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Bin Weevils: Adopt Your Own Virtual Pet
Dogs, cats, hamsters, parakeets, and goldfish make wonderful pets, but sometimes we just want a friend that's virtual. We have little time to clean up literal cages or take the emu for a walk. Real-life often becomes too busy for real-world critters.
According to Wikipedia, which is hardly ever wrong, a weevil is any beetle from the Curculionoidea superfamily. That doesn't sound like very much fun, unless you're working toward an advanced degree in biology. According to a popular new web site, a subspecies called Bin Weevils offers free online pet-adopting opportunities without actual beetles scuttling across your keyboard.
Are Weevils Worth It?
As with most free virtual pets, the little critter is cute and packs a hidden message of cooperation, self-reliance, and subliminal advertising. The good folks at Bin Weevils promise to indoctrinate their players only in noble and just causes such as recycling and online safety.
Is it worth it? Should real human children be permitted to play with virtual beetles? We wanted to find out. The things we learned may shock you. Adopting a weevil is free, but perhaps participation comes at a price.
How do you adopt a beetle?
Getting into the game presents no problem. Many free online virtual pet games ask for an email address. This web site doesn't care who you might be. A weevil name and associated password are necessary: nothing else matters.
We joined the club with the weevil name Curculionoide. The name just felt right. If you encounter us in your Weevil World travels, please say hi.
In the real world, cash is king. In the Bin Weevil world. mulch matters. Your little virtual pet makes purchases with mulch money. Unfortunately, you can't go into your backyard and scoop up a little spending mulch for your weevil: you must earn it through online tasks.
Keep your pet happy, healthy, and fed
Like virtually every online virtual pet, your adopted weevil needs tender loving care. It's your job to provide food, exercise, and emotional support. The Bin Weevil world has many opportunities to earn points that apply to all these categories:
- There are at least 2 virtual restaurants for weevil food.
- There are buttons to click to make your pet jump around and get vital exercise
- There are games to play and TV to watch for maintaining your pet's positive attitude.
Many fun activities are available
We played an interesting game. An outline of a country was presented: we picked the name of the country from a list of four choices. Young children would probably be over-challenged by this particular exercise, but middle schoolers might enjoy it for a few minutes.
Is the site safe?
The site is safe, except when it's not.
BinWeevils leaves a cookie on your hard drive: that's not usually a dangerous situation unless privacy is of the utmost importance. It simply facilitates an easier log in process during subsequent visits. Since we didn't reveal any sensitive information to the site when we created our account, there's certainly nothing sensitive stored in the cookie.
The site itself is totally Flash-based, implying that no download is required. If your computer has a Flash player installed (most do) then lauching the game is easy and safe. No program is completely safe when connected to the Internet, but the Adobe Flash Player has a relatively secure reputation. It's also free.
The site may not be safe when players are allowed to interact. A real-time monitor blocks offensive words, but inquisitive players tend to find ways around software-based filters. We were able to 'speak' an email address simply by replacing the '@' character with the word 'at.' That simple workaround might allow players to exchange email addresses and other possibly sensitive information.
Some online virtual worlds directed at children do not allow text to be entered. These sites offer a list of pre-programmed phrases, which certainly limits the playing experience, but greatly enhances security.
This site probably will not eclipse WebKinz, but it's fun for a while. Look for Bin Weevils online and adopt one.