Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on projects that would entail recreating physical displays or locations – such as a corporate museum or historic location – in virtual form…either through an interactive, digital application or in a virtual environment like Second Life. Trying to explain the huge creative opportunities of these virtual locations – not to mention the portability and cost savings – can sometimes be a challenge to folks who have never experienced Second Life or elaborate digital or Web games. These well-meaning sceptics usually assume the virtual versions will somehow be “flat” and miss a critical human element. Take a look at a great example of a real location transformed and made accessible – and in some ways better – online. This article shows how folks have made the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. a compelling, social virtual experience. Though the virtual version can’t fully duplicate the real experience – including the tactile element that makes the wall so memorable and powerful – some interesting features (such as being able to view personal scrapbooks on all the names) provide information that isn’t available at the memorial. A good example of creativity and good taste.

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