|For a long time, this was a very comforting image.|
But there was a time a few years ago when I was consumed with it. I was introduced to it one night at Game Empire in San Diego. Three of the guys in my tabletop RPG group played, and Chris let me log into his account on a computer at GE. I made a big rock-dude named Livingstone. I went through the tutorial, and was pretty hooked by the time my half-hour was up. That was in the fall of 2004, I think. That Christmas my girlfriend at the time got the game for me, but I wouldn't be able to play it until March, when we finally got hi-speed internet. From then on, it was hard to stay away for any length of time.
Several months later that girlfriend and I broke up, and I moved out on my own. CoH practically became my life. For several months I alternated between it and World of Warcraft, as I would get a little burned out on each, and would need a break. During this time, I was a regular poster at CoHGuru.com's forums. Now that I was newly single, and I felt safe behind the anonymity of the internet, I was an insatiable flirt. If it was female, of legal age, and even decent looking, I was there with a witty comment and innuendo. It was fun, but I never took any of it seriously. Until I met Endless One.
Here was this cute young lady, with a dazzling smile, a rapier wit, and also newly single. Oh, and she was the leader of an in-game supergroup, which she actually won in her divorce. While it wasn't exactly love at first sight, there was something there that was pretty cool. Well, to make a long story short (and to bypass some personal details), we spent a few months "dating" through the forums, emails and on Yahoo! Messenger. Then in the spring of 2007, I said "Fuck it" and quit my dead-end job at a law firm, packed my shit, and Spaz (my cat) and I embarked on a gypsy-wagon-looking road trip with no return route. After about three days of driving, I arrived in Middleton, Wisconsin, where I started what would be the happiest days of my life. Five years, a newborn son, and about four jobs later, I am still here, and still very much in love with my wife, and my life.
|My main, Dynamo-Man.|
Drawn by me.
And now that game looks to be going away for good. It will only be a truckload of memories, and a folder of screenshots on my computer before long. But, I know that no matter what, I will always remember that game. Certain sound effects and music bytes still conjure up a wave of feelings and emotions. There is some regret as well. I never got into task forces, and I think I only ever did one of them. Out of the literally dozens of alts I made, I only got two of them to 50. There are still areas of Paragon City that I haven't seen (though not many...I may log in and have Dynamo-Man fly around to see everything I missed).
All-in-all, it was a great experience. And one that changed the course of my life. Like graduating High School or ETSing from the Army, this is the end of an era for me. And like those other experiences, it has shaped me, informed me, and expanded my horizons. And it makes me wonder what comes next...