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I grew up playing Roblox games (and later scripting in Studio) and the most memorable aspect was how surreal everything was. Most of the games were mishmashes of pre-existing assets, puerile humor, and pop culture references.

I remember one game in which you started off on a massive platform full of food, and had to shovel the food onto a conveyor belt that led into a giant person's mouth. If you yourself fell onto the conveyor belt, you'd be treated to a grand tour of the person's digestive system before being turned to poop and dropped into the toilet bowl. Inside the toilet there was an obstacle course, and at the end of this obstacle course there was an array of fighter jets that you could use to get back onto the food platform. The jets didn't have throttle: they either went super fast or not at all. So the poop-people would bail out of their planes in mid-air, and the jet would crash into the baseplate, usually killing someone below.

This was back when there was no way for developers to monetize their games. Some games had "VIP T-shirts" that gave you tools or allowed you to enter a special room, but devs had neither the technical ability nor the incentive to "do it for the money". Most games were like the one I described: bizarre one-off projects created with the intent of showing something really cool. A few "classics" kept stable player-bases, but for the most part the front page was a constant churn of weirdness.

I've still never seen anything quite like it.

I didn't expect for someone saying they "grew up" playing Roblox to trigger a midlife existential crisis, but here I am.

I grew up typing in BASIC games from magazines. I had no way of saving the games on a permanent medium, so when I was done playing, I lost the game.

Feel better now?

One further step: I sat there reading BASIC books in the library but never had the correct setup to actually try them, so I would play them in my head (we had computers, just not the BASIC interpreter).

They were not that much different than a choose your own adventure book.

"Mom! Why did you turn off the computer! YOU LOST ALL MY WORK!"

Was there too.

You didn't have an analog tape recorder hooked up to your TI basic computer that only worked 20% of the time to save your games? Pffff

We had radio shows that transmitted software over the airwaves... still think that was incredible! It wasn't very reliable, though (and not very fun to listen to).

Unless you bought a c64 and realized you can't use any old tape recorder, but had to buy a proprietary (albeit much more reliable) commodore tape deck.

I had one of those. Then I got a 1541 disk drive as a gift one year. Ah, the angry look on my dad's face in the wee hours of the morning having been awakened by that obnoxious clacking sound caused by the disk drive encryption methods of the day.

The magazine is a permanent medium.

And mdemare was the loader.

If you look at the profile it starts off "High School Senior", so you have a couple years yet, I'd think.

Welcome to being old. You'll like it here.

When the kids who grew up on Roblox start throwing around the word "old", that's how those of use who grew up on MUDs know that we're actually old now.

Ah yes, I remember the first time I was asked--with a tad of suspicion--what a MUD is, and explaining it in terms of its graphical successors, themselves now antique, which I never touched.

Man, you're not alone here. Same feeling.

Roblox is the reason I'm a developer today. To be fair, I got in on it pretty early (late '07 I think), but its been around since 2004. There are high school students current applying to college that never knew a world without it.

I'm ~30 and I feel the same way


This is actually how old Quake III-era FPS maps used to be. I played Star Trek: Elite Force (and Elite Force II), which were Star Trek-based Quake III games that supported third player multiplayer maps.

You had plenty of maps where the creators tried to match the game's feel, and so many that were completely unrelated. Giant bathrooms where you are the size of a mouse was one of the standouts I remember.

This level of customization is often just something businesses have moved away from allowing. And considering the "condo" problem with Roblox, it's understandable why: https://www.fastcompany.com/90539906/sex-lies-and-video-game... (The bathroom map I recall above, had a photo of a topless woman in a hidden area.)

Custom Quake- and Source-Engine levels are awesome. There's a great YouTube channel that showcases old TF2 maps:


Thanks for sharing! TF2 is frankly the best class-based FPS I’ve ever played.

Padman maps were the ones where you were shrunken. They are one of my all time favorite FPS experiences. The homogenized nature of modern games really makes me miss all the modding that went on. When I was a teenager we made our own maps in Doom1-3. I dabbled in Q1-3 maps but it got a lot less accessible due to learning curve. Doom was perfect because it was 2D.

The Doom mapping/modding community is still very active. I recently played an incredible 'megawad' called Ancient Aliens that includes this wild level that uses the Build engine trick of simulating a two-story level with silent teleporters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_WxLORClZg&list=PLFK2eL5cls...

I had no idea. Maybe I should pick it back up. I remember buying the Deth editor and it came on a few floppies. It was a lot of fun . We made our middle school and high school into maps (didn’t everyone?).

I am glad my kids have Minecraft, but there was something special about that era in my heart. It really taught me the joy of building things I intrinsically value.

The custom maps in CS:S / TF2 were my introduction to this.

So many weird and wacky maps. Maps built to look like spongebob's house, maps to look like mario, so many hours wasted on surf maps.

I'm sad newer games don't support custom maps or servers as much these days.

The problem is many modern games are designed for maximum monetization and a shelf life. You want a community enough to keep people playing til [game name +1] but not past that so people all buy the next one. Allowing players to make custom maps and modes would let them bypass the carefully crafted progression and DLC systems put in place to extract more time and cash.

Dev/publisher consolidation & ballooning AAA budgets due to higher fidelity graphics drove this.

It used to be, you did anything you could to sell more copies of your game, for as long as you could.

