ROBLOX is described as an online virtual world and workshop, entirely created by the community of users with digital building ‘blox’ (not to be confused with Legos, which are not affiliated). It’s a site designed for kids but there are plenty of adults who get a kick out of making great stuff with blox and sharing their creations with others.
There are nearly limitless worlds to explore and play in, and of course you always have the option to build something of your very own.
When I was a kid, those little plastic building blocks were my favorite toy. Better than anything else because they allowed me to build and play with anything I could imagine, those blocks provided me with more hours of educational and inspirational fun than any other toy, so they hold a special place in my memories.
I was, therefore, quite excited when I took a look at this thing called ROBLOX. Difficult to define at first, ROBLOX is, essentially, a world of digital building blocks, called ‘blox’ just like those ones we played with as kids, but virtual. The speed of cleanup after playing notwithstanding, there are several advantages to the digital ones versus the real life ones, but the real attraction of ROBLOX is the community they have built up, and they’re still technically in Beta stage!
When I first started looking at ROBLOX, not only did I find it difficult to get a clear notion of what ROBLOX actually is but I also had a tough time figuring out how to use it. You see, ROBLOX allows you to create your own worlds (or games based in those worlds) and then share them online with whomever wants to pop in and look around. This means each ‘world’ or ‘location’ has its own web page that has a “PLAY” button on it, which will dump you right into the world, with little or no instruction on how to do anything. The gamer in me automatically began experimenting with WASD keys and mouse movements and I quickly got the hang of moving around and some other basic actions like jumping but I was still at a loss about how to interact with anything or anyone in the 3D play land. This was eventually rectified by looking at the menu marked, “Instructions” and a good thing too, because I don’t think I would have figured it out on my own.
The deep end diving tutorial style and steep learning curve was really the only major downside I found for ROBLOX, however, and one hopes that the tutorial process will be enhanced as updates to the program are released. Once you learn what you’re doing, though, it’s a blast running around in a pirate ship or a blue lagoon or a space ship that someone else created. It’s just as much fun to create your own worlds and games within them, and share them with the friends you’re bound to make when you start hanging around the different worlds. As with any 3D chat program, you’ll find a wide mix of ages, creeds, etc. in the ROBLOX worlds so you’re almost certain to find someone you get along with. That begins your circle of contacts and friends and can be connected with Facebook as well. The community of creators, players, and developers for ROBLOX is highly dedicated to making it one of the best programs of its type and I would say they are well on the way.
ROBLOX costs nothing to play as a guest in any of the worlds available, or you can create a free profile and your own character. If you go as a guest, you’ll be forced to use a generic, bilboarding avatar that is either male or female. Since it costs nothing to register an account, it is worth it to do so just so you can customize your avatar, if nothing else. It is required to have an account if you want to post your own creations, as well. Like many other programs of this general type, ROBLOX does offer some premium features and functions to those who want to invest real world cash in their ROBLOX account, but these are not required in any way to enjoy everything the worlds of ROBLOX have to offer. At the front page of the website, you’ll find a listing of the different available realms you can visit. I suggest jumping into one or two of these as a guest, first, to see how your computer handles the program’s graphics, as well as get a feel for the controls and learn how to interact with blox before deciding to register an account and download the core program. There is literally so much to explore that you could never see it all, so take your time and don’t rush.
The premium accounts are called Builders Club accounts and while they are cheap, they are not freeware so I won’t be reviewing them here. Rest assured, however, that it’s not necessary to have a Builders Club card to enjoy ROBLOX. They say it’s designed for kids of 8-18 but it is open to kids of all ages. That makes good sense to me, because the kid in me was very happy to discover this new way to play with my favorite toy from my childhood.
They are also very committed to making sure that parents feel ROBLOX is a safe way for kids it explore and interact online. Their website has a whole section devoted just to parents of ROBLOX kids and has a very handy FAQ here.
Until next time, my friends!
[Thanks go to user Panzer for tipping us off about this one].
Get into ROBLOX here