At some point or other, a game comes along that's all the rage. Everyone in the know spreads the word to get others to join in on the fun and help one another in obtaining needed items in game. Then, out of the blue, the game disappears either without a trace or for reasons that are difficult to grasp.
Over the years many have been exposed to such games that left many a player wanting more each time they played. For myself, a handful of this nature have been played on a repeat and daily basis. To be more specific, social games top the list.
A great deal were played but three standout as being highly missed due to the interactivity of gameplay and connecting with fellow players. Fashion Avenue was the first to be played followed by Sim City Social and later Winx Adventure. They had their ups and downs but were still playable for long hours at a time.
Where did they go? Offline. Somewhere along the way some one thought it best to pull the plug. Let's take a look at what made them special.
Fashion Avenue Game
Facebook Social Game
My avatar in a Fashion Show with pet Scout. Total items in outfit came from 3 different stores. Outfit for pet came from 1 store.
One of the first social games I've played where I actually enjoyed playing countless hours in addition to adding new in-game friends (especially the adding in-game friends part). Farmville, Farmville 2 and Mall World were my main distractions on FB (Facebook). While trying to find the link to Mall World - the layout was still pretty new to me -, I came across some game suggestions that were said to be similar.
Of them, Fashion Avenue Game caught my attention. Based on the preview, it looked pretty inviting with all the possibilities and game play options available. So, with this in mind I decided to take it for a spin.
From that point on, I had a hard time staying away from the game. There were fully customizable female avatars, a personal store from which to earn as well as increase income, a variety of income buildings to place in your shopping district, a variety of stores to shop and earn from, colorful and unique NPCs (non-playable characters) that assist you in your journey to the top, pets, helpful neighbors, new stores every other week plus franchise opportunities.
Despite the target audience, both males and females played this game. At the start of gameplay, you are tasked with customizing your avatar/female character. Unbeknownst at the time, I could actually change her outfit, hair and accessories.
What I adored most about the game was the abundance of variety in the characters appearance and the price range of special items. The special currency wasn't as dastardly as some FB games tend to be where you have only one option in obtaining them; i.e. paying out of pocket. Here, you had several options in obtaining special currency: leveling up, checking in daily, fashion competitions, mini games, missions, choosing popular fashions in the fashion competitions and of course purchasing.
Even more incredible yet was the fashion competitions that presented both daily and monthly rewards. In addition to the rewards, every player (whether new or seasoned) had an equal opportunity in placing in the top spots.
A casual look that seems to suit the background. That's me and Scout enjoying the day. If I could share an image of my fashion district I would but at that time, screen captures weren't my forte [fore-teh].
Shopping/Fashion District [aka Fashion City]
Your shopping district is virtually where you generate additional income. The epicenter of your income stream is your personal store of which you can expand, customize as well as stock with popular goods. Each time a customer came in and browsed the racks, chances were high that they would purchase something.
You earned from items purchased by customers and sometimes neighbors that visited; can't remember if you could purchase from their store or not. Meaning, that once you stock your racks and display cases you are good to go without worrying about items expiring. As an added bonus, if you had a pet your income would increase.
In addition to your personal store, there were other stores that you could shop from as well as place within your district. Buildings could be placed as well which you could also collect from after x-amount of time; some buildings were as low as 5 minutes while others were close to 18 hours. Favorite Fashion District items?
Decorations. Not only were they great for making things look nicer, they were great for increasing the amount of income any nearby building/store could generate. Plus, after a certain milestone is reached, you can invite friends to franchise in your district.
How would they be able to do that you ask? By sending a request to build a store in your fashion district. How cool is that?
There was no shortage of new shiny things because just about every other week or so, we would be greeted with a brand new store and new buildings from which to earn income from. A good bit of the stores required special materials to build and complete but often times, this would almost not be necessary because your friends/neighbors had the ability to help. I did this several times myself and that was needed was me visiting them and clicking on the construction site of the soon-to-be store.
You do this enough, and your friends'/neighbors' store will be up and running in no time.
NPCs [Non-Playable Characters]
The NPCs have stores of their own but you could only visit two of them (store owners); Evie and Valerie. Evie is like a teacher that goes above and beyond the standard fair. She coaches you every few steps of the way and ensures you are doing your very best and staying positive.
Valerie... is... somewhat like those professors that won't accept anything less than perfection. Meaning when she sets a sales goal, you better meet and or surpass that mark. No exceptions of any kind nor excuses.
Other mentors you'll encounter during your gameplay:
- Maurice: he runs the Pet Adoption Agency - that's where you can get your pet
- Chloe: owner of Chloe's and offers loads of encouragement
- Rosalyn: owner of Desire with a daring sense of style
- Kya: owner of B.O.L.D and isn't afraid to standout from the crowd
- Gabrielle: owner of Fiorentina with a refreshing fashion sense
- Yuko: owner of Boutique Angelique - she's somewhat like ^Gabbie's fashion sister
- Abby: is always on hand to help and boost confidence
- Madison: owner of Madison Avenue that won't hesitate to give fashion advise
- Sunny: a fashion reporter that's just as testing as Valerie - but nicer
- Alyssa: a foodie that loves fashion and loves giving inspiration for up coming projects
- Ashley: a big help in business management - Evie's Niece
- Emily: she's a romantic that adores fashion and finding Mr. Right
Despite all the awesome stuff and players enthusiastic mood, news of the closure came as an utter shock. With the all the players, constant support and encouragement the reason behind the closure... Well, its pretty much unknown.
