The funniest thing, is that I don't remember leaving; why I left, where I went, or where I'm going, I'm unsure even still. I opened this website when I was 12 years old, young, wide-eyed, marveling that there were others like me on this new thing called the internet. It was new to me, I mean I'd never used it. We were never quite fortunate enough to own a home computer. My dad had been working his new job for a few months now, and had decided that with our new found money, we should own a computer.
I booted up AOL, after warning my folks not to pick up the phone or anything, because it would disrupt my connection, and stared blankly at the screen not knowing quite what to expect. I mean, I had been on approved sites at school before, but I had never been given free-roam to explore before. I heard a voice shout from the speakers, "WELCOME!" I admittedly jumped, the volume was turned up too high. I knew the basics, but not much else. The first thing my adolescent self did was look up boobs on a google image search. I giggled to myself a minute, and then decided to look up what I was most passionate about (aside from the ever-awkward endeavor for female attention):
The Legend of Zelda.
I browsed fanart for an eternity. Youtube didn't exist yet, and I wanted to watch some Zelda videos, so I remember doing some searches for that. Fruitless efforts led me to something called The Desert Colossus. It looked like there were actual people here. I didn't really understand how the internet worked, and I figured it was put together by our government or something. A collection of information assembled like a fancy encyclopedia (That's the gyst of what my dad told me). I found the Mailbag, and spammed comments there, excited to introduce myself to the community. A little /too/ excited, if I recall. I spent hours reading through everything. I didn't discover the forums until at least 2 years later. It was what I wanted all along- a message board with kids (and adults kind of) like me.
I spent every day here. I didn't have many friends. I was online constantly. I remember being at odds with Jack. I was part of what he affectionately (I hope) referred to as the "Spammer Brigade". I smile fondly in remembrance of it. I remember user Medli and I were at the heart of it. I remember Jack going around and deleting all of our topics and conversations, because we were clogging up the boards with useless banter, one-word answers, and general spammliness. It angered me, and I sent a big triumphant grammatically disastrous PM to Jack, telling him to step off.
He gave me a stern talking to. I was so young, haha. It's embarrassing to think back of the fool I made of myself. The next major thing I remember happening was Medli getting banned. I regret to admit that this site was essentially an entire half of my life, and it scared me straight. It mattered so much to me back then. You were all my closest friends. It's kind of pathetic, but in a way it's sort of endearing. I ended up looking up to Jack a lot after that. Thinking back on the way he dealt with things- it was maturity I wasn't familiar with. I never knew Jack's real name, or anything- there's no way of tracking him, and I don't think he's looked at these boards in years...
But if I could talk to him, I would tell him thanks. I would say that he ran this website well, and he dealt with all of his "children" in a way that I haven't since forgotten. He was sort of a father figure to me- a role model that I strove to be more like. I wanted to be like Jack as a person, and like Alpha as a writer. Those two played a major role in the life of a boy they've never met in person, and it they mean more to me they'll ever really know. I would also tell Jack that I'm sorry that I was a nuisance, and that if the clock of my life turned back a decade, I'd definitely be right back here at the Colossus during the height of its activity.
I loved it all. The people I met,(figuratively) the opinions and discussions we shared. You guys shaped my life for the better, and I'm grateful that you all were here to share it with me. For everyone I immaturely wronged here, I'm sorry for my past self. The thing is, you guys watched me mature into adulthood. Every stupid opinion I had, I spewed here without thinking about it. I like to think I matured as a person and as a writer. However, I still haven't quite caught up to Jack or for that matter Alpha. Doesn't mean that I'll stop. The two of them gave me goals, whether or not they realized it.
I was going through really old emails for kicks, and found some old notifications that brought me back here. I looked at the place- the most recent posts were from bots, and all the treasure chests were open and empty. I glanced over the familiar layout and took a deep breath as I remembered it all. I can still talk to some of you on Skype (my account was destroyed for some reason, I'm trying to fix it), but for those of you that don't have Skype or anything- or for those of you that stumble across this place down the road, I wanted to say goodbye. I never gave this site a proper farewell, I kind of just vanished. A lot of us did. A modern-day E-Roanoke.
So to all the people that touched me over the years that I don't have contact with anymore. From Jack, to Seijin... Phantompig, to Masterkey... Medli... Even KP, haha. And someone who loved me from Reno...
Thanks for the memories.