While at college, around 1999 to 2002, I discovered the Internet.
I was mainly interested in games. Buying up domains, building websites and contributing to the web would come later.
One of the games our class got obsessed with was Cash Wars (CashWars.com – no longer active).
It was a map-based browser game in which you had a set number of moves per day. You spent your moves moving from one square to another (without a built-in map) and you could increase your moves by clicking on sponsor adverts.
When you reached another user’s base, you could attack them and steal their money. In turn, others attacked your base and stole your money… if they could find it.
Getting Paid by CashWars
If you had enough money at the end of the month, you could cash out and receive a cheque through the post.
The game was easily exploitable. If you worked together with your own “clan” of users, you could work out a map of the world and mark it with the bases of users that had a lot of money.
We built bots to move automatically every day, using our maps. The referral system meant that a small percentage of any money earned by your referrals would be paid to you. So, of course, we made multiple accounts.
Eventually, I reached the earnings threshold and cashed out a cheque:
I was delighted. It was the first money I had made online, and it felt magical. I was playing around with a game and getting paid for it!
It was only $21, but friends and family couldn’t believe it. This was 2001, and the idea of earning money from the internet was a fantasy.
I didn’t even pay the cheque in – I would have received about $3 due to me being in the UK and my bank charging a lot for foreign currency cheques.
CashWars Didn’t Last Long
Soon after, CashWars closed down.
The game was easy to exploit, and eventually, they ran out of money.
It was a shame as I enjoyed just playing the game, but the internet was full of new and exciting games to try.
Maybe it seems trivial, but that first experience of earning money on the internet set me on the path that led me to where I am today. My mind opened to a new way of making an income, and I often think of this when I need a bit of motivation to push forward.
Did you play Cash Wars? What do you remember about the game?