by the store that the hunt gift is placed in. SecondLife is home to a great number of hunt groups that make it their mission to bring its residents regular hunts. Many of these hunts are aimed at specific groups of residents as well as different cultures, for example furry , goth/dark , steampunk and dolly culture.
Dysturbed Sin and his partner Vasha Martinek are the owners of the goth, cyberpunk store +DV8+ and play a huge part in the Hunt Culture of Second Life. Not only do they challenge the ideologies of culture and fashion, but they are known to be the creators of the most difficult hunt on the Grid: The Twisted Hunt. The idea around their hunt started when they opened their store three years ago. “At the time, gridwide hunts were still a fairly new idea,” says the Twisted co creator Dystubed Sin, “ We noticed that on the few hunts we did, most of the gifts were happy-go-lucky items and rather cheap items that no one really wanted. This is how the idea of the Twisted Hunt came to be. We wanted a Hunt that would cater for the dark culture in Second Life with gifts that represent what the stores have to offer, as well as introducing residents to locations that they never knew existed.”
DV8’s Twisted grid hunt has opened the door for other hunts that dare to step away from the ordinary. Depravity Hunts is another group that has dedicated its time to Second Life Hunt culture. Unlike Twisted, Depravity is a more flexible hunt group that dabbles in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. With their themes, they have provided regular hunters with a number of themed hunts such as Darkness Behind Close Doors, August Heat, Salivating Schlongs and Titillating tatas. It was created by Cummere Mayo and Sredni Eel who met through Twisted Hunt. “Depravity can be campy and cheeky, and we do not care to be overly pc. We fit into a nice little niche within the hunting community. I do not think Hunt Culture is recent. I think it has always been a popular and important part of what makes up SL. Sadly I think that in the last couple of years, older residents have not been educating the newer residents about the existence of hunts. It seems to be only recently that people have realised just how much a part of the SL community hunts have been.”
From the ordinary to the extraordinary, hunts challenge what is seen as the norm in Second Life. In addition, many hunts are there to express themselves in other ways. The Nature’s hunt group started in 2010 with their first hunt. It concentrates on the beauties of Nature in Second Life. Resje Bailey, the creator of Nature’s Hunt, comments on her own experiences with Hunt Culture and the future of hunts, “Hunts do benefit the residents. It’s a win/win situation. The participating stores offer a nice gift or an item at a much reduced, almost symbolic price, to gain exposure for their store and the products they sell. In return the Hunters get an item or gift from the stores they visit when they are doing the hunt. They get to see a lot of new sims and stores they were not aware of before.”
As Second Life grows these groups agree that the future of Hunts is in the hands of the hunters. While Cummere comments that “ As long as Second Life exists there will always be a hunt culture.” Dysturbed and Resje are left uncertain about what the future may bring them and theirs groups. One thing is clear is that hunts will continue to happen every month, giving out free gifts to those who are interested in them.