What Are You Looking For?

Discussion in 'Non-Disney Online Games' started by aliceblue, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. aliceblue

    aliceblue DIS Veteran

    Sep 28, 2006
    I've been pondering this for a while: With so many searching for new games after the closing of VMK, how do we each define those elements that "hit the spot" for us? VMK appealed to such a wide variety of player styles, and watching the directions we are breaking off into now makes me appreciate (and miss) the game even more.

    So two questions: What was it that drew you to VMK, and what for you would help to fill at least some of the void?

    In my own case, I never set out looking for a game to play. I simply was curious if anyone had ever made an online representation of the park, and that's exactly what I typed into Google; "virtual Disneyland." The rest is history.

    I was not a gamer, other than a few PC games like Myst and some really old text adventures. Had never done chat of any kind, and seriously almost ran screaming from VMK upon first entry. But I could not resist the beautifully rendered atmosphere of this place which echoed the Disney parks without really copying them.

    So mystery, wonder, and exploration were what drew me in initially. It was many months before I ventured near the minigames, other than "Nedding" for my meager credits. I never would have joined for the games.

    The theming too was key; one look at the Mad Hatter Tea Party room was all it took to insure my return visits, with dreams of collecting suitable items for decoration. I watched in awe as others whizzed around their rooms building complicated structures out of crates and tables; it was all I could do to get a few pieces of furniture to go where I wanted.

    But designing rooms, (and later rides), turned into a larger focus. In fact, the world constructed by the players within the game became the "real" VMK to me, and despite my love for the public areas, I spent less and less time there. The endless possibilities for creation were the most potent draw of all.

    I did not come prepared to socialize. But homogeneous ages and limited speech had the strange but charming effect of reducing players to a common denominator; and friendships, some which would have been unlikely in real life, flourished. The sense of humor that many approached the game with gave it just the right touch, resulting in an entire vocabulary of inside references. (How could we possibly take ourselves too seriously while watching that jerky little dance our avatars did?) Everything combined to promote, for the most part, a welcoming and cheerful atmosphere, and the fact that someone like myself could be drawn in by it is really saying something.

    This is not meant to be a lapse into nostalgia, but an attempt to identify what VMK's appeal consisted of, to help me pinpoint what (if anything) I'd hope to replicate elsewhere.

    Like most of us, I'd love to be able to continue friendships that were started in VMK. I have no interest in combat/level-up playing, but unfortunately those are the games with the most appealing themes and graphics. While minigames can be fun, I can't help wishing for a game that didn't rely on them. That really only leaves the creative aspect, which seems to be in short supply among what's available. While SmallWorlds does fulfill that need to some degree, I don't expect it to be endlessly engaging; it's really more of a personal 3D webspace/chat environment than a game. And really, that may be enough. Perhaps something limitless is not a good thing this time around.

    What about the rest of you?
  2. bevgray

    bevgray Believer in eBooks

    Oct 20, 2000
    I have missed you, aliceblue.

    I'm a gamer from way back. What drew me to VMK was the beauty of the Disney representation and the build features. With that gone, I've reverted to more traditional games. I've looked at Smallworld but the emphasis on social networking just doesn't appeal to me. I also don't care much for the artwork. For now, I"m playing a couple of games - each with a different appealing aspect. The Ravenwood Wizard game is top notch but if you are not a gamer, particularly an RPG/Adventure gamer, I'm not sure that running around casting spells would appeal to you, even though you can have an adorable miniature dragon tagging along with you. Pirates is a full-blown RPG/Adventure game and I can see where it would not be enjoyable for many fellow VMKers.

    I don't know of a game that really picks up the room/ride build element that was so stunning an innovation in VMK. EngineerTiger (yes, he really is an engineer), is not a gamer at all, took a couple of turns in the other offerings, and politely removed himself from online internet communities. "If you find something where I can build/design, let me know," was his comment as he exited first Pirates and then Toontown and went off to other pursuits.

    I'm keeping an eye on the Lego world in the hope that it will provide the room building. I'm still hoping that, as Disney gains experience in their niche online worlds, the internet group will rethink the concept of VMK.

    I feel badly that we have all scattered but, the magic of VMK's community was so spontaneous, you can't try to force it in another realm. Fortunately, for those of us who aren't able to join our VMK chums in the many new worlds being explored, we still have the DIS where we can at least maintain contact.

