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MMOrigins: Life's funny like that

Real-Life, Culture, Opinion, Virtual Worlds, MMOrigins

We all got started gaming somewhere. For a lot of people, it was the Sega Mega-drive, the Atari 2600 or the NES that signaled their first steps into gaming. For me, it was the Commodore Amiga, a machine that was more a complete home computer than a games console. It was on the Amiga that groups like Team 17, Ocean, Electronic Arts and Blizzard first really made their mark on gaming and it was a great time of innovation in the industry. I recall long nights spent playing Frontier: Elite II, scooping hydrogen fuel from the corona of a star or wormholing into deep space. Another favourite that I still play occasionally was K240, an early space 4x game and still one of the best I've ever played.

It was the public domain market on the Amiga that really caught my attention. It's one thing to play a game, but here was the opportunity to make one and sell it via a page in CU Amiga magazine or a PD order disk. I've always been more interested in making games than playing them but being young with no programming experience, I was limited in what I could do. I tooled endlessly with the "Shoot 'em up Construction Kit" and "Reality Game Creator" packages, making countless primitive prototype games that only I ever played.

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MMOrigins: The devolution of a gamer

Opinion, Massively Meta, MMOrigins

It all started with a sick kindergartener. Trapped inside our tiny apartment, watching my feverish son flop listlessly on the couch, I was determined to find something to distract him. "He loves those wiggly, fiery pet things people have in that new game with all the rats," I thought, pulling up my husband's brand new EverQuest account. "I'll start him whatever makes those, and that'll keep his mind off how rotten he feels." After a hurried phone consultation with my husband on classes and stats, we found ourselves flitting about in front of Felwithe, searching for a way to summon our pet. "What's with this shield and sword that keeps popping up?!" I cried in frustration. Frantic inquiries to any enchanter who seemed likely to know how to summon the orange thing that wiggled its tail as it slowed down finally yielded the truth: we'd created the wrong class entirely. One re-roll and seemingly hours of dead bats later, our magician summoned her first fire pet -- firing an interest in MMOs that would become a family passion.

My son went back to school the next day, leaving me at home with my work ... and that magician. Felwithe was annoyingly dark, and I kept getting lost every time I got beyond sight of the castle ("I've lost my body again; you think that bard friend of yours will be online tonight? Every green hill and tree looks the same, and Sense Heading does nothing to help ..."). Still, there was something persuasive about the experience. It wasn't long before my character had outleveled my husband's, I'd made friends with a band of intrepid trailblazers and joined what would become one of the server's top two raiding guilds.

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MMOrigins: Dissection of a gamer

MMO Industry, Opinion, MMOrigins

The Misty Mountains
You are on a steep rocky slope and just above lies the remnants of an ancient rock slide. Far below you can see the Redhorn pass through breaks in tree canopy as well as the winding Anduin River. The sky is overcast, with a strong northerly wind raining down icy lances. The air is thin, making it difficult to breathe.
*Labero the Black Numenorean* is here riding a pack horse tending his wounds.

o S W C Move: Tired> Backstab $target
You begin to silently move behind your victim...

Oh the memories! That text-based multi-user dungeon (MUD) experience may have been the most influential on my gaming career, but it certainly wasn't the first. No, for that we'd have to travel back in time several more years; the day I unwrapped my first gaming console. It was a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the year was 1989. Follow me as I take a trip down memory lane and recount the main influencers on my MMO timeline.

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MMOrigins: The only living boy in Vana'diel

Real-Life, Culture, Opinion, MMOrigins

When I was still young, I was out on a walk with my father in the woods next to my great-aunt's house. The woods were an offshoot of the Devil's Hopyard state park, which meant that they were old and vast. As the family often congregated around the house, there were a number of paths we knew that wove their way through the forest, but I remember where we always stopped, and I remember the day when I asked what was further along.

My dad grinned, and we kept walking. It was about ten minutes from there to a beautiful, moss-covered waterfall that was right on the edge of the state park, with an alcove just large enough that I could squeeze underneath the falls. That sticks with me every time I start up a new game, because that was when I started to really wonder about where paths might lead. Everything leads somewhere. Finding things out is one of the things I love, probably what attracted me to video games in the first place.

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MMOrigins: The play's the thing

Opinion, MMOrigins

When it comes to my roots in MMOs, I actually have to start fairly early on with my general introduction to tech geekery. Growing up in my house was a somewhat strange affair. You see, back when computers used to take up entire rooms and ran on giant reels of tape -- later plastic key cards and paper tapes -- my father was working with them. Being part of our household meant one was essentially living with a highly technical mind that worked on and loved things like supercomputers. I experienced ideas and machines that many in the world hadn't, save in movies or on TV. It also meant that there were some pretty strange technical odds and ends floating around our home.

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MMOrigins: MUD on the tires

Real-Life, Culture, Opinion, MMOrigins

Welcome to MMOrigins, a new weekly series here at Massively where we take a look at what makes us who we are as MMO gamers. Much in the style of our Redefining MMOs series, several members of the Massively team will have their chance to take a look back at their influences, favorite classic games and what got them to where they are today. Then, as we've done before, we'll ask you to compile your own blog posts on the same topic and we'll showcase it for the finale.

So I thought I would kick this new series off with my own influences and origins in gaming and what molded my current enjoyment of MMOs. As anyone who grew up in the 1980s might know, the dawn of personal computer video gaming was an exciting time. With inexpensive hardware such as the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64 and 128, you didn't have to always get your mom to drive you to the arcade to play some good games.

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