How Zwinky Works

By: John Fuller


Zwinktopia is the virtual world in which Zwinky avatars move around.
Zwinktopia is the virtual world in which Zwinky avatars move around.
Brian Milne/Getty Images

Originally, was a site that allowed you to create your own customized avatar. After choosing outfits, accessories and physical features for your Zwinky, you'd embed the avatar into other social networking sites like MySpace.

However, on the previous page we talked about moving your Zwinky avatar around. If you embed your Zwinky into a Web page, isn't it just stuck there, with nowhere to go?


In 2007, InterActiveCorp (IAC), the company that owns and runs Zwinky, created a virtual world for Zwinky fans in which to move around and interact with other Zwinky avatars. The name of the location is, of course, Zwinktopia. Similar to other virtual worlds like Second Life and Club Penguin, Zwinktopia allows you to take your personal Zwinky avatar into an animated, video-game-like realm to roam, chat and play games. Many of the locations are based on real-life establishments -- everything including arcades, coffee shops and dance halls are fair game in Zwinktopia. Here are the major places in Zwinktopia users can visit:

  • The Zwinchester is Zwinktopia's mall, big enough to have a West Mall and an East Mall. You can either chat with fellow Zwinkies or enter one of the boutiques -- the West Mall has The Castle, University Club and Like Dat, while the East Mall has The Lair and The Surf Shop. There's also a pizzeria where you can eat fake online pizza.
  • Zarcadia is Zwinktopia's arcade, where Zwinkies go to play games and earn ZBucks (more on those later). There's also Kingpin Korner, Zwinktopia's bowling alley.
  • ZSU is Zwinktopia's university-like campus, where the main focus is the ZSU Quad, an area that comprises all of the four main dorms: the End Zone, the Omegaad, the Dungeon and the Abacus. Zwinkies can gather in the common rooms to chat or spend time in their dorm rooms, which they can purchase with enough ZBucks.
  • The Caf is a campus cafeteria at ZSU, where digital burgers and sodas are sold. There's also Java Jolt, a coffee house that has games inside.

You can access any of these places by clicking on them from the main Zwinktopia map.

In some of these locations you'll spend ZBucks, in others you'll earn them. But, how do ZBucks and the Zwinky Zcard work?