During my journey into the depths of TikTok's dabloon craze, I’ve joined a cult who worship the high priestess Dabloonis, have sailed across the high seas on a pirate ship called The Dabloonian, and accidentally taken part in a dabloon heist that's now made me a wanted fugitive by the dabloon police. It's been a strange couple of hours.
Dabloontok is TikTok’s newest trend, and is probably best described as a chaotic player-generated RPG where users collect an imaginary currency called "dabloons" cashed out by awkwardly photoshopped black cats (usually) in fantasy settings. These cats will either gift you dabloons, steal your dabloons, or tell you what you can do with your dabloons. It's as simple as that, and so far there more than 520 million views on the dabloons hashtag. It’s kinda wild.
There's been all kinds of trending nonsense on TikTok lately, many of which have come and gone without comment. But this tidal wave of dabloonary is totally different from what I've seen before. This is something I can get on board with. It's cute, funny, and - keeping true to all things online - is something nice that has completely spiralled out of control.
To start my own dabloon journey, I watched a couple of dabloon TikToks to show my interest and the creepily fast algorithm did the rest. Between TikToks of driveway power washing and guinea pig houses, the dabloons started to flow. I got off to a flying start: a lovely cat in a cute cottage gave me 20 dabloons. I then bought a slice of pumpkin pie from a friendly shopkeeper for 4 dabloons, which I decided was more than reasonable.
I should say there’s no official database of dabloon exchanges (this is TikTok we’re talking about), so every exchange is built on the honour system. There's nothing stopping you from just pretending you have 1000 dabloons, for example -although if you did, you’d kinda be missing the entire point, and a stinky cheater. To keep track of your dabloons, users have started using their smartphone's notes app or, if you’re like me, on the back of an old, crumpled B&Q receipt. Some players have even started using spreadsheets to keep tabs on their dabloon intake and outtake.
With your not-real money, you can buy imaginary stuff from shop owners you come across by watching more videos. You can buy magical items, large quantities of soup, houses, and more. Upon discovering I could buy items of clothing, I quickly bought a pair of woolen socks, as I had embarrassingly been naked for my journey so far. I even saw cats advertising dabloon insurance, just in case your dabloons got stolen. Theft is a common occurrence in Dabloontok, and when it happens, say goodbye to a chunk of your completely imaginary money. It sucks, but that’s the risk you gotta take here. The first time it happened to me, I had just reached tripple dabloon digits, only to be threatened by a cat in a ski mask wielding a frying pan. Suddenly, I was 60 dabloons lighter.
What’s great about dabloontok is that it’s completely sustained through its users. Anyone can make dabloon videos - gifting them or stealing them - and it’s honestly pretty cool. It’s like a cross between an imaginary playground game and D&D.
During my travels, I came across a friendly barkeep who told me that thieves are the least of dabloontok’s troubles. Recently, an inflation problem has been terrorizing Dabloontok, which is a serious issue in an imaginary world where everyone has the ability to generate their own money simply by making their own video. I could make a TikTok right now that gave everyone 500,000 dabloons, for instance, and ruin the entire economy. It's gone so far, in fact, that there's even talk of a black market and multiple criminal groups starting to crop up.
Makeshift laws have now been put in place, like how you're only allowed to give and accept quantities of dabloons under 100. Anything over and you’ve just got yourself some illegal dabloons, my friend. Comment sections are rife with dabloon cops, too, so you’d better scramble and get rid of those hot dabloons quickly.
With inflation, items have gotten more expensive, and buying must-have safety precautions is quickly draining me of my current dabloon pool. Insurance can be upwards of 50 dabloons, guard dogs to keep you safe can be up to 20+, and even comforting mugs of hot chocolate can be around the 10 dabloon mark. Pure lunacy.
In my darkest hour of Dabloontok, I have now become a criminal. Well, it was more of an accident, really, honest. One video I came across had a cat that didn't seem to be selling anything, so I stuck around in hope of getting some free dabloons. Suddenly, though, the video switched in tone and the cat was, in fact, stealing dabloons from the National Dabloonian Bank. I was now a helpless accomplice to this cat’s crimes. Shit, shit, shit. With cops in every comment section and the Dabloonian government cracking down on illegal dabloon cases, I’m on the run. This is my life now. This is what happens when you get in too deep buying imaginary items from cats with currency that's not even real.