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    Posted July 23, 2011 by
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    STEAM: the Hunt! – Back Among the Steampunks


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     webspelunker is an iReporter in the virtual world of Second Life.
    - nsaidi, CNN iReport producer

    The hounds all join in glorious cry,

    The huntsman winds his horn

    And a-hunting we will go.

    Henry Fielding


       During my recent trips across Second Life (SL), I was introduced to Perryn Peterson, a resident in SL who runs the nine Mieville steampunk sims. He also manages the STEAM: the Hunt!’s which is a grid-wide hunt held twice a year. (He also runs the SILK ROAD hunts as well but I’ll ask him about those in another article. He doesn’t know that’s coming yet.)

       Recently, I met with Perryn across from the Mark Twain river steamer in the Mieville Poe sim to talk about the background of the Hunt! and the next one scheduled for this September.

       The Hunt! is an outgrowth of Perryn noticing several years ago that more SL grid-wide hunts (these hunts are like scavenger hunts where participants follow clues to find prizes) were occurring but that none of these were themed for the enjoyment of the Victorian Steampunk community. He decided to address that deficiency. With the help of a friend Perryn began to contact merchants for prizes (a very major effort in the beginning as he contacted everyone of them by himself) and to organize the event’s logistics. Perryn now views himself as the “front man” for the hunts, contacting merchants, settling problems, among other tasks. Volunteers assist him.

       Some background about STEAM: the Hunt! First, STEAM is an acronym which stands for “Steampunk Travelers’ Event, Adventure & Megahunt”.

       Second, the objectives of the Hunt! Are for the hunters to receive many excellent and original prizes built by merchants, to discover new shops, to develop camaraderie in the group maintained for them, and, perhaps, for them to find a new and more suitable place to live and/or work in Mieville. All hunters who complete the hunt can vote in the “Fave Five” contest (the five most popular merchants as selected by the hunters) and receive a new titler available to no one else. For the merchants, the objectives are to have their shops discovered, to compete in the “Fave Five” contest, to drum up more business, and, hopefully, repeat customers.

       Next, the Hunt!’s rules are simple. Courtesy is asked for. Hunters are requested not to give away prizes’ hiding places in open chat and that they clean up after themselves by removing packing materials and the like.

       Finally, participation has been increasing with each hunt and over 3,000 members were in the hunters’ group as of the last hunt. Perryn points out that membership numbers fluctuate as some join only for the hunt and then leave afterwards. The group, STEAM Hunt Punks is free to join and can be joined by either double clicking on the group’s name in Perryn’s profile or using the SL search function.

       September’s hunt will be the fifth and runs from September 1st to September 30th. There is a blog on the Web dedicated to the hunts. Perryn says that the planning and preparation for a hunt is now fairly routine. Although, the first few days of a hunt are still madness as the merchants climb over one another to be among the first few dozen in the hunt.

       Registration for STEAM: the Hunt! is open until July 31, 2011. I recommend that residents interested in participating register soon. Apparently, the registration box recently broke down under the weight of applications. Perryn welcomes all and wants everyone to enjoy themselves.

       Perryn says that the hunt is really fun and the prizes are superb, the merchants really outdo themselves to win the “Fave Five” trophies which are created by a different merchant each time. There are also kick off and wrap parties.

       After my meeting with Perryn, I return later to Mieville and visit the shops of the “Fave Five” from the fourth and most recent hunt.

       I manage to find four of the five winners. The first shop I visit is The Epic Toy Factory, the Gold winner. I arrive at night under a start filled sky. An open sky shopping emporium is in front of me. Life size toys reminiscent of the old FAO Schwartz shop in Manhattan are on display and for sale. The merchandise is high end and certainly any hunters securing any of these as prizes should consider themselves fortunate.

       My next stop is Rag Dollz, the Bronze winner. A large, modern structure houses an extensive display of Victorian Steampunk clothes for men and women. Sections for pirate and medieval clothing are also available. Outside the entrance is a memorial to Patrick Dempsey. Large rooms and a second floor display the merchandise. The owner, Emedea Morgenstern, maintains a blog describing her products. Browsing the shop, I understand why the hunters chose this shop.

       I now go to the Copper winner, Haven Township, a Victorian Steampunk community. A store sells household goods. A police station and a fire house are included among other period buildings. Walking to the shoreline reveals an airship tethered to a dock. This is a nice, little town well worth the time to take a stroll.

       My final trip is The Golden Oriole – Main Store, the Iron winner. This shop has an interesting assortment of buildings, structures, furnishings, outdoor constructs, and gadgets in the Steampunk theme. There are freebies and an affordable section. The merchandise makes an interesting contrast to the more personal nature of most of the other winners’ wares.

       I would like to thank Perryn Peterson for his time and input. I would also like to thank the residents whom I met and wished to remain anonymous. I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.

       I am grateful to Eleanor Banx who introduced me to Perryn originally.

       I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on CNN iReports or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com .

       If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
    please click here.

    Photo No. 1: Perryn Peterson

    Photo No. 2: Riverboat Mark Twain

    Photo No. 3: Epic Toy Factory, Landing Zone

    Photo No. 4: Epic Toy Factory, Animated Sign

    Photo No. 5: Epic Toy Factory, Coming Soon

    Photo No. 6: Epic Toy Factory, Entrance

    Photo No. 7: Rag Dollz, New Releases

    Photo No. 8: Haven Township, Airship

    Photo No. 9: The Golden Oriole, New Merchandise

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