The Super Secret world. Shhh!

It was the year 2050 and the City was under attack. We held out as long as we could, those of us who had chosen to stay behind. We kept our vigil in the dark, all the lights out, excepting only the dim illumination from our monitors, both for reasons of conservation and safety. At random periods, the missiles came in on trajectories we were barely able to track; those of us with the best reflexes and eyesight were on duty bringing those missiles down, before they were able to explode against our shields, or, worse, take down yet another part of the City.

In the end, the City fell, though I continued on.”

“Armed with the best in winter garb and a snowboard, I hurried swiftly to my destination. Even all the snow flying through the air and the powder obscuring the snowboard at my feet could not make me falter; I darted to and fro, left right left again, leaping over obstacles – fallen trees, wandering livestock – all the while pulling wicked stunts with the board. Flips backward, rolls to the front, high, higher into the air I leapt, twisting, turning, hot dog, man!

Time is running out …!”

“I levelled the dart at my target. ‘Breathe,’ I thought to myself, ‘Breathe slow.’ The goal is within reach, I’ve traced the parabola that the dart will follow in my mind a thousand times already – I know this, I can do this. Through the steel walls, bounce off the back, down the chute and through to a glorious finish. ‘Watch the bombs,’ I told myself, ‘Watch the bombs!’

But the bombs weren’t even the biggest problem here.”

“So upon my return from my missions, I checked the date, checked my spending account. Spendings – up 200%, a satisfactory result. But the date, oh, that mendacious date! I couldn’t believe I still had five days to wait before my eleventh birthday, the day I would also get to choose a pet of my very own to care for! Oh, the sheer unfairness of it all!

‘Patience,’ I counselled myself, ‘Have patience.’

Because getting older is cool when you’re ten; losing your cool? Not so good at any age.”

Welcome to Super Secret!

Welcome to Super Secret! A world for tweens (that age when getting older still actually seems like a good idea) where the overarching goal is to grow up and have cool new responsibilities, and get neat stuff to play with.

Entry to the world is easy — almost too easy. Though it is stated in the Terms of Use that users must either be over 18 or have parental permission, little information is required to get in. Fortunately, the creators of Super Secret have made it an especially safe place for kids to be. Interactions are limited by several mechanisms: “super chat”, essentially regular instant messaging, can only be engaged in with parental consent, and is monitored by humans and by computer; “simple chat”, in which the user selects a phrase from a list, is available to all; gift giving, in which an item is removed from the user’s inventory and given to another user; and gag-gift giving, in which a practical joke of a specific nature is played on another user.

Additionally, Super Secret is free to join. However, you must pay a subscription to be able to advance beyond the age of 13. Users can continue to access the world for free regardless of age, but will not be able to unlock secrets or purchase some items available only to older characters. It should be noted that only USA credit cards are being honoured at this point, though the ability for users from other countries to subscribe is supposed to be in the works.

The main way to earn money (“Spenders”) and to gain age points (which advance the character’s age) is to play the mini games available both through the user’s card deck, and throughout the locations that can be visited in-world. There are over 20 games available when you begin, and many more can be found or purchased. Each game tests the reflexes and the ability to learn and adapt, and a knowledge of a little physics doesn’t hurt for some of them, either. If the casual mini games in Free Realms aren’t quite casual enough for you, then Super Secret’s will likely fit the bill.

Aside from this, there is a world to explore, filled with objects of worth to find, quests to fulfill, and secrets aplenty.

As an adult, I found the world to be safe and engaging, and the mini-games to be compelling enough to inspire persistence. The only thing I found to be slightly odd, coming from adult virtual environments, was the lack of public communication between users. Were all the kids trying out the world too shy, too confused, or busy to speak up? Perhaps there were many adults testing out the world, embarrassed to be asked, ”What grade are you in?” – I do not know.

If I was 10 again, or around that age, I’d be pleased to get into Super Secret as my first or second virtual world. If I was a parent, I’d be keen for my child to access it. And as an adult, I think I will indulge in the guilty pleasure of popping in every so often just to play the mini-games.

Comments

  1. Wolfie Rankin says:

    And just like kids that age, will look like they're not conforming, by all looking exactly the same, check out the postures in the picture, hehe.

  2. Wolfie Rankin says:

    And just like kids that age, will look like they're not conforming, by all looking exactly the same, check out the postures in the picture, hehe.

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