ITS THE SIMS!!! This was THE 2000's PC gaming experience! Initially, it scared the CRAP out of me, it notoriously had scary sound effects, creepy phone calls in the night, and weird clown curses! Eventually, I got over this and was absolutely obsessed! I especially loved the Makin Magic' expansion; you could cast spells and hatch dragons. literally so cool! And yes, before you ask, I have removed the ladder on occasion! Can you blame me though? Sometimes the sims bring it upon themselves, I didnt tell them to use the fireworks so conveniently placed inside of the house! >:3c
I'm pretty sure public schools still do this, but I got these CDs from those Scholastic book fairs way back when. Basically, public schools would partner with the Scholastic company and sell their products to raise school funds. For a week or so the school would distribute scholastic catalogues, YES catalogues XD! They don't make those anymore, right? You would get this little card and an envelope, write down the codes for each item you wanted, put it in the envelope with some cash and hand it to your teacher. BAM in two weeks your teacher gives you the items! If you didn't want to wait, the schools also hosted an actual fair where they sold off scholastic items as well as any old things the school could scavenge up. I remember one of the teachers brought in this homemade jar thing, he would swirl it around in his hands and the water inside would form a vortex! I think I only ever bought 2 things from the fairs themselves, the first was one of the Captain Underpants books and the other was some weird YA post-apocalyptic book The Eleventh Plague, that must have been a gateway book because now I really enjoy reading anything remotely dreadful! Some books that come to mind now are Metro 2033, A Roadside Picnic, Slaughterhouse-Five and anything Poe wrote.
Type to Learn was a game you could find in most computer labs. It was how they taught students to be efficient typers. I kind of liked the game, I enjoyed playing it and working on my typing speed, I just never liked how the teachers wanted us to play it. The teachers very specifically wanted us to maintain a set position on the keyboard, each finger strategically on a key and each keystroke done in a specific manner. I've always been unorthodox (I mean look at me, I run a website! >:3c), I wanted to type how I felt was natural, I even bought the game just so I could practice my way at home. To this day I type quite oddly, I start with an index finger and just let muscle memory take over. It's all second nature at this point. I don't mean to brag BUUUUUT I can type without looking, even while holding a separate conversation! Is there a moral here? Maybe! Teaching is one of those things requires flexibility, everyone learns differently, and I should know, I spent a good amount of my time at college as a TA and tutor!
The Oregon Trail is a classic! One of the very few edutainment games that is actually fun to play! If you haven't heard of this game, it's basically a simulation of traversing the Oregon Trail back in early 1800's America. At its core, the game is a resource management RNG type of deal; your goal is to survive the trail with as many pioneers as you can while you will hunt, trade, and make choices in randomized events. Guess you could call it a roguelike (Even though the series predates Rouge lol). The Oregon Trail has been a staple of American school computer labs for several generations, the original version released way back in the 70s and has been remade several times over the years. The version I bought from Scholastic was the 2001 5th edition, it played about the same as the 3rd and 4th editions but had an overarching story with animated cutscenes! The 5th edition was sadly the final PC release, there were a couple of mobile games, but the series has since died down into obscurity. It's a real shame but let's be honest they don't make any more edutainment games for a reason! While The Oregon Trail was an exception, they just weren't that good and didn't really teach much. Ask me about the real-life Oregon Trail, all I can tell you is that a lot of people probably had dysentery!
