Do not forget that most of the reviews claimed to be based on first-hand experience may have had different experiences. Some has it easy and nice, some saw the dark side straight away, and were scared off it. I have had a mixture of everything that this "Social networking" site has had to offer. So if you do not wish to read a really long review on this spiralling website, skip to the last paragraph AND just remember this: KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! The one thing nothing in the world can take from you (bar our Maker) is our common sense, unless you don't use often/were born without such sense.
Let us begin...
Nine years old. I was in year 5, the first time one of my school friend Skyped me about Habbo. The first thing I realised is that she, like so many others, had lied about her age. I had several unsuccessful attempts at registering for my account, until I read the writing on the wall. And, being nine, and not wanting to miss out on something that was as exciting and as pixelated as this, I lied about my age too (gasp!).
I get in to this dream world filled with cafes where you get free food, to the hotel games, to the hangouts everywhere (please note; Habbo has been updates immensely since 2006, I was on the old AND new versions of Habbo). Me and my two school-friends on Skype voice-chatted while we explored Habbo Hotel together.
I came across user-created rooms, and though "How do these people get these things, and these rooms?" I created a room (free) and realised i needed to fill it with something: Furni. You have to pay for furni with Habbo Credits (or Coins, as they were called in the olden US days; i got mixed up between the UK and US versions), and to get Credits, you needed REAL money.
And that's when I noticed my landline phone.
They give you a huge list of how to pay for the screen-items. Phone, card, texting and such. Yes, they did have spending limits (£25 a week for the home phone) So I suddenly became rich and popular in my Habbo world, until my dad found out why the phone bill was so high... Enter scammers.
There's a whole level of corruption to Habbo that most people don't recognise. People get scammed out of their Furni pretty quickly, with promises of free coins for their password, or free Habbo Club Membership (I was part of HC). I got scammed out of one of my rare sofas for a fake Credit code. I became much smarter then.
After about 2-3 weeks, we slowly drifted away from Habbo, partly scared of all the badness in it. Before, Sulake was very strict about the language filter. Every rude word was replaced with "bobba". You couldn't even say embarrassed without it being changed to embarBOBBAed (Bobba was later changed to the universally recognised ****). Then, it suddenly came up in the account settings: you could turn the language filter off! Without parental permission!
The other thing that scared us was the new Habbo Exchange feature, but this is a whole other world of corruption best mentioned later.
I stopped playing indefinitely around aged 10. I got bored in one of my half term breaks in Year 11, and decided to see what Habbo had turned into. First off, I lost all the money i had put into Habbo; it looked like they had done a merger of all the English Hotels into one site, and deleted inactive accounts. So I started from square one. I have to say, I was impressed by the changes. It looks like they were trying to address the people who didn't want to spend money by adding a new currency called Pixels, which is free, but only buys you a limited amount of furni and temporary effects. They make things look more shiny and new and exciting, and they APPEAR to be addressing scamming issues, when in reality they just send victims a pasted message warning them about scammers and and gambling. That's right. Gambling.
They warn. They don't prevent. THEY WARN. Of course, gambling would be the perfect thing to generate more cash (If I may, I will come back to the Habbo Exchange issue). Habbo exchange lets you trade money with players. Real Money (In form of credits, non refundable.). The credits that you spend on furni, bought with REAL MONEY, can be traded in it own furni form, so people can show off their wealth, and then turn then back into spendable credits. After I left, Sulake started TAXING the players on their Habbo Exchange, as it had effectively become the new currency of the Hotel; people were buying furni off other people because they were so much cheaper than Sulake's own catalogue. And this brought a new dynamic to this whole corruption picture.
Children are practically encouraged to gamble in the Hotel. If they lose, so what? Buy more credits and try again! The tone is caring, but the implications are crystal clear. The games used to be played for fun, had turned into scams; I was scammed so many times, people were even resorting to randomly trading people in hope that they would no notice the person they were trading to, and give them something (If a player lost a game, they had the option to Pay to Play, and if the victim is door-scammed, as described, they are in danger of losing everything.)
I wanted to combat this somehow. So I set up my own, legitimate Falling Furni room (google it), which was hard at first. I'm black, and there are lots of racist/stereotypical people on this game (some guy came up to me, pretending to shoot me because i was black), and people are already wary of scams. But it took a few games where people couldn't believe that had actually got a prize, and people realised that there were good people on Habbo, and they are as rare as finding a green diamond in your shoe. I still continue this falling furni, and have alot of business, as people make lists of trusted players.
What I'm trying to say is, if your not smart about what you do on the internet, Stay Away From Habbo Hotel, you will be morally crushed. I made mistakes, learned from then, and now I'm one of the good people. Tread carefully, and there will be rich rewards. Try getting a job (I'm (marlin6667) hiring!) and if you got a litle spare cash lying around, use it to improve Habbo. Enough good guys can turn things around yet!