To Quit Habboon.Pw: Finding One's Feet in Habbo
Updated: May 13, 2020
(One of the first quality rooms I found on Habbo. While it is very small, I liked that the space was so thoughtfully used, and that it created the sensation of seeing a snippet of a much larger part of Japan. I screencapped it 11/5/2020. You can see it here: https://www.habbo.com/room/75661124. )
~-0_ Why I Left _0-~ Regular readers of my blog will know that for much of the Covid-19 lockdown I have been spending a great deal of time on Habboon.Pw. I mention in other posts that I didn't know it was a copy of Habbo; that I thought Habbo was dead and Habboon was what had taken it's place. I've since learned, after having looked at the Habbo website, that not only is Habboon an unauthorised copy of Habbo, but also an illegal copy which Habbo does not approve of at all. So, I soon made the decision that I would put up sticky notes enabling my Habboon friends to find me elsewhere if they wanted to. Walking through each of the rooms I had so carefully built and loved knowing I would never visit them again was hard. But I still had my recordings of all of them to look at when I miss them. Then I decided I would switch to Habbo itself.
~-0_ Post-Exit Backlash _0-~ I had expected that the friends I made in Habboon would be more accepting of my decision. Oh, how wrong I was. The closest friend I had made there began to make a series of attacks and false accusations about me. They began to tell me a false history of how I had met them and how long I had been on Habboon. Then they began to claim that I was listed on some sort of Pedophile watch list. I knew this was preposterous, since I had never even thought of doing such vile things. And it was only through some of the other users in Habboon that I learned sexual activities happened there at all. When I looked up what the ex-friend was referring to, I found a Twitter account. Rather than being used to simply identify sex predators, it was being used to out anyone who other Habboon users disliked or felt were behaving inappropriately. I checked it carefully for any mention of me and found nothing. But seeing the Twitter account was enough to make me realise how dangerous it is to play an illegal copy of a game. It takes some amount of ruthlessness to keep playing a game even after you know it is illegal. Ruthless people will attack each other ruthlessly.
Since I never kept my true identity or my business a secret as I played Habboon, I am concerned that the ex-friend may interfere with my life in the real world. I have retained evidence of my innocence so that if he does attempt this I can exonerate myself very easily. My warning to all people using any online chat is that if someone begins to flirt with you, even in friendly jest, it is very wise to screenshot their behaviour so that they can't later claim that you were sexually harassing them the entire time you knew them. So far, none of the other friends I made there have attempted to contact me.
(A screenshot I took of the Habbo "Change Your Looks" menu, taken 11/5/2020. The menus and interface on Habboon and Habbo look more or less identical. But since I haven't bought Habbo Club, my options are very limited, to the point where I struggle to identify with my avatar. All I'd need is maybe one hairdo and one pair of shoes to feel good enough about it. But Habbo doesn't give you the freedom to simply buy ad-hoc like that, the way you could on IMVU. On Habbo, you must buy a subscription or you get no access to additional options.) ~-0_ Moving to Habbo _0-~
Upon moving to Habbo, my old frustrations with their service quickly returned. How ugly most of the free dress options are. The fact that you have to pay to access any of the better options. Much like Habboon, Habbo also includes advertising, but these will take up your entire screen while a room loads, rather than a bar which could cover a large part of your screen mid-chat. I soon noticed that the quality of the graphics seems to be higher on Habbo. The same old problem of having to dig through many lackluster rooms to find anything good is something both Habbo and Habboon have in common. The fact that you need a subscription to access most of the clothing in the Shop means that "Cossie Change" contests are far less common, and where they exist, less creative and exciting to watch or participate in. But on Habbo, when you do find a good room, the quality is usually better. There is a better range of products to use, though many are identical to Habboon. Even those that are identical sometimes contain a broader range of functions. But special items are much harder to access. For example, it is now impossible to buy the Music Box from the Charles Dickens Christmas collection on Habbo unless someone else is selling it in the market. But the Habbo version of the box actually plays an orgel version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The Habboon version is silent.
