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Bin Weevils

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Bin Weevils
BinWeevils Logo 150dpi.png
Developer55 Pixels Ltd
Bin Weevils Limited (formerly)
TypeMassive multiplayer online game
Launch date2003
Platform(s)Windows, macOS, browsers
Websitewww.binweevils.com

Bin Weevils is an online children's multiplayer game developed by 55Pixels, first launched in January 2004 as a joint venture between Nickelodeon UK and Prism Entertainment Ltd.[1] Brief animated clips based on the game's characters aired on TV in 2006.[2] In 2007, Bin Weevils re-launched as an independent website with a redesign and new content.[3]

In September 2012, the Binweevils website had a reach of 1.2 million users.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

Bin Weevils is based around the theme of the real creatures, weevils. Players can make their own character, customize it and command it. The game is set in a bin-like setting where many locations are specifically designed for this theme (e.g. Kip's Scrapyard, Peel's Park, Ink's Orange Peel) with items you would find usually in a bin, such as mould and orange peels. Players have their own "nest" in which they can adjust the colour and design the rooms. Players can choose to upgrade the nest to all 8 rooms using the Mulch currency. Players can choose to decorate their rooms by buying items from the "Shopping Mall" and placing the items in their rooms accordingly. The items can also be sold at one of the locations in the game if the player doesn't want the item anymore for Mulch currency. The nest consists of a private cinema, a plaza (both require membership) and a nest generator. Depending on how low the nest generator level is, the brighter or darker the nest gets. All players also have a "Bin Card" in their nest, which they can stamp every day to collect rewards including hat coupons, plants, XP and much more.

The main navigation of the game is the Map which players can use to travel to different areas of the game. The map has had many changes in the past due to re-designs. The newest version of the map was designed by Tom Bland.[5] There are several multiplayer games which players can play to earn currency ("Mulch") and experience points ("XP"). There are also a number of educational games, such as the "Daily Brain Strain," which players can visit every day to test their knowledge through a series of math, geography and puzzle questions. Players who participate in the 60 seconds can receive Mulch and XP based on how well they have done. Players can also enter codes to receive rewards.[6]

All users have a garden in their nest, in which they can buy plants from the 'Garden Shop' and plant and then harvest for in-game money ("Mulch") and experience points ("XP"). The user can save the currency or buy more plants and the XP contributes to levelling up towards the next level. There are 80 levels in total but more are often added. In addition, paying players can purchase a virtual pet called a "Bin Pet." The Bin Pet has its own profile and a bed. Players can feed their Bin Pet and make it perform tricks and play mini-games. Non-paying players can also own a virtual pet, but for 24 hours. This feature is called "Pet-For-A-Day" and was first announced on 17 January 2014.[7]

Some of the old locations in the game such as Tum's Diner was designed by Michael Jary.[8]

Membership[edit]

Bin Tycoon is a Bin Weevils addition. Those with a premium subscription collect a recurring dosh salary which is progressively higher depending on how many months of membership a player has. With this salary, the player can purchase hats for their character, items and clothing for their virtual pet, write magazines and much more to do.[9] The currency "Dosh" was added in 2012 and it replaced the high Mulch prices in many areas, although it requires payment with real currency. However, from time to time players can participate in puzzles, watch advertisements and enter codes to earn the currency. It was possible to become a paid member for 1 month through an SMS text in the early stages of the game, but was discontinued in 2013. Players were also able to purchase Mulch up to 2013 from the membership section, the highest price being £14.99 for 75,000 Mulch.[10] Players can still gain the currency in the game, though, as for a lot of activities it is the main currency. Players can play the multiplayer games to earn the currency, or enter codes, etc. Dosh is the only currency to purchase on the membership page at present. Bin Weevils revealed in 2015 that 90% of the site's content was free to play and 90% of their audience was non-paying players.[11]

Safety and communication[edit]

Bin Weevils represents the kidSAFE badge on their website,[12] as well as this they claim that players chat and buddy messages are moderated 24/7 so that there is no exchange of personal information or inappropriate language. The moderation process is based on a ticket system, according to the Bin Weevils support page. Whenever a player enters an inappropriate word, they are alerted and a penalty may be held on a player account that can extend from a day to a permanent suspension.[13] As well as this, the game also has a reporting interface where players can submit a report about another player manually via the profile. The report feature contains the reasons why the player wants to report, or a box where the player may write what the other player has done. The safety feature creates a secure environment that promotes peace of mind for parents and allows children to communicate, meet new friends, and improve online social skills. Although a messaging filter system is in effect, players have still found out ways to exchange information with other players by combining letters.

