AOL CD’s? Back in my day they were on 3.5″ floppy disks!

When I asked Loril to share a few words with us I knew that whatever she sent would be fantastic … and she never disappoints.  I strolled down memory lane with Loril’s words and despite her concern that it was far too long I couldn’t stop reading.  I’ve split Loril’s submission into 2 parts: the person Loril and the character Loril.  I hope you will find both as fascinating as I did.  For the record, I have no trouble believing Loril spent two weeks in pre-auth, somehow I still think of her as some strange chimera of wide eyed newbie and (nearly) all-knowing goddess.  Without further ado, in her own words, Loril!

 

Source: http://23rdworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/aol_cds.jpg
… and that was just Monday …

When I got my first home computer, I simply couldn’t wait to get onto this Internet that the network geeks at the data center where I worked were all abuzz about. In those days, everyone was inundated with 30-day free disks from AOL and CompuServe, among others. Being a very frugal person, I figured out pretty quickly how much these places would soak you for money if you let them … and so I didn’t let them. I used them for the free connection so I could research for an ISP that I figured offered the most for the least. Nucleus (nucleus.com) offered exactly what I needed – a BBS so I could talk to people about this brave new world, a connection to an entire world of knowledge (which is everything to me), and a few gaming pastimes (my true love!).

 

Now, skooch in close, kids and listen carefully … it was ALL TEXT. All of it. Text menus, chat rooms, games, ALL TEXT. Well, and ASCII pictures which were often lame, and more often brilliant. I spent crazy amounts of time, pre-Google (!) just looking around the world at what people were building and talking about. And that’s another topic altogether. We’re here to celebrate 20 years of the Realms of Despair. Hosted by Nucleus was a game called Mutants and I spent a lot of time dying 🙂 on that game but there were always players there and we’d chat. I was intrigued by one of the offerings – RoD, offering “Endless Medieval Enjoyment” – which was right up my game play alley. But everyone told me, ‘bah, you don’t want to play that – it’s always so laggy’. Well, hell. I was lagged enough at the time (though really, 1200 BAUD was pret-ty spiffy in those days ;)) and I didn’t need more lag. Yet, every time I logged in (remember the connection sound on those modems?), I looked at that tagline again. I finally couldn’t resist any longer. Lag be damned, I NEEDED Endless Medieval Enjoyment!

And it has been endless for me. I spent a full two weeks – real time! – in pre-auth. I read every help file I could to make the best possible character that would fully represent my alter self. I finally made it into the game and probably spent a good three months in the Academy! Yes. 😛 I did. After a time, a bud from Nucleus, name of Garlok, remade a character he’d allowed to delete and showed me a few things. I lost track of him, sadly, because his infectious use of the cackle social was a delight. Garlok, if you’re out there, hey man, get in touch.

One more thing before I proceed to tell you my MUD story in a biography (and probably lose you before the end of it!), I want to answer the question about why I stuck to text all these years. I’m a gamer from way back. Atari, Nintendo (original and Super), Intellivision, and PlayStation. Not to mention what I still believe were the best PC games ever invented. Perhaps, in fact, it was “Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero” (originally named “Hero’s Quest) and numerous other Sierra games that spoiled me forever for graphical games. Thank you, Ken and Roberta Williams and Al Lowe for, in my opinion, “completing” graphical games. In my mind, they are done (though I’d buy another in a heartbeat). They had actual stories, beauty in pictures and in music. I can’t, and couldn’t, imagine that ever being done better. I’ve always been a reader.

It’s the book versus the movie thing: nothing (with the exception of Peter Jackon’s Lord of the Rings) can ever live up to the pictures I have in my own mind. Or perhaps in yours! Look at this reunion memory I shared with Massively in 2011.

Fact is, Realms of Despair has, for just shy of 20 years, been my favourite book that never ends. 🙂

 

(Loril’s in character reflection appears separately in an upcoming blog post)

 

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