Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Om Nom Noming into Forever

Simon took this. His shots came out much prettier than mine.
So the feedback I've had to my proposal idea has all been positive, and I'm excited to say that people are starting to message me and ask to take me to places. This is exciting!

My first came on Saturday in the form of Simon May and the Pixel Pot Restaurant and Cafe. The only warning I had about where we were going was "for dinner", and Simon had never been to this place before either.

The restaurant was very prettily put together, with indoor and outdoor dining spaces and, across the way, a stretch of pretty prim-sea complete with a ship and a lighthouse. The best, weirdest and most interesting thing about the restaurant was that the owners provided a waiting-on service, a full menu, and what we ordered was actually brought to the table, in actual pixel-food form. I'm just going to let that sink in a minute.

This is one of my shots. See, not half as pretty as Simon's.
There it is, see. The waiter showed us to our table, sent us a menu, took our order, took it away to the kitchen for the "chef" to "cook", and returned with plates of exactly what we had ordered. Here's my spaghetti and meatballs, and Simon's tuna steak with asparagus. There were animations in the chairs that allowed us to simulate eating, and knives and forks were given to us to make the experience all the more authentic. We even had a glass of white wine each. And dessert.

I took a shot with the interface in view, so you could see the menu and how the ordering worked. And our waiter, Gavin :). In the background is the main restaurant itself.
The desserts too pretty to eat, even if we could.
The restaurant even has a reservation system, although it was pretty quiet whilst we were there. You do have to pay for the experience which, I confess, I found slightly odd since we weren't actually paying for any ingredients. However, the owners of the restaurant must still have to pay rent, and I guess we were paying for the waiter's time (and I have no issue with that). We spent about as much time there as I would expect to spend in a real life restaurant, and it didn't cost anywhere near as much as that real experience would have.

Whilst we were eating, too, the waiter, unbeknownst to us, took our picture, and when we came to leave, we were presented with the picture in a frame and stamped with the restaurant's logo. The idea seems more reminiscent of rollercoasters than restaurants, but I think it says a lot about the kind of experience the restaurant owners expect it to have been.

Simon remarked that it was funny how something as mundane and normal as eating could be transformed into something I considered to be weird in SL (and I do think it's weird, really weird), especially considering the time I spend in science fiction and fantasy roleplay and dress. We can be anything we want to be, and that is normal, but eating? Eating is weird. 

I see his point, but I think the strangeness of the concept is rooted in something other than flouting supposed impossibilities; it lies in necessity. It reaches back to the first essay I ever wrote about SL wherein I commented on virtual washing machines and toilets. Why worry about eating when you don't have to?

Of course, dining has become an activity for pleasure as much as need - for some, I guess it could even be considered a hobby. And whilst there is nothing stopping me from going out to a restaurant in the real world, it would take an awful lot of time, effort and money to arrange to go out to a restaurant in the real world with Simon because he lives quite a way away from me. There is something good and happy, I think, in the spontaneity of virtual dinners with faraway people. We take intimacy from breaking bread with each other, and after this experience, I think it's fair to say the breaking of virtual bread feels no different.

I found it absolutely impossible not to laugh. Set up with the repetitive eating animations and what was, essentially, plastic pixel food, Simon and I could have sat there eating for all eternity. The food would never run out. Our arms would never get tired. Our bellies would never be full. The waiter might get a bit bored, I'll grant, but unless he's got a hud that allows him to twist his avatar's face into an expression of annoyance, we might never know. We'd be om nom noming into forever. If that isn't funny, I'm not sure what is.

I'll be over here laughing in the corner by myself. 

The conversation was sparkling, of course, and Simon is a charming and always impeccably dressed companion. I had a great time, and it was certainly a unique experience in my Second Life. Thank you, Simon :).

If you're like to visit the Pixel Pot, you can do so by clicking here - here!


  1. I have seen services like this advertised around SL and I do find it strange myself. But I have always been interested in exploring it. This was a very interesting read, I think it could be a fun experience that one should try at least once in their SLifetime. :D

    1. If you do go to one, please come back and tell me what it was like :)


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