    Miss you all very much.
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  4. aengus

    aengus <font color=blue>Official Head VMK Cheerleader!</f

    Feb 27, 2005
    For me the biggest appeal with VMK was the park connection, so unfortunately for me, nothing can replace VMK.

    I found smallworlds picks up most of the slack from what I missed about VMK, and I can relate how it cant do that for everyone. I was not much of a builder being key.
  5. Diva of Dragons

    Diva of Dragons <font color=brown>Tiger here!!<br><font color=lime

    Oct 5, 2000
    Alice, I think you said it all perfectly!! I was mostly into building and Pirates. Disney had absolutely most unique "total package" business opportunity, with a giant audience, and they blew it! It allowed more player creativity than any other game too.

    I don't think anything will measure up for a long time. Let's face it, what drew us all to VMK was that it was Disney, and only they have that! Everything we loved about it was icing on the cake.
  6. debbi801

    debbi801 DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2006
    For me, what drew me to VMK was a love of Walt Disney World. VMK gave me the ability to pretend I was at the parks inbetween visits. It provided me with a much needed Disney fix. Then, as I made several friends, it became a place to socialize. And playing friendly games of ghosts or pirates continued that. I enjoyed decorating rooms, but was happier hanging out in friends' rooms. My daughter joined too, and it became a way to bond with her over furniture and clothes. LOL

    Nothing can meet the main need I had when I originally joined VMK. But, different games are making me happy right now. Even if it takes 4 games to give me the contentment I had in VMK. I don't mind it, the variety is nice.
  7. KrazyPete

    KrazyPete skeleton

    Jan 17, 2006
  8. Kasiks

    Kasiks DIS Veteran

    Jun 27, 2006
    The main reason why I liked VMK was the fact it was Disney, I could build things with that game, I knew most of people I had as friends were Disney lovers even if some didn't know as much as me about Disney, I could be in a Disney theme park when I could not be in a real theme park.

    Before playing VMK, I used to play Roller Coaster Tycoon, Disney Explorer, Walt Disney World Racing because I am a roller coaster lover and a nostalgic Disney lover.

    While I was playing VMK, I also played some other mmorpgs because I was getting bored of VMK due to the hosts and their vision of fairness but quickly, those games were bothering me either bad graphics, either people where going quicker than me to level up and I was always coming back to VMK.

    Now after VMK's closing, I am not really into games (mmorpgs) anymore. I am just on GaiaOnline most of the time because I am listening to my playlist and also because I like to watch sometimes the marketplace to see if I can make credits out of people sellings but I've tried the other games like SW, ST, VFK and they just don't attract me, I am not looking to have a replacement of things I can do in my real life or for games done in pseudo 3D.

    But finally, I can't say that I am looking for a mmo... to replace VMK because being addict to something is kinda boring, then I started stressing about virtual things >_<
  9. aliceblue

    aliceblue DIS Veteran

    Sep 28, 2006
    Thanks for all of your thoughts so far; I know we're all in the same boat.
    Very interesting perspective. Perhaps the closer an online environment comes to looking like the real world, the less magical it becomes. What an amazing balance VMK maintained; realistic depictions derived from Disney parks which in themselves are based on fantasy.
    SmallWorlds feels like an elaborate dollhouse to me; it's quite possible to do nothing but fiddle with it for long stretches of time. The social requirement of some of the missions doesn't seem much different than helping each other get through quests in VMK, but I'm hoping they have additional ways to earn tokens after beta.
    Poor Tiger; please give my regards to him. Has he looked into Second Life? I don't have the stamina for that learning curve, but being an engineer, perhaps he would. I know there is a VMK/Disney community there.
    Yes, this is the only one I've seen that looks like it has that potential. Why no one else has jumped on the concept of a game based primarily on creating with modular elements is beyond me.
    Miss you too. But Tink, you're still there in SmallWorlds, sitting with me in my Castle Suite, in a picture that's hanging on my wall.
  10. goldengourd

    goldengourd When you WISH upon a star...

