Recently I was having a conversation with my son Brett about the internet; it was mostly about online gaming, but it was about the internet at large. And I told him about my first experience with the “world wide web,” which I remember clearly.
I’ve probably said here before, but I’ve had email for a long time, since 1989. The first service I bought was America Online (AOL). At the time, it was purely an email thing. I had friends who, about that same time, had other providers. I remember my writer pal Mark McElroy showing me Prodigy (just before I got AOL) and me being impressed. It was basically an email system with some fancy message boards…but it was very impressive. I went with AOL because it was cheaper and I’d just gotten married and moved out into the sticks. AOL, at the time, was done over the phone lines. Thus, if I was “online,” we couldn’t use the phone. A couple of times a day I would log on—send and receive messages—and log off.
When I worked for Malibu, many of the editorial crew also had email, but the company also had an intranet, a system of messaging that only worked in-house. Malibu was incredibly tech savvy, thanks primarily to one of the founders, Chris Ulm, who was a bit of a tech nerd and pushed the tech to the others. I don’t mean to make it sound as if they resisted—they did not (that I’m aware of, anyhow), but it was Chris that pushed using the tech to help the company. Before Marvel shut everything down, I was getting most scripts from my writers either via a floppy disc in the mail, or via email. It was really very revolutionary in house!
Sometime around 1994, I was having a conversation about the “world wide web” with my wife, BJ. She mentioned something about seeing pictures/images, to which I said she was wrong and she had to have been talking about something else. We went to her office and she proceeded to prove me wrong. I was so amazed she had to kick me off her computer. I raced to mine, downloaded early Mozaic…and life was never the same.
When Brett asked me what was the first “online” game I played, I had trouble remembering. It was probably AGE OF EMPIRES around the late 90s with my friend Tony Fortenberry. I remember, however, playing “play by email” games in which I’d take a turn, save it, send the saved file to a friend, they would do the same…and thus we played a game.
And this is only about 25 years ago.
What will the next 25 years bring us?