I mean the devs (developers) provided some information but not enough to calm the community. Many still visit the page in hopes that maybe, just maybe the game will be up again. Its been two and close to one twelfth years since the closure; posts from fans continue.
Fashion Avenue was a product of Ice Break Games.
Honorable Mention: Sim City Social
Kristy from Sim City Social [SCS]. Her expression is pretty close to the mood many players were in once news about the closure came out.
Pic courtesy of SCS page.
I really miss my adorable little city that I worked so hard to build and organize. Though it took a while to get things to work as intended it was still a pretty fun game. At this time, it has been a long while since a Sim City game was played; long as in not since 1999.
A major difference and change from past experience. There was never a dull moment and the missions were plentiful. In fact, the missions are what moved things along.
In addition to the missions, there were promotional buildings that not only functioned as advertisements, but as income generators; some big ones too. Dunkin' Donuts is still a favorite and I really enjoyed the little crossover with The Sims Social. Come to think of it, a Dunkin Donuts Resort would've made a nice addition.
Though, despite all the pleasant additions and introduction of a crashing UFO and UFO missions the game was brought to a surprising close. Its still a mystery considering how many players invested time and funds into this game.
Sim City Social was a product of EA: Electronic Arts
My avatar Ayomei back some years ago in-game. After a long day of exploring and shopping, I decided to return home and play on the computer for a bit; or I could be watching online videos.
The link to the game could be found under the 'Giochi'* tab once on the site.
~Screen capture of gameplay from Winx Adventure, a product of Rainbow S.r.l. and Iginio Straffi.
*Giochi: Italian for Games.
Not exactly sure how many of the site veterans, of Winx Club dot com, remember this game but it was one of my absolute favorite games on the site. For those not familiar with the site nor franchise, Winx Club is a series that was started by Iginio Straffi through his Rainbow S.r.l. company. At the start of my viewing, the show focused on a group of friends attending this academy geared toward teaching a unique set of students; unique meaning students with extraordinary abilities.
Despite my initial exposure to the show being through 4Kids Entertainment, I have given the original Italian and Rai English versions a go. Any way, while searching for some inspiration for an upcoming project, the site was discovered. The site itself was fun but then I discovered Garden of Charmix; the site's very own MMO [massive-multiplayer online] and social game.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was actually their second MMO social game; Gardenia Park was the first. During my first game intro, I saw loads of potential in the game as there was so much to do. After orientation, you are left to decorate your living space.
Sounds simple enough but you soon discover that you were in dire need of a shopping trip to get the stuff you needed. Of course you needed some currency to do this which is where the game hit a positive note for me. They had an amazing assortment of items for both your home and avatar that was available for purchase using the common (WX - Winx Coins) and special (RC - Rainbow Coins) currencies.
My room in Winx Adventure with charie Ayomei; its actually Ayome but needed an extra character to complete game profile. Ayomei's room is more uniformed and stylized when compared to Soraiya's room; an alt of which I deemed her little sister.
I was trying to go for an almost princess feel with a slight notion of a cafe. A nice space with lots of potential; same for charie whose closet was getting pretty full.
Of course the amazingly cool items related to the show and characters had an RC price tag but I don't think all of them did. The shopping was great and so was chatting with the other players; English was one of the top language servers but I spent a pretty good amount of time on the French and Italian servers in addition to the English servers. What was one of my top favorite things about Winx Adventure?
Earning WX through the Garden of Charmix mini-game. What's this you ask? To break down the title, you are basically utilizing an arsenal of plant seeds to plant and grow on a barren landscape; if you've seen the show, it looks almost like that virtual reality chamber the girls had to enter during season one of the show in order to complete their exams.
It sounds simple enough but as you progress in the challenges, the tasks of growing the plants becomes difficult due to obstacles; like freak storms that will destroy plants if not protected. That said, there are seeds that provide battle advantages once grown; such as providing shielding and increasing attack power. In addition to obstacles, enemies increased as well.
If you complete enough challenges successfully, you'll reach an amazing milestone where you will actually earn your Charmix (Winx Upgrade Level 2) transformation. At the launch of the transformation abilities, there were only three elements available: Fire, Light and Nature. It was really cool but there were some players that noted some discrepancies in one of the costumes along with the limited selection of elements.
A really great game with lots of promise. Not sure what happened, but the game was closed for what everyone thought was related to downtime. Well, that downtime never ended and everyone's hopes for new additions started to dissipate as months went on.
Its like they started something but couldn't or didn't finish. Based on what was in the game, there were lots of opportunities for adding new and amazing things as time went on; it didn't even have to be all at once.
There was room for expanding the game into a stand alone MMO with room for added updates along the way to the current selection of items such as:
- playable male avatars
- opening the pet store
- using the bus stop to travel around town especially to the beach
- using the NPC [non-playable character] professors to access the special schools
- attending the special schools
- maybe add the ability to own and run your very own shop
- adding either more levels to Garden of Charmix OR
- creating other mini-games based on each level of transformation
- adding a bookstore where you could purchase digital issues of the Winx comics, read up on back issues of Winx magazine and possibly purchase music from the series
- maybe a community garden where players plant and share what they grow with one another
- opportunities for hosting player sponsored contests
- hosting game sponsored contests with rewards ranging from currency to something unique and special
Alas, it wasn't meant to be; unfortunately. With all the cool activities that took place here, the forums were always buzzing with the latest from players sharing their latest adventures and cool discoveries. After a while, the forums started to go away; unlike the MMO, we were actually given a heads up.