We also played Royale High, which is unlike anything I have ever tried before. I contacted its creator, Callmehbob, who didn’t want to share her real name.
“I created the game I wanted to play, but I couldn’t find it anywhere,” Callmehbob (also known as @Nightbarbie) said in an email. “It turns out a lot of people were looking for the same type of game as well, and it blew up completely unexpectedly.”
Callmehbob started playing Roblox in 2007 – yes, it’s been so long – but it wasn’t until 2017, at the age of 22, that she decided to start developing a game for the platform. Despite no previous experience, she turned her hobby into a full-time gig: Royale High has been played over 5 billion times. She says the key to success is the ability to replay, including ways to make money in the game and create a game that you would like to play yourself.
“There are so many players on Roblox, you will find your special and perfect audience, ”says Callmehbob. “I’m still shocked at how many like-minded players love the same things as I do.”
In Royale High, I attend English lessons in a school that looks like a castle. There’s an interactive spelling test (10/10 for me), and then I rush to get the right book out of my locker before chemistry. Later, I get ready for a dance by bathing and choosing a new outfit. After dancing and drinking punch, I was touched when I was elected King of the Ball, an award that comes with a bouquet of flowers and 500 diamonds.
“Development Royale High has been a constant balance between making fun games to make money and creating fun store items to spend that currency on (giving players a goal to hit), ”says Callmehbob.
There is a delicious sweetness to Royale High, and it includes a larger magical world to explore beyond school. At one point, my daughter and I discover a clearing with a campfire and all the ingredients we need to make smores. There are various mini-games and ways to find or earn change that you can spend on fabulous outfits and accessories.
“I think we’ve helped bring in a whole new wave of people, creating a more feminine game, a style / genre that I look for frequently and want to play but that is somewhat hard to find,” she says, talking about the growth of Roblox players. “Well done to the other women’s games before me which paved the way!”
This kind of gameplay is underrepresented in the wider games industry, which is still dominated by men, even though half of the players are women. There are countless violent or competitive games out there, but many people prefer a smoother pace or a different type of game.
Another of my daughter’s favorites is Dance Off, which is a mix of dance and fashion that challenges you to choose an outfit and hairstyle before taking the stage for a show. Each player evaluates the others to decide the winner. It’s repetitive, but maybe that’s part of the appeal. My daughter has played enough to have popular status. (“Popular” floats above his head while “Novice” floats above mine.)
“I have very funny childhood memories of playing games over and over again,” Callmehbob says. “Knowing what to expect can be very heartwarming, especially in the life of a young person, where they may cross uncertain and rocky waters.”
Explosion of popularity
First release in 2006, Roblox has grown steadily, but it increased during the lockdown in 2020, adding around 50 million monthly active users and 5 million active creators. The developer community should win somewhere approximately $ 250 million for 2020, against 110 million dollars in 2019. While most creators are amateurs Roblox gamers, some like Callmehbob made full-time jobs out of it, and the platform also started to attract professionals, like the Swedish game studio the gang.