Lately I have been playing a game called ROBLOX. I have been spending maybe 80% or more of my gaming time toying around in various ROBLOX games made by the people of the ROBLOX community. And the real tragedy? I have been having a lot of fun.
So, what is ROBLOX? ROBLOX is a multi-platform game-creation site where community members can create and allow others to play any game they can dream up, and I mean anything. You can build a racing game, a first-person shooter, a strategy game, or anything else. You are not limited the traditional genres either. People have made party games with many different mini-games inside like Ripull Minigames, simulations where you can be a bird like Bird Simulator, and even role-playing/social games like ROBLOX High School or Work at a Pizza Place where you can spend your time outside of school or work attending school or working. And yes, you can even play Hide and Seek.
For the artistic inclined, there is even a subset of “games” called showcases where the only point is for the creator of the showcase to demonstrate their ROBLOX Studio prowess or present proofs of concept for future games.
In most games, you can earn currency to buy items to customize your character such as clothes or pets. You can even have your own personal space in games like a house that you can customize with in-game currency. ROBLOX also has their own site-wide currency called ROBUX that can be used to purchase many things from early access to in-development games to clothes and other character items as well as in-game items or currency.
Introductions out of the way, let’s get into the thick of it!
Primarily, ROBLOX is aimed at a younger audience. Its overall look and feel is something that is designed with children in mind . That said, many of the interactions you have on the site are with the younger crowd. As such, community interactions (chat, player character interactions) can range from nice and quiet to loud and obnoxious. Luckily, there’s a report feature where you can report everything from bullying to cheating and even dating (dating is a reporting option for when players are being asking questions like “wil u b my gf/bf?” — such things aren’t allowed on ROBLOX).
For players under 13 years of age, there is a safe chat option which will prevent most of the unsavory topics from being seen (which are surprisingly few and far between for a platform with such a young audience). Parents can also use a special login to control what their children can see on the site. Content creators must set an appropriate age range when uploading content to the site and parents can limit access based on those age ranges.
Different games also support differing numbers of players. Some games support only 2 players in a server, but others support up to 30.
Overall, the biggest nuisance is other players being trolls. From jumping on your character (you can stand on other characters’ heads) which isn’t so bad, to making snide comments in chat or giving away player positions in games like Hide and Seek. Fortunately, most annoyances can be reported or blocked via the player list in the upper right, and they really are rare overall.
With a platform like ROBLOX, there is no way to quantify the content and story of the platform as a whole. Instead, you must look at each individual game. ROBLOX’s development tools allow you to create all kinds of games for community members. Below are some notable mentions (in no particular order):
- Natural Disaster Survival – Survive as long as you can against a random natural disaster. It could be anything: tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, and more. All you have to do is not die.
- ROBLOX High School – Live life as a student, teacher, or principal in this social RPG. You can even furnish your own house, buy a car, own pets, and more!
- Retail Tycoon – Own your own retail center. You are in charge of everything from building and expanding the store to buying supplies to stock shelves and cleaning up spills. You can even hire workers to take care of most of the jobs for you: janitors, cashiers, stock workers, a security guard, and a manager to keep it all in check. Manage your money well and you’ll be able to expand your store and bring in more customers.
- Hide and Seek Extreme – The simple classic hide-and-seek. Up to 13 people are hiders and one person is ‘it.’ Hiders have a minute to find a hiding place within one of several maps which is randomly selected after each round. Then, ‘it’ has 4 minutes to find them all. You can earn a currency in game for different ‘it’ costumes, pets, and emotes.
- Work at a Pizza Place – You can do several different jobs in this game. You can work a register; make the pizzas; box the pizzas; deliver the pizzas; deliver supplies of pizza ingredients, boxes, and drinks; or even be the manager. With the money you earn working, you can furnish your own home and invite friends over to hang out.
- Ripull Minigames – A collection of many smaller games in one. After each round, a new game mode is voted on by users. These games range from rocket launcher arenas to survival challenges to dodgeball and snowball fights. You earn levels and currency for toys and prizes usable in game.
When it comes to content, ROBLOX is very much a pick-your-poison platform with something for everyone, and new games are being added all the time.
Easily one of the coolest features of the ROBLOX platform is its scalability and multi-platform nature. It is available on Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon devices like the Kindle Fire. On PC, you can choose from either keyboard and mouse controls or use an Xbox 360/Xbox One controller to play the games.
The biggest drawbacks to the controls that I have seen are the inability to remap controls and, on mobile devices, you have limited controls that you can use so a lot of games are unplayable or only partially playable at best.
In-game sounds are controlled by the content creators. The ROBLOX Studio (the program you can create games in) does come with some sound effects and music you can use in your creations, but you are not limited to just those. Creators can easily supply their own music and sounds which, in some games, makes for very silent gaming after you have muted your device’s volume due to questionable SFX or music choices.
There is also a somewhat minor issue with certain sounds broadcasting across the entire map sometimes. In some games, you control your own plot of land and build up your own factory or restaurant (these are called tycoons). In these games, you can often hear the sound of other players earning cash even though they are very far away. Whether or not this is a bug with the game made by the creator or an issue with the ROBLOX Studio itself remains to be seen.
Each game created for ROBLOX is going to have its own learning curve. Some are extremely easy to pick up like Hide and Seek Extreme, but then others have a steep learning curve like Retail Tycoon where a few early mistakes can ruin your business.
It goes without saying that for ROBLOX your experience will vary wildly between games, and while it’s not an MMO by any stretch of the word, it still has that multiplayer feeling that most MMOs provide with social interactions that many MMOs do not. Overall, the best thing to do is look around and find what ROBLOX game suits you best — there is absolutely something for everyone. If, for some reason, you cannot find what you are looking for, you can always make it yourself.