Subeta was hit by a Love Epidemic on the 14th of February 2009 – Valentine’s Day. The human avatars were infected with one of four infection strains. There were eight stages to each strain and they left avatars looking dramatically different. One strain was the Love Leopard, which caused hearts to appear all over the body. Then there was the Love Bite, which grew over time. Foot Burn began in the feet and spread around the rest of the body. Boob-itis started out as a small infection on the chest that would quickly develop and become a gaping hole on the chest, exposing the rib cage and heart. After an avatar reached the seventh or eighth stage of this infection, “zombie” was the only word to describe them.
Funnily enough, many of the users intially thought that the infection a hack, and indeed an omen, to the later demise of Subetax.
There were three medications made available through the game that could help people recover, but each cure had their own side-effects and none of them were perfectly effective. Lovitol caused faces to become red and swollen, while amoricide caused a purple cloud to follow players and the hyperamory inducer caused eyes to turn red and leak a gooey, pink discharge.
The real cure would eventually be provided by a non-player character called Louis L’amour. The antidote was known as Lamourcillin, and it could be purchased for 10 candy hearts. The candy hearts themselves were earned through Valentine’s quests, which could take up to an hour each. Unexpectedly, people fell in love with their zombie avatars.
If a user still had their zombie on them and they wanted to spread it to their pets, they could give them quite a gruesome appearance through the application of blood-red coloring. If they preferred the straight zombie look then it was also possible to just make the pets look like zombies. Most of the human avatars in Subetax had a gothic appearance, which suggests that these users could have been part of the “emo” subculture. Several of the avatars also had sexualized appearances, with their human users having suggestive artwork in their user profile.
While there were some leftover zombies from the Love Epidemic, and there was some gore to be found in Subetax, that doesn’t mean there were no benefits for users of this social networking site.