|Release||2009 (Alpha) 1 April 2011(Full Release)|
MiniMonos was a virtual world for children six and above. Players create a monkey avatar on MiniMonos, socialize with other monkeys, and play mini games. The game incorporates themes of environmentalism and encourages "green" activities among its players, both online and offline. The game is popular with kids around the world, particularly in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand, where the game was originally invented. The game closed on 12 May 2013.
Inventor Melissa Clark-Reynolds came up with the idea for an environmentally-themed virtual world in 2008, based on her perceived lack of such a game. Taking her daughter swimming with turtles, she realised that one day her daughter could possibly tell her own children "There used to be turtles". This prompted Clark-Reynolds to create an online place for children where fun came first, but which taught them the values of looking after the planet.
Clark-Reynolds worked with noted interactive media producer Deborah Todd and game designer Noah Falstein to create MiniMonos. After a beta phase, the site officially launched on 1 April 2011. By June 2012, the site had attracted close to 1 million players, and had raised over £1 million in capital.
MiniMonos launched an in-real-life game card system on 26 October 2011. This system put Gold Membership cards into Sainsbury's stores across the United Kingdom. These cards gave user who obtained them, and used them, the ability to gain: 1 month, or 6 months of premium membership to their monkey, and the 6 month option came at a reduced-on-card price. The cards, along with the membership, give the user special xPowers (a MiniMonos creation) which they can use in game. Gold Membership cards have been released in New Zealand and Australia.
Melissa Clark Reynolds, the founder of MiniMonos, unfortunately revealed the closure of MiniMonos on 29 April 2013. The site was closed down on 12 May 2013.
MiniMonos has a wide variety of mini games, each having something to do with helping the environment, such as recycling trash, cleaning up a lagoon, or growing fresh strawberries. A few examples can be seen below.
The first mini game to appear on MiniMonos was "Monkey Flight". The objective of Monkey Flight is to collect wind clouds as an energy source to keep on flying. Avoid black clouds, smog, and collect the clean white clouds to win. If you hit the ground and can't get up via one of the trampolines, the game is over. The collected wind clouds power a windmill at the player's tree house.
"R.A.T.S." stands for ‘Recycle All That Stuff". This is a simple game where rubbish falls from a conveyor belt and players throw it, using a monkey catapult, into the appropriate recycling bin, while avoiding the mischievous bird. You can click on the metal tube at the top to make rubbish come down instantly. You will receive recycled material that you can use to build robot pets and swap with each other on MiniMonos.
"Grow" is a game of skill, where the goal is to clear all 100 plots of land in 22 clicks or less. The fewer clicks, the more berries are grown. Players can also engage in games of "Tic Tac Poo" to win compost to aid their gardens. The amount of berries that grow if you win depends on how many moves you took and if you used compost.
"Monkey Fist" is a high-thrill game on MiniMonos Island where users go head-to-head against up to 10 players. The goal of the game is to be the last monkey standing, while knocking everybody else out. Wu Lee creates a pose every round, and your goal is to not match his pose, as you cannot be the master; he is. If you manage to be the last monkey remaining, you will advance through the ranks in your arm band colours.
MiniMonos offers players the opportunity to find objects, such as trash and jewels, and to find or earn game currency (in the form of Banana Chips and Shells) which they can use to buy other objects (such as costume elements for their avatars) at the game's store, Traderz. Themed activities and events call for different costumes and items. The purchase of some items is restricted to members who have purchased (using real-life money) premium memberships.
Users are permitted to own one (1) of any type of clothing item which can change colour.
MiniMonos has created an in-game feature, in which users can do tasks, (ranging from simple to difficult), to earn "Top Caps."
Top Caps can be referred to as "badges" which players can collect and show off, through their player card/journal.
Currently, the game has about 100 Top Caps that can be earned multiple ways.
MiniMonos is aimed at children, so several safety features have been incorporated into the site:
- An adult's email address is required to register and activate the child's account.
- All inter-user communication is monitored in real time. Any violations of the site's policies (such as requesting personal information) are handled by escalating levels of warnings until the violator is banned from the site. This is unless it is deemed that the violator poses a risk to player safety, in which case they are removed immediately and steps taken to prevent them coming back onto MiniMonos.
- The game is also monitored by real human moderators and a unique and strong chat filtration system.
- Parents are informed in cases of any personal details being shared or incidents of ‘dating’ talk.
MiniMonos founder Clark-Reynolds keeps her company in line with the ideals being taught in her game. The MiniMonos server is taken offline during Earth Hour, and the company donates clean drinking water to children in India for every new paid membership. MiniMonos players have also adopted Orangutans, and donated to WWF through the purchase of costumes and campaigned to save tigers.
The popular EcoMonkey program has seen players create over 900 real-life eco-projects, giving an online reward on MiniMonos for offline sustainability actions.
Common Sense Media gives MiniMonos four stars, citing its environmental theme and attention to child safety. DIY Father praised MiniMonos for making environmentalism an integral part of the gameplay, without browbeating the players with the message.
The company has partnered with WWF-NZ in support of the global WWF Tiger Initiative and has adopted four orangutans through Orangutan Outreach.
TechCrunch calls MiniMonos "..a fun 'Green' game for boys".
ReadWriteWeb commended MiniMonos for its commitment to reward offline sustainability activities.
Climate Mama gave MiniMonos its Climate Mama Seal of Approval.
In a review on Elephant Journal, MiniMonos was praised for its engagement with players, sustainability and safety.
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