How the internet built my life with the help of RPG’s

(Minor life updates, actually not so minor 🙂

My husband just received a promotion at work to a plant operator to a “lead”. This means more responsibility, great for his resume, and better probability (1 in 3 instead of 1 in 10) chance of better shifts. Historically this means a raise as well (8%), but I’m not confident they will do the right thing in this instance.  Actually no, lets remain hopeful. My husband is going to get a freaking raise.

My web design company is going well, in fact I have some big launches coming up and really good feedback on some of our most recent designs. I look forward to when I can show them off in our portfolio. Having been able to attain a monthly parking spot by work means less time working from home, which I am very grateful for.

The bonuses lately have me reminiscent on my climb up the internet ladder as a person who owns an online company.

I love the internet. Absolutely love it. Even with the negative aspects between hacking, spam, and trolls, I love what the internet is and provides and I’ve been on the internet since 1994. I started out on Prodigy with a username “Soundgarden9” during my freshman year of highschool. Don’t ask me how I remember that username from over 20 years ago, but I do.

Prodigy had timed usage limits (maybe 10 cents a minute?), I forget the cost, but I had to limit my time due to how expensive it could get.

Once AOL hit the streets, even with their limited usage, we switched over and then along with most of America enjoyed their unlimited monthly access once they launched it. Once you logged in you entered into a different world with that AOL dashboard and buddy list pop-up.

My account for the next almost 10 years would be under the screen names CGroves925 and DEATHMETAX. Yes, I still had AOL in the early 2000’s mostly as a way to keep hold of some old information and allowing a friend to use it for a while since I didn’t really need it.

AOL internet has a very special spot in my history. It became an outlet for me after mom moved me away from dad in an area and school where I didn’t have many friends. It was also an outlet for me when I was married to my first husband and moved on base while he was in the Navy down in Norfolk Virginia in the late 90’s. I lived there for 2 years with absolutely no one locally that I knew and my husband was on deployment in the Mediterranean. The internet allowed me to communicate with humans while being a lonely military wife in a piss-poor neighborhood where pizza wasn’t allowed to be delivered past 7pm due to crime and I was being offered crack cocaine. Eesh.

AOL introduced me to roleplaying games through a really weird free-form RPG called “Rhydin”. I happened on roleplay games by accident when a guy my mom was dating (named Michael) had some sort of argument with some chick named “Charlemagne”. I think the argument was “in-character” but my mom stumbled on it and was questioning him on this woman he was having issues with. I don’t think she understood what was going on and thought he was having an affair. Lets not ignore the fact that this guy my mom was dating was only three years older than me, was unemployed and living with us, and he used to ask her to measure my biceps (I was 16 at the time). Talk about creepy…I actually STILL have the email printed from the 90’s of this conversation and keep it in my safe to remind me of some of this drama I had to deal with growing up.

Anyway, after hearing about my moms argument with Michael about this gaming chick, I decided to check her out. I found her in a chatroom and watched what was going on an the dice rolling and the roleplaying and thought it was pretty cool. I eased my way into it and then somehow stumbled onto White Wolf gaming. Eventually I started a Baltimore by Night group online and I was hooked.

Anyone remember the AOL dice rolls?  //roll-sides10-dice6 (I STILL remember this exact command)

Instant Messaging and E-Mail were a glorious and inventive thing throughout highschool. Away messages, profile messages, proggies and bots to create ASCII graphics. Chat rooms and even sounds in chat rooms were where the cool online kids hung out and nerds were on IRC long before social media became a thing. This is now replaced with Facebook, Snapchat, reddit and Instagram.

Man, old school was so much more simple and not nearly as scary.

After a couple years of White Wolf Gaming, I stumbled onto MUD’s which are Multi-User Dungeons. These are text-based games much like what you would imagine a MMORPG like World of Warcraft to be like, but completely text based and much more flexible on interaction and character development. I still have my MUD, and the website is still up, but have no time to dedicated to it right now (maybe eventually).

From MUD’s I migrated to Starcraft and World of Warcraft with an ex I met on a MUD (a couple ex’s, actually), and this led me to my wonderful husband who I met on World of Warcraftmerica online

. Now we mostly play Magic: The Gathering or Dungeon’s and Dragons with friends, switching to old-school table top gaming which allows us to spend time together without being absorbed into a screen, which I am grateful for.

I think it’s important for us to keep some form of gaming in our lives since it is essentially how we met and I like to honor that by continuing it with him.

Now I sit here, having taught myself how to create websites on my own starting in 1994, owning my own web design company with extensive software experience and expertise in all sorts of social media and marketing. This fun highschool interest and eventual gaming I firmly believed firmed up my tech-savvy abilities and career, despite growing up a farm girl.

So thank you, internet. Thank you AOL. Thank you all the old school think-tanks that created this wonderful online world that allows us to find the loves of our lives, build a career and skillset, and meet new friends that have become family.

The internet literally built my life.

Instagram @crystalgrovesmusic

Twitter: @crystalgroves

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Crystal Groves Written by:

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast for the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She's an old-time blogger, starting just after 9/11, and has been blogging about technology, personal finance, health & wellness, and local news for the last several years.