~-0_ Builders Club _0-~ My Habbo membership came with a free Builders Club trial subscription. But since Habbo doesn't allow you to buy credits independent of a membership, I'm unable to use it in any meaningful way. The console refuses to tell me when my Builders Club membership ends, and a one month Habbo Club membership only comes with 50 credits. When you consider that one item can cost 1-3 credits and that they have removed the options of using splash flooring and wallpapers to decorate rooms, meaning you would have to always buy individual floor tiles and wall panels to decorate your rooms, 50 credits is very stifling. However, Habbo mentions that Habbo Club members get free credits and credits back every month, so perhaps this could still be worth it. Wanting to buy just one month to see whether or not it would be worth it to keep going, I clicked the "HC" symbol in the right-upper-corner menu in my screen. It showed me ways of accessing a Habbo Club membership. But then told me I didn't have the credits needed to buy it. I was told I'd be shown ways of buying credits so that I could buy the membership. But then no options showed on my screen. I had to run an independent Google search to find that Habbo credits and memberships had to be bought on an entirely separate page. The prices, while less than thrilling, seem to suggest that for around $20 Australian I had the potential to create an excellent room for myself and a relatively good wardrobe. But then, that only works out to be good value for someone if they intend to return to Habbo many times in the course of their life. Will I still see services like Habbo as being essential to my mental health once Covid-19 quarantine is over? Probably not. There are also lingering questions of whether or not services like Habbo will continue to run after Macromedia Shockwave Flash shuts down in December, 2020. It would be a shame to invest money and effort into a beautifully crafted room only to lose it all in the blink of an eye. So I will wait and see. Habbo claims that they will create their own replacement, but I don't know about the efficacy of such a concept. I also have questions about age. My disgruntled ex-friend implied that people will assume that anyone over 25 playing Habboon is probably a sex predator. However, these were the words of someone with questionable mental stability, so I'm not sure how seriously to take them. It must be said that I was actually very surprised to learn that so many of the users were young. I was expecting the vast majority of players to be like myself; people who had played the game in their youth, when Habbo was still a new concept, and then returned mostly because of Covid-19. While I haven't been able to find any recent statistics on the average age of Habbo players, sources indicate that the vast majority are probably teenagers. I'm uncertain of whether this is a reason to leave or stay. I was open about my age with the other players in Habboon, and for the most part I found they were very accepting and didn't exclude me from "Cossie Change" dress-up games. In fact, some were very kind and supportive. But then, I was very open about my true identity and didn't sexually harass the other players. When other players asked me about my sexual experiences, I told them truthfully about both my current abstinence and my previous experiences. I even allowed other players to see my business websites, which contain photos of me, and I look young and attractive for my age. The managers of Habboon saw my photos and even flirted with me a little when I first joined. Were I an overweight, balding, middle-aged man who hid his identity and attempted to seduce younger players, I somehow doubt the reception would have been so positive. If I do choose to stay, it does mean leaving myself vulnerable to potential accusations about my intent. But then, if enough older users choose to stay and use Habbo, the culture may change much as it did on Facebook. The demographics of online platforms naturally evolve over time as internet usage becomes increasingly commonplace. So, I am torn on whether to stay or leave, and I am currently leaning towards seeking other options where age ranges are either less relevant, or more generalized.
~-0_ Finding The Good Rooms _0-~ While it will cost you credits to build the room of your dreams, it costs nothing to visit unlocked rooms on Habbo. Meaning that if you are feeling trapped and stir-crazy, Habbo still has a lot to offer you for free. As I mention earlier, sifting through the empty or poor quality rooms to get to the good ones on Habbo is somewhat tedious and time consuming. But it is easily done if you're willing to invest the time. In the name of making life easier for other people who want to join Habbo, particularly after leaving Habboon, here is a list of better rooms that don't typically appear on the front page. To find out more details and see who made them, you can visit them through the links I leave and click the arrow on the lower-left to get more details to show. Note that when the rooms are loading, it can look as though you've been kicked out of the Habbo Hotel for a few seconds. Not all rooms on Habbo are Japan themed. They just tend to be the ones I look for since I like being able to re-experience my Japan trips by looking at them.
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/76863650 ) This room is meant to represent part of Kyoto. I felt the layout was a little bit chaotic, but I love that one side of it is made to look like a konbini and a supermarket, complete with a trolley you can sit inside. It also has my favorite croissant stall, so I can pick one up and eat it as I wander around.
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/73973896 ) This is another small yet wonderfully planned room. It's a good example of commonly used items being used in an uncommon, thoughtful way. The jade dragon sitting atop everything else adds to the sense of being within an alternate reality, and yet entirely divorced from reality itself. Would be a good place to sit and regroup with a few friends. Or to just have a quiet time of individual reflection. clubbeachshopffcc
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/70018252 )
One of the things I've missed the most since being under quarantine is the ability to visit fancy malls. So, I decided to locate one in Habbo. And this one is really good! Not only can you pretend to be a shopper here, but you can also role play as a shop keeper in a sports store, staff in a restaurant, a hairdresser or even an actor in a movie at the cineplex. The room even contains mannequins wearing outfits you can double-click to put on for free!
