X-Boxed, digitized representations of 3-dimentional worlds with surround sound and true physical interaction PALE in comparison to what WE had for entertainment growing up. I like to call them “Sea Monkeys.”
I remember seeing an ad in the back of a comic book when I was probably 9 or 10 for these “Sea Monkeys” who would provide hours of fun-filled entertainment, and all you needed was a bowl of water. AMAZING, I remember thinking! Real live PETS with eyes and faces and alien-like antennae that I could name and call my very own just like on the ad!
Needless to say, I sent away for them and waited for what seemed like WEEKS to begin my zoo family of friends. I even had a list of names picked out and a special sunny location in my room all set up.
The anticipation was driving me crazy as I ran home from school each day so I could see if the mailman had brought my new companions.
Once they finally DID arrive, I was somewhat confused that they were in an envelope that resembled a “Kool Aid” package with Chinese writing on it. What was this? I was expecting these little creatures to jump out of a box and into my arms waiting to be loved and cherished forever! I became further dismayed when I looked inside the opened package and it looked like the dry smelly scales of some dead fish.
Disappointed, but still hopeful, I ceremoniously “dumped” the package into a freshly cleaned, filled bowl like the instructions said and waited for the magic to begin. It was far from immediate, but the activity started ramping up in a few days if I looked REAL hard.
To my dismay, my pets looked absolutely NOTHING like the advertisement. They looked more like twisted clear pieces of floating worms swimming aimlessly in the bowl of water, while bumping into each other. There were NO faces, smiles or blinking eyes of love. WHY would a marketing company DO that to an impressionable child anyway? I lost interest (read: bored) in about a week; shorter than the time it took to receive them.
One day (before the eventual big flush) as I was staring at this community of “sea monkeys,” I saw my wasted list of names on the bedroom floor and immediately thought of a picture I’d recently seen of a “real-live” ant farm in the Sears Wish Book. If I ordered them today, I thought, I could have an active farming community of the little critters riding tractors in a week!