Trip Down Memory Lane

What were your hobbies/interests before Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr were around? I guess it all depends on how you were brought up, what kind of friends you had, what neighborhood you lived in, etc. But I’m writing it for myself, and other people who were born in the late 80s, early 90s.

Yesterday I was chatting with my boyfriend – and an interesting topic came up. What did other little girls do in their spare time back in those days?

I grew up watching a lot of TV. I preferred cartoons over any other type of TV until I was in 6th or 7th grade. Back then, there were the kids who went directly home from school, and there were the kids who stayed out to hang out and do outdoor things. I stayed home a lot until about 6th grade (when I met a different group of friends). It was a normal thing for kids to spend a lot of time watching TV, I mean, there are a ton of “You know you were born in the 90’s when ____” groups on Facebook, and it really does surprise me how those kinds of things change over time.

I think I spent most of my 1st to 6th grade childhood watching things on YTV and eventually Treehouse when that channel started showing up. I wasn’t into music until late 5th grade, and I was sort of just trying to be like my classmates who listened to Hilary Duff and Kelly Clarkson. Many little girls seemed to watch Friends and have sleepovers, personally I never changed the channel from YTV, so I never watched Friends growing up.

3rd grade to 6th grade was a huge card game (Pokemon, Yugioh, etc.), Beyblade, GBA phase for me and some of my classmates. I bought all the Pokemon Walkthrough guides, also went on IGN guides a lot, all of that fun stuff. My parents were never willing to buy the larger consoles for me though (GameCube, PS2, etc.)

4th grade was a Neopets phase for me. If you go on their website right now, you will see that – yes, it’s still around! And they are updating daily. I am rather lazy to check how the site activity is, but I am surprised that they are still staying strong. Back then, web apps were just getting a little better, people actually created games out of very simple web technologies, and it was an impressive and entertaining thing to have. Remembe Gaia Online? Thinking back to that, the graphics were terrible.

In 5th grade, I started my anime & Japanese culture phase. This went on for a long time, probably until late gr 11/12. This is how people got their information before Facebook:

I don’t recall the first couple times I used Google Search, but because my dad signed me up for a Yahoo account, I used Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Groups is just like Facebook pages of today, but I would say it was more of a community than FB Pages. (It’s still around BTW, I just don’t think the userbase is very large). People literally used to form scanlation teams for Japanese manga and post daily on that thing. There were discussions, people used to upload mp3s of Japanese OPs/EDs, international versions, etc etc. And that’s how people could express their fandom. I believe people used Google groups back then too, but I never had a gmail until late grade 6-7 I believe.

Other than that, there were forums. Very basic and small forum communities. I don’t think anyone else my age used forums at the time, because I was usually the youngest (12/13 years old) out of most of the users (like..16+? haha). It was definitely an interesting experience, and the popularity of using Photoshop to create fan-based wallpapers, signatures and avatars were so popular back then, my dad got me Photoshop Elements 2 (or was it 3?) and I played around with it -so- much. Nowadays, it’s about CS5 and things have evolved so much with web, html5, css3, and design in general, that I think it’d take me forever to relearn all my skills and teach myself all these new tricks that people do these days.

What else was there? There was music and video sharing. After my first trip back to my home country during my summer before 7th grade, I started getting really into Asian music. Soompi was very well known during those days (and is still around!) but it was such a huge community that I didn’t bother joining it. I really loved solid07. It was basically the place to go to find the latest music, MVs, PVs, etc.

Basically – it was pre-Youtube era. File uploading sites just started getting popular, because people wanted to share things. Yousendit, Rapidshare, Megaupload were the most popular uploading sites back in the day. Now, Megaupload is gone due to SOPA and those related campaigns, Rapidshare has become the most annoying free uploading site, and Yousendit is actually still around – but I havent seen anyone use it since ’06 or something. People used to -upload- videos to share them. So this was before video embedding due to the lack of Youtube.You used to have to have enough posts or points to download videos though – for certain forums. 

I had this BoA fandom phase, ahem* Boajjang (which is also still around). There were fans who had every PV and MV that BoA had, obviously every song, as well. This was during the time when BoA released a new song basically every month in Japan. Those were the days.

Youtube started getting big in 2005-2006 I think, I made an account in ’06 but never got into video watching. I was still in the ‘download everything and watch later’ phase.

Oh yes, that’s right. Torrenting. Or hold that though – remember Kazaa? And Emule (sp)? People got a lot of viruses from using Kazaa – that’s what I remember! Soon people started using Limewire – which was a lot safer. Torrenting was such an important thing for anime lovers to get their weekly fix. People were actually so die-hard fanboy that they downloaded the RAW japanese episodes that came out, and would rewatch -with- subs, whenever the subbers completed the translations, timing, all that fun stuff.

I was there when Dattebayo first formed. Dattebayo was a Naruto subbing group for those who don’t know. They had members from other subbing groups, and joined as one. They were the fastest subbing group for Naruto (back when it was very popular to the anime community, before it got licensed in the States). It seems that they’re inactive now, as of mid 2010, which is unfortunate.

Pre-grade 8, I got into Maple Story. Yep. I’m pretty sure we all had a maplestory phase. I know all the guys played every PC MMO out there, I couldn’t really get into them. It was just Maple Story. This was such an addicting game. I played so much during grade 8-9 that my dad found this program to put a schedule on my internet. No kidding. I met so many random people on that game (that I still have on Facebook/MSN..) But a lot of my IRL friends played it. I got to know my first boyfriend through that game (and no, it was not an online relationship haha, he went to my school). I played this game until mid 10th grade, and stopped playing, just like that. Nothing back happened, I didnt get hacked. The only motivation was that I wanted to do other things. I was actually level 98, and I could have easily gotten to 100 since I was a priest.

So what is MapleStory now? There was actually a phase in post-grade 12 when my friends would go on MS just to chat and chill. Well, people still play it, there are around 6 new classes/character types… I cannot go on my account anymore since it’s been inactive for a couple of years, and all the activation emails were being sent to my first Yahoo email that’s been deactivated. Silly Yahoo, I’m sure they’d get a lot more users if they didn’t deactivate accounts due to inactivity.

I still watch anime once in awhile, but there are just so many things I would rather do in my spare time, that I don’t get to it. Here’s my to-watch list:

-FMA Brotherhood (I actually have all of the episodes, but haven’t found the time to start watching)

-More Ghibli movies

I have not kept up with Anime in 2+ years. Dramas are more dominant for me now, and even then.. I don’t have the time to watch 45 min episodes for series that span ~20 episodes. I made a list last summer with suggestions from my drama-loving friends, and seriously planned to full out watch them this co-op term.

What happened? Well… my internet is horrible in the place I’m staying. That alone is a discouragement to streaming and downloading. I think I’ll do it next coop term.

So no, we didn’t get flying cars in the 21st century (so far, at least), but our technology has vastly grown since then. There’s just so many things to do on the internet now. On a smartphone. Facebook and 9gag consume most of my free entertainment time; Foursquare is something I got into recently due to my ability to use data; and I also just end up staying at work later than I need to because I don’t watch the time.

That’s all I had for today, I think I just told a life story, but I’m hoping people can relate to it.