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  A Virtual-World History Recounted  
Posted 2006-11-09 by Tony Walsh
CNET's Daniel Terdiman called in Bruce Damer to dredge up a personal history of graphical, 3D virtual worlds. Damer starts from 1974's Maze War, covers the usual Second Lifery and projects 30 years into the future, where today's virtual worlds will be looked at as the "Keystone Kops."

I interviewed Damer for a 2004 article on nonverbal communication in virtual worlds. From that piece: "[Damer's] most memorable moment occurred in 1999 after inviting real-life Apollo IX astronaut Rusty Schweickart to visit a virtual lunar landscape in the versatile 3D environment 'ActiveWorlds.' While a crowd of enthralled users looked on, Schweickart helped a little girl moonwalk for herself, inadvertently passing through her avatar in the process. Damer recalls the girl's breathless reaction to this day: "'Oh my God, I have been touched by an Apollo astronaut.'"

During this contemporary flurry of hype surrounding virtual worlds, it's worth taking a look at the history of such games and platforms in order to improve upon old ideas while avoiding previous mistakes.
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