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/61996038 )
I thought further about activities people are unable to perform under Covid-19 and realised that people might be missing a visit to the zoo. But why settle for a normal zoo, when you could go to a mythological one? Not only can you see various animals, both real and supernatural who would speak to you, there are impressive details. Like the way the dragon enclosure is decorated with burnt trees. Or the way one of the teleporters looks like the human-eating plant from Petshop of horrors, or the way following the teleporter can take you to other impressive rooms. However, I will admit to feeling a little bit bewildered by the presence of gnomes as some of the exhibits. And in the stable of unicorns and pegasuses, you should in theory be able to ride two of them. But they often complain of being too hungry to do it. I discovered that I was able to buy pet food with the free "duckets" currency that comes with Habbo. But even then I was unable to place the food in the room since I didn't own it. Then I remembered that they aren't real animals, and if I feel sad for them I'm getting way too into the game. Japanese
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/76155022 ) I didn't go out looking for a room for cat lovers. But I found one. In this room seems to be cats of various ages, who seem to have the ability to reproduce given that there is a special breeding box in the middle of their bedding area. These cats are able to speak and very playful, even looking for, and finding, each other. Curiously, and even though they don't seem to have been created for the purpose, the cats are able to drink from the various bodies of water around the room. There is a teleporter on the other side. But it goes nowhere. Still, a great room if you want to replicate the cat cafe experience.
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=11290940 ) Looking for somewhere simple yet sophisticated to take that special someone under Covid-19? I recommend japanese, a simple Japanese restaurant style room, tastefully decorated with a hibachi in the middle so you can pretend to dine together. Small, yet very effective.
F U R N I . S H O P !!
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/room/7023372 )
If you're missing a wander around Ikea or Harvey Norman, and what you miss isn't the smell of processed pine or the taste of meatballs, this is the room for you. It is littered with spare pieces of furniture by the owner, possibly to store spares he or she doesn't want to keep in their menu. So they've rather creatively used to to create a faux furniture store. For added realism, bring someone else with you and argue relentlessly about which colour of chair to buy together. Jagiya Sushi
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=68796091 )
Are you looking for a bigger, busier, more atmospheric sushi experience? Jagiya Sushi is the place to go. I loved the detail of the decorative alcove in the right corner, as well as the display of a lucky cat and a daruma doll in the front lobby. With codes, you can also enter or exit the sushi counter, meaning you can pretend to work there. I don't know why the whole room has a blue caste to it, but it may be an attempt to create an atmosphere similar to the theme restaurants you can find in Tokyo. Or it may be because you access this room via an underwater room where you ride a turtle, similar to Urashima Taro. Only, in this version of the story, you don't go to see the Sea King. You get to eat his subjects. You can see the other room here.
Osaka Kareoke Bar
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=490955 )
This room looks very bland. But I think that is partly why I like it. It isn't made to look like a flashy or extravagant karaoke bar. It really looks like a cheap simple one someone's dad might go to after a day at the office. What makes the room a powerful depiction of that world is the smaller details. The beige padding on the bar. The stack of presumably empty cans on the edge of one table, rather than evenly distributed at every table. Someone thought about this room carefully. And just when you thought that's all there is to it, the seemingly innocent broom closet in the back is a portal to other rooms. Really, a great place to get that sensation of escape. Mermaid's Trench
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=76619940 )
If you miss going to the beach, or going diving in particular, try Mermaid's Trench. While the room where you can ride the turtle is fun, it is so dark that it's hard to see where you're going or what you're doing. So, Mermaid's Trench is a little more fun for a wander, or a role play. ho ho ho
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=33090911)
I certainly hope that Covid-19 will be a thing of the past by Christmas time. But if it isn't, there is a place where you could meet with friends and family. This room comes with falling snow, a ride-able horse wearing a reindeer hat, and music that is on theme with the style of the room. If you don't like the music, you can mute your browser tab. The little lady elf beside the sofa appears to giggle at you, soundlessly.
(Screen capped 11/05/2020. https://www.habbo.com/hotel?room=33090911)
I happened to enter this room just as the creator was in there. While it isn't the most expansive or complex garden room on Habbo, it is my favourite. The curtains move as though blown by a gentle breeze. And I learned here another way Habbo differs from Habboon; When you get into a hot tub in Habbo, your character actually sits down and floats in the water. The added touch of the burning flames, the elegant, functional tea dispenser and the little tent come together to make this the perfect room to do some beautiful faux virtual glamping. ~-0_ In Summation _0-~ So, these are the best rooms I've found on Habbo so far. Given time, I'll likely find more and I may come back to add them. But all in all, I'd say that there are many ways a person can get away for a while via Habbo. If you're worried about people excluding you due to your age or anything else, just avoid talking to anyone you don't already know from the real world. There's still plenty to see and do. Edit: I've since learned that Habbo really is meant for teens. They should say that at sign up and restrict people over 18 from entering. Good thing I didn't make any purchases.