Virtual Memorials, 2019
IMVU is an online social metaverse that is made up of thousands of user-created 3D models and chat rooms (like secondlife). Its users have been creating 3D clothes, chatrooms, accessories, furniture, food, etc since 2004 and now it has the largest library of 3D models online. At its peak in 2012, IMVU had over 100 million members, a solid percentage of who were making 3D goods. IRL trends and products have always been remade 1:1 in the metaverse so there is a massive virtual archive of almost everything that’s been culturally relevant since 2004, as well as tons of hyper specific, personalized items.
In 2019, I spent days searching random first names on IMVU looking for customized profile/personal blog type chat rooms and objects. This lead me to accidentally find dozens of virtual memorials. I am not sure what these are or what they mean. Within the app, there is this culture of suburban family role-play where users split off into couples and families and designate familial roles to each other. There are virtual weddings, ultrasound clinics, hospitals, pre-schools, family restaurants, baby avatars, and even pregnancy morphs. I have spent a huge amount of time on the app and I have not seen virtual death be apart of the role-play, but I can’t definitively rule it out.
Mostly, the memorial rooms are dedicated to specific individuals, some are dedicated to specific role-play groups, and some are general cemetery rooms who accept anyone. People can gift 3D models to the room admins and request that they add the models to the rooms. To keep a chat room up the admin (user who originally made it) must be an IMVU VIP member and continue to pay $10/month, which means many have been lost.
If you decide to look for yourself, please be respectful and leave the admins alone. :•)
PS - You can zoom pretty far into this PDF