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Throwback to Online Web Multiplayer Games

As early back as elementary school, my father got me hooked onto using computers. He spent a lot of time building his desktop computers so I would accompany him to the big computer shows out in MD and VA where he would go buy his spare parts. Sitting at home, I would just watch him put the computer together in fascination. A lot of the vendors would even sell those educational games and he would get those for me as well. But as I got older my interests expanded to other things. 

Now when he set up a computer just for my sisters and me, everything changed. I started going ham and doing whatever I could on the internet. Using Google Search and Ask Jeeves, listening to music and watching music videos on Yahoo, I mean I was doing everything I possibly could. For at this time, the internet was still fresh, relatively new and playing games online was a huge thing. I started playing the single-player games on websites like Arcadepod, Y8, Miniclip, Freeonlinegames, Poptropica I mean I could go on. But after you cycle through the really good games, you get bored or tired of them along with the slow ass internet speeds, and the lag, let’s not get started with the lag using dialup, Jesus. But that lag never stopped me from playing. I had to eventually divert my energy to something else more interesting and that was Multiplayer Games

Multiplayer Games was an entirely different, yet new world for me. Once I had learned you could play games with other people online, it was history. So you’re telling me, I could go online, create a character and chat with others too? Sign me up. 

We’ll go in order of multiplayer games I played starting with.

More than 90% of the photos below are of my actual gameplay.

Neopets

Some of the most common/standard Neopets users owned on the site

Neopets was my first introduction to a semi-multiplayer game. I call this semi-multiplayer for it was an online web platform where you did not necessarily have to be in contact with others and there was no platform where you can go and chat with others easily. With this website, you can collect your own Neopets which were these cute virtual pets, play games, build a house, buy clothes/furniture and rare items and sell stuff. This website was also my first introduction to coding with HTML/CSS for each user account had their own homepage you can fully customize so I got to learn a bit about it. At this time, I was still relatively fresh and new to the online scene and Neopets had so many things going on on the site that I did not fully understand all of the content they had to offer (was only 10 when I began playing). Plus, I forgot my password to my main account, so I gave up on it. I met people who played this game, but not in the same capacity and time I wanted to. You could not chat with people like you can in a chat room so it was quite limiting. 

The plaza where you can find all your needs pertaining to upkeeping with your Neopets

Club Penguin

Where all the madness went down

Upgraded to Club Penguin which was a level-up from my previous gaming experience. I just loved the interface of this game. The user interface is super simple, easy for anyone to understand and straight to the point. You have a penguin in which you could waddle around and chat with people, play minigames to receive coins and buy clothes and decorate your igloo. Unfortunately, a lot of the items in the game, you needed actual money to obtain, but still fun to play despite these limitations. I didn’t see the need to put money into this game so I did not bother. My favorite thing to do was collect the rare pin every two weeks in which you could place on your profile. I would just google where it was located, go retrieve it then log off then do the same every 2 weeks for months at a time. If I was bored, I would jump into random people’s convos in the spaces to troll them.

Sack game was the OG

I also really loved the mini-games on there like the pizza game and catching the sack of flour.

Gotta love making pizza with hot sauce as your base

Music from games, movies, and tv shows do attract me. I also enjoyed listening to some of the music they had in the game so much that I downloaded it for my iPod. This game though did not keep me interested for long. If I was online, it was typically maxed 2 hours or so. This was more of a filler game in-between when I was bored or waiting for something. Nothing serious, nothing crazy. 

Users always made it their goal to tip the iceberg. If there’s enough penguins, its possible.

Club Penguin officially shut down in 2017, but a retro version relaunched earlier this year celebrating nostalgic times on the site and bringing all the old heads back to a game they once loved, again. It’s not officially run by Disney, but I had a chance to play it and its pretty darn good.

