By Anthony Rossi
When I was young, I would wake up at 6 AM and run into the family room to play around for a few hours on our enormous block of a computer. Initially, I didn’t have any interest in the internet and preferred to play with my collection of CD-ROMs. My favorite games were painfully 90’s and would always involve colorful protagonists, 2D graphics, annoying music, and puzzles that took me way too long to figure out. It’s amazing to think that these simple games (Freddi the Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Zoombinis, Math Blaster) gave me hours and hours of entertainment, but it all seemed so exciting and new.
By the time I started using the internet, it was mainly to take care of my Neopets or to watch the Hamster Dance a million times in a row. I began to slowly branch out and explore the internet a little bit, adding my friends on several game sites so we could compare our scores or trade virtual items. Cartoon Network, Addicting Games, and AlbinoBlackSheep quickly became my top visited pages. I had made the jump from “Rated G” web content to some hard core “PG” stuff. I was completely hooked on the fast-paced, action-packed games and flash animations which were updated almost daily. The fact that these websites changed and evolved really blew me away, because there was always something new to see. My CD-ROMs were quickly forgotten and I was sucked into the world of the Internet.
My “Ah-Ha!” moment came a little bit later than it probably did for most. When I was in second grade, an online game called Runescape began to take the internet by storm and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The very idea of playing live online with other players and interacting with them in real time was mind-blowing for me. Unfortunately, my mom wouldn’t allow me to play unless I played along with my older sister who was less interested in fighting dragons than finding cute armor. We added our friends to our contact list so we could message them as we played. We didn’t have AIM yet, so Runescape served as our primary means of communication with our friends online. Obviously, Runescape was not a lasting trend, but it was my introduction to online communication and the online multiplayer experience.
Online life used to be so simple, huh? As much as I love our new technology, I secretly miss that ability to be so easily pleased and entertained. Excuse me as I go download the Freddi the Fish pack on Steam and try to recapture my youthful innocence.