The toy store commissioned the Electric Sheep Co. to build a browser-based virtual world for boys based on its Webflock platform. When I wrote about Ridemakerz back in December, here is how I described the project:
The virtual world is a combination of a social network, video games, and a complex inventory system. Boys can design their own virtual cars online just like they can in the store. . . . Depending on what parts a boy picks, it will affect the performance of his ride.
Alternatively, a child who buys a car at a store can enter the unique Ridez Identification Number (RIN) number printed on each one at checkout and he will get a virtual replica of that exact design. So he can play with the same car at home and online.
Inside the virtual world, each child’s avatar is his car. He can drive around and see the cars of other members who are online. There is no text chatting (for child safety reasons), but each car has different “Zmotes” that get cooler the more points that are acquired. The Zmotes start with things like puffs and smiley faces and graduate to explosions and lightening bolts. The roads in the virtual world lead to different activities, including a junkyard crane video game and a pitstop crew game that teaches time management.
A lot of readers were excited about actually checking it out. Just remember, this is for kids (so don’t take an invite if you are not going to share it with someone under 12). And here’s a hint: use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move around.