Habbo Hotel

The background of one of the original login screens you saw when logging into the client

From this list, Habbo is easily in my eyes the OG, the real one, and the multiplayer game that I have spent some of the longest time out of them all. It is all thanks to a banner ad I saw on a website in which I began spending dumb amounts of time on this game. You can create your character which lives in a hotel., You can build your own rooms by buying/trading furniture also known as furni, play games, meet people, hang out in other people’s rooms, and the mess you can do is endless. 

The original habbo coin purse. If a user bought coins, they will display in your account’s purse

I made my first account back in 2005 when Habbo Hotel was relatively gaining popularity and people spent a lot of time in the public rooms. It was exciting. I would spend hours visiting all sorts of hotel rooms meeting people, chatting away, trying to win furniture and find a way to earn coins. To obtain the furniture aka also known as furni, you needed coins, and you only get coins from spending real-life money. There was no way my parents would let me use their debit card to do so, so I would find some crazy ways to get the money. 

With HC (known as Habbo Club members subscription), users had access to a variety of clothing and colors

You can also dress up your Habbo character in some cool looks, but the selection was quite limited. If you wanted access to more hair/outfit styles, and even colors of each clothing item, you can pay for membership which made you look even more stylish such as HC and VIP. 

My go-to non-member look

They had these gift cards you can buy from drug stores like CVS so I would buy them little by little pilling up my furni selection over time. Carefully selecting what I wanted the most. A lot of people would run giveaways, just getting rid of all of their furni If they were quitting the game. I got furniture from that, but a lot of those events required luck (ie. rolling a dice, or answering a question). Most of the furni I accumulated was from the coins I bought.   

There was so much you can do in this game, but at this time of my adolescence, I didn’t fully understand what was going on in the game half of the time. And also, the process of getting into all the details of what I could do just seemed a bit much. At that time, I craved for simplicity so I just did what seemed easy enough. 

My first room and also the room where I hosted my falling furni games

One of my favorite things to do was play a game called falling furni. So in the early years of the game, when you buy furniture, it goes into your storage, but your storage was a hand. And so the game itself is called falling furni because you ask people to choose a spot to stand and the room owner will randomly place the furniture down so you can see the furniture randomly falling but also being placed in a certain spot. And you go and sit. When you sit, you move on to the next round. If you’re the last one standing, you lose. From game to game, people played differently. But typically, you had a choice of p2s, bomb, rev, kick and watch. Some of these options required you to trade furni in to keep playing. This is a great way to accumulate furni, but you need furni to host your own games. After the game has started, a lot of times if the prize was something valuable, the host will let others join even after the game has started. But a lot of times, it comes with a fee which we called p2p (pay to play) which meant trading in furniture to join the game. Trading of any furni piece or sometimes certain things may be requested. I spent so many hours playing in hopes to win furniture and even coins. The few times I won, I did win some furniture, and I think maybe once or twice the room owner scammed me and I ended up not getting anything. Once I got my furni game up, I started hosting my own games which turned out quite fun. 

Chillin’ by the beach soaking in some sun
The trax machine in which I owned. They came in quite a few different versions.

One of my other favorite things to do (yet short-lived) was creating Trax music from the Trax machine. You can buy these sound clips, a Trax machine and CDs and record and save your own musical pieces. I really enjoyed doing this for it kinda kickstarted my music mixing creativity sphere. But at that time, I didn’t have coins to buy the Trax tapes so I only would mix like 2 of the basic sounds together, which wasn’t enough for me. Unfortunately at that time, I was also super busy in real life so I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted playing Habbo. This was also the same time that I quit the game entirely for I stupidly gave someone my password and they took all my furni away. I was soo upset that I stopped playing for over a year and came back to restart and refresh my collection. But by then, Habbo did this thing call the Merge and Trax was no longer available to use. This led me to eventually fulling stopping in logging in. 

I enjoyed visiting other rooms and getting inspiration for how I could upgrade my rooms

I only joined back maybe two years later for I met one of my best friends in high school who also happened to play Habbo as well. We would run home after school and login and play for hours together. I would host my own falling furni games in my room while he would have his Mafia meetings. 

