My childhood had a fantastic combination of playing outside, building forts, getting mucky and staying out until the street lights came on alongside the sudden boom and growth of the internet. It wasn’t just the internet though, technology practically blew up overnight. Well, that’s how it seemed.
As I got older, and the outdoor play started to fizzle away into the category of “that’s for babies” (only for a while, I promise), I ventured onto our family computer. That giant, grey block was a fortress of fun things to do. It blew my mind. Originally, I’d play games that didn’t require the internet… We’re talking Solitaire, Chuckie Egg and Minesweeper. You’d probably also catch me drawing messy squiggles on Microsoft Paint, and then using the paint bucket to fill in all of the shapes. I still can’t believe how entertaining I used to find that.
When I finally found myself on the internet, I was still using my family computer – it wasn’t until a lot later on that I actually had a PC in my own room. I was allowed an hour, then my brother was allowed an hour. The thought of having limited internet is somewhat baffling to me today, but that’s how it was for me!
There are some sites, from this period of my life, that just stuck with me. Before they were deleted or changed beyond recognition, I often used to pop onto these sites to relive my childhood. Have you ever done that?
5 old-school websites that I used to love:
Miniclip is a nostalgic gamers goldmine. It’s full of old-school, low budget, somewhat stupid and sometimes hilarious games. I think it’s changed a little now, but a lot of the old games that me and my school friends used to play are all still there.
Whilst some of these games were definitely inappropriate, the majority were just silly. I can remember one game pretty well actually. It was a reproductive rabbit game where you dragged the rabbits on top of each other to breed, and then make sure they didn’t go anywhere near the electric fence or they’d die. That’s all… Fun!
Hello darkness, my old friend… Rest in peace, Piczo.
I’m afraid my good old friend is long gone. It was shut down in 2012, along with all 5 of my websites. This was, back then, what WordPress is like now, I guess. It was a super simple way to create your own website, and then you could fill it with your own pages, mess about with layouts, backgrounds, colours and fonts. Piczo was the first time I actually encountered a gif, but I didn’t know what these sparkly moving images were at the time… No colours ever matched. All backgrounds were too busy. The pages themselves were full to the brim with crap. Honestly, these sites were a load of rubbish, but it was our rubbish.
Uploading garish, seizure-inducing gifs were all the rage too, and don’t even get me started on the scrolling/moving/bouncing text… what were we all thinking?
Oh, my heart. Neopets was such a big deal. The only way I can think to describe this game is like a grown-up, colourful, more detailed and more social Tamagotchi. You’d create your pet, which were colourful fantasy creatures, and then you looked after them.
On top of the whole simulated pet thing was the community. You could play games, buy treats for your pets with in-game coins, chat with other plays and explore the world. I kind of felt like I had my own Pokémon – I think that’s why I loved it so much.
You all know what Myspace is. Before Facebook was “cool” (and then not cool again), before Twitter was cool, every kid and aspiring musician had a Myspace account. It’s simply a social network, but old.
The most notable thing about it, for me, had to be the toxic way we had to choose our “top six” friends and then order them! You can’t even imagine as a young teenager what chaos could grow from something as simple as this. Myspace was also full of emo kids… come on, you know that’s true.
5. Club Penguin
Describing Club Penguin is a pretty hard thing to do, if you want to keep up appearances that you’re sane. Basically, it’s an online multi-player game that lets kids play games and interact with each other. But, you’re a penguin. That’s your persona.
I began this game when online chat room games were all the rage. As dangerous as it sounds now, they were a fun way to chat to other kids from all over the world. I wasn’t ever informed that my new American 9-year old online friend could be a 40-year old man in disguise – I’m not even sure if was common knowledge that something like that could happen!
Hey, it was fun though.
Have you ever played around with any of these sites?
You can read my previous post here.