Webkinz: A nostalgic flashback


To those who didn’t grow up in the age of online animals, “Webkinz” were stuffed animals that could be bought in many stores for around $8.00. These toys were very interesting as not only were they small cute stuffed animals they also gave you membership to an online world called “Webkinz World.” This online game you were given the ability to care for that same stuffed animal you had purchased at the store. 

You could play minigames with your pet such as the “Wheel of Wow” or “Cash Cow” which would earn a play currency called “Kinzcash.” “Kinzcash” could be used to buy decorations for your Webkinz’s room in the “W-shop.” 

When initially logging in, the website looks exactly the same save for a few ads about a new “Deluxe Membership.” When clicking to log in the system still opens an extra window that will contain the game.

Once logged in, members will notice a new set of symbols next to the icon of their pet. These symbols stand for happiness, hunger and fun. The Happiness Meter is based on the number of new items you buy for your pets. The Fun Meter is based on the games you play. The Hunger Meter is based on the foods you eat. The higher the cost, the higher the impact on each meter. 

Some items now require the “Deluxe Membership” to obtain. However, if you open gift boxes earned through games, they can contain deluxe items. Sadly, even if they are in your inventory you can not equip the item. Attempting to use these items opens a pop-up screen.

This page contains a price guide and a spot to enter a credit card number. Next to all of the information is a photo of your pet crying. If no information is given, the item will stay locked. 

The game center now has locks on some games so only those with memberships can play them. Many games are still accessible without membership.

All in all the game has become a wasteland of ads and money grabs. There are very few new objects to be purchased from the “W-shop”. The game has the same base minigames and has barely stood the test of time.