Back in primary school, the best lessons took place in the computer lab; We got to cast aside our books and warm classrooms for computers and sweet, sweet air-conditioning. And we always looked forward to gaining knowledge from our teachers in an environment more conducive for learning! …At least, that was the original plan. When ‘cher wasn’t looking – or so we thought – many of us diverted our attention to some of the 11 computer games below.
Little Fighter 2 was wildly popular back in the early 2000s when it was in its prime. Catch anyone intently mashing their keyboards, and you could almost be certain LF2 was the culprit.
Image adapted from: BrotherzZzGaming
You could choose from 24 different characters, each one with his/her own unique movesets and strengths. Who can forget the iconic Firen and Freeze – representing fire and ice respectively -, two characters that combined in-battle to create the powerful Firzen?
And nothing beats the co-op function of LF2, where you and a friend can share 1 keyboard for a split-play sesh. The only downside to that was not being able to hide the fact that you were gaming instead of actually e-learning.
You can still relive the experience of playing LF2 today, with the game available for download on its official website here.
While BattleOn’s graphics look like they were put together by MS Paint, it was the entry point for many of us into the world of fantasy RPGs. It allowed us to insert ourselves into a whole other world through characters that were completely customisable.
If you’re someone who’s drawn to all things magical, you’d have loved Warlic’s magic shop, where you could learn how to sling fireballs and conjure gusts of wind to attack foes.
Image credit: The Average Gamer
And it was also here that you could get your first impromptu pet for free – a pet rock! All you had to do was mix magma leaf, bad juice, and slattwob dust into a cauldron at the back of the shop to create the rock, which was perfectly functional as a combatant in battle.
The desire to pay real money to become a premium Guardian in BattleOn was a very real one, and we would be bummed each time the window asking us to become one popped up, blocking us from accessing exclusive content like towns, areas, and quests.
Image credit: Angelfire
Belying the nondescript facade of Stickdeath.com’s homepage was the guilty pleasure of a good number of our childhood selves.
This website offered games where your ultimate objective was to brutally murder stick figures. Though the these were crudely animated on Flash, they were still pretty graphic – enough to make any parent’s skin crawl and rob you of access to a computer for weeks.
Image credit: Alex VS Games
‘Twas fun to not just play games behind the teacher’s back, but also indulge in something taboo. Although the original site has since been taken down, it has been partially revived here, where you can once again inflict despair upon hapless stick figures.
Spider Solitaire was instantly identifiable by its iconic spider logo, as we’ve seen on our good ol’ Windows computers. Its simple interface made it a great way to pass the time – without maxing out the dial-up internet budget.
With many of our parents being fans of the game themselves, it naturally got their seal of approval. And playing this would make our kid selves feel more grown up, what with the cards’ no-nonsense.
The web version of Tamagotchi, Neopets was where we could create, raise, and play with our very own alien pets. Like real pets, our Neopets had moods that would turn sour if neglected for too long – cue the daily logins, feedings, and mini games to keep our pets happy.
Image credit: Bustle
And to meet our pets’ needs, we would gather Neopoints to buy things like food and toys for them – we could even buy pets for our pets that were called petpets! Neopoints were primarily obtained from the huge collection of minigames that the site had to offer.
Hasee Bounce was one of the more memorable games, where you bounce two little Hasee critters off a seesaw to snag doughnuts floating across the screen.
Neopets is still up and running today, so if you still remember the login details of your old account, check in on the pets you’ve abandoned your beloved pets today!
For those of us who weren’t into RPGs, Habbo was our thing, connecting us with people all over the world under the roof of a massive virtual hotel.
Creating our own characters and designing our rooms were highlights for us Habbo fans, and we could actively socialise by visiting each other’s rooms. And for those who were part of the older crowd, Habbo was like an early version of Tinder – a hotspot for us to find our next date with the magic phrase “A/S/L?”
And for a period of time, Habbo had these “official rooms” that anyone could access, some of which even had mini games like Battle Ball, SnowStorm, Wobble Squabble, and diving.
Habbo is as yet not dearly departed from the Internet, and is still receiving regular updates on its website here.
Another timeworn classic we loved was Icy Tower, where the objective was to jump from one “floor” to the next, aiming to go up as high as you can without falling off the platforms.
Those of us who played this game religiously know that this game was impossible to beat – there were far too many stages of platforms, and we only kept going upwards without any definite end in sight.
All the time we’ve spent on this game has firmly ingrained its trippy rainbow-illuminated text and the skater dude’s “woo”s and “whoopee-doo-dee-doo”s as he jumped and cartwheeled into our minds.
Now this is a game that we all have played at one point or another in our lives. 3D Pinball Space Cadet was memorable for being very high-tech for its time, featuring a pinball board entirely rendered in 3D – all save for the scoreboard on the side.
The audio only added to the experience, with the sound of an engine revving at the start of a game, and alarms going off when a pinball is ejected – making you feel like you were commandeering an actual spacecraft.
Club Penguin was basically just like Habbo, but made more kid-friendly with penguins and igloos instead of human-like avatars and hotel rooms. The penguin avatar you created was fully customisable, where you could pick its colour and even the clothing and accessories it wore.
Although Club Penguin didn’t seem particularly special, it was strangely addictive with the huge number of activities in-site, such as earning stamps, having snowball fights, and playing mini games.
Image credit: Crzypengu
Bean Counters was a cute little game in which you tortured your penguin by getting him to catch an increasing number of coffee bean bags tossed out from the back of a truck.
Image credit: CollegeHumor
And there was, of course, testing the “bad word” system to see what colourful words and expressions would incur the wrath of the dreaded ban hammer.
Update: While the original Club Penguin has shuttered, there is now a new version of it on private server, Club Penguin Online. 90’s kids might be glad to know that although inspired by the original Disney’s version, this one is still largely similar.
Proudly made in Singapore, Viwawa is a one-stop portal for us to swing by and play casual multiplayer games online.
Wahjong was a very popular game available on Viwawa, and it was basically mahjong modified with SG and HK-centric rules. With its cutesy interface and player avatars, this was something that even kids could get into. Even Xiaxue had a phase when she avidly played this game back in 2008.
And there was also Sushido, a match 3 game where you acted as a chef and competed with other players in a mad rush to fill your impatient customers’ sushi orders.
Image credit: Viwawa
Viwawa is still in existence today, although it’s not as big a hit as it once was. You can access the site here.
No matter how fancy modern MMORPGS have become with their awesome graphics, they can never replace the special place RuneScape has in our hearts. Despite its plain, unfancy interface, Runescape stood out for being one of the earliest ways we could connect with and play with our friends in a fantasy world.
Image credit: Runescape Classic Wikia
Collecting raw materials was a very big thing on RuneScape, and we would spend long hours at the computer just to fish, mine, and cut wood to create new items for upgrading our secondary skills like cooking and fletching.
Image credit: Runescape Wikia
No RPG is truly complete without a proper quest system, and RuneScape’s did a world of wonders in adding dimension to its canonical characters’ short stories.
While the original classic RuneScape is no longer around, it has been revitalised by a group of devoted fans as Old School RuneScape. This one can only be played through a client, which can be downloaded here.
Playing these games in the school computer lab was technically against the rules, but hey – you gotta admit that the thrill of sneaking behind your teacher’s back has created some of the most unforgettable memories that you can look back on fondly.
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Cover image adapted from: Habbo Hotel, Viwawa, Neopets & 3D Pinball
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