Looking for some social software thats just a bit different than the rest? Citypixel will probably be right up your street.
The format is based around an 80's 'pixel art' isometric city. You sign up and create your virtual citizen which can wander round the 'sim-city-esque' streets and nip into the odd building here or there.
You'll pass lots of other mini citizens along the way, and if they have a green line underneath, they're online.
Now just before your mind conjers up thoughts of animated isometric characters smoothly walking around your web browser, I must point out that your journey is done via clicks and as such, contains no movement at all (the gridlocked cars are fully animated in that regard).
So the main reason this site exists, as far as I can tell, is to dress up the rather tired idea of social software into new clothes and as such, I did find myself wondering why I was clicking around a very poorly designed navigation section just to reach user generated biogs etc. That was until I stumbled across a really, really neat feature.
Anyone who's played the 'sims' will be familiar with the house design element of the game. Well its here on this website! The tedium of statically navigating around the clumsy city was broken immediately as soon as I realised that its possible to claim your own 'virtual apartment' and even a 'virtual office' too. Your little avatar moves in and can drag, drop and arrange your furniture to your hearts content. Not only that, you can even create your very own website to allow visitors to peek through your keyhole.
This kind of customisation really breathes promise into the Citypixel idea. You can visit anyone's apartment and rate them and you can even watch their YouTube videos if they have installed the little 'plasma screens' on their walls, I was impressed by what I saw here.
I suppose you could sum up Citypixel as a web-browser version of Second Life it has a cut-down feel of this kind of persistent world social software. I'm really hoping that the day will come when these incredibly cute (and detailed) pixel art characters and buildings become animated but until then, the customisable nature of my Citypixel home, will keep me popping back. Even if its just a holiday home away from Myspace or Second Life itself.