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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The downfall of online gaming

Alex Kendall

After school I would race to my family’s old-school computer in the living room to go on my mom’s Facebook account and play “Pet Society.” I decorated my light pink cat in the most extravagant outfits and picked out the theme for another one of my 100 rooms in my virtual house.

This game was my favorite of all the Facebook games. I spent so many hours on it that it got to the point where I was on an insane level. I’m so glad I did not have access to a credit card, because I know I would’ve spent all of it on outfits in the game. When “Pet Society” was shut down in 2013, I was devastated.

My sister and I were on every gaming platform you could think of, like “Pixie Hollow,” “Moshi Monsters,” “Poptropica” and “Webkinz.” I feel terribly sorry for my parents for making them pay for a “Club Penguin” membership every month, but in my defense, I needed every color puffle.

“Club Penguin” Card-Jitsu made me feel like a real- life karate kid, choosing between ice, fire and water cards to compete against a fellow penguin opponent. If you won enough rounds, you would advance to the next belt color. I also frequently embarked on secret missions, where I got to solve assignments such as “the case of the missing puffles” and “the veggie villain.” Although at times it was challenging for me, it was rewarding once I finally cracked the case.

Online games were a bonding experience with not just my sister, but my classmates and friends as well. If we had free time during a computer class, we would all log onto “Poptropica” and try to solve quests together. I spent hours calling my friends on the house phone just to discuss who was coming to see my freshly- decorated igloo in “Club Penguin.”

Being able to play mini — games, dress up and chat with others on the websites was all part of the fun. It was much more interactive than competitive, which is what I usually see with games today. The games also helped kids learn problem-solving skills and teamwork, and online platforms such as “Cool Math Games” are educational. “Papa’s Cupcakeria” was my personal favorite game because of the adrenaline rush of trying to make cupcakes quickly for customers, but I also played “Fireboy and Watergirl” a lot.

As I got older, these types of games started to get shut down more and more frequently. What was once crucial in my life, has now become a mere memory.

The Papa’s games were some of the many online games created with Adobe Flash, and in 2020, the software platform was shut down due to security reasons. There are still some websites to access some of these old games, but this still contributes to the lack of online games that are available today.

At the time, I did not understand why this was happening. People became less interested in online gaming and some online games became solely mobile, but as a kid with no phone, this left me with no other options.

I’m disappointed that kids now don’t get to have the same experience I had growing up playing online games. I know a lot of kids play video games, but shooting guns or racing cars was not something that interested me, and there were no video games that were similar to the games I liked. Online games are also more accessible and typically free to play, unlike games that require a Playstation or Xbox.

By the age of 10,  more than 40% of kids have a phone, according to Common Sense Media. Most kids want to spend their time on TikTok or Snapchat, compared to feeding fake pets on the internet. Kids also don’t want to spend the amount of time I did as a kid customizing a character or completing a minigame. 

I understand why they would want to own phones when everyone around them is doing it, but I think it does take away from the fun of being a kid growing up without the pressure to act or look a certain way. A large part of this is on the parents, who allow them to have free range on these social media sites and don’t check in on their children’s mental health.

Playing online games had a more positive impact on my mental health than scrolling on Instagram, but it has just become a part of my routine. Online games are simple and bring pure joy that you can’t experience the same way with social media. I know the time where kids obsessively played games on the internet will probably never return, but I’m glad I was a part of it when it was. 

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Krystal Miller, Associate Arts & Life Editor

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    Jerin KunjumonFeb 22, 2024 at 12:38 am

    What about Robolox.. It’s also sn online platform..!!