If you had access to a PC from before Harry Potter was published to roughly the time the song “Bad Day” came out, chances are you’ve wasted a significant portion of your childhood playing at least one of the following awesome games:
Fair warning: the nostalgia evoked by this list may compel you to waste a significant portion of your adult life scouring eBay for versions compatible with your new MacBook Air. …You’re welcome.
MAKE ME A PIZZA. Along with the iconic carb-and-cheese-loving stump troll, your personalized Zoombinis must conquer sneezing cliffs, the grumpy ferry boat man, and FLEENS all with the Power of Logic, because this is an educashunal game. I’ve never wanted purple hair or roller skates for feet more than while playing this game as a reward for finishing Type to Learn in my 3rd grade computer class. Also I could never make it past Shelter Rock on my parents’ Gateway, but now I can’t remember why and the internet is offering no answers. Perhaps a serious deficiency of Logic?
2. Freddi Fish
I was always partial to the Case of the Stolen Conch Shell because Uncle Blenny is really a good guy and doesn’t deserve such hurtful accusations. I mean one day you’re Grand Exalted Keeper of the Conch, the next you’re no better than Boss and Spongehead stealing kelp seeds for the Squidfather. It’s a tough world for animated heroes of the sea.
3. Zoo Tycoon
Talk about existential crisis. You spend all this time trying to separate the semi-incestuous branches of your lion pride only to realize that you just completed the photograph-an-antelope-birth challenge for a zoo that ISN’T FREAKING REAL. Although the increased star rating would suggest otherwise, releasing my beloved Nala 6 and her father/brother Kovu into the wild is not actually helping the world’s lion population.
Pros: it is fun to drop dissatisfied guests into the T-rex enclosure and watch them run in panicked circles until they disappear in a dust cloud of dinosaur lunch, provided you have the Dinosaur Digs Expansion Pack. Although there’s nothing more exciting than a new brick path now available for purchase, amirite?
4. Putt Putt Saves the Zoo
WE ARE THE TOPIARY CREATURES. WE’RE VERY PLEASED TO MEET YAH’S. Putt Putt harks back to a time when inhabiting virtual zoos was pure, innocent fun and did not lead to emotional breakdowns. 100 points for anyone who caught the Freddi Fish and Luther cameo, but also -100 because it only happens when you fall off your raft in the whirlpool scene. WELCOME TO THE ZOO-ZOO-ZOO.
5. Anastasia: Adventures with Pooka and Bartok
I’m pretty sure the creator of this game stopped working on it after the first two challenges and just lied on the CD sleeve, leaving thousands of PC game nerds trapped as Pooka in the abandoned theater forever. Not cool, bro.
6. Sim City
I always knew I’d make a great mayor. Six beaches and no fire stations is how we roll in Fun Town. Sim City is great because it’s all the God-power of controlling people’s lives without the messy emotional attachments of, like, naming people and watching them give birth to aliens. Plus when you get tired of Fun Town you can bulldoze it with five natural disasters at once and get started on Even-More-Fun-Than-The-Last-Town-I-Destroyed Town.
7. Nancy Drew
I see no reason to strive for any real-life accomplishments when I have solved so many mysteries as virtual Nancy. 24, to be exact. Now available on the iPad! They’re gonna give me a free download of The Silent Spy for saying that.
8. Harry Potter
My greatest accomplishment to date is beating the troll level of Sorcerer’s Stone. For weeks my friend and I spent every waking hour jumping over floor chasms (seriously Hogwarts, talk about a safety hazard) and collecting Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans whilst slowly withering away from Vitamin D deficiency and fruit snack poisoning. Our victory was met with tears, screams, and an IV drip of liquefied vegetables.
9. Quidditch World Cup
How is this different from the Harry Potter computer games, you ask? First of all, what a dumb question; were you even born in this century? Second, it’s a test of athleticism and mouse-clicking dexterity in which the goal is to win the House Cup and finally the World Cup, as opposed to defeating You-Know-Who by pelting him with chocolate frogs. (Wait is that not how it works? This literally explains EVERYTHING.)
10. Kid Pix
It’s truly mind-boggling that people make things on Paint and Photoshop when you can still buy Kid Pix—IN 3D. That’s right, you can make your 2D pictures 3D, according to the intro video for the 15-day trial I just watched on the official website. No, I’m not kidding. What was going to be a Kid Pix obituary is now a frantic attempt to download the free trial. What’s next, 2010s—Wonderballs for sale on the grocery store checkout line? An ’N Sync reunion so brief and unsatisfying that it might as well not have happened at all?!
Some nostalgic memories shouldn’t be recreated.
Give me “Pop” or give me NOTHING.