Webosaurs is a social media massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released in October 2009 by Reel FX Entertainment. It started out as a free beta testing site until all the scheduling issues were fixed. The site is aimed at children 5 to 12 years old. Dinosaurs have always been popular with children. With the rise in popularity of virtual worlds, it was only a matter of time before a company took over the dinosaur theme and created a virtual world around it. The dinosaurs that children choose as their avatars are cartoon dinosaurs that roam an island landscape.
Children can explore the website for free; however, this limits the activity they can do. Paid memberships start at $ 5.94 per month. A 6-month membership costs $ 29.94 and a 12-month membership costs $ 49.94. A paid membership allows players to enjoy all the features of the world, including games, activities, adventures, and chat. Parents should know that for the game to work properly, several technical requirements must be met. The computer must have Adobe Flash Player 10; Internet Explorer 7; 1 GB of RAM; and a connection speed of at least 512 Kbps.
Once kids become members of Webosaurs, they choose a dinosaur as their avatar to be their online personality. Players then choose a home for their dinosaur (known as a cave) and can modify it however they see fit. Members can also adopt or purchase virtual pets. Pets that are not cared for do not die, they run away. The currency of the webosaurs is simply called “coins”. Players earn this coin by successfully playing online games and answering quizzes. The ‘coins’ buy everything from cave items, clothing, food, armor, and pet supplies. Armor is the most sought after item on Webosaurs because it protects avatars when they participate in battle. The different levels of armor must be purchased in this sequence: Leather, Wood, Bone, Steel, Molten, and Gold. Dinosaurs need armor because most games are action oriented. A dinosaur is better protected to win a game if it has the most advanced armor. Members can also chat about their dinosaurs with other players in a chat room.
What is good
The Webosaurs graphics are very well done. When animating or creating dinosaurs, the tendency is to make them look too cute or too scary. The website has found a good balance between the two extremes. Webosaurs will primarily appeal to children ages 8-12. The website knows who its audience is and has created a virtual world that surrounds that demographic. There are no adult themes in the virtual world or on the website. Drinking, smoking, drug use, sex, and offensive language are not allowed. Moderators monitoring chat rooms and games are plentiful. If something inappropriate is said or done, the offending player is silenced or ultimately sent off.
Webosaurs has an interesting educational component. On the homepage, members can view short clips about animals and nature called Webosaurs Shorts that are hosted by Nigel Marven, a wildlife expert and host of the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Park. The website didn’t have to do this, so they are trying to incorporate some kind of educational component into a primarily gaming-focused website.
What is bad
Violence can be a problem for some parents. Although no blood or gore is spilled, parents should know that Webosaurs is an action-oriented online game in which players take the form of aggressive dinosaurs. Recently, the website has undergone an update that includes the addition of an antagonist named Spike who threatens to take over the island. Also, there are new monster battle games in which players fight an evil monster named Okvango. Players use weapons to defeat these monsters. It seems that as Webosaurs evolves, it becomes more aggressive, with more threatening antagonists. These recent changes may concern parents.
Although the website’s biggest assets are online games, like any other virtual world, there is a chat room for players to socialize. There are two chat modes: secure chat (child clicks on default chat message) and open chat (child writes own moderated message). Kids should feel safe and comfortable using Webosaurs because the moderators are always live in chat and games. This is an important aspect of online security that Webosaurs excels at and that other virtual worlds should embrace.