Nostalgia Time: Various Other Things

This is the last of the Nostalgia Time posts! I toyed with the idea of doing more, but none of them were long enough to justify making separate blog posts, and I’m a little tired of this series. I want to move onto other subjects!

Linkin Park

I was really into Linkin Park in my younger years. They were the band I primarily listened to in middle school and then later in high school. I sort of lost interest in university, but I don’t know why. I still like their music.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to listen to a single Linkin Park song since Chester Bennington died. Maybe I will be in the future.

Nintendo games

I didn’t have console games as a kid. If I wanted to play video games, I’d have to go over to a friend’s house (they had a GameCube) or wait until my family went over to my aunt/cousin’s house (they had an N64). It was there I was introduced to a lot of Nintendo games – primarily Super Smash Brothers, Mario Party, Kirby Air Ride, and Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg.

I think what I miss the most is getting together with friends and playing those games. That’s definitely not something that happens any more – not even due to covid. Video games are mostly set up for online play nowadays.

Teen Titans

This was a show that practically everyone in my friend group watched. I know I drew a ton of fanart for Teen Titans, all of it on paper (I have zero digital fanart, surprisingly). Some of it was done in my notebooks at school when I should have been paying attention.

I’m still salty that this show got canceled. I really wanted to see season 6.

Warrior Cats

Warriors is another series I discovered in middle school. I was on Neopets at the time, so I did what seemed reasonable and looked for Warriors roleplay guilds so I could have my own Warrior cat adventures.

Oddly enough, this is how I learned about Deviantart. A guild member posted their artwork there.

I ended up reading all the books of the first three series. At that point, I’d lost interest as it seemed like the story was just going to go on and on indefinitely.


I started this series of blog posts not only because I wanted to get back into blogging, but because I assumed that writing more frequently would help me improve my writing in general. It’s probably too early to say whether or not this is true, but it has certainly helped me get back into blogging. There are going to be a lot more posts this year than in 2020.

Nostalgia Time: Anime/Manga

I think the first anime I started watching regularly as a kid was Pokémon. Or maybe it was Digimon – both were on Cartoon Network and so tons of people watched them, along with other anime like Dragon Ball Z & Yu-Gi-Oh. For some reason, I never ended up watching those last two. I have no idea why!

Two other animes I was introduced to through Cartoon Network were Cardcaptor Sakura & Hamtaro. I had a ton of Hamtaro toys at one point.

Aside: Yu-Gi-Oh was popular enough that people would bring the cards to school and play during recess. I’ve heard various things over the years about this still being a thing, which would be baffling as this means kids are still playing the same card game almost twenty years later.

The first anime I recall watching regularly was Sailor Moon. I was never able to read the manga – I’m not even sure it was available in English in a non-flipped form when I was a kid – and I was never able to finish watching the anime. The fifth season wasn’t even aired in the United States!

I was finally able to watch the entire anime (in Japanese) when it was added to Hulu a couple of years back. I also ended up finally reading the manga. Thankfully, I still like it.

My public library actually had a pretty decent manga section. I read things like Saint Tail, Dream Saga, Cyber Idol Mink, & Corrector Yui when I was in elementary school, then Bleach, Rayearth, Black Cat, Death Note, and Hunter x Hunter later on in middle/high school. If any of those manga had an associated anime, I’d try to watch it, too – whether through DVDs from the library or illegal streaming sites.

I don’t watch much anime or read much manga anymore. My tastes have changed as I’ve gotten older, not to mention that my free time has dwindled. I genuinely don’t have as much time for entertainment now as I did when I was a kid.

Nostalgia Time: Mabinogi

Mabinogi was another MMORPG I spent a lot of time on. I don’t remember how I found out about it, but I started playing during the open beta in March 2008. I even have screenshots from that time period!

mabiscreenshot_20080321

I primarily played Mabinogi from 2008 to 2012 (my high school years). I got a lot more involved in the community for this MMO. I was in a Mabinogi IRC chat for a while, made quite a few friends, and contributed a lot to the Mabinogi World Wiki from 2009 to 2013. I even dug through files of the orignal Korean version of the MMO in order to see what would be upcoming in the one I played.

University (2012-2016) kept me too busy to play regularly as I did a mechanical engineering degree, but I didn’t actually stop playing the game until mid-2016. I was just done with MMOs at that point.

I re-downloaded the game again a couple of weeks ago to archive my character information, and learned a couple of things I’d apparently forgotten about. One was the amount of pets I had. In the later years I played, pets were given out pretty frequently during events. This was always a welcome thing, since pets had an inventory you could use to store extra stuff.

I did not, however, remember that I had a pet that was literally a leek:

mabinogiglencalon

Or a…referee penguin:

mabinogipengugwin

I did, however, remember my precious snowy owl Marsali:

mabinogimarsali

The pet owls in Mabinogi could actually sit on your head, which was pretty adorable:

mabinogimarsali2

That screenshot is from 2010. I somehow don’t have anything more recent.

Just like with Neopets, Deviantart, and the various oekaki boards I was on, I’ve completely lost track of any friends I had through Mabinogi. Most of us were in our teens and early twenties, so I suppose we all moved on to other things in our lives – things that wouldn’t require us to set aside a couple of hours of each day.

Nostalgia Time: Maplestory

October 3, 2020, 5:22 PM

I have no idea what video game I want to play next.

This is truly the least-stressful dilemma I’ve had in months.

October 3, 2020, 5:24 PM

I’ve been extremely nostalgic for pre-2010 Maplestory, but I honestly can’t think of any non-online, singleplayer games that would be similar.

