A link on Eve Kazan’s always beautiful blog led me to New Babbage, a city spanning eleven sims. Let me repeat that: a city. And this isn’t one of those cardboard cutout places, where every building has an empty interior: different buildings have different functions, and there are so many to discover. In my initial, hour-long exploration I passed so many places, including a library, a cathedral, a mortuary, a rail yard, and a public bathhouse – and that’s coming nowhere near a scratch across the surface. You’re going to need at least a day if you want to properly sample this place. It is vast.
I spent time in the bathhouse for a couple of pictures, and then made my way to The New Babbage Repository Of Medical Arts And Science to sit on the stone staircase and marvel at the love that has gone into this build. And cam. But New Babbage is one of those places where you really do get lost with your cam, and an attractive spot chanced upon one moment is almost impossible to then find on foot.
New Babbage has clearly been around for quite some time. As I began to absorb just how big it is (the city has its own rail system with several different lines and services) I started to wonder why I’d never heard of it before, or if this was one of those many SL places that has its own fame and following – we play in such a fragmented virtual world.
It’s the latter. Not only does New Babbage have its own website at cityofnewbabbage.com, but stories written by citizens about their city have so far been collected into three volumes. The latest of these – Tales of New Babbage Volume 3 – can be obtained both as a Kindle download and in paperback. You can also read stories at the website.
New Babbage is a steampunk themed city, but if you’re not into that genre, the fantasy elements in no way overwhelm the feel of this place. What you get is a sprawl of red brick factories and rail track and chimneys and pubs and clocks and chimneys and smoke and water towers and iron girders and cracked glass panes, and rotating giant cogs and swinging giant pendulums. This really is a place to lose yourself in.
Other than a month-long flirtation with a Star Trek group back in 2007, I’ve never really engaged in SL role play. To be honest, it’s too much of a time commitment for me. Walking around the streets of New Babbage, however, I totally get how immersive a place like this could become to its regular visitors, becoming in their minds a place that actually exists and an ongoing backdrop for story and adventure.
I love that SL enables people to do this.