The Habbos return in Habbo Hotel: Origins, a relaunch of the 2000s chatroom game

You forgot about Habbo Hotel, didn’t you? Habbo Hotel. With those words and the above image, it is possible I have sent a shocking dose of neurochemical nostalgia through your brain and into your various internal organs. Your vision blurs. You sweat. You are 12 years old again, frightened and intrigued at the idea of graduating to teenhood, bathing in the cool glow of a cream-coloured CRT computer monitor. “Habbo Hotel is back!” is what I might shout if I did not know better, snapping you back to the present day in an act of psychological whiplash. The truth is the pixellated hangout zone of the early 2000s never went away. It has been alive this whole time. You forgot about the Hotel. But the Hotel did not forget about you.

Today, developers Sulake are doing something to jog your memory. They are calling it Habbo Hotel: Origins. I ask you to think carefully before you go there.

Yes, sorry. In an act that will make grown adults across the western world cry out as they inspect their own faces in mirrors and understand that time is both vaprous and immutable, the developers of Habbo are relaunching the oldest version of Habbo Hotel they have.

“After discovering an old decrepit server with some long-lost files at the beginning of this year,” say the Habbolords in a news post, “…long-time Habbo developer and player Macklebee has lovingly restored an old version of Habbo Hotel first released in 2005.”

They are launching the minigame-filled virtual chatland today, and have posted a short video promoting it on Xitter, as noticed by Polygon. This will be “an iconic version of an iconic game with a fresh, community-led approach,” they say. The community-led bit refers to what the developers are doing in one area of the game, which will become “a kind of democratic forum where we will ask important questions about the development and direction of Habbo.” Players will be able to vote on whatever is discussed, and the decisions, we’re told, will be binding. Experience tells me there will be limits to this. Direct cyberdemocracy does not always go smoothly.

For anyone deeply confused about Habbo history, I have previously written about the game as a currency-obsessed realm of baseball caps and virtual materialism. It is a bit like proto-Roblox. Both in that it shares a target audience of children and has seemingly no logic to its dreamlike world(s). It is free-to-play but is not, I emphasise, one of our best free games.

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