Remember when you could just walk into a video store and grab a free demo disc? No, I can't either, that was a little before my time XD. These shareware CDs came into my family's possession via a hand me down from one of our neighbors. Coincidentally, they also gave us their old computer so we could use them! Doom is literally my childhood game, me and my mom would play it for hours on end! I fondly remember how real the game was to us, we would always lean side to side when strafing, and do little jumping movements when we had to cross a gap. Honestly, we legitimately played it like how people act in those old video game commercials x3
When I was younger, I loved everything 007... Except the movies LOL! In my defense. they are slow, and there's just way too much flirting. I'm a simple dude I want to see sneaking and shooting not kissing and undressing! Now the video games however, I was a sucker for em. My first 007 game was NightFire on the PC. This one really drew me in as a kid, this was the first game I ever played that had such nifty tools! A watch that shot a laser beam to burn locks, a pen that could shoot darts to silently eliminate enemies and A CELL PHONE THAT WAS A GRAPPELING HOOK?!?! Now that I think about it, all the first person 007 games were extremely difficult! NightFire was no exception. The second level must be infamous as it really throws all the annoying mechanic tropes at you. First you gotta sneak into an airfield where any detection is a game over, then you have to guardian snipe for an AI companion, and after a quick shooting section you have to defend a plane from an onslaught of enemies in every direction! If you were a bad enough dude to survive that, you were treated to what I think is the best level, the Japanese estate! This map had a lot of enemies to fight, things to break and a lot of open space to explore!
UPDATE (7/24/22) - I Recently managed to get the PC version working by using some fishy online patches and went through the game in its entirety. Turns out I never got very far when I played it back then XD; this game really is HARD. Now, I don't know if things are messy because I'm playing on a modern system or if it was always this way, but the combat is unfair. Enemy AI, even on Agent (normal) difficulty, are eagle eyed and have lightning-fast reflexes; most of the time they can land a shot on you as soon as you enter their line of sight (even if you are crouched and in the dark)! Because of this, stealth is not at all a viable tactic, and when it's a requirement; it boils down to luck and a lot of trial and error. Overall, it's a rough game; but it's not without merit; some of the set-pieces are interesting and the overall style/design of everything is great! P.S did you know this was built on the GoldSrc Engine?! I can't believe I never caught onto that; the movement bob is a dead giveaway!
9.[Civ 3] You a cop or something? Why do you want to talk about my totally legitimate copy of Sid Meier's Civilization III?!
10.[Disney Pixar CD Storybook] This CD came with a Pixar storybook, which was basically a condensed retelling of each movie. The CD itself was just a read aloud, like an audiobook. I know this stuff was kind of a fad, but I really adore the time when everything had to incorporate electronics/tech in some way; Electronic storybooks like Leapfrog, interconnected toys like Cube World, Physical toys with online components like Neopets or Webkinz and even something as simple as Wendys putting game discs in kids' meals! This was a simpler time before such practices became so exploitive like wi-fi connected juicers and subscription-based airbag vests!
When I was like 5, we got this Simpsons "VR" game where you could explore Springfield, I loved it so much! There were tons of minigames to play and characters to talk to! The Simpsons was really popular with my family, we didn't have cable TV so we would always watch The Simpsons on a local channel every day after I got home from school.
UPDATE (7/7/23) - After holding it off for years, I finally took some time to delve into setting up virtual machines! I started by downloading Virtual Box 6.1 and a copy of Windows XP. It was here that I got a little distracted by the nostalgia of being able to use the system I grew up on! Everything was here just like I remembered it; the little design flairs, the system sounds, Solitaire, MS Paint, Windows Media Player... I could go on. Modern systems are just so devoid of life and personalization options; I wouldn't even call them utilitarian, they are just boring!
After a bunch of fiddling, I just could not seem to get Virtual Springfield running on XP. So, I went ahead and setup a Windows 98 system (Which I had only used briefly as a child). Setting up Windows 98 was a much more arduous task; from what I understand, Virtual Box has some compatibility issues with older Windows systems; so I had to go around the net finding a variety of fixes to make sure the system could run the game properly. Finally, after 3 days, the game was ready!
Virtual Springfield is really not so much a video game as it is an interactive toy. You navigate around Springfield and can visit 17 locations from the show and interact with a vairety of objects and characters with the occasional mini-game sprinkled in... (mmm sprinkles)...
To access these 17 locations, you move around Springfield by moving left, right or forwards on pre-defined paths. Since you can't turn around or walk backwards, overworld navigation is really clunky; If you miss a turn, you will have to keep moving until you have a chance to wrap around! You also can't instantly travel to any locations (atleast not without a cheat code :3, hold Shift + S + V then click on a map icon). Once you arrive at a location however, things play out much smoother as it switches to a more traditional fixed perspective where sub locations can be accessed by clicking on doors, stairs, etc.
