5 most nostalgic online games you can still play for old times’ sake: Neopets, Club Penguin, The Sims...
Are you game?
Much like the five stages of grief, there seems to be a set series of emotions experienced by those in self-isolation. First comes panic ("buy all the toilet paper!!") then comes relentless, unending anxiety ("is it a good idea to drink bleach, you think?") followed by determination (every time PM Lee takes the stage), and now, the penultimate phase before acceptance: mind-numbing, crippling boredom.
If you, like us, are starting to feel wistful just thinking about that burrito you had weeks ago outside and surrounded by people, an intervention is in order. Don't get us wrong — research has found that nostalgia is beneficial for your mental health, but not when you're reminiscing over sunnier, sociable days only achievable in a month's time. That is, if anything, counterproductive, and not exactly helpful when it comes to curing your affliction.
Instead, we recommend channelling that energy into other sentimental ventures instead, i.e. revisiting the online games of your childhood. Surprisingly enough, most are still up and running, come in mobile versions, and require zero dodgy installation procedures likely to implant a virus on your MacBook. Win-win, as they say. Our favourite picks, below.
Affectionately referred to as the gathering place for the pet-less and lonely, this social simulation game was the wet dream of all seven-year-olds whose requests for puppies were cruelly rebuffed by their parents. Users get to create — and care — for up to four Neopets, explore the virtual world of Neopedia, and earn virtual currency to raise their new family. Much like Animal Crossing, there is no real objective to this game, except, uh, perhaps keeping your pets from falling sick and dying. You have to feed them on the daily, interact with them to boost their happiness, and paint them a motley of colours to earn the Eternal Respect of your peers.
With over thousands of games classified according to genre (action, adventure, puzzle, etc), there's no doubt you'll be well-entertained for hours-on-end. Side note: you don't need to create an account now to get access to the games, which means you won't have to deal with the burdensome responsibility of raising a mutant dragon while attempting to beat the high score on Meerca Chase. Neopets just gets it, man.
Play it here.
Nothing was more thrilling than getting away with a slightly provocative username on Club Penguin. The OG Animal Crossing; arguably the first-ever popularised multi-player online game; and the birthing ground of trolls on Reddit (jk), Club Penguin was the platform to be seen on in the early 2000s. Players used customisable penguin-avatars to participate in a range of activities so as to earn currency to own homes, pets, and clothing. While its servers were originally shut down in 2017, they revamped over the last few years to add fun new components where characters from Disney franchises such as Frozen and Zootopia show up through special-themed events.
It is also one of the few platforms that utilises a "Safe Chat" filter, where a moderator prevents the use of coarse language and sharing of personal information. Honestly, it just forced us to get really creative about the way we communicate. Perhaps this was how emojis were born?
Play it here.
There are so many new renditions of this classic game that we've lost track. That being said, you can play the online mobile version titled The Sims Mobile from Google Play and the App Store. Credited as a "reality TV show where you're in control," think of it as Neopets, but with human characters. Users get to create their own cast of characters, set them up with jobs, and, fundamentally, play God. We're not naming names, here, but the writer of this piece once made her Sim character bathe for three hours straight for no conceivable reason. It be like that, sometimes.
Play it here.
Easily one of the most well-known games in Singapore, there used to be a lot more fuss when it came to playing Maplestory. You had to download it, for one, and it couldn't be played using anything but a Windows operating system. Thankfully, you can now just get it on mobile and participate in the whole she-bang. For the uninitiated, you simply have to create a unique character, kill monsters shaped like toadstools and armoured pigs, as well as solve intricate, puzzle-based dungeons. Ha. The difficulty level is actually pretty high on this one, similar to an actual video game played on consoles. There's been tweaks to the storyline and characters, too. Back in the day, you could only pick from four roles: Thief, Mage, Warrior, and Bowman. Now, there's a whopping 32 classes and jobs to pick from as well as an expansive history and storyline that can feel a tad overwhelming. Seriously, what is an Angelic Buster, even?
Play it here.
Lilo and Stitch's 625 Sandwich Stacker
The most ridiculous, frustrating, yet engaging game in the universe is based upon 2002 hit Disney movie, Lilo & Stitch. Or, more specifically, Stitch's ever-hungry alien cousin, 625, who just wants to make his darn sandwich. The premise is simple: ingredients are falling from the sky (don't question it), and users have to navigate 625 around to stack premium cuts of meat and dairy to make the Ultimate Sandwich. Naturally, there are obstacles like fish bones and mouldy lettuce, which reduces your life count each time you pick it up. We like to think of it as a simplified version of Overcooked that doesn't result in friendships torn asunder.
Play it here.