Now, the above mostly cannibalizes yourself, since there are so few other publishers around.

The TF2 toy fort genre of maps were lots of fun.

And who will ever forget Trainsawlaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrltoRnljqc

I must have been too stick in the mud, I would always find these maps annoying and would jump to another server.

I really wish I could play the Star Trek: Elite Force single player games again, but I suspect they haven't aged well.

Now I'm having flashbacks to the Battlefield mod community from HS and college. Pirates, Galactic Conquest, Desert Combat, and so many other amazing ones that had a ton of players because of lack of server monetization and developer lock down.

Lots of memories coming back to me. A few more notable games:

- The Pirate's Dream. You played as pirates spread out over a huge map with dozens of different islands. Every island had different ships you could buy and ways you could make money. Lots of fond memories of claiming an island for myself, or taking part in huge ship battles with my buddies. We would sink the enemy's ship with cannon fire and shoot any swimmers that tried to grapple onto ours.

- Ride-a-Rocket. You started the game at Cape Canaveral. Every few minutes, a rocket would launch that allowed players to get to the ISS. From the ISS you could fly to the Moon, spacewalk, or just hang out with your astronaut bros. Flying the Space Shuttle back to Earth was very difficult.

- Storm Chasers. The objective of the game was to take close-up photographs of hurricanes and tornadoes and sell them for cash. Risky shots meant greater rewards. You started out with a cheap car, a ruddy camera, and a handful of strips of film. As you made money, you could gradually improve your equipment until you had full-HD Camcorders and video drones.

- Ultimate Power. A battle-royale game where you used Dragon Ball-style power attacks. I remember this game having a really high skill ceiling; it was insane how good some players were.

- Grow-a-Brick. You spawned with a tiny pet brick that followed you around. Your job was to go around the map, collecting food for your brick so that it could grow to a huge size. The rarest kinds of food were good and evil food. A brick that ate enough evil food could kill and eat other bricks; a brick that ate enough good food could sap the evil from the evil bricks.

I have an 11-year old daughter who finished or was able to play to the ending of MineCraft around 2016/2017. She's been playing it since 2014. She discovered that there is an ending and she did hers too. She began playing Roblox around 2016.

So, when I read “grew up playing Roblox”, I had to read up Roblox's history to understand my bearing.

This is surreal.

She's been asking me that she need to become a premium member to create Roblox artifacts/items. She is creative. I need to look into this. She meets her friends, hangs out with them there. She has even taught her 4-year old sister to play and wander around with her on Roblox.

I'm not a parent, and certainly not your child's parent, but...

Please help her with that. What's she's asking it basically what I asked of my parents at her age. I did things like run a BBS and write stupid programs, and today I'm a senior software developer with a job that pays quite well. And I still love programming.

While she doesn't technically need it to be creative, doing things that interest you is a huge boost in the creativity and learning departments. She probably won't learn what you or she expects to, and that's even better, IMO.

Of course, I don't know what else you're already doing for her like that, and there's certainly a point where you're just throwing money away at whims. But I just felt the need to put this out there.

Lots of parents of Roblox players here.

Better Roblox than TikTok.

I don't agree. My kids are into Minecraft and TikTok, not Roblox (so my opinion is very objective ;))

The fun in minecraft is creating. The fun in TikTok is both consuming and creating. I know you can create Roblox games, but most kids I see only consume.

I think all 3 can be fun for them, as long as they can limit their screen time.

4-year old sister, I hope?

Ah! Yes. Fixed. :-)

This is exactly how the flash games scene was for a long time.

Flash games and animations is basically what really got me into the design side of web dev. Before that I was all about the code, then making silly little flash games based around in-jokes between me and my friends is what got me into graphics, animations, etc.

The global hate for flash (which is fairly warranted) drowns out the absolutely colossal impact it had on pushing the web from a purely informational thing to a platform for entertainment.

I like Flash as an idea, its just the Adobe Flash Player that everyone had a problem with. It would have received a lot more love if there were alternate implementations available, especially open source ones. It's kind of similar to how you can often find Windows users complaining about "Java" when they mean the annoying Oracle JRE that sneaks into installs and is a security mess. Nobody ever complains about OpenJDK.


Just a curious Q: why is there hate directed at Flash but not a similar 3rd party runtime like Unity?

Sounds a lot like Garry's mod or Warcraft 3 custom maps.

I've only had a brief play with Roblox and didn't get to the good/weird stuff. This year we've found some fantastically strange creations on Dreams, plus a lot of the models/audio/logic/etc. that people create are set to be reusable in any other project.

Well worth a try if you have access to a Playstation.

Sounds like the internet when it was younger, and things like geocities allowed anyone to have a free website. People put up anything and everything, niche interests to fan sites, complete with animated skulls or torches or mailboxes, scrolling text, music players, and visitor counters.

Reminds me of a lot of custom Team Fortress 2 maps you can run into. I remember the pure craziness that was the Party Van server in the early 2010's.

Sounds like the wonderful, wacky world that was Unreal modding in the late 90s.

Analogous to the evolution of the internet from geocities to Facebook.

This sounds awesome. Do you know what game that was?

I don't remember exactly, there were tons of games like that and a lot of them blended together in my mind. The most similar game I can specifically remember is the Human Body Obstacle Course:


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