Webgame Wednesday: Wacky Cereal Games
Bizarre corporate promotional games are nothing new in the world of gaming. Burger King released three games for Xbox 360 in 2006, and Pepsi’s superhero game Pepsiman was released for the original PlayStation in 1999.
And in the early 2000s, even cereal brands dipped their toes into the world of gaming with a series of browser-based virtual worlds.
Kellogg’s had Fun K Town. Post Cereals had Postopia. General Mills had Millsberry.
Kellogg’s Fun K Town was a virtual world split into different areas, with games and activities in each area, and interestingly, the world even had a sportsplex which promoted healthy eating, fitness, and nutrition.
It also had a “theater” which encouraged children to watch cereal commercials in return for “stamps.”
Portrayed as a pixel city, Fun K Town even had promotional content within the promotional content of the game itself– most notably Pirates of the Caribbean advertisements.
Post Cereal’s Postopia lasted a decade, running from 2001 to 2011, and was like Fun K Town, only weirder.
A section for games about anthropomorphic balls with huge mouths was one of the highlights, along with a game where players could build monsters and fight them in an arena.
Like Fun K Town, Postopia also had promotional content within promotional content, with content based on Fairly Odd Parents, the Flintstones, and Batman.
Finally, General Mills’ Millsberry, which ran from 2004 to 2010, was closer to what one would expect from your average virtual world. Players had a character and home they could customize, and a fairly normal looking town to explore.
Players could visit an arcade, and General Mills shut down the virtual world by claiming players were “graduating.” Players even received digital yearbooks.
Unfortunately, like most nostalgic browser games which Generation Z had the pleasure of playing, Millsberry and Fun K Town are now gone and unplayable, with just a few short YouTube clips and screenshots to remind players of the worlds they explored online as kids.
Postopia has quite a few individual games from the website archived and still playable, however, many of the most memorable attractions from the virtual world, including Monster Rumble, appear to be lost, along with the virtual world itself.
There have been a few petitions to bring back these respective virtual worlds, but the reality is they’re now ancient relics of their time, just ten to twenty years later. A time when kids would visit random cereal-branded virtual worlds on their clunky family computers after school, and a time, most annoyingly, when archiving Internet pages was almost non existent.
Promotional games still exist, and always will, but nothing will ever reach the levels of absurdity as the promotional browser games of the early 2000s.
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