"Horseland" SIM Review

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Every so often I have a bizarre urge to play horse SIM games. I used to really like them as a child, and I used to play them in the early days when they were almost never automated, and all transactions had to be done by hand through PMs. I remember fondly “Concordia”, an older SIM that I used to waste oh-so many delightful hours on. And who can forget SIMs made with “Ex-Pages”?

“Horseland” was the first major automated SIM, I believe, and it honestly hasn’t changed much since it’s creation. I went back there last week after a *lengthy* absence and was quite disappointed that it still has the same boring, static, confusing home page. However, they have added a semi-decent flash element to their games. Instead of generic clip-art horse pictures, or a picture you steal from another site, you now have a badly drawn flash horse. While they may have hundreds of different breeds to choose from, the horse remains the same, save for color changes, which are not that well designed anyway. You also play games to earn coins to by things for your avatar and horse, but the games are basic (yet some have the merit of being addictive), and the choices for tack and clothing are severely limited. You would think that with all the people paying money to play as a Premium member, they would revamp their site...

Horseland does have the nice ability to enter shows which are actual flash-based jumping games instead of random number generators or numbers being pumped out based on your horse’s stats. The downside - only Premium (paid) members can create, design, and run them, and as a result, the courses are nothing like actual jump and hunt courses, but instead rows of jumps, since most of the 13 year old girls who play the game have no idea how to design a true course.

The website also has a flash based “World” to go riding in and chat with friends. It’s terribly basic, with poor horse animation and no where to really go. Eh. I stopped playing the game soon after I viewed all the features.

In summary, sort of cute, but terrible graphics. Has great potential, but they need to get some good artists on their creative team. I suppose young children may like it.

Rubens' Horse Study WIP

Friday, April 22, 2011

A few weeks ago I managed to draw something! I have been in a massive, horrendous art slump lately, and the only way I could manage to draw anything was to sit in front of the TV and do a master study. This is the horse from Ruben's The Duke of Lerma, 1603.  It's a truly gorgeous and sweet animal with beautiful Bambi-eyes and a stunning mane. 
First sketched in pencil, then Sakura Micron pens.
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