Many individuals who came of age alongside the internet have nostalgic recollections of communities that have either vanished entirely or transformed beyond recognition. For me, it was the GameSpot forums during the early 2000s. It was a realm where I could connect with fellow gamers, engage in profound discussions, and occasionally engage in passionate debates about global affairs. In this virtual space, I found avenues for self-exploration that were unavailable to me in the physical world, and for a significant period, it played a vital role in shaping my identity.

In the realm of gaming, the new release Videoverse delves into the fictitious online community of late 2003. Developed by Kinmoku Games, the same creators behind the acclaimed 2016 title One Night Stand, Videoverse is infused with such authenticity and charm that it feels remarkably vibrant. If you’ve ever found solace in an online enclave akin to this, Videoverse is likely to evoke fond memories of the internet’s past. And even if you haven’t, its warmth and humanity offer a captivating glimpse into experiences you may have missed.

Videoverse predominantly unfolds within its eponymous online community, a hub of message boards frequented by users of the fictional Kinmoku Shark console. As players navigate through Videoverse, they’ll encounter elements reminiscent of gamer profiles from the Xbox 360 era, as well as advertisements that capture the spirited essence of early 2000s video game marketing—always lively, occasionally cringeworthy. Drawing inspiration from various sources, Videoverse bears striking resemblance to Miiverse, the now-defunct online platform introduced by Nintendo alongside the ill-fated Wii U. Like Miiverse, the fictional Videoverse boasts dedicated communities for different games, where text posts coexist with user-submitted artwork, subject to the approval or critique of their peers.

The comparison to Miiverse is particularly fitting, as users within Videoverse begin to harbor suspicions about the community’s future. With the recent launch of Kinmoku’s new console, the Dolphin, there’s a prevailing sense that the company may soon discontinue Videoverse, nudging fans toward the new platform, which, unlike Videoverse, requires a subscription fee. As uncertainty looms over the fate of Videoverse, its users grapple with the prospect of bidding farewell to a cherished virtual haven.