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My darling wife was volunteering at the world-famous Ponoka Stampede (props to my cowboy homies). She saw a kid playing some cool games and asked what they were. “It’s Roblox!”, I imagine the child said. “Your husband should check it out and write about it on MakeUseOf.com. His article will go straight to the front page of Digg and be Twittered near and far.” Did I mention I imagined that he said this? The sky is purple in my world.

In any event, I did check out Roblox. Not only is it fun, it has some great features. It’s a cool, free virtual world for kids where you get to create your own character, much as you would for SecondLife 3 Free Online Virtual Worlds 3 Free Online Virtual Worlds Read More or any number of other virtual world games.

In this one, the characters are blocky, and reminiscent of those little yellow Lego fellows. It’s kind of like Sims, where you get to build your own buildings and towns. Sort of like Webkinz in that you can earn points (known as tickets or Robux in Robloxian) so that you can do different things like buy user-created online goods for your Roblox character.

What really sets it apart is that kids playing on Roblox can create their own games and put them out there for the world to use.

Parent’s – take note of this site. Here are some of the uber cool tools you can use to keep your wee ones safe:

  • All in-game chat is filtered for coarse language. As the parent, you can control whether they can chat or use something called menu chat. It’s a list of pre-written questions and responses. The kid’s just choose them and that’s all the communication they are allowed.
  • You can control something called SuperSafe Privacy mode for the kids too. What that does is block ALL text fields from accepting any input. So your precious one cannot put any personal information out there.
  • As the parent, you login for them using your email account. That keeps you in control of their playing time AND adds another layer of security from weirdos.
  • Most importantly, Roblox has a team of paid and volunteer monitors who pore over all chat logs and forum discussions. There is zero tolerance for course or violent language.
  • The Roblox team provides tips for online security and recommends other resources to help you have a fun, safe time online.

As a Dad, I’m very pleased to see this. But as a grown-up kid, I want the games! There are a lot of games on this site, many of them user-built. As a result, some of them are not so good and some are way cool. Area 51 was pretty cool but I’m not sure exactly what the objective of it was. I found a flying saucer and got in it, but I couldn’t go anywhere. Then,I got infected with some sort of alien virus and that’s how you die, I guess. You don’t really die, you just regenerate.

me_at_area_511

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The Roblox-created game, Crossroads, was really fun, too! It’s a good starting ground to learn how to use your tools (which are really weapons) with a bunch of other players. Some of them hang out there regularly and talk to each other and team up. That was so much fun, my wonderful one had to tell me to get back to writing. I wish she wouldn’t use the cattle prod, though.

Sure, the game play seems juvenile, but guess what? It’s supposed to be. The point is that this is an online gaming community that the kids themselves can create. They can do that through the Roblox Studio. It strongly resembles the Visual Basic Studio and allows you to design your own spaces and games. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly intuitive to me, but they do have great documentation over at the Roblox Wiki.

To really get the full effect of building your own games and items in Roblox, you would need a Builder’s Club account, which does cost. Maybe give your kids a couple months of using the site in general, before commiting to that.

With the ability to build games, sell items that they make and interact with other games, kids are learning priciples of programming, design, marketing, business and Math skills. I fail to see the downside to Roblox.

Are you a Robloxian? Or maybe your kids are? What do you like best or least about Roblox? Is this your first time hearing of Roblox and you want to thank me with gratuitous praise? Are you aware of any other free virtual world for kids? Well, my fellow Robloxians, that’s what the comments below are for.

  1. jeffrey
    February 7, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    it is fun

    • Guy
      February 8, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Jeffrey,

      I'm glad that you like it. Have fun!

  2. Johhny
    January 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    My kids love roblox they always build great stuff my sone account name is XxDesertXx

  3. legomaniac
    November 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Guy - great article - you should probably use the term "brick-based" in your title, because ROBLOX has nothing to do with lego, as noted in the article and on the ROBLOX home page. Also, lego shouldn't be used as a generic term for "brick" given that there are about 20 different manufacturers of lego compatible interlocking bricks.

    • Guy McDowell
      November 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

      To be revealingly honest, I am horrible with coming up with titles for my articles. So, I do my best and then the editor(s) write one that is usually WAY better. Thank goodness for editors! So I can't take credit for this title. However, I see what the intent was. A title like this helps people find games that are Lego-like. If they used brick-based, they would probably just attract a lot of brick layers and not kids who live interlocking plastic bricks. Lego has become generic, much as in the same way Kleenex means tissue, Band Aid means adhesive bandage and Guy McDowell means way-cool dude who writes for MUO. ;)

  4. askic
    October 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    and if you looked then you would find it has nothing to do with lego

  5. askic
    October 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Err...
    whoever wrote that report then your mainly wrong...
    The idea of area 51 was just a good fun place to hang out with loads of friends

    -and do you want your character to actually die when you have bought and created all that fun stuff.

    Would you like your childs character to die and encourage violence?

    - of course your character would regenerate.
    And if some games are not so good, then they have obviously just joined roblox.
    But I agree roblox dosent really have any downsides.

    • Guy McDowell
      November 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      I wasn't giving negative criticism. I rather liked Area 51, but was wondering if there is a way to 'win' at that level. I think you may read something into my comments that just wasn't there.

  6. Tyro76
    October 25, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    It us almost as good as SOVIET RUSSIA :3

    • askic
      October 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

      thats a lie...

  7. betaw100
    October 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    im a roblox vet i love roblox i think every one should join if they can

  8. CEREALMAN002
    August 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    ROBLOX lost it's COPPA badge

    • Guy McDowell
      August 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm

      That's a bummer. Any idea why?

      • Tyro76
        October 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

        Well ROBOLX still has it! they just want to show off their TRUSTe badge :P

  9. Quinn1234
    August 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Roblox is a great game for kid's for 13 years or older. Well you can join up lower but Roblox Community is falling and we great ROBLOXian's are saving Roblox and bringing it up. I have been on Roblox for 10 Month's.

  10. nothing
    August 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    i whit play roblox i have 999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 tickkets i have 6 years on roblox i have cool places and more............

    • j
      September 12, 2009 at 8:17 am

      how u get that amount

  11. Outrider5432
    August 8, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Roblox is awesome.

  12. arceus25
    August 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Iv'e made some of the best map's on ROBLOX,not only does It pay off In money,It pay's off in being able to play It yourself.

  13. Mancon123
    August 1, 2009 at 1:23 am

    I am a roblox user and it is my favorite game ever! I am learning hoe to script an help run a roblox fan site. You should check it out at: ronewspress.com

    • nickster
      December 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      really me too because iam a roblox fan my user account is vace999

  14. Aibek
    July 3, 2009 at 5:27 am

    The site been online since Jan 29, 2004

    http://www.whois.net/whois/roblox.com

  15. Paul Wright
    June 29, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I'd like to hear more from parents of users. How long has this been around?

  16. Jen
    June 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    My son LOVES creating new worlds on Roblox. I like that he is learning basic programming skills and gaining an understanding of how online interaction can occur... in a relatively "safe" environment. Thanks for sharing your experience too!

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