This is how it started. I know. I was there – well, I was watching it on the T.V. live you should say. I was 5 years old. I remember it vividly. Since that day, it has been my fantasy to be out there, flying between the stars. It’s a condition of my generation and I make no apologies for it.
In the year 1985, I was a young man starting out on my own. Times were tough, and I needed an escape from the reality of where I was.
I spent hours nearly every weekend on the Apple IIe in Washington Hall indulging my fantasy as best I could. Elite was my favorite. This was so far from where I was, it was easy to forget the hardships. It was my first taste of flying ships in space. I still remember how hard it was to manually dock at the Coriolis station. It took a long time until I was able to afford the auto-docking computer but I never gave up. I crashed time and again. Nothing could deter me! I knew I wanted more – much more.
My next dose of ships in space came in 1993 with Privateer. This game rocked! Getting a trade route setup and making it to each stop without getting blown up was always a thrill. Many a time I went in with guns blazing, though at heart I was always a simple trader. I can’t even recount how many times I slid into dock with everything smoking except the cargo. This was also the first game where the universe started to look as it should. It was exhilarating!
The much anticipated sequel to that fine game came in 1996 – Privateer II. In many ways it was a worthy successor. The Heads Up Display finally arrived. Gone were the Star Trek like consoles. In their place came sleekness and a wide open vista! This game really made me feel like I was in space. I so loved it, I wanted VGA goggles and Bose headphones so I could block out the real world. I had life denial bad in those days. It was a time of great disappointment and even greater change. Privateer II was my constant companion and never let me down. It got me through those dark days.
In 2002, the great change that was my life had run its course. I’d weathered the storm and the next was still beyond the horizon – out of sight. My perseverance was rewarded with a fantasy come true (or so I liked to think.) Earth and Beyond was that reward. Now I could fly with others. I was no longer alone in the universe. Finally, we had Internet Space Ships!
It did not last long but it was glorious. There were so many things wrong with this MMO, yet there were so many things right. To be sure, EA didn’t really get Internet Spaceships. They thought in terms of hack and slash fantasy gaming, and their game mirrored that limited mindset. But it was gorgeous and it was Internet Spaceships. I gladly drank the cool-aid though it was over far too quickly.
It took a little known company from a volcanic, snow-covered island called Iceland to figure it out. CCP released Eve Online on May 6, 2003 and it was astounding!
From the beginning, it was obvious this company got Internet Spaceships. Expansion after expansion proved this, even if they weren’t always completely bug free. The game grew in subscribers and in legend. I became a capsuleer in 2008. It was the fulfillment of an 18 year quest to be out there, among the stars, with an entire universe to explore. I’d finally made it and the 5 year old inside me squealed with glee.
That is why I will not leave Eve. It is the dream that comes from watching a man step onto a world he was not born on.