1. (of a character in a video game) reappear after having been killed. "if someone dies—and they probably will—they simply respawn"
While searching through user submitted ragdoll models in the video game Garry’s Mod I discovered a plethora of extinct animals. I decided to begin respawning these extinct animals in this virtual world to check in on them post existence. The animals I chose have a commonality with all the current threatened species of Earth, in that humans are listed as one of the main factors in their population decline. This exacerbated their extinction.
Hunting large Megafauna for food, encroaching into formerly pristine habitats and making them suited for people, competing with large predators for resources and killing them for our protection. It’s a chain reaction that followed humans out of Africa and only continued to get worse after Agriculture was invented.
This was my chance to bring back the dead and to rid myself of the anxiety of bearing witness to a mass extinction event. Their forms can live on in my virtual sandbox, maybe extinction isn’t the end? Maybe tech and the virtual are the solution?
Unfortunately these animals lack the ability to stand on their own, have any thoughts or feelings, they can’t eat or reproduce, they lack everything but shape, color, and texture. Ragdolls by definition lack skeletons which is some level of ironic as skeletal remains are all we physically have left of these organisms modeled in 3D.
I try to help the animals come alive again yet as you will see I have failed. I can not bring back the dead. My anxiety and dread deepen as I think about the studies I’ve read that indicate by the year 2100 we will likely lose 1 in every 4 species on the planet.
The only silver lining for those species is that I have infinite room in my virtual sandbox… all are welcome to flop around lifelessly in their virtual purgatory. The organisms were never left alone by humans, not in life, not in death, not in post-extinction.