    Dec 9, 2006
    As I read this thread, I thought, "yes, it is the creativity" that drew me. I liked building the rooms and rides, getting stuff and finding places to use it. But that isn't it alone, because I can get the creativity aspect (computer wise) with photoshop, or in a game-type like zootycoon. But they don't have the social aspect. But "the social aspect" isn't enough, because the games that emphasize that like Sociotown, and Xivio, and of course just the boards/chat places like Disboard/other message board, isn't enough either. I can be shy in a computer environment as much as real, and sometimes it is difficult to join in 'the group' even in a virtual setting. "The Disney aspect" was pretty special, but I'm not as diehard a Disney Fan as many here, for instance I joined DIS because of VMK, not the other way around. And it definately made VMK a lot better and more fun environment. The quests in vmk were something I enjoyed, and I am liking the missions in Small Worlds. But the role playing games that you have to keep solving things and moving up in levels are too much for me. I need simple, over quickly tasks. Having it simple enough for a child (most of the time) is about my speed, lol. But I can't take the games that are too much like that, like Bearville and Toontown. And well, what can I say, Pirates on line is too difficult for me. Fighting isn't my thing, didn't like the pirate game on vmk, and don't like the roleplaying games that you have to keep fighting things, even if it orcs or skeletons. VMK did give me a "connection with my daughter" as she transitioned from child to teenager, but that isn't it alone either, because she was already loosing interest in VMK before the end, and really only kept it up because of me.
    The games I'm exploring now like Small World and family kingdom, can get frustration because they don't work all the time, especially when I have the times I have to play. But you know, VMK was always crashing and lagging and games not working, especially during peak time too.
    So yes, the magic is gone, and we aren't going to find it. I still get pretty sad seeing all the photos and videos of VMK ppl post in their SW homes, and how so many spend time on VFK/SW just trying to find VMK friends. I guess for me for now, Small World will have to do, though I'll keep checking on the others. But I really need another way to get credits then playing that stupid arcade Ape game, lol, because I don't think I'm ever going to pass that one.
  11. Bee2u

    Bee2u ImJustBeeNme

    Feb 18, 2007
    I, too, was drawn into VMK because it was Disney. I've always enjoyed Disney movies (I remember watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" every Sunday night as a child,) and WDW (My first trip there was in 1971 - I definitely wanted more ride tickets than we had.) I enjoy playing on the computer, and played Nintendo games with my kids (until they went 3D), so VMK sounded interesting. I tried to join, but my computer couldn't handle it so I promptly forgot about it (this would have been right after Beta, I think.) The ebay Dreams promotion reminded me about VMK, and I tried again, with my new computer. I loved being able to walk around the kingdom - it brought back great memories of being at WDW. I enjoyed the innocence in the atmosphere, I played the games some, did the divers/cars/space quests, and briefly checked out the guest rooms (I remember commenting to my daughter "Why would anyone want to go spend their time in a guest room when they could be doing all this other stuff?" lol) I then discovered player created quests, and played the games like crazy until I could buy a kiosk of my own. In the process of visiting quest rooms, I saw the variety of the rooms, and started working on rooms of my own. (And found out why people wanted to spend a lot of there time in guest rooms.)

    The quests, both host and player created, meeting and becoming friends with people of all ages, and the creativity of building rooms is what kept me coming back. The games were ok, but were a means to an end, not the goal themselves (got to have credits to build rooms. lol) I now realize that part of the attraction was the ability to be someone else. In VMK I was "Be", a person of some undetermined age who didn't always have to act like a mumblemumble year old, who could do whatever she wanted without checking to see what everyone else has planned.

    VMK wasn't perfect, but it was my first experience with virtual worlds - I didn't know what to expect, so took things as they were. I now have expectations of what a virtual world 'should' be like, so I'm probably harder to please than I was then. The worlds I am trying out now have some of the elements, but not all, and I'm not sure if any have enough elements to keep me there long term. Interaction with friends and meeting new people I can accomplish on the forums, but I miss the quests and building. I haven't found a place that satisfies my creativity, and am not at all wild about being hit on as much as I've encountered.
  12. redbaybound

    redbaybound It's all about the fun!

    Sep 2, 2005
    I am an old online gamer, but what made VMK so special for me was the social aspect. VMK was never about the things I could accumulate. It was a beautiful environment with the Disney mythos that was safe for my kids to play. I definitely met and made friends with a diverse set of people that I would never have met in my real life. The sad thing is, some of those friendships will not survive without VMK to hold them together; it was the one great thing we had in common.

    I guess what I am looking for is a place where I can visit all my old friends in one game - and I know that isn't possible anymore - but you did ask what I was looking for...

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