For my last post, I want to show you a website that has been one of my recent obsessions: Everskies. This website is a combination of dress-up, games and community. Everskies allows you to customize an avatar from a wide range of different clothing and cosmetics while also being able to make friends and rant about your problems. As a child, I always loved dress-up games so seeing a more adult and aesthetically pleasing version of that really sparked my interest. I started playing the game around the beginning of this semester, but when I signed up I did not know the issues that were happening on the site. So before you want to sign up too, let me tell you a bit about Everskies and its problematic but fun nature.
Everskies: a way to express yourself
One of the most popular features of Everskies is its ability to customize your avatar. Due to a viral TikTok showcasing outfits made in Everskies, the site gained many users back in december 2020, which led to its popularity. The site itself does not have an age restriction, but it is mostly used by teenagers and young adults. This can also be seen through the options in the dress-up section of the site; it follows the latest trends popular with young adults and teenagers. The site, however, also has a diverse range of dress-up options: from a wide range of different skin colors, hair and body types. Although this website gives you all this variety and freedom, users, like myself, often try to fit in with a certain aesthetic. This can be related back to Erving Goffman‘s idea of front- and backstage. The prior one is especially fitting here, considering the frontstage forces you to act on certain rules and conventions, or in this case, aesthetics. Even though Everskies might feel like a backstage; this is not the case. To many users, the site feels like a place to express your true self and chat with your friends, but the rules and conventions of a frontstage is always lurking.
While it might not be obvious when you first open Everskies, the site has some concerning drama going on. Because the site was originally a passion project by the two creators, called Parrot and Tut in-game, the staff mainly included passionate users and friends. The site also has a Discord server with all the admins and was, until recently, free to join for every user and thus visible to every user. Because of this, the conversations between the admins was visible to everyone, including a long conversation including trans phobic and racist comments made by the admins. Moreover, one of the creators, Parrot, has been involved in a hacking scandal which includes claiming and stealing money from users without their permission, leading to losses up to a few thousand dollars. Parrot also lacks transparency; withholding the amount of money the site makes and refusing to spread the money evenly, especially to all the creators. For more information about the drama surrounding Everskies, I suggest this video by skiyana on YouTube!
Still want to play on Everskies? No worries, I am also struggling with all the drama going on behind the scenes, but I still want to keep playing it. Smart ways to keep playing the game while trying not to support the troubling staff could be playing with an ad-blocker or by avoiding using a Star-pass (subscription for limited-edition rewards). Happy gaming!
Liam Bullingham and Ana C. Vasconcelos, ” ‘The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities”, Journal of Information Science 39, no. 1 (2013)