I was messing around on facebook when the kids ran into the room to give me the news. ‘You’ve got a Moshi Monster account,’ they said.
‘Oh,’ I replied, looking up from a baby scan of a random Facebook friend that I was just about to comment on after I’d finished making a gag about another Facebook friend’s resemblance to a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. ‘Great.’
‘Come and see,’ my daughter enthused. So to their computer I went – I say ‘their’ but it is in fact ours; they just think it’s theirs. Anyway, they showed me a screen where they had chosen my name (the dog’s name, actually) and given me a password and, lord help me, my daughter had already typed in my email address. All I had to do was confirm membership via my email and I would have a Moshi Monster account of my own. Well, anything to keep them quiet.
They’d been talking about getting me one for a few weeks now. But as I filled in the details, secretly yearning to get back onto my laptop for a game of Songpop with a Facebook friend I’ve not seen since 1993, it begged just one question. What on earth is a Moshi Monster account?
The kids filled me in to an extent. You can play this game, you can play that game and earn rocks to buy stuff. You can even send messages to other Moshi users in a safe environment. It was only delving deeper into the website and the accompanying magazine that the daughter had already got us to buy that I got a real idea of just how much of a monster the Moshi empire happens to be.
There are close to 65 million users in over 150 territories worldwide. Members are mostly between 6 and 12 (though my boy is still only five) and they can complete daily puzzle challenges to earn said rocks. They can also decorate their Moshi’s room and after a certain time, I am led to understand, they can also get a pet (or ‘Moshling’) for their Moshi.
Meanwhile they can catch up with all the latest Moshi news in the Daily Growl and even buy a Moshi album of songs which actually made the UK Top 5 album in April. In Scotland it even outsold the debut release from Labrinth.
How did I miss that? With much enthusiasm, the kids explained that there were over 50,000 types of Moshi. 50,000! In one magazine alone were all sorts of Moshi words that were being catalogued in some sort of Moshi dictionary that you can collect. And it really begged the question… Who has the time to make up all these characters? And all these things that you can buy in shops like Horrods on roads with names like Sludge Street.
There is literally a whole Moshi world out there – mainly on the internet, but clearly expanding. But really who has the time, even if you are between 6 and 12? Surely there are far better things you could be doing…
So I made my excuses and went back Facebook where I got involved in a discussion with a former work colleague about what building I’d like to be while pointing out to another just why it wouldn’t be a good idea to actually have a teapot like Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Moshi Monsters? Pah – waste of time…