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First life in High Fidelity.

The only social virtual experience that has ever, truly mattered.

I never played Second Life.

I knew of it, but looked at it from afar — studying user behaviour, the economy, identity, and the whole concept of living in a world within a world. All of it fascinated me, but it wasn’t me. I wasn’t drawn to spend time in it, but I knew it was big and had a future.

Home.

The first thing I see when I enter High Fidelity is home. It is home, my home, with all my stuff. I have things to play with, pick up and throw. I look at my fish tank, go outside to my fire pit, and write on my whiteboard.

Inception.

I land in a space and I know immediately that I am not alone. I hear voices that get louder as I move towards them. I teleport around, picking up large crates and throwing them into mid air. There isn’t much here. But then, I notice a camera-man, suspended in mid air hovering a few metres above me, he is standing literally in a dish with a tripod and a camera fixed to his face. I try and say hi and get no response. Is he real? Is he actually filming us?Is high fidelity watching us and live recording this right now?

Dream.

Back in dream, it really is like being in someones else’s place. They talk me through the stuff they have built and collected. They have built animated objects that are spinning around and there is a giant Buddha emanating light.

Playa.

We should fly to other worlds, someone says.

It is also in Playa that someone in our group is non-stop dancing the Macarena, an algorithm that couldn’t, and wouldn’t, ever happen in real reality.

Pink.

We fly to another earth, which I don’t know the name of but is still quite glitchy. It is here that I discover that the tigers that have been roaming around us are from a marketplace you can just download. More and more tigers appear, we chase them so we can give them to each other. Then suddenly we have guns that fire ping pong balls. We are playing and flying and shooting.

It is also here where I learn the boundaries of the human expression and see how the avatar’s face moves in conjunction with their voice. I ask someone to get angry at me and his eyebrows and facial features conform to an angry expression. It is here, that the bond gets stronger as everyone around me starts playing with the possibilities: people are horizontal, doing backflips and tricks with their bodies, and in this moment it feels like you can really do anything. I am overwhelmed with possibility. We are each forming a memory of experiences so far beyond comprehension that will forever be borne into our brains, where we will ask each other later down the line —

We are literally reliving our childhoods, but this time with an adult brain that has the capacity to recall memories we can now access later in life. No one will inform us of our own memories ever again, because what we will experience is life from the beginning — or life before we knew it as life — something that has never been accessible to us ever before.

The experience I had, was not memorable because of all the tricks and superhuman powers that were novel, it was the context of the shared experience that they occurred in. The people who saw me walk for the first time — albeit strangers — are forever connected to my memory of my first steps because they were there and witnessed it at the time.

Australia.

Some smartass in the group suggests we go to Australia, because of my accent and also it sounds intriguing. There’s an Australia? I wonder what’s in it…

My first life.

If anything, High Fidelity reinforces the human experience more so than any other VR experience I’ve tried. Not just through the ability to communicate with our faces and body language like we do in the real world, but the ability to experience personal transformation in a shared context. How do we learn, if not in tribes, classrooms and travel experiences?

Create reality