When I was in third grade, I got my first Webkinz. It was a cute stuffed animal made by a toy company called Ganz. The best thing about it was the tag attached to its ear—it contained a code that could be entered in the Webkinz website so that the stuffed lion or unicorn or puppy came to life in an online world. As the owner, I became responsible for my pet's wellbeing. When I got additional Webkinz, they all lived together in a Webkinz house. Webkinz were my obsession for about three years. Here are 10 things every Webkinz kid knows all too well.
1. Webkinz came before everything else.
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Sorry, friends. Sorry, room that needs to be cleaned. Sorry, babysitter who actually wants to play board games. I have 27 tiny virtual animals to take care of.
2. You always looked for an excuse to get another one.
Birthday? Christmas? Allowance money? No matter the occasion, adding a new Webkinz to your collection was always a great idea.
3. You lived for Webkinz holidays.
St. Patrick's Day, Webkinz Day, Goo-Goo Berry Festival, Halloween, Thanksgiving...the list goes on. Just in case you don't remember Webkinz Day or the Goo-Goo Berry Festival, Webkinz Day celebrated the launch of Webkinz on April 29 (its birthday.) As for the Goo-Goo Berry Festival, all I can remember is that a funky blue pumpkin-looking object floated across the computer screen and if you clicked on it, you would get some sort of Goo-Goo Berry-inspired food for your pet. What a meaningful holiday!
4. Webkinz playdates were your favorite.
Webkinz became popular during the time that kids began transitioning from running around outside after school to running straight to their parents' computer. The ideal playdates occurred when you had two computers at your house so you and your best friend could virtually hang out via Webkinz even though he or she was sitting right beside you. You could even play in the Webkinz Clubhouse together!
5. You mastered all of the Webkinz Arcade games.
KinzCash was very important in order to have the best house, clothes, and food for your pets. That's why you were so good at playing Bananza, Cash Cow, Picnic, Tile Towers (my personal favorite,) Webkinz Mini Golf, and Zingoz Pie Throw.
6. Adding a new room was the highlight of your day.
7. The only reason you wanted Webkinz Trading Cards was for the slight chance you would get a free Webkinz.
8. You knew that spinning the Wheel of WOW and playing Wishing Well 2 were the best ways to earn free items and cash.
It was only once a day and prizes varied, but the opportunity to receive 500 KinzCash or a free item of furniture was worth it. Except when you got Gak. No one ever knew what that unlucky substance was from the Wheel of WOW.
9. Club Penguin didn't even compare to your Webkinz life.
You were either a Club Penguin or Webkinz child. Sure, you could have accounts for both, but one always came out on top. Webkinz had so much more to offer when it came to games, characters, and things to do in general.
10. Allowing your account to expire was a very hard decision.
Once I hit middle school, the number of Webkinz among my group of friends quickly deteriorated. In sixth grade, I said my final goodbyes to my 11 favorite buddies. They brought me so much joy, but it was time to move on.