Early social networking with avatars
Habbo (originally known as Habbo Hotel) is a site where users gather and mingle in virtual hotels and their surroundings, using blocky avatars, with the whole mess being presented in an isometric view, rendered in Flash (previously Shockwave.) The site boasts being a "Hangout for teens" and as such, is often ripe for trolling, first by individuals, then by more organized groups such as goons and btards.
The first well-known group to invade Habbo en masse were the Something Awful goons, who created a cult of gray-hooded, non-confrontational Habbos who strove to show the "prismatics" that "the path is gray." They generally made a minor nuisance of themselves, and were more a of a spectacle than a disruption. This culminated in a mass "ascention," where goons spent several days creating rooms with beds and a bar from which gray Kool-Aid would be served. In the days leading up to the stunt, the Genos would preach about a great event that was approaching, and on the prescribed day, large numbers of Genos lay in the beds after drinking their Kool-Aid, then (by disconnecting their internet connections) the Genos ascended, vanishing one by one from their beds while other goons, posing as concerned parents, relatives, and friends, acted hysterically and tried to stop the inevitable disappearance of their loved ones. The reaction from Habbo regulars was widespread and hilarious, with confusion and upset prevailing.
4chan has, for quite some time, enjoyed disrupting Habbo Hotels and has it down to a science by now. They, like the goons, have a uniform of sorts, which is a black avatar with a large afro wearing a suit. They'll then block access to the swimming pools, claiming that the pool has been closed due to AIDS. Aside from this, they'll often position themselves to form large swastikas. Unlike the goons, they are often quite disruptive and banned on a regular basis.
Habbo was the culmination of a hobby project between Karjalainen and Kyrölä and with UK venture capital from Dee Edwards, creating a "virtual hotel" for teens. The site has numerous domains for various languages, each being launched at different dates between 2000 and 2010, with the US incarnation appearing in September of 2004.
The site is still quite popular among younger internet users, and boasts more than 203 million avatars at this time. Due to 4chan's trolling, the typical raid uniform of a black character with a large afro wearing a suit tends to be ban-on-sight, leading to attacks on the foreign Habbo Hotels instead of the US version.
- Once filtered out swearing with the nonsense word "bobba." This was changed to a string of astersiks in 2010.
- Was "muted" in June 2012 due to pedophiles using the service to groom victims.