Virtual Madness: The Fascinating Tale of Habbo Hotel

If you were born somewhere between the late 80s and the mid-90s, then there’s a pretty good chance that your internet gaming career revolved around two main platforms: Habbo Hotel and Runescape.

Whilst the latter might be good, it doesn’t hold a candle to the absolute anarchy created by the iconic – and infamous – Habbo Hotel.

Habbo recently turned 16 years old and while the game may be a shadow of what it once was, it’s still saying something that they’ve managed to exceed the decade mark by quite some distance. After all, they’ve been through a plague of legal scandals over the years which have led to some close calls regarding their future.

Rumours of youngsters being groomed online in addition to cyberbullying caused an increased level of security on the game and whilst these were indeed dark times to be a fan or a player, we’ve decided to get these tidbits out of the way early in order to focus on the lighter side of things.

First off – hands up how many of you out there had to overuse your credit on your phone in order to purchase more furni for your Hotel room? If your hand isn’t raised, then please stop lying to yourself.

Things like Battleball and SnowStorm revitalised things a few years into the running of the Finnish production, with more and more ideas starting to blossom from people in terms of how they could generate some interest for their rooms on the site.

Games like Falling Furni and Takeshi’s Castle were adapted to allow guys and girls to get creative, and sports like football and tennis even appeared in different formats.

Of course, given the time period, we’d be wrong not to mention the influence of 4chan back in the day, with the site taking it upon themselves to try and prevent ‘racial stereotyping’ which was rumoured to have spread throughout Habbo throughout 2006.

As you can see here, they engaged in a ‘Pool’s Closed’ movement in which they orchestrated a few raids that really got people talking – and we aren’t just talking about the Habbo community.

In addition to this, there were fan sites created, radio stations and even real-life meet-ups, with what began as a fun way to pass the time becoming a global phenomenon.

The Hobbas, also known as the moderators of the site, were seen as celebrities by many and their appearance in the big wide world of Habbo often attracted a great deal of attention. Hotel Managers like Callie and Lost_Witness would often cause the site to crash purely by making a public appearance, and as time went on the game never really experienced the same level of intrigue as it did during this ‘boom’ period of sorts.

Every time a new style of furni came out or a new craze popped up there was often over 10,000+ people ready to jump on it, and that’s what makes Habbo so unique to this day. Sure it was controversial and sure it was a little bit too much at times, but it was the original format for people to not only communicate with friends but also expand their digital horizons in different ways.