Other[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

Bin Weevils signed a license agreement with toy company Character Options to build a game-based product line.[14] The merchandise consisted of a trading card game which launched in June 2012,[15][16] a clothing set, backpacks, figurines and toys which launched in October 2012 and books.[17] An album titled "Bin Weevils" with Sony in December 2012.[18][19] A competition was held relating to the album which four children could be picked to write a song for the album.[20][21] The album was launched on 29 July 2013 with a tracklist of 12 children songs. In November 2013, Bin Weevils partnered up with WellChild to help raise money for sick children in the UK. Users could buy a Bin Weevils T-shirt and choose a design they wanted on the clothing and 20% of each sale would go to WellChild.[22]

A Bin Weevils magazine launched in February 2012[23][24] running for two years and 23 issues before closing in 2014.

Apps[edit]

Weevil World[edit]

The company released a beta version of a new game called "Weevil World in May 2017, which was exclusively for paying members at the time. The beta ended and the game was released a month later to all players.[25] The game is a multiplayer unity app for mobile devices or computer, allowing the players to use the same account to cross-play between Weevil World and Bin Weevils. Once signing up, players may customize their weevil profile and navigate their character around the island. Players can purchase character clothing, level up, earn money (coins and gems) to buy home (nest) decorations in the game and can invite players to get a nest rating.[26]

In 2019, 55pixels announced that the game would be redesigned, with some features being removed, some locations and mini-games not accessible, and the currency being replaced by coins and gems (formerly Mulch and Dosh, the currency used for Bin Weevils).[27]

Bin Weevils Connect[edit]

On 6 November 2016, Bin Weevils unveiled an app for mobile devices that added news, buddy and gaming message features. Over time, fewer players began using the app and a few months later it was pulled from the iOS store. The app had a number of features, including multiplayer games and being able to customise the look of the clients character. As well as this, there were many bugs in the game, and player standards were not met.[28][29]

Reception[edit]

In 2015, both Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters were told to change the wording of their in-app advertisements by the Advertising Standards Authority, which stated that the advertisements had pressured players to purchase items inside the game.[30][31] 55pixels, the company that operates the game, said that "as soon as [we] were made aware of the complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority about a potential breach, and once we had understood the area for concern, we changed all our membership pages to comply with their recommendations. [The ASA] subsequently upheld the complaint about the original wording but referenced that we now complied, in the text of the ruling."

The game has also received criticism from many players and parents, many of whom have criticized the lack of a "bin-like environment" in the game and the "bad influence" for children. .[32][33]

Bin Weevils was also criticized for lack of game protection due to exploiters writing offensive language on the game in areas where other players could see the offensive language as well. The game magazine functionality was manipulated in 2016, and several other players blamed Bin Weevils for lack of security. Bin Weevils had to remove some of the game's functionality like the public leaderboards to making it friends-only because of the exploiters.[34] Due to exploits in 2016, a common feature named the Photo Studio had been removed. Players could use third-party resources to adjust the area's backdrop to whatever they chose (one example was a pornographic picture within the frame which players could see if they were invited to a nest). Bin Weevils claims that the feature was removed due to an 'identified error'.[35] Since then the feature has not been added back.[36]

Data breaches[edit]

Bin Weevils suffered a large data breach in September 2014, resulting in unauthorised access to its 1.3 million accounts and personal information.[37] Accounts, email addresses and hashed passwords were later leaked online.[38] Bin Weevils had been alerted of the vulnerability and had taken down the website for a week to carry out security checks.[39] On September 12, 2014, a password captcha was added to the website, which users had to verify before they could proceed.[40]

In July 2017, Bin Weevils suffered yet another huge data breach which accounts and personal information were leaked online. During the July breach, an unauthorised post was published to the Bin Weevils news page stated that the game was closing but was later taken down immediately.[41]

Awards[edit]

