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Free Virtual Worlds For Teens

Here are the most popular free virtual worlds for teens (ages 13–17 years).

Gaia Online

Gaia Online is a virtual community with a forum but most importantly it's a free virtual world for teens. The world itself is in English but the site has communities of many other languages.

You start by registering your virtual avatar. You choose everything, face, hair, skin colour, clothes. But don't worry, it's very easy to do. Later, you can further customize the avatar.

You will probably want to earn some Gaia Gold so that you can make your avatar look awesome. Money can be earned by being active, like posting on the message boards, playing games or doing just about anything. You can also have a house for your friends to visit and a car to drive around. You can trade items with others or make new friends by giving some of your old stuff away.

Chatting with other players is done by typing. Unfortunately there is no chat history feature, so you need to pay close attention to what is being said around you. This can be hard especially, if you are surrounded by a lot of people. When you find someone you would like to talk to in private, you can walk to a less crowded spot together. There is also a private message feature, although exchanging personal information might not be wise since you never know who is on the other end.

Gaia Online is played on your web browser.

Check out the video review.

http://www.gaiaonline.com (opens in a new window)
 

Habbo Hotel

Habbo Hotel is a chat world where your avatar lives in a massive hotel. Different countries have different hotels. Some countries share their hotel with nations with the same language. For example Portuguese Habbo Hotel is meant for Brazilian people, too. If you want to check in to another hotel, you need to register a new account.

Young people can't use strong language like swearing because there's a naughty word filter. And if the filtering fails and you manage to say a bad word, you might be warned or even banned by Habbo Moderators. They are hired guns who make sure everything is in order. You can recognize them from their name which starts with a MOD-prefix.

There's a wide variety of rooms with different themes. For example almost every hotel has a hospital, where you can role play of being either a doctor or a patient. Habbo Hotel has also some games to play with other avatars.

You can search rooms by keywords. For example by doing a search for games might find all the game rooms. There's also a forum, where you can share your thoughts, when you are not inside the world.

Habbo Hotel requires Flash Player installed (you probably already have it).

Check out the video review.

http://www.habbo.com (opens in a new window)
 

Free Realms

Free Realms is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) for tweens and teens. Like all the other MMORPGs, Free Realms is about improving you skills. You are also encouraged to raise pets, explore the vast lands and play all kinds of minigames.

You can chat with other players by typing or by using quick chat (pre-written text that you click with your mouse). You can also use emotes to communicate nonverbally. A word filter limits the things you can say. It is not possible to type numbers or swear words.

The more you play the more you get money and new stuff for you character. Free Realms is free to play but if you want access to additional features you need to pay for a membership. For example, only members can have rides, such as horses.

Free Realms has a versatile selection of character types (so called jobs). You can play as an adventurer, brawler, card duelist, chef, demolition derby driver, fisherman, kart driver, miner, ninja or a postman. Archer, blacksmith, medic, soccer star, warrior and a wizard can also be played, but you need to purchase a membership to continue developing those characters after the level four.

You gain levels in each job, when you play the minigame associated with it. For example, a chef prepares food, whereas a fisherman catches fish. If you want to develop your ninja skills, fight as a ninja. If you want to level up as a miner, play the mining minigame.

Battles can be fought using an archer, brawler, medic, ninja, warrior or a wizard. You either fight alone or along side of your friends. You can also fight against your friends in a duel. High level players can kill low level players with one blow. So it's good to have a match up of two equally skilled fighters. But the unique thing about Free Realms as an MMORPG is that you don't have to fight at all, if you don't want to.

Free Realms has a wide variety of playgrounds where you can have fun. They are also great for practising keyboard and mouse control. But of course if you already are familiar with 3D games, you should have no trouble controlling your character's movements.

The world of Free Realms is vast. To get from one point to another you can either run or teleport. There are a number of teleports available in each area. You can teleport to a spot on the map that has a teleport sign. Additionally you can teleport to your friend's exact location.

The game is graphically very beautiful. But to get the best gaming experience you need a good computer. The game doesn't require a lot of hard drive space initially. However, you may notice long loading times, when you first play some new areas or minigames. Your computer downloads the content in the background. That's why it's good to have a fast internet connection.

If you want to record your gaming, you can use the video capture. It can then be uploaded to YouTube using the internal upload feature.

Check out the video review.

http://www.freerealms.com (opens in a new window)
 

Reviews for IMVU and Second Life can be found in the free virtual worlds for adults section.