Many many moons ago, when I wasn’t quite yet a teenager (I was 12), I was flipping through a Seventeen magazine because I was obsessed with the Trauma Ramas. The back of the magazine was full of adds for a bunch of things I didn’t need or want – things to make your hair longer, your nails stronger, or a collector’s edition of a doll that you can probably still get today. Did I have any reason to read these ridiculous ads? No, but I paid for the thing, and I intended to read every last page of it.
Somewhere amongst all the garbage, there was an ad for a new online game called SiSSYFIGHT. You had to be 13 to play it, but I figured I was close enough. To give you a little perspective of how old I actually am; chat rooms were probably the biggest deal of all time, and online gaming wasn’t really all that popular yet.
So I go to the site, and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Not only was I able to communicate with people all over the world, but I also got to choose a character – a catty schoolgirl with a hairstyle with the color of my choosing – but I also got to chat in real time with people from all over the world while I played the game (which I’ll tell you all about later)! I had been spending a lot of time in chat rooms at the time, specifically teenchat.net (which doesn’t actually exist anymore. Well, at least not like it used to) making our own games anyway (things like *climbs a tree and starts hurling oranges in Jake’s general direction*), but this was way better.
The game ran on Shockwave and the server was super buggy, but I didn’t care. I became super obsessed with it and played it every chance I got. Now, these were the days of dial up. so every time the phone rang I got disconnected. And because I was a teenage girl, the phone rang a lot. This game was a big enough deal to me that I would quickly wrap up whatever conversation I was having with whoever called (you know, people I actually knew) so that I could get back to playing this new game with people I’d probably never even meet. I didn’t know it at the time, but this game was a much bigger deal than even I made it out to be.