On Feb.14, 2009 -- Valentines Day -- an event referred to as the Love Epidemic spread throughout Subeta. Human avatars came down with one of four strains of an infection that went through eight stages and dramatically changed their appearances. Users caught either the Love Leopard where hearts spread across the body like the measles; a Love Bite, that would grow infected with time; the Foot Burn, a rash that originated at the feet before spreading over the entire body or Boob-itis, a condition where a small mark on the chest would grow into a gaping hole, exposing the heart and rib cage. Once the avatar reached stage seven or eight of the infection, they were considered zombies.
Three medications, all of which could be purchased within the game, were found to aid in recovery, but each had side affects and none were proven to cure the ailments. Lovitol made the faces red and swollen, hyperamory inducer turned the eyes red and resulted in a pink, gooey discharge and amoricide resulted in a purple cloud over the face.
The cure eventually came from a non-player character named Louis L'amour. Dubbed Lamouracillin, the antidote was available for the cost of 10 candy hearts. In order to obtain candy hearts, users had to complete several Valentine's quests, which took about one hour each. In an unexpected turn of events, the zombie avatars became wildly popular among users. In fact, many chose to allow their avatars to remain infected.
In line with the zombie theme, Subeta users can apply blood-red coloring to their pets to give them a gruesome appearance. In addition, users can choose to make their pets look like zombies if they choose. Many of the human avatars on Subeta message boards have gothic appearances suggesting that many of these users may be in tune with the "emo" subculture. It's not uncommon to run across suggestive sexual anime characters and artwork in some Subeta user profiles.
While the Love Epidemic left some users zombies, and there is a fair bit of gore in Subeta, that doesn't mean users aren't getting some benefit out of the social networking site. On the next page, we'll take a look at how teens may actually be preparing for life after high school using some of the things they learn in Subeta.