My first post on (what I consider to be) the best internet game ever created was mostly dedicated to how I found it. This one is going to be dedicated to my experience playing it as a 12 year old kid that had basically just started discovering all the internet is really capable of (up until this point, I had basically just used TheSpark – which doesn’t exist anymore – for quizzes and chat rooms).
After creating my little character and naming her after a girl from school that I really didn’t get along with (you’ll understand why later), I spent hours upon hours playing this game where you grabbed, scratched, teased, and tattled on all these other random characters in an effort to be the most popular girl on the schoolyard. The game also made it possible to tattle on the others playing the game so that they would get in trouble (unless they cowered away from everyone, which made them look innocent to the phantom teacher). If more than one person tattled though, both of those people got in trouble.
The battle for popularity (or brownie points, as they were so lovingly referred to in the game) is reason enough for a teenage girl to become addicted to this wonderful little game in no time. But you could also chat in real time with the people you were playing the game with! People from all over the world, people that were much more interesting than the people I actually knew. If I didn’t feel like playing the game but still wanted to chat, I could do that too – In homeroom (this virtual school was way better than the one I actually had to attend).
Back then, it wasn’t as big a deal for kids to go on the internet and communicate with complete strangers, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I’m not saying that parents shouldn’t be concerned about what their kids are doing while they surf; all I’m saying is that if mine had been as concerned as some are now, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. And I owe a big part of that to the SF community.
However, I was a 12/13 year old kid that was just discovering all that the world wide web had to offer, and I had the attention span of a goldfish on the best of days. So after a little while, I took a small hiatus from the game.