Moshi Monsters, an online virtual reality game for children, launched in 2008. Created by Michael Acton Smith, the London-based company Mind Candy is its parent company. Smith credits his ownership of a Pet Rock in the 1970s as part of the inspiration for Moshi Monsters. Aimed at ages six to 12 years old, Moshi Monsters has become a global success with more than 50 million members.
Moshi Monsters basics
Six styles of Moshi Monsters are available to members of the online game. These monsters are Furi, Poppet, Diavlo, Zommer, Luvli and Katsuma. Players can adopt a Moshi Monster, give it a name and begin to customize it with clothing and accessories. While the Pet Rock of the 1970s came in a small cardboard box, the online virtual world of Moshi Monsters is much larger and infinitely more colorful. Players get a room for their adopted monster and this can be customized as well.
Within the virtual reality world of Moshi Monsters, players care for their adopted friends. The monsters need to be fed and will enjoy being played with, tickled, hugged and taken for walks. The Moshi Monsters let their adoptive "parents" know when they are happy and when they are sad. Adventures are undertaken in Monstro City, with games to play and puzzles to solve. Players can earn Rox or Moshi currency playing games and solving puzzles. Rox are needed to "buy" items for the Moshi Monsters and to decorate their rooms.
Children can log in on the Moshi Monster's home page. Here anyone can join without cost. Click on Membership at the top of the page and you can begin your Moshi Monster adventure. This will take you to another screen with more information about the game, online Moshi community and help you begin the sign-up procedure. Simply follow the screens. Please note, some advanced areas of play do require a monthly fee.
Just for parents
Parents have their own page at Moshi Monsters. It presents the details of the virtual reality world that every parent needs to know. Moshi Monsters ensures parents its core principles are fun, education and safety. Parents are encouraged to join along with their children in order to understand the game and to share in the fun.
The site is proactive regarding online safety. It has limited social networking features and several security protocols. The child's profile only includes a screen name, country of residence, gender and age. This information is posted only after Moshi Monsters has received parental consent. Moshi Monsters offers a printable PDF file for parents and teachers containing contact information for the game, Mind Candy and several internet safety groups that help protect children online.
How is it educational?
Moshi Monsters is designed for short play, periods of about ten minutes, unlike many other online and video games. To earn Rox, which allows the players to continue to personalize their Moshi Monster, the kids play games. These games include problem-solving skills, math, spelling, geography and critical thinking. According to Moshi Monsters online, "We passionately believe that children learn best when they're having fun and this principle is right at the heart of Moshi Monsters."
Over at The Daily Growl, the online newspaper of Moshi Monsters, writing skills are encouraged. This section runs writing contests presenting the kids with topics such as Taking Your Monster on Holiday or Vacation. The kids submit a short essay on the topic and can win extra Rox if their work is selected.
While its online community continues to grow, Moshi Monsters has expanded from the virtual world to the real world with trading cards, toys and merchandising.