| Fortunately, virtual worlds promise to do much more than provide chat-with-pictures or dates-with-destinations. Such promises are to do things which I can't do in the real world. Like hang out with dead guys. In his You-Are-There Series, Edward R. Murrow invited us to the Battle of Culloden. However, we were not really there except as a voyeur. Virtual worlds offer the potential that we can be more there, since we have potentially more control over the point-of-view we may take, the sequence of events we may experience and even the character we may be in that context. |
As producer of the edutainment section of the CD-ROM to accompany the movie Rob Roy, I had hoped to invite the user to explore the history and geography of Scotland through a space-time matrix. Thus, if the user dialled Inverness and 1746, s/he could see a re-enactment of the Battle of Culloden. After the battle, the user could choose to follow Bonnie Prince Charlie's adventures as he fled across the country until he eventually boarded a boat to France dressed as the maid of Flora MacDonald. However, s/he may also chose to follow one of the Scottish soldiers who escaped to France with him and signed up with Montcalm to go to Canada as a mercenary soldier. Or s/he could choose to be one of the few Scottish soldiers who survived, moved to England to sign up as a mercenary with Wolfe. We could confront one of our various other selves on the Plains of Abraham in the Battle of Quebec, as the French Scots fought the English Scots. If we survived this skirmish, we could witness the signing of the subsequent treaty in Gaelic, since Montcalm and Wolfe had been killed and their two second-in-commands were Scots.
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