Guys, the internet is huge. Way huger than the movies of my childhood (War Games anyone?) had led me to believe. Yet, I often find myself sitting in from of my computer, bored. And a quick look at browser history shows that I only visit around 20 sites on a regular basis. I guess that explains some things. So I decided to dig deep into my past, to see if I could dig up some of the stuff that used to keep me glued to my screen 24/7. I had so much fun revisiting these, so I hope you don’t mind if I share them with you!
1. Fall Headfirst into TV Tropes: If you consume a lot of media like I do, you know that often times it can be formulaic. The hero goes on their quest, the guy always gets the girl, and gay characters are killed off to force an emotional reaction. These are Tropes, and TV and movies are full of them. TV Tropes is a massive wiki that catalogs every trope you can think of, and aims to stimulate commentary about media. I suggest looking up your favorite show or movie, and just start clicking on links! I always tell myself that I’ll only spend a few minutes there, but it often turns into an hour.
2. Play old browser games: The late 90s and early 2000s were the golden age of flash games. I spent my middle school years obsessed with games that were so simple that they only required the up/down and left/right arrows. Most of my time was spent on a site called Neopets, which was sort of like having an advanced Tamagotchi. You had pets that you had to take care of, and the easiest way to earn the money to do this was by playing games. And play them I did. My favorite was Meerca Chase, a Snake clone, that I still love today. My middle school muscle memory still exists, and I’m still pretty good! Other favorites of mine include Fancy Pants 2, and Max Dirt Bike, which I still think have excellent replayability. In the current era of games that cost $50 to own and millions to produce, going back to a simpler time of free browser games is really refreshing.
3. The Wikipedia Game: How, you ask, can you make Wikipedia into a game? Well, let me tell you. The Wikipedia game has puzzle aspects, tests your word association skills, and is even a dexterity game because you need to be a quick clicker. The premise is simple, get from one random Wikipedia article to another, in the fewest clicks (or shortest time) possible. I spent a lot of time in college when I was supposed to be studying playing this game. I claimed that since I was using articles related to my studies, it still counted. That was a lie.
4. Start a Web Comic from the beginning: The 2000s were also the birth of highly popular Web Comics, which are definitely their own unique type of media. It didn’t matter if a comic was serial or a collection of one-shots, they made digital art and media incredibly accessible. And these things can run for years. I started reading Questionable Content in high school (which I’ve realized doing the math was 15 years ago?!) and it’s still running strong today. Like shows like Seinfeld, it’s a comic about nothing- 15 years of nothing at this point, but I’m kind of invested. XKCD is for the nerds out there. It focuses on math and science humor, so expect lots of jokes about dinosaurs, statistical curves, and astrophysics. Balderdash is a beautifully illustrated serial about two witches, and while it doesn’t have as much backlog, what it’s got is worth reading.
5. Learn something!: You would not believe how many ways there are to learn something new online these days. Learn to code? Check!, Robotics? Check! World Mythology? Anatomy? Study Skills? Check, Check, Check! I find that these sorts of courses scratch a learning itch without any pressure. I find acquiring knowledge to be very relaxing, which I’m aware is not universal. So if the idea of learning the ins and outs of Biology makes you quake in your (hopefully) comfortable shoes, then run away now! Or don’t. Who am I to tell you what to do?
6. Give back with one click: So Free Rice has been around for quite a few years now, and it was a Big Deal when it first came out. The premise was so simple, answer a vocabulary question, and a person in a developing country got some rice! I haven’t thought about it in years, and went checking, happily it’s still up and running! You can answer all kinds of trivia question now, and they’re generating the funds to donate to The World Food Program with the ads on their website, so they’re even self-sustaining! If you still want to expand your vocabulary but would rather help dogs and cats in need, Freekibble uses a similar model.
7. Get sucked into a web series: What can I say about YouTube? It’s provided the world with endless cat videos, and that’s enough. Post over. But seriously, gone are the early days of shaky cameras and fart based humor. No, modern Web Series are a thing of beauty. The first series I want to tell you about is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not a die-hard Austen fan, I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, and to be honest, none of that matters. Besides having more than 100 episodes of family and drama, it brings the story of Elizabeth Bennet into the future perfectly. You’ve heard me talk about board games before, and Tabletop was my introduction to modern gaming. It’s hosted by Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG!) and is 5 seasons of him and a rotating group of actors playing board games. It’s really nice to see how a game is played before you jump into it. Also, they’re all hilarious. Last but not least How it’s Made is the stimmiest show on YouTube, 100% recommend if you like visual stims.
So there we are! Hope you found a corner of the internet that you’ve never seen before, and if you have a boredom buster you think I should try, let me know! Meanwhile, I’ll be over here playing Meerca Chase. For the 127th time…