Alright, so your school probably wasn’t as grand as Hogwarts. Or as fun. What with the uniforms. Exams. Homework. There’s several reasons not to ever want to enter those dark halls again. There was good times too though. It was in these years that we became book-reading, game-playing, show-watching, con-going awesome people. Cast your mind back over those years now, as we remember the crazes that swept the school yard. In kinda sorta chronological order.
These toys. I remember so many games just before the teacher walked in. The swapping. The scrimping and saving for an attack blade or defense blade. It’s the most simple idea in the world. Spinning tops doing battle. But being able to play the game from the popular anime with your friends…it was awesome. Now where’s my old stash….
Craze really isn’t the right word for this. Craze implies that it came and went. But Pokemon‘s never going to stop being awesome. But it permeated everything in school. Pokemon cards were currency on the schoolyard. Sitting down to Pokemon on television after school was something to look forward to. Queuing for the movie was an ordeal – but the payoff was oh so sweet. The games, on that glorious, technological marvel that was the Game Boy, were legendary. We may be going around on our phones now, catching them on our streets and our yards. But my best memories of catching pocket monsters will always be on the magnificent console that was the Game Boy.
5. House of Mouse
Airing every Sunday morning, I remember crowding around the television with my siblings to watch this. We used to set alarms for this! House of Mouse was the ultimate Disney fan service show. For those unfamiliar, the premise was that Mickey and his friends ran the titular evening club. Guests from well known Disney movies and even comics would be in attendance. They(and hence we) were treated to two hours of Disney shorts, each introduced by Mickey. Between shorts, a story related to Mickey and his friends would play out, resolving itself after the last short. Also, given that I am a man in my twenties, I am definitely not now researching the possibility of getting a box set. Because that would be crazy….
4. Drake and Josh
Moving to secondary school was tough. Making new friends, not quite knowing where you stood in the world, starting the whole teenager thing – but we had Drake and Josh. The show about two stepbrothers, their conniving sister, and ensuing hijinks. But the best thing about that show – that incredibly catchy theme song. Where those guys are now is anyone’s bet though…or maybe my abode under this rock has kept me out of touch. Still gonna listen to that song on repeat now though.
If you want to split a room of people in two, just as them – “Was Lost good?” Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, one thing is certain. When the show started, everyone and their mum was watching this. Raising so many questions kept people hooked. What was the smoke monster? What do the numbers mean? The show had a diverse and interesting group of characters. For better or worse, the show had me and my friends talking over lunch about what was going to come next. I’d put good money on that a good percentage of you fine readers can recite Hurley’s winning numbers right now.
2. Darren Shan
This one might be cheating a little bit. While in secondary school, our library underwent a refurbishment. For the grand re-opening, we were lucky enough to get Irish writer Darren Shan in. He couldn’t have been nicer, and served as my introduction to the horror genre as a whole. After his visit, the entire school was reading his books. After making many friends in the library, we had a book club going on where we would discuss what we read of The Demonata novels every lunchtime.
1. Lord of the Rings
OK, another cheat here as this doesn’t quite match up chronologically. But I couldn’t resist ending the list on this high note. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was everywhere when we were in school. Even people who didn’t like Christmas now looked forward to December(for three years anyway.) For many of us, this was our introduction to Tolkien, and it was epic! I won’t even try to surmise why the movies are so well loved in a single paragraph. One thing I do remember is my best friend and I having a discussion which spanned ten half hour bus rides one week on who we’d want backing us up – Aragorn or Legolas. Come on guys…..you know the right answer! Even if he didn’t!
School was tough, no doubt about that. But it’s also where many of us met our friends with the same interests. The ones we still talk to today. The ones who were happy to talk about the latest Stargate episode with us. School was the place where you became you.