by FEMAELSTROM, HSM team writer
(Author’s note: This article deals with a fictitious closing of Home. There is no given date or even a rumor of the closing of Home from HSM or Sony. This is just a look at a possibility. So, no mass hysteria, folks — all is well.)
I have a question, and I pose this question to all of you out there who are reading this and truly care for Home and its future. Imagine for a moment that a date was given for the last day of Home. I picked the fictional reference date of December 31, 2013 as the final day of Home. And then I asked myself the question: “What would I do, if this were the last week of Home?”
The end is near and I have to do something. A moment like this can’t go by without recognition and deep reflection. There has to be something done. There has to be something done to mark the passing of something that means so much to all the users who love this place so very much.
But the gears of commerce have decided that Home is shutting down in a week, and I have to commemorate the moment, the era, to chronicle the passing of a truly great enterprise. It can’t pass as a mere twinkle or a spark in our lives. It has to be immortalized, and made memorable, so that as time passes it will not become part of the gray haze of memory. I gave this great thought, and the first and easiest thing to do would be to record my last week here in Home with my basic default camera and my LOOT motion picture camera.
When that week came, I would roam all the lands and take pictures of every place that I valued. I would go to my homes first, and snap countless pictures so I could always remember my days and nights at the places that I owned, and on which I spent real money. I am fond of a few in particular, so those places would be heavily photographed from many angles and perspectives. I would take take ridiculous numbers of pictures of the LOOT Space Station, the Eden Primarch’s Vigilarium, and my Japanese apartment.
These were my favorites, but there are others that deserve to be remembered long after the doors of Home have closed because of their beauty and the work the developers put into them. Though I personally am not a fan of the Private Beach Crib that was the former Diesel Beach public space, it was done well, with its pink sky, as were the environments surrounding the Waterfall Terrace and the Nebula Air Ship. The amount of work and detail invested into the rendering of these places , and indeed all places, merits a “Grand Tour” with a camera.
I would then take time to go to public places and take as many pictures there as possible. This would help me to chronicle the time I spent in them as well. I did this when we lost Sulley’s Bar as well as the Gamers’ Lounge. I wish that I had done the same with Central Plaza.
I would want to take pictures of many public spaces and spots inside special lands that hold meaning to me as well. I would go to the LucasArts Creature Cantina, Great Edo of Nippon, Aurora, The Casino, Southern Island Hideaway, as well as others that may have faded but were still part of the grand mosaic. Each of these spaces holds a place within my memories with some relevance to me — that one spot that makes it extra special. That lightning in a bottle that has struck so many times here in Home has to be captured in pictures.
The next thing I would do is go to my Harbour Studio and take pictures there. This is where it all began for us – all of us. I would then access my avatar and dress him (and sometimes her) in my favorite costumes, clothing and poses — a reminder of the things I bought and what I wore in Home, so that in time I can look back and remember them. There are some items that I am particularly fond of. My Star Wars Rahm Kota armor is iconic for my FEMAELSTROM avatar, and would have to be the first to hear the shutter’s snap.
I would also take time to remember the items I particularly liked in my furniture catalog. Over time I have collected a lot of stuff. Some of them are really fun and cool, as others are just… there. I would lay out my favorite items and take photos as mementos.
That’s what I would do with my avatars and possessions in Home. For my friends, though, I have a totally different idea.
I would look at my list and contact each and every person to see who wanted to continue contact after the close of Home, giving those who accept contact information and asking for their information in return, so we could move into a Home-less time together and keep in touch long after Home is a memory.
I realize that we would still have each other as friends on our PSN list, which is outside of Home. But with the loss of Home as a place for gathering and meeting, I think it wouldn’t be long before some of the less dealt-with friends would fall away, and our ties would wither and fade. Our closer friends would stay, but we could no longer enjoy each other’s company though the elements we enjoyed here in Home.
I would take the time to tell the friends on my list what they had meant to me in this grand experience. And I would take the time to contact friends long gone from my list and tell them that their impact on my life would never be forgotten, even if things had ended badly. Home has been more to me than some interactive social game, and I can think of people that I would truly miss if Home was gone and I failed to get contact information, though I already have a lot of my friends’ information and can contact them now. I would want to assure those people that their impact in my life was felt, and their absence would be, too.
I am a quiet man, so I probably would not go out with a bang. I would go to a few of the public get-togethers that I’m certain would happen. I can already think of the people that I would most likely be with at any party. I too would send out an invite, and everyone who came would be welcomed to spend their last moments here in Home with me, simply watching the sun on a beach front property, waiting for the black screen to say we were disconnected. In those last agonizing moments, as we all hold a collective breath, I would stand side by side with a gal that is special, and we would wait for the server to close, and a new chapter of my life and the life of my friends to open.
I can say of myself, that if Home closed on this date, I would be sad, as a valuable chapter of my life would have closed with it. But I feel that in the end, I will be all the wealthier and happier for having known those who enriched my life, as the sun set on my virtual world and the friends who shared it.
Though Home would be gone, I know that the amazing friends I made here will last forever. We would meet again, maybe on Facebook or an alternate Virtual Home-esque site. And it wouldn’t be the same, except that the warmth of the old friends would wrap us like cocoons in the comfort of our familiarity.
Home may indeed end one day, but the friendships we have forged and the lives we have touched, those connections will be eternal. That’s one party I don’t mind being the last at, to shut off the lights.