YoWorld, the therapeutic social game, recovering Those who have not played YoWorld (previously YoVille) scratch their heads in puzzlement over what seemingly mature, intelligent friends see in the game. With cute, child-like avatars and a cartoony environment, YoWorld certainly appears to be a children’s game to the outside observer. Perhaps that is part of its charm: It allows players to tap into their inner child and all the creativity so many have little opportunity to release in the real world.
In YoWorld, a player can create a character and make it their own by choosing its gender, skin tone and the shape and color of its eyes and lips. They can dress their little character conservatively or as a free spirit, as a royal or a hobo, or perhaps, more fancifully, as a fairy or an elf, as the mood strikes. No matter the limitations life has placed upon an individual, in YoWorld, they can exhibit their inner spirit in the persona of their avatar.
YoWorlders not only create a persona; they build. While the game developers offer pre-built houses in many themes, ranging from cabins to castles, many players enjoy choosing a simple basic house plan and using their imaginations and the digital items available, to create stunning works of art or palatial estates fit for a queen. A good designers can take the three room trailer option and build a holiday resort, a train, a space station or a school for trolls. Much of the fun of the game is sharing one’s designs with fellow players. Each player can be inspired by the other’s ingenuity.
While waiting on the Big Viking Game team to release a new theme, some players choose one of the virtual coin house options and challenge a friend to create a certain type of scenario, such as a frat house, a pizza joint or a fairy tale tableaux. No peeking until the final results are revealed.
In January 2014, Zynga, who had purchased Yoville from its original creators in 2008, suddenly announced plans to close the game in March, 2014. Players asked the original owners to buy back the game. Many feared Zynga would refuse, but on May 13, 2014, Big Viking Games relaunched YoVille as YoWorld.
While a hardy player core continued to visit YoVille daily during the days Zynga left it to languish, many turned to other pursuits, still hopeful the game would make a comeback. Now, Big Viking Games communicates with players daily to clarify the game plan, and players who had almost given up are returning to spruce up their digital digs and reconnect with old friends.
The creative spirit that Zynga never quite understood may yet repopulate YoWorld with thousands of zealous players who use YoWorld as a place to recharge and get ready to take on the challenges their real world lives throw at them every day.