My American Idol Room, which was fun to run for the short while it lasted

There’s this option in the rooms if you are an owner or have rights where you can kick someone, meaning you can force that person to leave the room. It was commonly used in rooms if people were AFK (away from the keyboard) and/or were in the way of a path or if they lose the game and refuse to leave. When a user gets kicked, they can easily come back to the room. This option itself was also heavily abused. Sometimes room owners will give kicking rights to too many people and those people would go on a kicking spree in kicking whoever they feel like just to troll. Some others would do it knowing that they are scamming the person just to mess with them. There was another option where you kick someone and they get banned from returning to that room. That was abused as well. If someone won a game and the owner promised to give some furni for winning, they would kick the person instead and banning them from ever returning from their room. And they will keep the game going on and on without letting anyone win and sometimes not even knowing if the owner even gave the prize away. 

Still looking for more room building inspiration

A lot of shady things happened within the Habbo community. People were desperate to gain coins/furni so they did anything they can to obtain it. In a way, it was exciting to witness the dedication and the debauchery of it all, but it was also quite shitty. Some good examples of such included paying to play a game and the owner ghosting, trading users invaluable items, or simply being a pussy and logging out when a trade is being transacted. People even went out of their way by creating fake websites claiming that you get free coins, but in reality, they steal your account info and log into your account to move furni back to their own or even running games in their own rooms and running the game for long hours forcing people to continuously trade in furni one by one without letting anyone win and earn the prize.

While trading furni with users, this is how it looks like. Both parties must agree in order to receive the items.

I will never forget the time I was doing a transaction with someone and he was threatening me that he can crash my game. I didn’t believe him so I dared him to do it. And he really did crash my game. I am not sure what kind of power you need to do that, but it was insane. Luckily, I did not lose anything, but it was strange.

My 11-year-old self was so confused when I visited the pools and saw all of these people in afros, dark skin tones and tuxedos protesting not letting anyone enter.

Eventually, I stopped playing for I wasn’t really happy with the changes that they made over the years. They tightened up on the things people can do and say due to some controversies they hard regarding gambling (never got involved with any of that mess, but the removal of it essentially killed Habbo’s user base), sexual predators and Pool’s Closed Raids are just to name a few of the major issues. For that, many users including myself stopped playing. There were a lot of things going on left unsolved such as unnecessary account bans, many users being hacked/scammed left and right, and yet Habbo Staff did nothing to help users with the ongoing trouble. This was around the time where websites didn’t have so many security holders placed. So many websites were being exposed, hacked, breached and dried up left and right.

Surprisingly, the game is still alive and going strong to this day, this guy goes back and revisits the 18-year-old site explains what’s going on now in the community that still exists and how it has managed to stay alive to this day. There are not as many people playing online, but surprisingly enough that’s logging in to keep the game going live and strong. 

Millsberry

Front part of your home with your character and stats

This was one of those games in which I read about from the back of a box of Honey Combs. Did anyone eat those?

I don’t even remember what this game was about. I had to look it up for this was also one of those games that I played on and off from time to time and forgot completely about. 

I would not necessarily call this a multiplayer game for you can’t chat with others, but worth mentioning.

Millsberry is a video game created by General Mills as a marketing tool for promoting their products, services, and company. Living in Millsberry was about your character living in a neighborhood in a nice house. And you need to do certain things to gain more money and win trophies to unlock items. You had your own home in which you can add rooms, furniture, you can sell your items in a yard sale, you could go to school, play games, etc. Even on Halloween, you even could go trick or treating door to door to random Millsberry users’ homes. 

Gotta eat. Your character can’t starve now.

The best part about this game that it was free. You did not need to put any kind of money into it. Everything can be obtained with long hours of work, sweat, and dedication.

