In this hallucinatory MMO, everyone’s a baby and nothing’s what it seems

In this hallucinatory MMO

I’m a child and I can’t find the key to getting into my dad’s room. There are no hints or clues as to where he might be, and the bright red hellish dimension around Daddy’s Room isn’t exactly kid-friendly. When I turn to other small players for advice, I try to follow them to see what they are doing. One leads me into a secret room filled with blinding white light, and the other, a menacing black ghoul with blank white eyes, watches bleakly as I fall off the broken path into Dad’s Room. Clearly, there are no friends here. Only babies.

I play Let’s go-to! Baby! world of friends, a shared-world multiplayer game that was created in just four days. His proud parent is an independent developer Feverdream Johnnyfamous for weird platforming Pib Adventures and his lo-rez works with the Haunted PS1 community. An all-too-plausible LGBFW fabrication is that it was once a thriving 2001 kids-themed social sim that faded into obscurity and has since “resurfaced in hobbyist circles,” according to its itchy page.

For five minutes, I almost believed it. Like Johnny’s other work, LGBFW is a crisp, surreal world of PS1-style graphics. You can play it on your own, but the true beauty of the game lies in the multiplayer mode.

Inspired by Ni Nathan and Ciscookiess Bravery and super weird games on sale (often for Nintendo DS), Jonny is a full-time college student studying digital media and started working on LGBFW in early 2022. “I heard that Seokpen hosted a Twitch event where chat members could appear in the virtual world as babies, and they just wandered aimlessly in a dark room until the countdown to the New Year ended, all the while jumping and feigning emotions, ”he says. old memories of MMOs from his childhood – not big MMO titles as you might think, but smaller, no-nonsense social chats. desert for no apparent reason.”

In the same vein, Let’s Go Baby is arguably the most hostile user experience I’ve ever had with a game. And, oddly enough, its inscrutable nature also makes it (at least for me) one of the most ingeniously designed social games ever made. “[Hostile user design] always interested me,” Johnny says of the completely opaque nature of LGBFW. “I was tempted to make a game cluttered with status bars that serve extremely indirect purposes.”

There are no tutorials here

No friendly NPCs to push you along the way. There is no chat in the game or any way to meaningfully communicate with other players. I emerge into a brick-walled courtyard littered with tombstones and head to a playground with a roundabout and a statue of Jonathan, one of the pre-installed baby skins. In the distance looms the inscription “Do you have milk?” billboard

I can dance, crawl, and create sound effects by choosing different auras – auras allow me to interact with the world, although I have a lot of trial and error figuring out what to interact with and which aura (one YouTube streamer, for example, theorized the auras of the Void and Tenebris were the most effective in his passage). “The only stat you can increase over multiple playthroughs is the hidden ‘age’ stat, which makes you taller over time, but that’s about it,” says Johnny.

The true magic of LGBFW lies in its quirky little existence as a quasi-ARG that requires an actual community to unravel its mysteries. From a couple of videos and comments on, I understand that my goal as a child was to sneak into my dad’s room, unlock my dad’s console and call my dad. At some point, I will know what I need to produce spectrograms to decipher some things.

Ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, there is no point in LGBFW other than doing weird things to other people and reveling in the weirdness of that collective experience. “I think I’ve always been drawn to the idea of ​​making a multiplayer game with no real end goal,” Johnny says. “Most multiplayer games at least have some sort of purpose, like having a fundamental mechanic that you’ll need other players for, but for a lot of these social MMOs, the only thing other players could bring you is company.”

At a time when shared online experiences and hyped metaverses are overly boring ways of re-enacting the worst parts of real life, Let’s Go, Baby, in all its arcane glory, achieves something truly beautiful. There is almost no barrier to entry: it’s a free browser game, which means I can easily convince a few friends to open a new tab and join me, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

The server can accommodate up to 100 players: at its peak during the first week, there were 96 gorgeous babies online at the same time, and in a recent showdown on Patreon, Johnny recorded a total of 15,000 crazy babies passing through the sacred lands of LGBFW. While the initial wave of players came from Johnny’s network, he says that over time, the players misrepresented younger, 12-year-olds who just wanted to play with their friends.

“I had to put up with it because my games are intentionally goofy, they tend to appeal to younger audiences who are going through the ‘chance’ stage and want to share it with the world,” he says. “I remember getting a review on Peeb Adventures where someone legitimately wrote, ‘This game blew my kid’s mind!’ and I honestly can’t say if I’d like it any other way.”

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