How Roblox Brings Joy To Young People?
You probably know by now that Roblox, which is publicly traded, was founded Wednesday if you are a preteen. This online gaming platform has been a success story since the pandemic. It has seen incredible growth because adults around the world have relaxed screen time restrictions for their kids who are prone to being stir-crazy. Roblox, which was privately valued at $29.5 million in a recent fundraising round is now going public through a direct listing. This alternative to traditional IPOs makes Roblox a Reddit-pumped meme stock.
What is Roblox? Roblox simply means the worst.
It’s a popular gaming platform and is generally considered unobjectionable. However, I feel that Roblox has the worst. This is because I have played it many times with my niece, who is nine years old. She naturally gravitated towards me as the family’s gamer when she discovered Roblox. I have accepted this, not only because I love the child but also in the hope of slowly weaning her onto better games.
Roblox does not provide a video game but is a platform that allows people (view them all) to access a wide range of games created using Roblox’s creator tools. You don’t need a computer in order to access these tools or build your own game. However, Roblox games can be played on smartphones and tablets as well as computers and laptops. The result is that all games have the same visual language, and even the same color palette (similar to Minecraft’s blocky aesthetic but with some rounded edges). Roblox uses an internal currency called Robux that you can purchase with real money. Some games require Robux to buy, but most games can be played for free and include cosmetic or other upgrades that only Robux can purchase.
I have played Roblox a long platformer that has very garish colors and only two moves, jump and run. I have played a game in which you drive a huge hot dog into a large, chomping mouth and slide down a twisty slide to land in the toilet. Then, you teleport back to the top and hop in a giant banana to do it again. I have even dipped into a Roblox genre where you play a bird/dragon/horse/wolf/fish role-playing with other gamers about the life of a bird/dragon/horse/wolf/fish. Before things get heated, it turns into arguments about who gets the baby and whether the parent is too busy or not enough. I don’t mean that I can take more than that, but to really enjoy these games, you must be a child.
All of these games, plus many more, have been extremely ugly, simple, and dumb. Each tried to get me to buy a pet, a costume, or an accessory, or to expand my map area. Many of these games were rip-offs from better ones. The ones I enjoyed the most, like the hot dog/car/mouth/toilet games, were silly jokes that you could laugh at for five minutes and then forget. They were, generously speaking, a great outlet for homebound children who are unable to play pretend with their friends because of the pandemic.
My favorite band, when I was nine years old, was the Monkees. They were a TV ripoff of the Beatles and marketed to children. The repetitive plots in which Davy, the dreamboat, falls inconveniently for the girl of the week and hijinks ensue make me wish that the TV show’s advertising had never failed to work on me. A Monkees song brings a rush of nostalgia and shame to my core. Roblox has become to video games what the Monkees were to the Beatles. Yes, I know that later Monkees work is not without its critics. But, that was not the music I heard as a nine-year-old. Roblox can be described as every video game, only easier, uglier, and worse. These games are packaged together in a marketplace to entice kids. They also advertise to them frequently to get them to spend real cash on ugly upgrades to their ugly environment.
Minecraft is the most similar game to Roblox. Minecraft is a rich, base game that has its own challenges and accomplishments. Minecraft, like Roblox, offers developers the chance to create worlds, adventures, and minigames which they can sell to other players. Minecraft, like Roblox, is a very ugly game. My niece claims she prefers Roblox because Minecraft is all about blocks. She has even managed to get me there. Minecraft has the advantage that all the tools used by developers to create the game are available right in the game. Every child who plays Minecraft can explore, play with, and learn about these tools.
Roblox has taken this, the best thing about Minecraft, and placed a barrier between the developer tools and the customer/player experience. My niece doesn’t know how to build a Roblox gaming experience. She knows nothing about making her own parts-based cellphones. Roblox does not invite her to participate in the creation process. Her only role is to consume. This is the barrier between consumer and creator that I dislike most about Roblox.
There are many different opinions on video games. A person who is passionate about hand-eye coordination and competitive multiplayer games will enjoy a different type of game from someone who values Games as Art.
I believe that Roblox is not a good game. It fails at the level of art, novelty, complexity, creativity, teaching young minds, and being an entry-level portal to gaming. Roblox fails on any other axis than popularity and the possibility of taking children’s allowances. My young niece stares at the screen for hours every day. It makes me wish that her entry into gaming was more beautiful, challenging, less cynical, less exploitative, and more rewarding. Why must she be so obsessed with this schlock when there are other good things in her world? Instead of starting a life of gaming with Mario, or at the very least Fall Guys or Among Us, why not start a life with a more defensible multiplayer craze?
The Monkees are what I remember, and how it hurt when a big boy told me they were terrible. I can remember how I learned to appreciate the Beatles in my own way. Although I wish she could skip Roblox I know she will find the games that inspire her and push her boundaries in her own time. We’ll have to go for one more hot dog slide, and she will chat about the in-app purchases once she has her allowance.