If you were born anytime in the 1990s or later, chances are you've spent a good amount of your childhood on the computer, playing online games. Some of those online games may still be around but there are also many that are no longer with us today. CD-ROM games were truly our gateway drug into the incredible world of technology and the Internet.
I personally would be extremely uncomfortable with computers if I did not play my Madeline 1st Grade CD-ROM until it's eventual demise (it fell on the floor and shattered into a million pieces.) However, once our computers became too "advanced" to support our old CD-ROM games from the late 1990s, what were we to do? My question was answered with another question: "Are YOU toon enough?" That question comes from a Toontown Online commercial if you don't already know. That being said, here's a list of the wonderful MMORPGs made for kids (and for the kid at heart) that are no longer with us today.
1. Disney's Toontown Online
The year is 2003 and you're watching Spongebob Squarepants on your summer vacation. While you sit through the many toy commercials, one catches your eye and you realize that this commercial you are watching isn't actually for a physical toy but instead for an online game. And bam, your Internet addiction has now begun. I personally find this game to be the most significant out of all of MMORGS aimed at kids to date. This game had everything: chubby animals, cute character clothing, awesome graphics, action, and of course, jellybeans were used as currency. My pink cat named Little Stubby Cheezy Nugget lived to play from 2003 to the eventual closure of the game in 2013. According to Disney, Toontown Online closed because they are now "shifting development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences." Don't lose hope though, a promising fan revival is in the works.
Although Millsberry was more of a marketing tool created by General Mills in 2004, it was still a very great game to socialize with friends, personalize your house, have yard sales and play awesome games for prizes. Every time I would visit my cousin's house, we'd always play this game. Heck, the whole block played it. This game was generally a more interactive and kid friendly version of MySpace since you could personalize your bio which included music tastes, favorite colors, hobbies and personality traits. You could even take selfies of your online character at the Portrait Studio. After six wonderful years, General Mills closed the doors to Millsberry on December 31, 2010 due to the dwindling numbers of users.
Dizzywood was an incredibly diverse online world. It had very diverse aspects to its world since you could visit Indiana Jones-esque caves, the beach, medieval fairs or even just a shopping trip to a fancy little boutique. This game never got boring for me since there were always countless activities and adventures to do. Even though it may come across as a boy game, it wasn't. You could even become a hairstylist on Dizzywood; however, the power to cut people's hair did not come easy since you had to pass a crazy number of tasks to become "certified." I also found that the chat interactions with other online players was more lenient than the previous two. The last day to enjoy this incredibly fun game was January 12, 2011. However, Dizzywood reps have stated that "the fan support has been so strong that we're always looking at ways to bring Dizzywood back in some way, shape or form." There's hope.
4. Virtual Magic Kingdom
Another Disney heartbreak. Virtual Magic Kingdom was the happiest place on the Internet for three years. I first discovered VMK in 2005, during the 50th anniversary celebration at Disneyland. My mom bought me a pair of gold Mickey Mouse ears which contained a code for an online version of my ears for my soon to be online character. This is one of those games that can never be replaced. Cheap imitations of VMK sprung after the closure of this amazing MMORPG but were nowhere near as amazing. Even if you do not live near a Disney Park, you could still experience it without ever setting foot in one. You can ride Peter Pan's Flight without waiting in line for an hour in the heat. I love anything Disney so I very much enjoyed being able to buy a Lumiere lamp for my room or buy a Princess Aurora gown for my online character. VMK closed it's gates on May 21, 2008. On a happier note, a fan revival of VMK (this is the real deal) has now been open since September of 2013, five years after the closing.
This game isn't technically from my childhood but it was still a wonderful gaming experience while it lasted. Nicktropolis was a MMORPG that opened in January of 2007. I find this game to be the Nickelodeon version of Virtual Magic Kingdom. It was a very unique gaming experience for fans of the many popular Nickelodeon characters and television shows. You can visit Jimmy Neutron or even hang out at Spongebob's Pineapple with your online Nicktropolis friends. It also had a super awesome carnival-like atmosphere by having midway games and carnival rides. Nicktropolis was closed after three years for a major face lift and overall rebranding. It is now called The Club and is still very similar to Nicktropolis but it just isn't the same since the rebranding deleted your items, friends and NickPoints.
We've also lost Groovy Girls Party, Pixie Hollow, Postopia, BarbieGirls and the list goes on. Luckily, we still have many of our favorites from childhood such as Neopets, Bearville, Hello Kitty Online and of course, Club Penguin. Where would we be today without the unintentionally hilarious fan made Club Penguin music videos?