Here’s a cool video taking me back of nostalgia back to those days grinding on Millsberry 

Millsberry eventually shut down to the lack of users and interest in them continuing running the site. I logged into the website when I heard the news and saw the statement they left thanking everyone who contributed and I cried for a bit. That was my childhood. 

Gaiaonline

The only photo I found of my avatar back when I played. Goes to show how little interest I had in this platform.

Gaiaonline is a web platform with anime-like figures you can dress up as anything you want, collect weapons, build a home, earn coins by playing games and potentially picking up those rare cool collectibles. It has a market where you can buy or sell items using Gaia Gold.

Items could cost up to anywhere between 1 gold to over 200,000,000. But I swear to you, back in the days when I played, it took forever to earn money on this website. I don’t even know how people made enough to buy all the neat items, to be frank.

You can visit towns all over Gaia to chat and meet new people

The site has interactive worlds known as Towns or Rally where many users get together with their avatars and hang out. There were other worlds that were usually sponsor-based worlds, like MTV Hollywood, etc.

Gaia was one of my least favorite websites on the list for it didn’t catch my interest long enough to stick around or continue playing with it. 

I played this for like a second and once I realized someone hacked my account, I dipped. I just wanted to see what the hype was all about and didn’t feel the need to keep going with it. 

IMVU

One of my many looks from IMVU

This right here…. this. one. right. here. This was the absolute highlight of my online playing experience. This one felt like the closest to reality in a way how you can create your character to your liking and dress up however you want. You can make friends and visit people’s chatrooms and whatnot and potentially build your life around Imvu.

IMVU is the online chatroom type of game, but in this case, you have a character that moves around and do whatever you wanted. Dress up like a horse, change the mane colors, how about add some wings? How about a giant? Or a better version of you? The possibilities were endless. 

I think I found IMVU the same way I found Habbo: I saw an ad on a website banner and became hooked. 

So with IMVU, you can make friends, buy clothes for your avatar, buy rooms and furniture to build the room and do whatever.  

These are the credits I currently have in my account. It’s not a lot, but it can get you a little something something

In the game itself, they had 2 currencies. Promo Credits and Credits. Promo Credits are the credits you receive from like completing a survey, mini-games, a contest, etc. While Credits are bought Credits you buy from the website or from 3rd party website to use to buy items. With both currencies, you can buy items with them. You can buy all kinds of things like clothes, rooms, furniture, hair, even stickers used on your homepage. 

Getting credits were the absolute struggle. I mean, I was doing everything and anything to get credits. When I began playing, I simply did not have the money to buy them, but I found a workaround. There was this trick where you can “refer a friend” and receive 500 credits (which isn’t a lot). But what I would do is create fake email accounts for you confirm certification on the email account. So I would do this for hours and days at a time creating these fake email accounts and fake IMVU accounts all just to win credits. This worked for a while, but once IMVU caught up to people’s shenanigans, they patched that loophole up so quick. 

I dedicatedly spinned this wheel every day, hoping, wishing that I won some credits

Then they also had these free surveys, quizzes, and spin the wheel you could do to earn credits, but the problem is, sometimes when you did these, it wasn’t always guaranteed you would get the credits. The value of each survey is different depending on how much work or even money you had to put into them. The higher-paying ones were more of the ones that required more work or you had to pay for a service or something. I spent hours doing this as well getting very little out of it. It was a pain. 

Just like with Habbo, IMVU also had its own gaming cards you can buy from your local drug store, so I did that a few times. But man those credits I was buying wasn’t enough for what I wanted. But by then I realized, that IMVU also had these 3rd party websites where you can buy real credits from as well for 1/2 the price. I learned about these websites super late. Like way too late and I just started buying from them. So instead of paying $50 for 50,000 credits, I would pay $30, sometimes $25 for 50,000 credits. A deal! 

N00b level over 9000. All the magic and beginning days of IMVU all started in this coffee shop.

