Atom Universe: A Brief Introduction

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Atom Universe (formerly known as Atom Republic) is a desktop (non-VR) virtual world with some integrated carnival games and pastimes such as golf and bowling, which is available via Steam or on the PlayStation 4. According to its Steam page:

Atom Universe is a Free-to-Play social Virtual World: a theme park featuring fun people and fun things: plenty of games, rides and amusements, as well as advanced social interactions.

Atom Universe is the best place to hang out: Everything you’ve ever loved about Fun Parks is here for you! From Carnival games like Coin Pushers, Shooting Galleries, Whack-a-Mole and Skeeball to big ones like Bowling, Mini Golf and Batting Cages, to the REALLY big ones – Ghost Trains, Rollercoasters and Karting. And the BEST thing about Atom Universe is that you can do all of these things in the fine company of other people – bring friends along or come and meet lots of new ones!

Atom Universe is first and foremost a hub for people to meet, chat and socialise. It’s essentially like a chatroom, but with loads of fun to have alongside. All of our games involve some sort of element of multiplayer, some competitive and some co-operative, so you will always find people to get involved with!

This is the first desktop virtual world I can recall where the arrow keys don’t work; you have to use the WASD keys to move around, and it is always at a run; there doesn’t seem to be any way to just walk around. The user interface is frankly a bit clunky to use, in my opinion (or maybe it just takes a bit of getting used to).

Avatar customization is extremely limited, with only eight avatar heads to choose from (four male and four female), with no face or body sliders to adjust how you look. Atom Universe has two types of in-game currency, Atoms (which you get for free every time you sign in, and can use on games and other attractions) and Molecules (which you have to purchase, and which you can use to buy clothing and accessories for your avatar from their marketplace).

The user interface is also at times a bit busy/distracting, with lots of overlapping elements. There’s an overly cheerful voice-over guide, which very quickly gets annoying.

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Here’s a few pictures of the public areas you can visit:

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And that’s pretty much it! The games (like Orb Runner) are pretty simple. Compared to more fully-featured and long-running virtual worlds like Second Life, there’s not a lot to do, and there’s not a lot of other avatars around to interact with. Another one to add to my list of social VR/virtual worlds, and to keep an eye on to see how it develops over time.

Oh, and one other thing. I hate that the only way I could figure out how to exit Atom Universe was to hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and use the Windows Task Manager to shut down the app! Update: I discovered that the Esc key quits the program, but overall? I’m not really very impressed with this product at all. For a virtual world that has been on the market for over two years, I expected something with a bit more polish. Here’s a two-minute YouTube promotional video from September 2016 (the program has not changed significantly since then):

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