Wow...a post in the forums today made me all nostalgic. I started to remember when the Internet was in its infancy...yes I was there and yes I am old enough to remember. ::sigh:: Let's not talk about my age though, because I hate the fact that I am getting older! So onward we go into this little journey of remembrance.
It seems like another lifetime ago and to be honest it was. I was just a teenage girl living on a ranch in the Northwest of the US. My father had always had a love of gadgets so we always had access to things like calculators and the first computers that were on the market back in the day when they were new like the TRS 80 and and Apple II. Though I was an infant when those came out we still made use of them for playing games and what not later on when we got older. Dad had the latest greatest and we got his old stuff to dink around on. Didn't matter if it was already obsolete - we had lots of fun playing those older games and stuff on them as we grew older.
We played games like the old Gold Box series of Dungeons and Dragons. Yes I was into gaming back then, I had brothers(many brothers - 4 to be exact) and they were all into swords and sorcery stuff back then and of course me being a bit of a Tomboy and always running with the boys I got hooked on the games as well. Had to. I wasn't about to let my brothers have all the fun. So I played their games with them. On the weekends after chores and doing whatever when the sun was up, we'd head into the game room where the computer was and start playing those old games for everything they were worth. OMG we had so much fun and the hours we burned were many. My love for computer gaming grew out of us all huddled around that one computer having a blast as we adventured through the lands of the Forgotten Realms. Though the graphics were archaic at best, back then it didn't matter, we still had our imaginations and it filled in the gaps of those sprite graphics.
Then we got our first modem and we could dial out and get on BBS's. This was the infancy of the Internet. Way back...back even before AOL. On these BBS's we found games! Yea! All prose and no graphics. But what these games back then lacked in graphics they made up with story and game play. Some of those older prose based MUDS were really deep in story and rich in lore. The cool thing was we were able to play with others that shared our love of fantasy games. Thus began my love for online gaming.
Later we kids got our own machines and with it came the age of the Internet and AOL. When we first got AOL I was really curious as to what it offered in the way of games. So off I went in search of games. At first I was drawn to the prose based gaming forums scattered about chat channels of AOL. Like the Red Dragon Inn and Red Star Station. It was all free-form and no real rules except the ones we created ourselves and agreed upon by us players. We could weave our stories and roll our virtual dice and play together - the words on the screen were our world and our imaginations fed and created them. What a wonderful fun time we all had back in the day. Seriously...back before UO and such we had Gemstone and it was all prose with a couple of graphical interfaces.
I remember the numerous discussions we had back then even about the future of online gaming and where it might go. This was back in like 1994. Back then I was like, someday we're going to be able to control a virtual avatar and run around in virtual worlds slaying monsters and crawling in dungeons and doing whatever. Many people seemed to think computers would never be able to handle such stuff back then...but I thought differently. I was sure that someday it would happen. That day soon came with games like Diablo and Ultimate Online. Though it was still 2D we were closer to seeing 3D virtual worlds than ever before.
Then in 1999 came the release of EQ and soon after Asheron's Call and I knew I would be an online gamer for the rest of my life. Here I am 10 years later and I am just as enthusiastic about online gaming as I ever was and do not see me ever not being an online gamer. I am not really sure what it is that keeps me playing these games other than I just love that it enables us to be a part of something not real - it is a window into make believe worlds where we players can be more than just mere mortals. We are warriors, healers, thieves and vagabonds wondering along tendrils of light, in a virtual universe, in search of adventure that cannot be found in our real world. We are online gamers, dreamers of dreams, and the games we play are part of us and we are part of them.