In the early days of IMVU, on the platform, If I wanted to meet someone, I would click on the Chat Now button in the client to randomly chat with people. My avatar would wait in the default coffee shop room and then someone would eventually pop up and you can start chatting with them. This is how I met some of my friends believe it or not. But that internet dialup was something else. Sometimes if the person was wearing clothes that had a ton of animations, my computer screen would freeze and I would lose the person for my internet was too damn slow. You don’t know how many times that happened. 

But with that Chat Now button, it gets old after awhile. A lot of those people who use that are straight-up noobs asking you the same thing or just not interesting people at all. 

Don’t ask, don’t tell
When friends linked up, random stuff like this would happen

I made a lot of friends while playing. Many people came and went, some stop logging on or would unfriend me for whatever unknown reason. I was getting into relationships and all this other messy stuff. It was silly, but all fun and games. 

If you’ve read Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, in the first chapter she mentions her online chatroom experience of going from the chatroom to the webcam. Now I didn’t necessarily do the same thing as she did, but I did do something along the lines of catfishing people on IMVU with fake pictures and all. 

Because of IMVU, I also got me started in my early days of using Photoshop. I was super fascinated by how people were editing their avatars. I wanted to be just like them and get on the roll with it. But how? 

For starters, I began using a free editing software called Photofiltre, which was super basic. Like I mean just crop, add text, some filters, and dassit. You could not do too much with the app, but it got the job done. 

Some of my first avatar displays. Currently cringing as I look back at where I started.

Just look at the editing. Straight up N00b to the highest level.

Then we have Gimp which is the free open-source version of Photoshop. You can do just about everything you can do in Photoshop in Gimp, but the controls, of course, are slightly different and I despised Gimp’s GUI so I refused to use it, but later on, I gave in and made some good work out of it.

Before Editing
After Editing
Final avatar photo used for my profile photo

Most of the IMVU game-changers were using Adobe Photoshop, but as some of you may know, at that time, Adobe was expensive (and still is if you ask me) and out of reach, so I convinced my father to buy me a more cost-friendly editing software; Corel.

Corel was my main go-to. I made some of my best work done with my IMVU avatars in this application. It’s like Adobe Photoshop, but with lesser controls, yet you can manage and still output some good material. 

Some of the last avatar pictures I created before I stopped using IMVU

When it comes to editing, I am a perfectionist. If it wasn’t perfect, I was not uploading it. Some projects never made it to my profile page, others, if posted, were just “meh”. I spent so many hours perfecting her look in-game and spent even more just learning how to edit in the software. Just take a look below at the evolution. 

Made with Photofiltre
Made with Corel

My time spent on IMVU was too much. You though Habbo was bad? IMVU was even worse. I would stay up till the crack of dawn either chatting with friends in chatrooms or just editing away. 

I even dabbled into making animated avatar photos for a bit.

But after a while, I noticed that IMVU itself was changing. People were becoming more cliquey, excluding anyone new into their groups and many individuals were not as friendly, so making friends became more difficult. But this was also the time I was losing my interest in the platform itself too so it worked out just fine. 

Random photo from the one of my chatting sessions

I learned later on that people were using IMVU to make money in real life to pay their bills. To take you back to the Promo Credits, and Credits currencies, many people made products to sell in the IMVU catalog so people can buy and dress up their character. Now when people buy their products, a small percentage of the earnings (aka credits) would go to the product owner and then product creators would sell the Credits they had to back to the 3rd party credits system in exchange for real-life money. Now Promo Credits couldn’t be used, for its free credits but if they had actual credits, a lot of users will take this time to make some cash. Especially if their products were the best selling in the market, it probably means that they are rolling in the cash in terms of credits. They earn back so many credits, that they had no use for them and would sell them back for profit. 

But it went beyond that, people were also charging users for custom made products, homepage layouts, profile pic designs, you name it. IMVU was LIFE for many of the users and for some users, their only source of income.  