Across the map, there are a few collectibles to be found that can unlock some new areas/interactions; these mostly come in the form of keys or written out instructions. There are also 74 collectible character cards that can randomly spawn in when you visit a location. With only 17 major locations, collecting these cards is tedious; you can easily see much of everything the game has to offer before you can even find a quarter of the cards!
Luckily, I was able to collect all the cards by cheesing it in Krusty's studio as the cards reliably spawn across two rooms. After getting the 74th card you are presented with a 75th card which directs you to a link, "www.foxinteractive.com/frink". As this is a 1997 game, the site has long since been removed; however, I was able to track down a few remnants via the Wayback Machine!
In total, I'd say it took me just about 3 hours to (as far as I know) see everything the game has to offer. While I could play for hours on end as a child, I don't think I could manage to get that much mileage out of it now XD! That's not to say it's a bad game at all; it's definetly a worthwhile experience if you are a fan on the show, it's just that it's meant to be a bite-size novelty and a neat collectible! I wish we could see more things like this today!
I got this this city builder game as a gift once, Zeus Master of Olympus. It came in perhaps one of the coolest PC boxes I'd ever seen! Well, in fact the only actual PC box I'd ever seen at that point! The CD itself was also striking to me, It had a similar color and glare to something you would see on a PS1 disc. I recently got a new copy from GOG and I am absolutely in love with it. Now that I'm an adult I actually understand what the hell is going on XD. I would defiantly recommend it to anyone who likes city builders! "Has anyone seen my spear? How can I be a spear carrier without my spear! "
I got this Portal themed mug from a Valve Store booth at a convention about a decade ago (Written 12/25/22). It's my favorite mug and not just because of the relation to Portal, I think the black and white color palate is so sleek! I'm surprised how pristine it is despite being some 10 years old! Though I honestly don't drink from it too often as I'm not a coffee drinker; so that could be why XD.
The weird thing about this is that I've never been able to find a trace of this exact mug. I've gone through Valve Store and WeLoveFine archives, various online posts about Portal merch and found nothing! Perhaps it was a convention exclusive? Though, there are no markings that would indicate this. Based on what I've dug up, I know this has to be a WeLoveFine mug as other mugs on their website have a similar two color scheme and shape. Here's a wayback archive that shows a CS:GO and DOTA 2 mug.
Also listed in the previous link is this DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE CONTAINMENT UNIT. I never liked using it much just because it was a mess to drink out of without some kind of straw, but I did like to tease my friends with the little joke printed on the bottle. Which uses scientific jargon to explain how drinking water leads to hydration XD. "WARNING: MAY CAUSE DIAPHORESIS, MICTURITION, AND ACUTE TISSUE HYDRATION."
When I was young I always had a fishlamp beside my bed! The quiet hum and moving fishes helped me sleep. Sometimes I'd even turn it on in the morning because it's just so neat! Now, as an adult; I still think its neat! Maybe not very safe to have on for long but still adds some much needed excietment to a room. This isn't my original fishlamp; just some random one I found online, but I can hardly tell the difference. I wonder what the history of fishlamps are, who made them originally? Can't really find much about them online :/.
Okay this doesnt really belong here because I no longer have it anymore; but I have been searching for any proof of this thing for years! Only recently (As of 11/12/23) did I discover its name!! When I was younger, my mom took me to a Toys R Us for my birthday. It was during this visit that I got a cool Halo related statue which I'll showcase here when I have a chance. Before we left, she said I could get one more toy; so we stopped by the bargin bin and found this little device that claimed to connect to one of those virtual world games which I was obsessed with. The device itself was really small, like a PDA and functioned as a pedometer. I want to say we didn't pay more than $20 for it. As soon as I got home I opened the box and tried to figure the thing out but unfortunately it didn't seem to work at all. I also could not seem to find the website of the virtual world it claimed to connect to. Perhaps by that point in time the game was shut down thus being tossed into bargin bins without much thought. For the longest time, I beleived that someone just snuck some fake toy into a Toys R Us :/.