Virtual Horse Ranch
is one of the Internet's oldest and most successful browser-based horse-breeding Simulation Games
, owing mostly to a very deep genetics system and lots of variety in breeds and events. The simple interface - buy or breed a horse, point and click to train, repeat times infinity - helps, too.
The userbase is divided into Novice (free-playing) and Sponsor (paid) users. Real-life money can also be used to make custom colours or even custom breeds of horses.
This game contains examples of:
- Anti-Poop Socking : Novices have a limited number of turns per day. Getting a paid account removes this, but Sponsors have "offline points" that can be used to change the account's skill set.
- Allegedly Free Game: Sure, you can play without paying. You will not win any events since you can't train your own horses, you have a 10-horse limit in a game where long-time players often have hundreds, you have a permanent cap on the number of horses you can breed, you cannot create events or craft items for playcash... but, yeah, you can play without paying: it mostly takes either befriending a Sponsor or being a good enough artist to get playcash for it.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Suffice it to say it's probably safer to assume any given player is a girl or woman unless told otherwise.
- Character Select Forcing: Each breed does better at different events, and a small percentage of breeds completely dominate them.
- Cool Horse: Usually high-earning eventers or ones with rare colours.
- Guide Dang It: You will need a guide to get started. Accept this.
- Joke Character: Quad Incon Foundies. They have the single worst stats in the game - so bad that you can get negative numbers. They're not even good for conformation, since occasionally the parents will throw a foal that actually does have one Inconceivable stat.
- Lamarck Was Right: Horses can get better stat-titles through training, which they can then pass on to their foals.
- Lethal Joke Character: Almost any breed can be bred for conformation (best of breed) shows. Even the grades. Even the really low grades. If those crappy stats are close enough to the breed standard, they could win a lot.
- Luck-Based Mission: The results of Gymkhana events have one rule: horses with higher training level place higher than horses with a lower training level. Otherwise, it's completely random. In a rare not really bad example of the trope, it's a decent way to make money if you're no good at training for the skill-based events.
- The Missingno.: Hybrids border on this; they're intentionally placed to be what the game does when a crosspairing doesn't make sense to it. In the early years, hybrids were what you got any time you didn't make an actual breed; Grade D-AAA horses eventually mostly replaced hybrids, and they're now only supposed to happen when the stud is an unusual breed type.
- Player Versus Player: The events.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: It's been slowly getting better, but the creator has a lot of... creative spellings and turns of phrase around the site.
- To the point that fixing some instances of one but not others ("Ferril" —> Feral) actually caused some glitches.
- "(Stat) is capped, it can not exceed higher."
- Among the corrected ones:
- Video Game Caring Potential: Despite being a primarily text-based game, it's surprisingly easy to get attached to your equines.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Overwork and drug up your horses all you like - no one is going to stop you. Conformation horses also more or less need to be ridiculously inbred.
- Wide Open Sandbox: The sky's the limit in terms of what you can do with the horses.
- The Wiki Rule: Yep.