Even I, myself attempted to jump-start into the product making scene, but it’s very difficult, time-consuming, and takes a lot of skill, effort, and dedication into making something nice, yet profitable and usable. Some of my favorite developers such as PinkPhoenix was one of the top developers at the time I was playing. 

Just look at her banner design, super unique and cute

I loved IMVU so much that even after I stopped playing, I went back online a few years later and created this video below for fun, and essentially closing a chapter with my days on IMVU. It’s one of my favorite videos I have created to this day. Take a look at it below.

In May 2015, IMVU removed the option of 3rd party resellers of buying/selling credits, which in turn drastically lowered IMVU’s user base. Many creators were furious, protesting and demanding for them to change their minds and reverse the order. Many users stopped creating products, lost all respect for IMVU and quit the app. By this point, I have already stopped playing long ago and would randomly log in to check out the scope of things. After I began high school, I did not have time to play games online anymore for I was very preoccupied with other things and lost interest in keeping up with it. 

vSide

vSide was my shid! vSide is yet another virtual world game where you have a character in which you can dress up, can buy an apartment to furnish it, hook it up, throw events, and most importantly, walk/teleport around to different parts of the world, meet people and chat with friends. 

Every day was a new yet different adventure
Pretty sure my avatar was dancing more than 80% of the time while playing vSide

This game’s importantly stressed on the fact that it’s a music platform. And if you don’t know, I love music. I love discovering new genres, artists, and sounds that I am not familiar with, rehearing tracks from my childhood, and putting my favorite tracks on repeat. Every part of the virtual world played different types of music. And with that, I would eventually pick up all kinds of songs in which I grew to love. I believe I began playing vSide around 2007 and the 2007-2009 era has some of my favorite songs ever made to date. In the main areas, they would play pop and rock. In the clubs, they would play hip-hop and house. In the clothing shops, depending on the style of the clothing depended on what kind of music was being played. I would stay in certain areas just because I loved the radio station of that area or that’s where most people would hang. 

The Club in NewVenezia was one of my favorite places to hang for the music never disappointed. From Akon to Lil Wayne, you heard a little bit of everything in here.

Another awesome thing you can do in the game was DANCE. There were so many dance moves you can choose from to do. Going through the list and trying them out was super fun to do. You could even create your own dance sequences and play them in a loop. 

On the right, you can see some of my favorite dance moves from the game.
Who did I think I was with this fit on?

But just like the other virtual games, if you wanted to look fly and get by with all the cool things they offered, you need to invest real-life money into it. This is one of the few games where I did not use my actual money to purchase the in-game currency mainly because I had no means of doing so. They had two types of currencies, vPoints, and vBux. vPoints are points you can receive just by being online, but also by playing games, doing Easter egg hunts, finishing achievements, etc. vBux was the premium money in which you can buy with your real money to buy clothes and furniture with. 

Because I was desperate for vPoints, I learned that I could create accounts and transfer the points from one account to the other. When the account is brand new, you can do a lot of achievements that help you get a ton of points within just an hour of running around. So just like I did with IMVU, I would create the accounts, do the achievements, and transfer the points over from the noob account to my main account. 

Money was made to buy outfits like the one you see here in this picture

And just like with Imvu, Habbo and now vSide, with these apps, I had two accounts for each site. One was the main, another was the side/trolling account. If I wanted to try some type of hack or just mess around with people without my main account being compromised, I would use the side account. Wheras the main account was more for chatting with friends, unlocking achievements, and buying stuff. 

I wish I played this game more. vSide updated their platform so often, that I did not have the user rights on my computer to update the game, meaning I could not play for an extended period of time. After the recession hit in 2008, many people stopped playing for they could not afford to put money into it, the owners lost a ton of money and then resold the game to another developer, who which in turn, they did not do anything to keep the game up to date. 

vSide was the OG, forreal. It had so much potential to grow even more. So so much! 

