There are very few people who played a more pivotal role in my initial love of video games than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, so it’s hardly surprising to me that the iconic twins actually invented Gmail.
Let me explain.
During their peak in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Olsen twins released a plethora of video games, and despite what you might expect, they actually slapped pretty hard. I still own a copy of Sweet 16 – Licensed To Drive and I’d be lying if I said Magical Mystery Mall isn’t still considered one of my favourite video games of all time.
But today we’re talking about Mary-Kate and Ashley: Pocket Planner, the 2000 Game Boy Colour game that quite literally invented Gmail.
The combination video game and electronic day planner was ahead of its time, so much so that it featured an in-game messaging service that allowed users to send messages via the Game Boy’s infrared port.
The name for this messaging service? G-mail.
Meanwhile, Google didn’t launch its copycat product until April 1, 2004. Was the fact that they blatantly stole the ideas of America’s favourite twins secretly just a giant April Fools Joke? We’ll never know.
But by my calculations, Mary-Kate and Ashley were sending infrared g-mails for three whole years before Google entered the chat with their version.
Considering the overwhelmingly female target audience of the MKA multimedia franchise, we can safely assume the ‘g’ stands for ‘girls’, so there’s no real assertion that Google ripped off one of their most popular products from a children’s video game, but it proves they were on something.
But upon further research, it has become apparent that maybe, just maybe, Mary-Kate and Ashley also stole this idea.
From who, you ask? Well, my friend, Garfield the cat.
Back in 1997, the official Garfield website (www.garfield.com) offered users the ability to “email with cattitude.”
As you’d expect, this was also called G-mail.
Conclusion? Garfield the cat invented Gmail and Google owes him a big, fat cheque. But bonus points must be awarded to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for giving us the most iconic infared messaging service of all time.