You can be a geek about anything and everything these days. Case in point: my daughter is a horse geek. It all started at a friend’s pony-themed birthday party five years ago. From that day on, her life’s passion has been horses. She geeks out on horses with the fevered obsession of any Trekkie or Browncoat out there. Her closet overflows with horse shirts. She owns a library’s worth of horse books. She watches the same horse movies over and over again. Her backpack and lunch box are covered with horses. Her bedroom is basically a pagan shrine to the horse gods, filled with every shape and size of plastic equine imaginable.
And now that my daughter has occasional “screen time” access to my laptop, it was only a matter of time that she would stumble upon Star Stable. Simply put, it’s a young horse lover’s online paradise. Think World of Warcraft, but replace War with Horse.
Featuring lush mountainsides and shimmering waters, Star Stable is a breezy, beautifully rendered MMORPG set on the island of Jorvic, where all player characters are thin, doe-eyed girls. You want to play as a boy? Sorry, not an option. Once you customize your human character’s face and hair and choose a name and color for your horse, you’re ready to explore. Go on a quiet trail ride, participate in races, meet up with friends, or groom your faithful steed. Want to muck stalls and clean up digital horse poo? You can totally do that.
Of course, there are hundreds of shops and side quests that unlock items for you and your horse. After finding some tools for a busy blacksmith, he rewarded my daughter’s avatar with some fancy new horse shoes. You can earn (or purchase) Star Coins, the official tender of Star Stable, and go shopping at Jorvik City Plaza. Meanwhile, there’s an over-arching storyline of the evil land development company run by Mr. Kembell who wants to turn Moorland Stables into condos. He must be stopped!
As you travel here and there, you’ll meet an assortment of colorful characters, but the NPCs don’t really talk. Their dialogue consists of text bubbles accompanied by emotional grunts and coos. Younger players might need a parent to read some of the dialogue aloud to clearly understand their assignments. Luckily, there’s a handy map that highlights areas of interest to whatever quest has been undertaken so players aren’t wandering around aimlessly.
Available for Mac and PC download, Star Stable originally launched in 2011 in Sweden and now boasts over 2 million users worldwide. Although the content is geared toward tween girls, anyone age 6 to adult could enjoy tromping around Jorvic. My 8-year-old is completely hooked. The first four levels of Star Stable are free. After that, you can pay for a Star Rider membership that unlocks more features, quests, horses, and prizes. The developers state that in-game chat is monitored and they do not advertise any 3rd party content. Your budding e-questrians can saddle up today at www.starstable.com. All horse geeks are welcome.