I guess I should start by way of some sort of introduction. I actually started this blog on a whim after reading The Ancient Gaming Noob’s blog (http://tagn.wordpress.com/). As I’m also an “older gamer” but somewhat of a noob. Mostly because I switch games faster than they can release them it seems. I’m also somewhat of a solo MMO player, which just seems to irk the hell out of some MMO players. But I think Jeff Strain (co-founder of ArenaNet) summed it up well in a recent keynote speech “The fact that he is playing in a large communal environment is not a predictor of how he wants to play.” Where “he” is a person playing an MMO. You can find the entire enlightening speech at: http://www.guildwars.com/events/tradeshows/gc2007/default.php
More about me
I’m over 40 and have been playing video games since video arcades were the hottest thing going and there was no such thing as the internet. My very first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000, which I bought from Skaggs (pre “Alpha-Beta”) Drug Store in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wasatch Blvd. for $100. “The first $100 computer” as it was touted. When I graduated from Skyline High School in 1984, I used my graduation money (given to me by my grandfather) to buy an Atari 800XL and a disk drive – woohoo, no more saving to cassette tape! By far my favorite games on that machine were the Infocom games: Deadline and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I also enjoyed Ultima III – VI (? – been a LONG time) on that machine.
The Atari was the machine where I first started toying around with game design – I really wanted to make a game where you were a knight that could ride around on a horse and kill monsters. My other big desire was to fly around in a spaceship and zap alien invaders. And none of this flat, sprite style animation, I wanted 3-d scrolling environments. So I designed some sprites that changed their shape based on which way they were supposed to be moving (both mounted knights and a spaceship). They were very primitive, but I thought it was super cool!
Eventually I started making some ok money and meeting other people that were into computers and computer animation. Me and my best friend ended up getting Amiga 2000 computers. Wow! What a machine! It made those Macs and PCs I was using up at the University look like CRAP! And at that time, they were crap compared to the Amiga. Around that same time I started subscribing to local BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems – pre-cursors to the internet basically). Most were single line, so you were competing with others to dial-in and get connected. Some of the bigger ones were multi-line, and the biggest one in Salt Lake at the time was “The Lighthouse.” I think when I first logged on, the Light Keeper had 8 lines, that quickly jumped up to something like 18. Eventually I think he had over 50 lines (he worked for the phone company, so I think that helped, hehe).
I met more folks into technology, and one day a friend of mine came over to my apartment and asked if my computer was busy. It wasn’t and he asked if it would be ok for him to dial into the University and check his email, and I was like – you have email at the university… that you can retrieve remotely? I gotta see this… (at the time ISP’s were pretty much AOL, CompuServe, or The Source, and most people didn’t subscribe to them unless they were “real geeks” ™ and had beaucoup cash – since they charged for access by the minute). So he starts up my terminal program (Z-Term I believe) and logs in, quickly keys in some cryptic commands (which I now know were UNIX commands to start up the various applications). He didn’t have any email, but before I knew what he was doing he’s typing away, and it looks like someone on the other end is responding – live! Wow, that’s cool. He let’s me know it’s called IRC (internet relay chat) and the guy he’s talking to is in New Zealand. And I’m like, I’m not getting charged long distance for the this am I?! LOL! Anyways, that was my baptism into the internet and shortly after that ISP’s started popping up around the nation. Bear in mind there still wasn’t anything like “the web.” It was all pretty much just email, usenet(netnews), gopher, ftp, and irc.
I soon began subscribing to “Delphi” to get my news, ftp and irc fix, as well as having a handy-dandy email address outside of work. I also talked one of the IT guys at work to show me how to navigate outside the building’s VAX network so I could chat on irc while working the boring graveyard shift – too cool! And then I got a call from my Amiga buddy, and he was like, can you come up to the University? Like Now? I’ve got something totally cool that you should see… And I was like, ok, I guess… Turns out he had just got a copy of this new thing called Mosaic and it used a new internet protocol, where you could write stuff AND include pictures! To be honest, I wasn’t overly wowed. There were like two sites he could browse to that actually HAD pictures or graphics. There was also this new browser just coming out called Netscape and it was going to be BIG. And the rest is history. Within a month web-sites were popping up everywhere and there were these new sites that crawled the web and you could use them to search for pages related to stuff you were interested in – Very Cool!
Shortly after that, a bud of my Amiga friend left his day-job at Evans & Sutherland to concentrate on his ISP start-up (which is still in business to this day, and doing quite well) . So of course I subscribed to his new service and have been well connected to this day. Well that’s probably enough boring history to put y’all to sleep for today. I’ll try and write up another Nitol entry soon!