Arik Metzger (ArikTheRed) first appeared in the virtual world of Second Life in April of 2012. On his second day exploring this expansive digital universe, Arik did what many newcomers do, and clicked on the Destinations tab… It was an innocent gesture, but that fateful click opened his mind to terrifying vistas of virtual reality, and upon finding himself in the coastal fishing village of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, he realized he had stumbled upon something eldritch, and not entirely of this virtual world. Innsmouth completely captivated Arik for a variety of reasons, and his Second Life came to be deeply influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. He took up residence in Arkham, one of three renowned, interconnected sims (Arkham, Dunwich, Kingsport) known as the Miskatonic Valley region, all of which were also modeled on cities in Lovecraft’s fiction.
In September of 2012, Arik founded, recruited and coordinated a diverse team of fans, entertainers, sim owners, content creators, and other backers in order to host the first H. P. Lovecraft Festival in Second Life, after which, due to its success, it became an annual event. The tradition of LoveFest has continued to this day, with countless residents looking forward (with trembling tentacles and non-euclidean breath) to attending it every year. While Arik resided in and conducted his Lovecraft-inspired virtual-worldly affairs in the Miskatonic Valley, Innsmouth remained a vital inspiration in his Second Life, as a living, writhing, and oozing testimony to the creative genius of a master of the weird.
As happens all too frequently in the ephemeral landscape of digital life, in August of 2015 Innsmouth’s founding artist/designer Darmin Darkes announced that she would unfortunately no longer be able to maintain Innsmouth, which meant that unless someone stepped up to take on the financial and myriad other responsibilities involved, the Innsmouth that so many had known and loved for so long would disappear into the mists forever. When Arik heard this troubling news, he immediately launched the “Save Innsmouth!” campaign, resulting in over L$850,000 (that’s about $3,400 US) donated by hundreds of Innsmouth fans in order to purchase and maintain the legendary Lovecraft-themed region as a fan-supported community endeavor. Today, Innsmouth still proudly stands (well, slouches really, it’s Innsmouth) thanks to the tireless efforts of Arik and the Innsmouth Preservation Society, and is also host to a lively population of friendly, supportive, and wonderfully eccentric residents.
In his role as Harbor Master, Arik can regularly be found haunting the docks of Innsmouth with his KittyCatS pixel-pet partner “Fuzzbutt” Fardoragh, who himself has become a bit of a cult icon, being the official mascot of LoveFest since 2013, holding the permanent office of Mayor of Innsmouth, and officially recognized by KittyCatS as an Elder God (he is one of the oldest living KittyCatS in Second Life, after all). Fuzzbutt can usually be found accompanying Arik, when he isn’t napping, exploring the town’s sewers in search of adventure and rats, or voyaging in realms beyond mere humans’ ability to comprehend, for we “live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinite, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”