Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't knock it 'till you tried it

Webkinz are like beanie babies, but with a web presence. You buy (or receive as a gift, as I did) a stuffed animal that comes with a secret code. Then you go to the Webkinz website, enter the code, and thereby open the Webkinz world. It's fun for little girls who like dressing up their stuffed animals. I thought it was nonsense. And then I got one.

My Webkinz pet/friend/animal is a turtle whom I've named Misshel. (I would have preferred Miss Shell or Misshell, but they don't allow the last four letters of those in that order. The website is apparently well-policed.) The actual stuffed animal is nothing special, but when I log on, her web counterpart greets me and says she's ready to play.

I'm not diggin' the dress-up feature. In fact, the whole thing is skewed toward the side of girls I've always hated. For instance, Misshel's happiness rating increases when you go shopping. That just seems wrong. But there are a lot of games, and I've always been a sucker for games.

So each day I have to log on, feed Misshel, take her to Dr. Quack if she's sick, play games with her, etc. But in order to buy food (or clothing, or toys, or furniture, or more space to put any of those things), I have to earn money by playing games or answering trivia questions. There's also a school, where (if you pay-- apparently it's a private school) Misshel can take up to 3 classes a day in subjects like fitness, cooking, and hairstyling. Yeah, hairstyling. I don't know what happened to math, science, and reading. And then once she's taken enough classes or answered enough prerequisite trivia questions in a particular subject, she can get a job (like assistant to Dr. Quack) or compete with other Webkinz pets in particular contests. (So far, Misshel has placed 407th in a cooking pageant.)

It's all pretty dumb, in fact, except that there is simply so MUCH to do, that I haven't gotten bored with it yet. I can spend all day playing one game after another, and still go back the next day to answer that day's bonus trivia question and mine for that day's gem. It's ridiculous.

If anyone wants to try it out (beware!), I'm happy to email you my secret login. Just don't kill Misshel, ok? I have a bet going with Bruce that I can keep her alive until (at least) February 1. If I win, I get... something. I don't remember. But it's not really that important.

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