3D Character Creator: IMVU

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IMVU – Virtual worlds have never been so easy to create and explore

Layers of Reality

I have always been under the impression that the desire to sever yourself from reality and immerse yourself in a make-believe world of fantasy and dissimilarity to your own for hours on end was a symptom of either depression or schizophrenia, or at very least made one a little strange. Imagine my level of absolute mistrust and scepticism therefore when becoming involved (though not romantically) with the simulated world of IMVU. As a game that lets the player immerse themselves in a massively online multiplayer experience that is heavy on the chat and lays on customisation thicker than the walls of Fort Knox, IMVU didn’t instantly appeal to me, but the fan base of over a million strong had to be enjoying something, and it’s my job to kill the cat and possibly myself with curiosity about what was so appealing about this game. Stay with me, and dive into my virtual world that will briefly discuss the other virtual world of IMVU.

Summarily Speaking

What the hell is this IMVU peculiarity, anyhow? Well, in short, this game is an MMO that is driven by social and customisation features. You won’t be engaging in raging battles and slaying multiple instances of evil or thwarting megalomaniacs trying to take over the world as in DC Universe Online; IMVU is a much simpler experience that focuses more on the creation of your own avatar, the crafting of your residential surroundings (i.e. the rooms your character walks around in), and the meeting of new people with an emphasis on chatting with hundreds of thousands of other players (though not all at once) of the game about how great your new room is. Just think of it as a barebones Second Life that has been stripped down a little.

Changing Worlds

You’ll find that IMVU is devoid of any true ‘action’ in the classical sense, with the gameplay focuses almost exclusively on customisation and chatting. The whole experience involves customising, crafting, refining, swapping, and generally trying lots of things on your virtual character and then bragging about it to other players. It’s kind of like an elaborate online changing room where you can try on new faces, clothes, skin, accessories, and general surroundings, with almost everything you can think of being fully customisable.  Exploring the world is essentially just the act of entering a load of different chat rooms that have been designed by other people, sometimes poorly, and sometimes very competently indeed. This is essentially the beauty of it, because you can customise your own little world and also get inspiration from those of other players as well, discovering new designs and ideas along the way, and perhaps meeting a few friends while you’re at it. They probably won’t be your BFFs or best friends foreverest, but it’s a game that at least gives you the option of cultivating relationships, however shallow their foundations may be.

Almost MMO

Choose IMVU if you are looking for an accessible online world that allows you to customise heavily and chat to your heart’s content; it isn’t action packed or suspenseful, but it does the job. Unfortunately, the game has no actual ‘movement’ and instead dictates the exact locations that you will inhabit in your rooms and the rooms of others, so it’s not really an MMO in the first place. That said, IMVU isn’t attempting to be something that it is not, and you can even float your designs in the virtual world and make actual money from them. It’s a shame that the full experience requires a paying subscription and that free players are merely ‘guests’ that are exploring the world with very limited scope, but IMVU is rich in socialising and the pimping out of yourself and your surroundings, which is exactly the kind of get-away that many people need. While this kind of swap-and-show may not appeal to everyone, the player base of the game is staggeringly huge, so it may be worth seeing what all the fuss is about.

 75/100

Note* Under 18's and Over 18's are separated into different chat rooms and worlds to ensure the safety of kids who wish to play.

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