Every generation has their own series of toys and characters that became obsessions during their childhood years. Your social ranking would be defined by your knowledge of a franchise or the size of your collection. These days it seems Fortnite and Ooshies reign supreme in the Australian ecosystem while my past was dotted with a different series of hobbies. Some were an easy conversation starter between classmates during school, while others required an internet search to find someone with similar tastes in past-times. With dial-up being our only option for an internet connection, that could take quite some time. To celebrate the kilobyte download speeds and the late nights reading books, here’s a list of a few of my favourite childhood obsessions.
Without a doubt, Neopets was my most played website throughout my childhood. Even with the terrible internet we had, I would still patiently wait while those flash games loaded painstakingly slowly just so I could make a few neopoints. I’d spend hours exploring the different worlds and chatting with my guild. Now, dragons have always been my favourite mythical creature and it was my goal as a child to have a Draik Neopet. Since my internet made it time-consuming to earn any significant amount of neopoints, it took me years before I ever managed to reach my goal. Occasionally I’ll log in just to relive my childhood one more time.
Spyro The Dragon
He’s everyone’s favourite purple dragon and I’m definitely no different. Some of my fondest memories playing Spyro came from the PS1 era when we didn’t own a memory card. Me and my sister would start up a new game as soon as we woke up and take turns playing our favourite worlds. We would have to try and finish the game by the end of the day which only happened a handful of times. Naturally, we’d fight over doing certain levels while we detested doing other worlds. When Activision focused on Skylanders, I was severely disappointed although they’ve made it up to Spyro fans when they remastered the first three games of the series.
Although I was too young for the first few titles, Pokémon became a childhood favourite once I was old enough to own my own Game Boy SP. Pokémon Ruby was the first full game I finished in the series with Mudkip remaining my favourite pocket monster to this day. Even before I played any games, I spent every morning in front of the TV trying to learn the Pokérap and guessing what Pokémon appeared before the ad break. I collected Pokémon trading cards although I had no idea how to play the game! Honestly, even now I get excited when Nintendo announces a new game in the series and I still dabble in Pokémon Go when I’m out and about.
Looking back at my life, I see an obvious obsession with pet simulators. Although Dogz 5 became my first foray into simulator games, Tamagotchi’s were on another level. I’d take mine to school and show off my perfectly cared for digital pet to all my friends. Eventually my school did ban them which meant we’d hide them in our bags and try to sneakily clean their poop during recess. I spent way too much time playing mini-games to earn enough for the best food money could buy; apparently my Tamagotchi loved living a luxurious lifestyle.
Being a total bookworm and at the perfect age to grow up with the series, I got sucked into the Harry Potter wave that swept the world. I borrowed the books from my school library and would stay up late into the night soaking up every word. I’ll always remember the day Deathly Hallows came out and all my friends wanted to hang out after Saturday school but I just wanted to go home and read. Every one or two years I’ll go back and read through the series just because it feels like home. I may not be a fan of J.K. Rowling’s fact changes and the Fantastic Beasts films do have their problems; but at the end of the day, I’m still a Ravenclaw at heart.
The Inheritance Cycle
Throughout my childhood there was one book series that stood out amongst all others and it just so happened to involve dragons. If you haven’t heard of The Inheritance Cycle you may recognise the name Eragon which was the title of the first book, and also an epic failure of a movie. Funnily enough, seeing the trailers for the movie was what actually got me into reading the book. I begged and pleaded for my mum to buy me Eragon and she was kind enough to buy it for Christmas (and it remains one of my favourite presents to this day). I’ve read the entire series numerous times by this point and I love that the author, Christopher Paolini, is still expanding on the universe with a fifth book in the works.