Behind the DJ booth at the club copying the NPC’s actions haha
I attempted in making my own clothes, but it came out looking super 2D and not up to the standards I wanted it to be

Just like with IMVU as well, you can make clothes and submit it to their team for review to be sold game-wide, you could open your apartment and buy all of these random pieces together to make something cool and most importantly: you could wander around the different cities and find easter eggs. There were so many planted in the game that you could walk around for hours and not find them all. 

They even partnered with big brands and productions at the time such as Kitson, Rocawear, Pussy Cat Dolls, Tyra Banks and MTV.

This is me dancing in Tyra’s Talk Show Studio. Kinda sad for I never got to actually sit in when she would log online and chat with the vSide community

With my love for vSide, I made several videos with the client, vouching this one as as my favorite shown below.

But once you hit a certain point in the game, the options on what you could do became quite limiting. Of course, you have your friends, but not too much to see or go check out. After they sold the game to ExitReality in 2009, they did not do much to expand the user experience for the loyal vSiders. I wish they expanded on the places you can go to and the competitions you can be a part of. It is a pity that it all came to an end after it was sold off to ExitReality. 

Fooling around in her apartment (I believe)

Runescape

You needed something? You wanted to sell something? or was simply looking for a hand out? The Grand Exchange had it all.

Runescape is the first Multiplayer game I dived into, even way before Neopets. but it took me 3 years and tons of attempts to pass the tutorial island to fully begin playing it. I was so new and foolproof on how to pass that part of the game that I eventually went to a house party and noticed someone playing it on the computer and forced them to help me pass it.

This game way my shit! I just love the fantasy MMORPG look to it. You can create your character and then build up your skills in all types of ways. You can participate in cool contests, join a clan, do quests, celebrate the holidays with a special event, I mean there was so much going on in this game that I did not know or understand probably 80% of it all, but it was fun to me. 

I met lots of people here and there, would hang out with them, but mostly spent a lot of time alone building, cutting logs, mining that copper in the fields, doing quests here and there and occasionally heading out into Wilderness and killing some dragons. 

Fishing and Mining were some of my highest skill levels in the game. I really enjoyed doing both.

There were so many worlds you can join. They have a free to play (f2p) and also a pay to play (p2p) world. With f2p, there was a lot you could do, but once you get to a certain point, leveling up becomes tedious and a pain. Having a member’s subscription is worth it if you play enough. I believe I paid for membership and got I think maybe 3 or 4 months worth of it but one month at a time at different points in the years I played. 

Dance around in East Ardougne

With members, you had full access to everything. You can walk and travel long and wide, work on increasing all skill levels. It was so much that you can do that you don’t even know where to start. But because Runescape was so popular, there are many guides out there that help users giving them tips on how to best play the game. 

Wheat anyone?

But the thing I enjoyed about playing Runescape, that there’s no one way to play. Runescape is a game about discovering and optimizing a set of paths or strategies towards a goal you set and following that path until you achieve the long term goal. There are various benchmarks and requirements with rewards to start you out like quests and achievement diaries. Frankly the former are easy with guides and the latter are primarily time-consuming. So you have free-range and unlimited amounts of options in terms of playing field. 

From then on, I played Runescape on and off starting from Middle School to the end of High School. I met some people in high school who played so we would log on together and hang out all the time during our Homeroom class. 

I also loved the music from Runescape so much. Particularly from Runescape 2. I can still hum the music as if I was just playing the game moments ago.

But high school as mentioned earlier was a very busy time for me. I had so much homework and I was in so many after school programs that I did not have time to play. For me, it was either all in or nothing. So if I was too busy playing games, it probably means that my grades were suffering. 

Quests were my favorite thing to do in the game. As soon as I became a member, I was doing as many quests as I could.

I also didn’t have a strategy when I played. I just played as I went. If someone told me about something cool I could do, I tried to achieve that by either leveling up certain skills or doing certain quests to obtain it. 