Those two tweets, I think, were (along with the dream I had about Neopets) the thing that really kicked off this series of Nostalgia Time posts.

I don’t remember where I found out about Maplestory. I first made an account in 2007 when I was thirteen and spent a lot of time time playing. Okay, about 1 hour per day, because that was all the computer time I was allowed back then. I’m not sure why the game appealed to me so much. It was pretty unforgiving back then, and took forever to level up – at the higher levels, it could take months of grinding to gain a single level.

I never got anywhere near that at the time, because…it took months. And I was a middle-school student who only had 1 hour of computer time per day.

I played Maplestory on-and-off until about 2010, when I was midway through high school. I didn’t think about coming back to it until after I graduated from university in 2016.

By that time, it wasn’t fun anymore.

Between 2010 and 2016, nineteen (19) separate character classes were released. I started playing when there were only four! That wasn’t the only difference – leveling had been changed to require less experience, so you could easily get to level 100+. The previous times I’d played, I’d only reached level 50. You could now kill bosses on your own in minutes that used to take entire groups of people close to an hour.

Honestly, it was…boring.

There wasn’t the sense of community that there used to be. I remember joining parties in various maps in order to complete the “Kill 999 of a single kind of monster” quest. On your own, it’d take days, but you could get it done relatively quickly with a group of people, since their kills would also count toward yours. Leveling now happened so fast that you could skip entire maps and quest lines. There were so many gorgeous areas that no one ever visited anymore!

I feel like an old man complaining about the good old days.

Nostalgia Time: Freewebs

I spent a lot of time on Neopets coding my own petpages, shop layouts, user layouts, and creating graphics and banners. Eventually I wanted to make a website of my own. For that, I turned to Freewebs.

Freewebs.com (which became webs.com sometime in 2008) is/was a free website builder/host. You could code your own websites using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I had an outlet for my energy, and I loved it. In 2008 alone, I created eight (8!) different website layouts.

Version 1 (April 2008)

freewebslayout01

This was the first layout I ever created. It’s very simple: just a background image and a couple of tables positioned at various points on the page. The font is only 10px because I was thirteen when I created this and had much better eyesight than I do now.

There was a page for my artwork, an about page, a page about what I was writing and the webcomic I was working on (called WHITECAT), and a news page, used solely for updates to the website. That’s not actually very different from what I have on this website right now.

Version 2 (May 2008)

One month later, I was apparently tired of the really boring brown layout. I decided to code a new layout, and this time, I decided there needed to be a landing page.

freewebslayout02_enter

“Enter” took you to the actual freewebs site, “dA” took you to my deviantART account, “SJ” took you to my Smackjeeves profile, and “email” literally popped up a field to send me an email. I was thirteen. I didn’t know it was a bad idea.

freewebslayout02

This layout’s slightly more interesting than the previous one, isn’t it? The font, however, is still unforgivably small.

Version 3 (Early June 2008)

One month later, I decided to use a fancy piece of art as a website background. But before we get to that, here’s what the landing page now looked like:

freewebslayout03_enter

One button. That took you to this:

freewebslayout03

Now that I’m actually looking at it, this layout was originally based on one of my Neopets’ petpages.

I added a message box and a visitor map, but there wasn’t much of a chance in website content otherwise.

Version 4 (Late June 2008)

This version had a really boring enter page, so I won’t post an image for that. The main layout now looked like this:

freewebslayout04

Yep, it’s also really boring. I think the major difference is that I added a link to Project XLVI, the main story I was working on at the time. As well as a link to my deviantART gallery where I posted artwork, there was also a characters page with a bunch of information that I apparently did not save anywhere else on my computer.

For the longest time, I thought I’d actually lost that information.

Version 5 (July 2008)

This landing page is also really boring. Here’s the layout:

freewebslayout05

Evidently I decided that a sidebar with links was boring, so I made a topbar with images.

Version 5.2 (July 2008)

Evidently I didn’t like the top banner. I somehow then decided that what my website needed was FRAMES:

freewebslayout05.2

I also found a page where I was writing information about my Neopets. Apparently I didn’t lose all the information like I thought I had.

Version 6 (20 August 2008)

This was essentially the same as version 5.2, but with a different color scheme:

freewebslayout06

Version 7 (29 August 2008)

This time, the landing page had links to different parts of the website: the main site, and the Project XLVI pages.

freewebslayout07_enter

This is what the layout for both the Main Site & the Project XLVI pages looked like:

freewebslayout07

The background art is actually of two characters from Project XLVI. It’s really not a bad layout. I think it’s pretty aesthetically pleasing.

Version 8 (October 2008)

Version 8 went back to being really boring:

freewebslayout08

There were three background colors: light blue for the main site, purple for the Project XLVI pages, and green for the Neopets pages. I ended up keeping this layout for quite a while.

Version 9 (May 2009)

freewebslayout09

This layout was actually pretty exciting. I’d learned a bunch of stuff, like Javascript, and I wanted to use it. The buttons changed from light to dark when you moused over them!

I also created a page showing the previous layouts of the website, did away with the landing page, and created a new subpage for another story I was working on.

Version 10 (May 2010) & Version 11 (November 2010)

Then, for some reason, I went back to something extremely boring.

freewebslayout10

Version 11 is literally the same layout, just with a different color.

Version 12 (June 2011)

freewebslayout12

This is the final layout I created. I went back to the shiny mouseover buttons. It doesn’t look all that different to this website, does it?

I kind of miss not being able to do this anymore, but I don’t have any reason to, either – not just because of platforms like WordPress, but because I’m blogging so much lately. Static websites don’t work very well for blogs.

Next week, I’ll have a post up about my further adventures with coding websites!