I just realized how completely immature I am. I had a revelation while hanging out with a friend, whom we’ll call Smokey the Bear. By the way, Smokey doesn’t smoke cigarettes…I’ll let you figure out what she does smoke on your own.

But back to the story. We were going to have a movie night and traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, so I got to her house a bit early. She let me into her apartment and asked me to wait a minute while she finished up some stuff on her computer. I figured she had a paper she was editing or had an assignment she was turning in, so I said that was fine and headed to her couch. As I passed by the computer, the bright and childish colors drew my eye and I saw…Neopets.

Seriously.

This woman, in her 20’s, was playing an online game in a fantasy land where you care for your pet like it’s your kid. You make money, invest in stocks, go to shops and buy crap and make sure your pet is happy, fed and has a decent roof over it’s head. At first, I was surprised since I stopped playing Neopets in Jr. High and Smokey isn’t exactly known for her love of childish things. This is the same woman who had a list of 100 reasons why she hates children. I can only ever remember #86, which is “piggyback rides”.

Then I realized that up until last year I was playing Webkinz. This is an online community where you care for your pet like it’s your kid. You make money, go to the shop and buy crap and make sure you pet is happy, fed and has a decent roof over it’s head. Waaaaiiiitttt a minute. That sounds familiar…

I don’t play anymore. Now that I have this (more than) full time job, I haven’t had time to go and make sure little Alicia has had a bath. [Yes, I named my online pet pig Alicia]. I’m not sure that my user information is still there (you have to renew once a year, and I think my deadline passed…).

Is this normal? Shouldn’t we have passed the age where we play with online pets? Who am I kidding? I still play The Sims.

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