If you, like me, spent the formative years of your childhood in the early-mid 00s, I’d be willing to bet that your earliest memories of the internet can often be traced back to the website tirelessly promoted on the Disney Channel. When I had the idea to talk about the Disney Channel website, I had intended to start my research by going online to re-play some of my old favorite games, but as it turns out, disneychannel.com doesn’t exist anymore. At least, not in the form it takes in my memory. If you try to visit your old favorite games at their old address, you’ll be redirected to a sort of hub page, disneynow.go.com, to watch episode clips and play a few games based on shows currently running on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. I took to the internet archiver, the Wayback Machine, in an attempt to find some remains of my old friend. No such luck
For the most part, these old Flash games play a lot like many games you can find on any phone with mobile gaming capabilities. But seeing as how I am clearly addicted to nostalgia, I took it upon myself to track some of these old browser games down to see how well, if at all, they hold up. So now, our journey takes us down memory lane as I count down the top five best games from the OG Disney Channel website. I didn’t want to include games I couldn’t easily find to play or couldn’t remember very well. That being said, here’s five of the best games that I could find from the Disney Channel website we all know and love.
5. London’s Suite Styler
London’s Suite Styler has a basic premise. It features a very minimal character customization screen and once your avatar is created, London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody asks you to take a short quiz about your style and preferences. Based on your answers, London assigns you a style that is supposedly best catered to you. The game gives your character an outfit, some accessories, and a small paragraph about what those results say about you! This game is a little weird in the character customization aspect, only giving five options for both skin tone and hairstyle, and the quiz is nowhere near profound, but I’m sure the 9-year-old version of myself ate this game up and definitely didn’t mind killing time this way.
4. Bueno Rufus
Similar to a watered-down version of mobile games similar to Diner Dash, Bueno Rufus is a game where you play as Rufus the naked mole rat from the Kim Possible cartoon series filling orders that come through to the kitchen at local Mexican fast food joint, Bueno Nacho. Your task is simple, to place to correct toppings on the menu items to complete the order. Salsa for the burritos; nachos get, well, nacho cheese; chocolate syrup topping to add to the ice cream dessert; and, of course, no meal at Bueno Nacho is complete without a glass of delicious soda. It’s all fun and games until the conveyor belt speeds up and before you know it you’re putting salsa on ice cream and giving out completely empty cups! Bueno Rufus is a fun way to kill 5-10 minutes and to test out your reflexes in case you’re a little rusty
3. Zack and Cody’s Tipton Trouble
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I like to try to compare games I talk about on this series to other games to help my readers understand what they’re getting themselves into. I’d consider Zack and Cody’s Tipton Trouble less like a mobile game, (which so many of these Flash games are) and closer to an old licensed SNES title where you collect items while simultaneously running from enemies (the first game that comes to mind is Micheal Jackson’s Moonwalker for the Sega Genesis). This game has such a difficult time running on my computer that I could barely even play it for this list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stashed away in my brain forever!
You play as both Zack AND Cody, running around the Tipton Hotel and putting up posters to promote their mom’s singing career, all while trying to not get caught by London, Maddie, Mr. Moseby, or mom herself.
2. 625’s Sandwich Stacker
Without a doubt, 625’s Sandwich Stacker is one of my all time most requested games to talk about in this entire column. I’m not entirely sure why the internet collectively agrees that this is the apex of online Flash games, but everyone seems to remember it fondly. Based off of probably the best cartoon series to spin-off from a Disney feature film, the basic premise of Sandwich Stacker is to build Experiment 625’s (Rueben) sandwich as high as it can possibly go. Of all the nostalgic games I’ve gone back and played to write about for this e n t i r e column, I personally believe Sandwich Stacker is the one that held up to my memory the most. It’s just as fun as it always was and I can easily get distracted from my writing for a good 20-30 minutes while playing this game. I hope Sandwich Stacker never changes.
1. The Buzz on Maggie: Dress to Express
As weird of a reputation as it has, I remember actually really liking the one season that exists of The Buzz on Maggie! Now, I haven’t seen it in several years and I’m sure the quality is way worse that what 8-year-old Mariah remembers it to be. However, being one of America’s first cartoons fully animated in Adobe Flash, it did have one upside; it translated really well to these online games, because they were made using the same program. This is actually the only game on this list I couldn’t find to play, but in knowing I was going to talk about Disney Channel games, this was the first one in my mind. The game is excruciatingly simple, dress Maggie Pesky up for her rock concert. Simple, fun, not super creative, but hey, it was a dress up game and at the time, those were my favorite things to play when I wasn’t playing RPGs on my PlayStation 2. Plus, it probably helped that at that age I, myself, wanted to be a rock star when I grew up.
Now I’ll admit, most, if not all, of these games were designed with children in mind, so my enjoyment of them is fully based on what my adult brain feels about them. Still, I’m glad to see some of the games from the old Disney Channel website that I once knew are still out there for people like me to find. I doubt any 8-11 year olds are out there on the internet these days looking for games where you dress up a fly when they have so many other options, but if by chance they’re looking for something a little retro, it’s good to know that the opportunity us out there.
Did I miss your favorite game? Is there still somewhere to access the full roster of games online? Let me know what you think and message me on Twitter or Instagram (@mariahcoolbeans on both) or comment on this article on Facebook if you have any comments or requests for future Dearly Beloved installments. And remember kids, always ask your parents’ permission before going online!