I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
First some info on the Webkinz so readers are up to speed courtesy of Wikipedia.
Webkinz ($15-30) are stuffed animals that were originally released by the Ganz company on April 29, 2005. The toys are similar to many other small plush toys, however they come with a special code on their labels that allows access to the "Webkinz World" which is a website to own a virtual version of the pet for virtual interaction. There are also smaller, less expensive versions of the toys called Lil' Kinz($8-15).
Each Webkinz stuffed animal and Webkinz accessory comes with an 8-character code. By registering this code on the Webkinz website, you "adopt" this pet in the virtual Webkinz World, which is an online play area with its own economy. The user receives money (called KinzCash) by adopting new pets, playing online games, answering general knowledge questions, and through daily activities like clicking "I love my Webkinz!", spinning the Wheel of WOW, playing Wishing Well 2, or completing jobs (minigames) available once every 8 hours. Each day, there is a Game of the Day, which can be played for bonus KinzCash, and other bonuses are available each hour.
Offline, users can purchase clothing, body spray, lip-gloss, backpacks, purses, Figures, trading cards, or charms for their pets. They each come with a code to type in online and receive prizes.
Users can spend their KinzCash at what is called the W Shop, where they can purchase food and clothing for their pet, items for their pet's room or to build additional rooms onto their house, or outdoors areas etc. Users can decorate a room for their pet with pre-made themes, or mix and match their own furniture.
The online world also contains many rare or exclusive items. Some of these items require developing a friendship with the Curio Shop owner to purchase, while others you get for registering other Webkinz accessories you purchase in the real world. Each type of pet gets a special food available exclusively for them. Also, a Pet of the Month is announced at the beginning of each month. If a person registers the announced pet in that month, they will receive other exclusive items.
Many of the tasks in Webkinz World involve collecting items. For example, recipes are released for the players through cookbooks you can purchase or one of the TV Shows called The Secret Chef. Gems can be mined once a day at the Curio Shop, with a full set of gems being turned into the Webkinz Crown of Wonder.
Another feature of Webkinz includes the ability for players to create their own shows with the Webkinz Studio, and enter to be chosen to appear on the Webkinz television. Other features include buying a swimming pool, where you can have your Webkinz swim around, which increases their health, sending gifts or letters to friends on a peer-to-peer network, invite a friend over to your house, participate in the hourly events, play Wacky Bingoz, a form of bingo where you get one, two, and three ball games every day, and many more.
Whew… Now that is over.
About a month ago, a good friend of mine told me all about the Webkinz. He went on to tell me how this was good life lessons for his children. They have to learn responsibilities to feed (good food vs. bad food), walking and pet love, how a better education gets them better jobs that pay more. This would instill life values while entertaining them.
This all sounds great. It came across that children can have fun while learning.
Today, a month later. Now comes the bomb. Besides the cost of buying the toys and charms, he informed me that on the Internet are cheat codes. He then said he was going to cheat for his kids. I was stunned he was going to try this.
We stopped at a store to buy a stuffed animal to try the cheat codes on. He was worried that if his children used the codes and got caught they would lose everything they worked so hard for. The policy is to delete the virtual world account for cheaters. I said that I was very disappointed in him that he would use these cheat codes, and what message was this sending to his kids. Big mistake on my part. Other parents don’t want another parent critiquing or giving advice.
Things then changed that it was not a learning tool, now it was just for fun. He then asked me if I have ever used a cheat code on video games. To which I told him NO! I have never seen the allure to cheating. In school, I was an “A” student. In college, I was a 4.0 student and belong to Phi Delta Kappa. I was one of those students that could do well with little effort.
Now if it was for him, I would careless. However, this is for his children. I think that showing and allowing children to knowingly cheat is wrong. This sends the wrong message. It tells them that it is okay to cheat. Cheaters only cheat themselves in life. While playing the games inside when it comes to questions, the questions are age appropriate. You select the age category you are. There is no one stopping a child from selecting an age under what they are, but as a parent, you should tell your children not to cheat.
So where does this leave us, he asked me. DISAPPOINTED I told him! Yes, it is cheaper to cheat, easier to cheat, just not wiser.
Microsoft's Xbox Live Publicly Humiliates Cheaters
Microsoft has made good on threats to make 'bad things happen' to users who artificially inflate their Gamerscore. The Gamerscore is built up by playing games and meeting objectives but some users have been doing so by hacking.
Microsoft has punished cheats by resetting their score, making it impossible for them to complete falsely claimed objectives, and putting "I'm a dirty cheater" on their profile.
Microsoft has not provided any avenue for appeal, saying that they identified players "who have used external means to earn achievements without really playing the game" using "specific and automated criteria.”