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.

SiSSYFIGHT Once Upon A Time (The Beginning of a 5 Part Series)

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 (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.