But since I was aiming to achieve many things at the same time, I would write down the pointers in my notes on what I was working on. But since I played this game in huge time gaps, I would forget what I was working on completely when I would return from my hiatus. 

This is essentially how the bots looked like. They were tons of them cutting the same one damn tree in the default clothing.

What drove me to kinda stop playing was the botting accounts overrunning the worlds. I am not sure when it exactly started happening, but I noticed a crazy influx of people on Runescape in the main parts of the world like woodcutting and mining to be specific. Hundreds of people would mine the same damn 3 rocks. And I mean, many people can mine at the same spot, but in the end, only one person would get the item. So what people were doing (since doing these tasks are so monotonous), they would use auto-clicker software to automatically do these monotonous tasks for them. So mining and woodcutting became impossible to do and unenjoyable in the RuneScape worlds. It didn’t matter which server you jumped into, they were everywhere. I was so annoyed and frustrated that Runescape wasn’t doing enough to handle the situation for months that I eventually stopped playing. 

They eventually killed the botting with Bot Nuking Day, but it took way too long for them to fix this issue.

Beyond the gaming…

My father is quite tech-savvy. For some of these games, you need to have administrative rights to install them onto a computer. His account was the only one of his computers that had the rights. Also, it was quite rare for him to sign in to the computer for this man had 4 other computers of his own that he used. I had to find ways to convince him to sign in so that I can install what was needed. I created lists of what needed to be done so when the time came, as soon as he stepped away, I was always there ready to do what was necessary. Some good examples are “Hey it looks like there’s a virus, can you like scan the computer to clear of it” or something like “Yeah Microsoft Update keeps popping up, can you just log in and do that for me.” He would get so mad for my father works at home, and he doesn’t like to be disturbed during certain hours of the day so he would just shoo me away. After some time, he realized what I was doing and caught up to my shenanigans and would call me out for my sly work. Sometimes I would get caught installing the software for those internet speeds was something else or he would just do something real quick and log off. This was back when we were still on dial-up with Netzero and you could not be on the phone and use the internet at the same time. Crazy times man. Other times, I was successful but cost me tons of hours and days sometimes weeks waiting around for a move to take place.

Over time, my parents noticed that I was playing a lot of computer games at one point and got very concerned with my mental health. They said it was too much and would say the typical of going to go read a book and all. It is funny for I was doing that as well a lot during this time, but being at home all day during the summer, I don’t want to just read. I was so obsessed with playing these games that in middle school, I would try and finish my homework at school/on the metro on the way home if I had some prior arrangement with my online friends. My parents hated my habits so much. It was so bad, for I was obsessed. They had to cut my time on the computer. They tried to limit it to weekends only. But I evaded that by waiting till they went to bed at night so I could play online, but I got caught too many times doing that too.

My room was beside theirs and my mother always checks my room every time she would get up in the middle of the night to see if I am there and alive. The computer was in the basement. So I had no time to run and jump in bed without not getting caught. During this time, my father was also a taxi driver on the side and spent a lot of time out at night driving. So while he was out, I was on that computer fucking around. Our house walls are so thin that you can hear anything from upstairs to outside both inside and outside. I got used to the sound of his car pull up on the driveway. So a routine was made to evade a beating. Lights off, computer off, and run upstairs. I moved so fast, no one could stop me. Sometimes, I was so into what I was doing, I would not hear the car in time. And even if he didn’t hear me, he can see when the lights turn off from outside so he knew either myself or one of my sisters was there. Lots of beatings came from those times.

Looking back, these were some grand times. All the trouble I got into from the shenanigans I pulled was insane but well worth the mess I went through. I look back and cherish and laugh at all those moments. 

After all of this, my time for online multiplayer gaming expired, but my gaming sessions never stop, I just refocused them to something else. PC gaming. We’ll share more about that at another time. 

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