The Virtual Market is a highly popular VRChat event where Japanese anime avatars and accessories are bought and sold, and the hard work of thousands of talented independent content creators is presented.
Virtual Market 4, bigger and better than ever (with dozens of big name real-world corporate sponsors such as Panasonic, Audi, Netflix, 7-Eleven, HP, SEGA, Autodesk, and Ricoh), opened on April 29th, 2020 and closed today. But before they shut down, I had an opportunity to go on a field trip organized by Jin.
Here’s an eight-minute YouTube video that gives a pretty good introduction to what the Virtual Market is all about:
Here’s my current VRChat avatar, which I had created using the Tafi app:
We spent an amazing hour exploring the Nursery Rhyme world, where you leapt into a storybook on a desk in a child’s attic bedroom, and explored a weird and wonderful world filled with pincushion puppies, quarreling pine cone gnomes, and mushroom crabs! It all had a definite Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland feel about it.
After that, we visited another world called World End Utopia, with a postapocalyptic yet somehow still utopian feel to it, overgrown by nature, masterfully designed and created like all the worlds we visited:
Throughout all of these specially-built worlds for Virtual Market 4, there were booths which displayed avatars available for purchase. Most of the signs were in Japanese and a bit of English, so it was not too hard to figure out what was for sale! Most booths let you click on an avatar display to assume a demo version of that avatar, so many of the people in our tour group were changing appearance quite often!
Much merry mayhem ensured as our tour group wandered around several Virtual Market worlds and endlessly tried on sample versions of various avatars for sale! Jin went and bought himself a sofa avatar from one booth, which he promptly wore, and two other avatars could actually sit on it, and be carried around! I just howled with laughter.
Before I left, I was invited to experience a special world built by someone I know well from the RyanSchultz.com Discord, 1029Chris, who had spent two weeks creating an amazing bird sanctuary with animated ducks, who milled about, and responded eagerly when I selected food items from a nearby picnic table to feed them! It was wonderfully done, and I hope to return soon for another visit.
It was such a fun evening, and I want to thank Jin for organizing this tour. Jin actually led not one but two tours: one very late on Friday night, and the one I attended on Saturday. To get a feel for what it was like, here are links to a couple of (unedited) livestreams that Jaredmonkey filmed of the tours:
Friday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/615571376 (3-1/2 hours long!)
Saturday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/616408554 (4 hours long!)
Enjoy! And I very much look forward to Virtual Market 5, which will probably be held sometime in the fall of 2020 (of course, this is exactly the kind of event that is unhindered by a coronavirus pandemic!).
By the way, I blogged about Virtual Market 2 here, and Virtual Market 3 here.