Bin Weevils was nominated for the BAFTA Awards in 2009. Bin Weevils received the "Best Website" BAFTA Award in 2011. They launched Nest Items for their players to celebrate. Bin Weevils won the BAFTA Awards again towards the end of 2012.[42] Bin Weevils won the "Best Website" for the third time in late 2013, and again in 2014.[43] Bin Weevils was shortlisted in the games category in 2015.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bin Weevils - Information". web.archive.org. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Bin Weevils TV Mini Series (2006-2007)". IMDb ratings and reviews.
  3. ^ Bin Weevils: A look at the Bin in 2007, retrieved 26 August 2019
  4. ^ "Binweevils.com breaks 1.2million users | Toy World Magazine". toyworldmag.co.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Tom Bland · Portfolio". Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Bin Weevils – A Fun Free Browser-Based Game For Kids With Plenty To Do". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Bin Pets". Bin Weevil Company. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Bin Weevils". www.michaeljary.com. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  9. ^ Jacobs, Ashley (6 February 2016). "The Top Bin Weevils Paid Membership Perks". Gazette Review. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Bin Weevils". web.archive.org. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  11. ^ Practice, Advertising Standards Authority | Committee of Advertising. "55 Pixels Ltd". asa.org.uk. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Binweevils.com is certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program". kidsafeseal.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Bin Weevils: Safety Concerns". 55 Pixels Support. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Character Group wins Bin Weevils master toy licence". Proactiveinvestors UK. 6 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Panini introduces Augmented Reality into latest Bin Weevils TCG line". ToyNews. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Bin Weevils Products Released in U.K." License Global. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  17. ^ "BinWeevils eyes further growth after toy success". Licensing.biz. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  18. ^ "BinWeevils gets musical with first album release". Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  19. ^ "CD: Bin Weevils - Bin Tunes | The Arts Desk". theartsdesk.com. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Bin Weevils launches Bin Tunes competition". Rainbow Toy Awards - The Awards for the UK Toy Industry. 21 May 2013. Archived from the original on 24 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Behind the Scenes with our Bin Weevils Prize Winners! | Animate it". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Popular children's characters join with charities for T-Shirt Booth app". Licensing.biz. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  23. ^ Joseph, Seb (14 February 2012). "Bin Weevils takes characters into print". Marketing Week. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  24. ^ "Egmont's new 'Bin Weevils' gets massive promotion". downthetubes.net. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Bin Weevils Blog - The Weevil World Early Access Beta is out now!". Weevil News. Archived from the original on 25 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Weevil World: What is Weevil World?". 55 Pixels Support. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  27. ^ "Bin Weevils Blog - Weevil World - BIG New Update!". news.binweevils.com. Archived from the original on 25 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  28. ^ Author, AppAdvice Staff. "Bin Weevils Connect by 55pixels Limited". AppAdvice. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  29. ^ "November on Bin Weevils". Binweevils Rant Central. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  30. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (26 August 2015). "Ad watchdog rebukes Moshi Monsters". Archived from the original on 6 July 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  31. ^ Dredge, Stuart (26 August 2015). "Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils rapped for promoting subscriptions to children". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Is Bin Weevils a bad influence for children?". Binweevils Rant Central. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  33. ^ "Bin Weevils Rant Central". 5 November 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Bin Weevils | Safety Compromised?". Bin Bloggers. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  35. ^ "What happened to the Photo Studios?". Bin Weevils Help Centre. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  36. ^ "My email to Bin Weevils about the mysterious vanish of the Bin Tycoon Plaza Photo Studios". Bin Weevils Cheat Site. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  37. ^ "Have I Been Pwned: Pwned websites". haveibeenpwned.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  38. ^ Pwned, Have I. Been (18 August 2017). "New breach: Bin Weevils had 1.3m accounts exposed in 2014. 43% were already in @haveibeenpwned". @haveibeenpwned. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  39. ^ "Data from 2014 hack of children's online game Bin Weevils leaked online; hacker claims 20m records". Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  40. ^ "Bin Weevils Is Open!". Bin Weevil Company. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  41. ^ BINWEEVILS IS NOT CLOSING DOWN!!!, retrieved 4 October 2019
  42. ^ "Bin Weevils wins BAFTA Kids Vote | Toy World Magazine". toyworldmag.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Bafta Awards". Bin Weevil Company. Retrieved 26 August 2019.

External links[edit]

  1. Official Weevils News Website
  2. Official Bin Weevils Website
  3. Official Bin Weevils Support Centre
  4. Official Weevil World Support Centre
  5. 55pixels Website