When I was teleported by Mr. Rust to Hard Alley for the interview, he was in the middle of a pre-4th party with several avatars dancing in the club. While many were getting naked and being generally playful, I opted to keep my (fairly conservative) dress in place and settled on just dancing. As Mr. Rust and I danced and talked, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the general attitude of family that he projected onto the sim and its citizens. I suppose after you have had some place like Hard Alley for as long as he has, it becomes home.
October Poe: First of all, Hard Alley is said to be the first sim of it's kind (hard-core sex) in Second Life. How long has Hard Alley been active?
Hard Rust: Hard Alley will celebrate its 7th Anniversary on July 26. We weren't the first hard core sex sim, but I believe we were the first grungy, urban RP Sex sim.
October Poe: Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification. So why did you create Hard Alley?
Hard Rust: I had joined a group called "Forced Fantasy" and found that they had no place to play. So I turned my small 10x30m skybox into an "alleyway" thinking that would be a great place to roleplay a forced sex scene. I opened it up to the public and thought maybe 4-5 people might use it during the week. It turned out to be much more popular than I imagined. Oddly enough, the Forced Fantasy group did not want anything to do with it.
October Poe: Go figure!I remember many moons ago, I found myself in Hard Alley when it was tiny. Spent a lot of time sitting on top of a dumpster.
Hard Rust: We had a lot of people sitting on our dumpsters. A lot of them went on to start their own sites, like Crack Den, Midian City, City of Lost Angels, and Dark Alley.
October Poe: Really? Did you work with any of the sim owners/creators when they were setting things up in their own sim?
Hard Rust: A little bit. I actually donated the first flaming trash barrels to Crack Den. Hard Alley was more inspiration than direct involvement.
October Poe: It's grown quite a lot from a skybox. It seems to take up a whole sim. Do you think that it has stayed with the atmosphere and vision you have for it?
Hard Rust: Absolutely. I started Hard Alley with one goal in mind: To give people a place where they can have fun and enjoy their fantasies their way. Hard Alley may be bigger, but our core values remain the same.
October Poe: And what are your core values, specifically? I don't necessarily mean YOURS, but the values of the sim.
[19:53] Hard Rust: It is my firm belief that everyone should be free to play Second Life in their own way, and I refuse to try to force anyone to do things my way. I won't burden people with a lot of rules and restrictions about the types of roleplay they can have here, other than under-age play of any kind being prohibited. I don't require people to wear certain tags or meters. I don't force them to fill out detailed applications before I grant them access. I leave it up to them to create their own fantasy and live it, and all I provide is the support mechanism: the sim, groups, tags, etc. that are available if they want them. I know some people want a more rigid RP environment, but there are tons of sims out there for that. Hard Alley remains free and open.
October Poe: That's something that I noticed hasn't changed from when it opened. Do you have a pretty loyal group that has been coming here for a while?
Hard Rust: Yes. There are a lot of people that have been here from the beginning. This is not just an RP sim for a lot of people. For most of us, it's home. I like to joke that Hard Alley is the friendliest rape sim in SL. Everyone is welcome here. Furries. Demons. Straight. Gay. Whatever your kink is, other than the aforementioned under-age play, you are welcome to live it out here.
October Poe: "Friendliest rape sim in SL". That should be in big letters at the TP point.
Hard Rust: LOL! Maybe I'll add that.
October Poe: There are lots of people that indulge in what I like to call "happy-spanky" BDSM. If they were to come into Hard Alley, what would you want them to know?
Hard Rust: I'd need to know what "happy-spanky" BDSM is first, lol. But I'd probably tell them the same thing I tell everyone. "Welcome to Hard Alley. Have Fun!" And then I'd push them down a manhole into the sewers and wait for the screams.
October Poe: Nice! One last question: are you going to have an anniversary party for Hard Alley and can I be on the guest list?
Hard Rust: Absolutely! One thing we never miss around here is a chance to party, and our Anniversary parties are some of our biggest. You really don't want to miss the annual Hard Alley Halloween party in the cemetery. Everyone is invited. There will be nakedness and debauchery and I'll be giving out prizes and gifts like candy.
October Poe: Hehe, thank you! Do you have a website?
Hard Rust: Yes. www.hardalley.com, although it hasn't been updated in a while because I suck at web site management. I also have a blog at hardrust.blogspot.com where we've recently posted a series on Introduction to Roleplay for new players, and a Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/hardalley where I post pics and event notices. I also have a page at www.naughtymachinima.com/users/Hard_Rust/videos/public where all my porn movies are available. I do Twitter and Facebook, too, because I'm a fucking social butterfly. LOL!
October Poe: Well, is there anything you want to add in closing?
Hard Rust: Just that I'd like to thank all the people that have been part of Hard Alley over the years, for the support they've given me and the good times we've had. If it wasn't for the people that come here to play, Hard Alley would be nothing more than a bunch of grungy prims. It's the people that have made this a fun and enduring part of Second Life.
Many, many thanks to Hard Rust for the interview. Be sure to look for the announcement for the 7th anniversary of Hard Alley on July 26th, 2013.