My first game was a Happy Apple. Made by Fisher Price, the Happy Apple was reportedly all I needed. Pop baby me on a blanket on the floor with Happy Apple, and viola! Happy Apple=Happy Baby.
But Happy Apple only could hold me off for so long. I wanted more. As a toddler, I played in my very own tiny plastic kitchen with all my assorted plastic foods. I specifically remember a set that had velcro and allowed you to build your own sandwiches.
I’m not sure if I actually liked Beanie Babies, or if it was more of the fact that it was the 90’s and they were all the rage. Regardless, I had a collection, and they became another sort of world for me to escape to.
I was a lonely (only) child.
Once my fine motor skills could handle it, Pick-Up-Sticks was always my mother’s favourite. Cold Turkey, a game of the 90’s, was always mine.
There were the ‘girly’ games: Sky Dancers, Polly Pockets (the ORIGINAL), and MyScene Dolls, but nothing spoke to me like the Furby. Finally, something technological but soft, the Furby gave me a maternal instinct for the first time. I never actually owned my own Furby, but maybe that’s what made it so special to me. I would borrow my friends for sleepovers. The same goes for the Tamagotchis. I couldn’t commit to motherhood, not even fake digital motherhood, for that matter.
Mall Madness, the first ~computerized board game~ was fascinating to me. It was some of the simplest technology out there but again was very female-oriented. ECOSAURUS, a game that my Grandmother had on her ancient computer (no internet connection needed) was the first computer game I played all the way to the end. I even beat my big cousin Raph’s high score. I got the CD-ROM Game of Life in a cereal box and played it so much that it eventually stopped working. Before the ninth grade, when the internet arrived for me, I would often just play on Microsoft Paint into the early hours of the morning. I played Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 so much that I would close my eyes at night and still see the crowds of tiny people queued up for my ride.
The Sims was where gaming became ‘real’ to me. I had the first edition for the computer, and since there’s no way to “win” per se, I could literally play forever. I would make my friends and all our crushes and build us a custom mansion, or make all my enemies and burn their house to the ground. I got the second edition when it came out and for my birthday one of my friends made me a huge binder of all the different cheat codes. Then, I was able to make anything happen- instant friends, lovers, pregnancies, happiness, plague, whatever I wanted- the sims in the game were in my hands.
Truth or Dare becomes a thing. I always picked truth, my friends always picked dare, and the only thing I could ever think of was to make them lick the wall of the room they were in. No joke. They had to lick so many walls.
I got my pink coral Nintendo DS and a puppy on my (11th?) birthday. Okay, so it wasn’t a real puppy, but a virtual one. My mother was much more understanding about a virtual dog than a real one. Besides, Nintendogs were super cute and you only ever had to pick up their virtual poop. And they brought you presents. Do real dogs bring you presents? I didn’t think so.
Super Mario Brothers was the second game I got for my DS, and the first ever video game I played all the way through.
I was also doing quite a bit of child acting around this time. I was cast as a Munchkin in The Dark Side of the Rainbow, which is essentially a mashup of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon mashed up with The Wizard of Oz. The next year I was cast as one of the schoolchildren in a production of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I don’t know why there was so much Pink Floyd in Sarnia at the time.
Then, BOOM. I get the internet. Finally, FINALLY, this glorious day has come. I honestly think holding me back from the internet as a child made me that much more addicted as an adult. Piczo, Dailybooth and Myspace were my go-to’s. If anyone from the class actually reads this, they probably won’t recognize those names because ALL OF THEM are now gone, lost in the abyss of the web. I mean, except Myspace, but that shits a MESS.
MSN Messenger was honestly a very important part of my teenage development. I remember making a new hotmail for the first day of grade nine, and giving it out to cute boys I met on the first day. I still remember the feeling I would get when my crush signed into MSN, when your heart skips a little bit. I miss the days of screen names and those ridiculous emoticons that predated emojis. And emo song lyrics as your personal message so people know you’re ~super deep and stuff~. I remember when Facebook Chat launched and people started to switch, and my friends questioned why I wouldn’t want everything in one place.
But MSN, too, is dead.
Never Have I Ever, the Truth or Dare drinking game of high school, was the best because at the time I liked to act like a ~total slut~. I know that comment sounds slut-shamey, but hear me out- I mostly was just the person who without fail had “done the most” or “gone all the way” and wanted to know who else was in that boat with me. Honestly, a fun game, regardless of the eventual sexual end it takes. Plus, it was guaranteed to teach you something about someone, and get you wasted at the same time.
King’s Cup was big in first year and I knew all the rules by heart and would fight anyone who tried to tell me differently. It’s one of those chill games that you can play while chatting and hanging out. I seem to always end up drinking the cup at the end, the dark swamp water that is usually at least one part too-sweet-cooler and two parts beer. Once I got the cup and drank it and it legitimately tasted like a chai tea latte. I made everyone at the party pass it around.
As for now, sometimes I practice yoga and meditation. My social media usage has boiled down to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. A year ago, I played through Sword and Sorcery, which was gorgeous visually and has a beautiful storyline. I currently play Abyssruim, an app where you grow coral and fish in a soothing, relaxing gameplay.