Boys like to play soccer and Minecraft – girls like horses and play Star Stable. Fortunately, it’s not that simple. The developers of the online role-playing game Star Stable apparently see things differently. The game comes only with female characters.
In Star Stable, players ride a horse across an island and meet other female riders. They can communicate with them via chat during the game. You’ll have to complete missions, solve puzzles and win tournaments. This will allow them to get new clothes and better riding gear. Up to the fifth level the game is free, after that there are different payment models for the full version: you can buy access to the game for a month, three months or a whole year.
In addition to the game itself, there are complementary apps to enhance the horse experience for girls.
Star Stable offers a large virtual world that children will love to discover. The course of the game is designed by yourself. The characters your child can slip into, as well as their horses, can be customized to appear unique. Especially girls, for whom the game is tailored, can live out their love of horses here. The graphics are appealing and realistic, so they can get the feeling of sitting on a horse themselves. The landscapes and colors appeal positively to children.
The horse game already has a large community. There are several Star Stable Let’s Play formats on YouTube. In it, players give tips and comment on their own playing in an entertaining way. There’s even its own animated series on YouTube.
Before playing, players must first create an account and provide their date of birth. There is no verification of the information, so you can’t be sure if only children use the game. Therefore, there is a risk of cyberbullying and cybergrooming – even if the chat function is set to be child-friendly. Inappropriate language, such as hate speech, can also occur in such chats and be unpleasant for your child.
The free entry into the game has the goal of getting children excited about it, so that they would like to continue playing. However, the cost of the full version is quite high. There is also a virtual currency called Star Coins, of which each player receives 100 once a week. JorvikShillinge can be obtained, for example, by completing tasks. However, impatient gamers can also buy them directly from Star Stable ‘s store. Star St able sets strong incentives to spend money on accessories. Especially for younger children and teenagers, in-app purchases are a risk to spend a lot of money.
Despite the many options to customize his character and the horse, it is not possible to create a male or gender-neutral character. Even though horses are especially popular with girls, most boys are excluded from the start. The game conveys that horses and riding are not for boys. Thus, Star Stable falls back on classic gender roles, which can make both boys and girls feel discriminated against.
On Star Stable, the game makers have provided information for parents. In it, they emphasize the positive aspects of the game, such as learning social skills and developing a sense of responsibility through dealing with virtual currency. It is pointed out that parents should educate their children about possible risks and dangers of the Internet. Star Stable rules were listed separately for this purpose. There is no age recommendation.
The game makers emphasize to handle personal data of children particularly sensitively and to adhere to the so-called Safe Harbor agreement, which is dedicated to the protection of personal data of children collected online. It also states that no information or details about the account should be shared with third parties.
Since there is no specific age recommendation, you should check out the game for yourself before your child plays it for the first time. This will help you assess whether your child can already cope with the content, functions and fast images. Due to the possible risks, your child should be at least 10 years old and should definitely get to know the game together with you in the beginning.
Talk to your child about potential dangers and how in-app purchases work. Set time limits so your child doesn’t get completely lost in the virtual world. You can find more tips on this in our article “Games in the family“.
Try to make your child understand that horses and riding is not just a topic for girls. Should your son want to play the game, encourage him to do so despite the one-sided perspective of the game makers.