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Sex, lies, and video games: Inside Roblox’s war on porn

When he was still just 11 years old, the Roblox player known as Dazzely enjoyed games the old-fashioned way: He played them. 

Back in 2012, Roblox, the massive online gaming platform, had plenty to offer him. He created his first avatar for free, styled its cylindrical head and clothed its blocky body. Then, choosing from the list of over a million titles on Roblox.com, Dazzely placed the little man in one game after another: He jumped him through obstacle courses, buckled him into race cars, and built him forts. Using free software called Roblox Studio, Dazzely could even construct his own games. That was the idea: Roblox’s creators envisioned the platform as a vast and ever-changing digital playground where kids crafted whatever they desired—games, clothing, structures, landscapes.

Dazzely continued playing Roblox as he grew up, and the platform matured with him. In 2013, Roblox introduced a way to convert its virtual currency, Robux, back into real dollars. A primitive economy—developers peddling virtual items like sunglasses or limited edition hats—evolved into a more complex one. Older kids began working for one another and performing specialized roles, as artists, builders, and game scripters.

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