Monday, July 21, 2008

A little bit about me, and my gaming experiences

When my husband told me he wanted to start a blog site, and said I would be posting to it, I had this crazy idea that I would try out a new "free" massive multi-player online game a week, and give my thoughts on it. Before I give you my first review, a little background on my playing seems to be in order.

I have been interested in games of some sort most of my life. Aren't we all? When I was growing up, we played a lot of Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry, Life, and many other board games. At school, we brought our jacks, marbles, and Chinese jump ropes. As my brother got old enough, Atari was introduced to the house. I loved it, but was soon banned from playing as I was too heavy handed with the controller. Devastated, I retreated into a book whenever my sister and brother were allowed to play the Atari. My brother got older, and the first Nintendo system came into the house. It belonged to him alone, and sometimes he deigned to allow me to play a few levels of Super Mario Brothers. I stunk at it. I guess video games were not meant for me. After enduring less than half an hour of playing under the watchful eye of my brother, I usually gave up and went back to my book.

Not too long after the Nintendo system crossed our doorstep, my parents bought their first computer. I don't remember much about it, except that it had an amber monitor, and a few text games on it. I tried playing Hammurabi, couldn't figure it out, so it sat in my parents room, probably figuring out the bills. That christmas, my dad brought home a Radio Shack computer, complete with a Windows type operating system. The old computer became mine. At first I used it to type up my homework. Having a computer was no real treat. Then, one day, a friend from church told me about how she called other computers with her computer and talked with friends and played games, and I just had to try it out. I had a 300 baud modem, and she gave me a copy of Telix with the number to her favorite Bulletin Board System. I called, connected and was immediately transfixed. THIS was my kind of fun!

I was quickly pulled into a huge new world, with people I never would have found myself hanging out with in school, meeting in shabby pizza parlors because all the good ones had already banned their meetings. I was, most often, the best looking girl there, but not the best known. Between user group meetings, I'd hang out in the text games. First there was Kyrandia, which I never would have figured out on my own, then there was Trade Wars. When I wasn't in a game, I was in the chat room, discovering new action commands and chatting with friends.

I did have more than that to my high school days. I went to dances, had a job at a fast food place, was active in my church youth group and another youth group. The computer, as yet, had not consumed my days. I met my first husband at one of those user group meets, and life moved forward. I had a baby, moved to western New York, and looked for a BBS out there. By then, BBS systems were going away, being replaced by services like America Online and Compuserve. To me, the internet was a scary place, and my few bulletin boards were just fine. But, my first husband, much like my current one in only this respect, had to have bigger and better. So we subscribed to AOL. I logged into a chat room, but it wasn't the same. How could you get used to a chat room when the people were never the same? I tried a few of their puzzle games, and found them entertaining, but for then, I had better things to do with my time. I was a restaurant manager, home only 2 days a week, and the days I did work were long. Who had time for the computer?

Eventually, I found out I could "surf" the internet and look at web pages. I signed up for Yahoo mail, and downloaded the messenger. All of a sudden, friends I hadn't heard from in years were on my messenger. I found Pogo, a site full of puzzle, word, and online casino games, and spent a few fun nights just chatting on the messenger and popping balloons. It was a nice escape from the ever messier house and piles of bills. Still, it was a short escape, and I went back to the real world and took care of business. In time this led to a divorce, which was in the best interest of everyone concerned, and I and my girls moved in with my mom for a short time. The computer was available there, but there was no time. I had to work, I had to take care of my girls, and I had to contribute to the household. We moved out into a rental, and I got some bit of freedom back. A bit, because I only had it when the girls were asleep. So I had my date on the computer. Television on in the background for noise, I'd play games, and eventually look for people to talk to on my messenger. There I met Tom, and he introduced me to his friends, about 100 of them, in Star Wars Galaxies. It felt familiar, almost like my old BBS, but I had a body, and I didn't have to guess how to word my next move. I played, we dated, we split up, we got back together, we married, then we started playing World of Warcraft. I had the opportunity to try some games in beta(Seed,Pirates of the Burning Sea) and some by loan through friends(Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Anarchy Online, Battlefield). Currently, I am playing a level 40 paladin on the alliance side of a player-vs-environment server and have a mess of characters from level 10-70 on the horde side of a player-vs-player server, in a guild full of people from my Star Wars Galaxies experience.

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