My Gaming History

 
 
My earliest recollections of gaming go way back to the early 80’s and my first gaming PC.  Like most kids back then, the gaming PC of choice was the Commodore 64.  I can remember container after container of disks with games to play.  Of course every kid knew exactly how to load up a game, which was much more than simply clicking on an icon.  You had to hope it would load using the standard load command. If that didn’t work you could check the directory (aka “List”) and load the program manually with a much longer command.  Some of my favorite games, actually a hard choice since there were so many awesome titles, are depicted here;

 

Standard Load Command

 

Impossible Mission

 

Racing Destruction Set

The Commodore 64 system would remain my gaming system of choice for many years, although I would get the opportunity to play other systems, like the Atari 2600, when visiting relatives.  In the mid/late 80’s another gaming system would take its place.  I still remember the anticipation Christmas morning and the near disappointment as my parents played the old “hide the best gift till the end”.  Opening that wrapping and seeing the box art for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a feeling that was simply unexplainable.  As I recall, the Commodore 64 wasn’t immediately retired from service.  As I had a sibling it basically became a “backup” for when my parents decided my turn to use the NES came to an end but I still wanted to play games.  The experience of the NES was second to none in that day and age, and brought about my love for the Nintendo platform.  As with the Commodore, there were almost too many great games to pick favorites, but a few of my best memories were playing the games below;

 

Super Mario Bros. 3

 

Contra

 

Castlevania

The NES continued to be the gaming system of choice for a very long time and, as I recall, the collection of games for our system grew quite large.  During that time, toward the start of the 90’s, my parents had decided upon a family trip.  I can’t quite recall now what the trip was for, but I do recall their solution for keeping me and my sibling “sedated” for the trip was to get us the newest handheld gadgets.  That being the revolutionary Game Boy entertainment system, complete with carrying case, magnifying viewer, and several games.  While the Game Boy didn’t quite offer the amazing graphics of the NES system, it was nevertheless a godsend on long road trips.  As with every other system, I had a few favorites that bring me very fond memories.  Those that stood out are shown here;

 

Tetris

 

Bionic Commando

 

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

While the 90’s began with the procurement of the Game Boy, and my old faithful NES was well used by this time, it was the release of the next system that would put both of them into the closet (as it were).  It was the holidays again and, like with the NES, the reveal of the SNES’s box art through the torn Christmas wrapping paper brought once more a feeling of exhilaration and anticipation.  It was almost a torment as my brother and I waited for my father to connect up the new gaming console.  Once it was turned on our wait was rewarded with graphics we’d never seen before.  I can remember my eyes lighting up as I saw Mario on the screen like never before.  Sadly…  Wait, sadly?  Anyway, that was the only game for the SNES we would have for a little while.  Slowly our collection of games would grow, but nothing like it did for the NES.  Even so, there were many games for the SNES that I simply fell in love with.  As with the others, here are a few of my fondest games;

 

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

 

Super Ghouls N' Ghosts

 

Contra III

It was also around the early 90’s that I was introduced to my first actual PC computer, that being an Intel 80486 or I486 for short.  The I486 was a true PC computer that ran at a mind blowing 33MHz and had a whopping 8Mb of memory.  Back in those days that was actually an extremely impressive computer and was capable of running all the best PC games available at the time.  I had amassed a rather huge collection of games in a relatively short period of time.  Once I had my very own computer there was very little time spent away from it.  I would still occasionally return to the SNES to play my favorites, but more and more I retreated to the PC for my free time entertainment.

 

During the early days of PC gaming I found a draw toward two different genres.  The first was the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre and the games I fell in love with included Doom, Heretic, and Duke Nukem 3D.  The other genre of PC games I fell in love with were adventure questing games.  Games I obsessed over, that fell into this genre, included Space Quest 1&2, Kings Quest 1&2, the Hugo series, and Police Quest 1&2.  As you can imagine, I quickly began to love almost everything released by the company Sierra.  Some of my absolute favorite early games weren’t any of these though.  Here were my top favorites in the early days of PC gaming;

 

Chuck Yeager's Air Combat

 

Legend of the Red Dragon (L.O.R.D.)

 

Frederik Pohl's: Gateway

The early days of PC gaming also brought along the early days of networking.  Weather it was dialing out to a Bulletin Board System (BBS) to play L.O.R.D or going over to my friend’s house with my PC to play some Duke Nukem 3D using serial cables.  Networking multiplayer was the new experience and it hit me heavily.  These early days of PC gaming also brought about a new found love for Role Playing, and Role Playing Games more specifically.  I’d always had a very vivid imagination, even to this day, and the thought of bringing a world into existence was very appealing.

 

My first experience creating my own world was way back with the Commodore 64 and the Racing Destruction Set game.  It allowed you to build your own tracks and gave you a vast amount of freedom doing so.  That said, it wasn’t until Duke Nukem 3D came along that I really got interested in building my own worlds.  The “Build” editor made it all possible.  With it you could, fairly easily, build your own extensive maps for the game and play them immediately.  I spent many hours making huge levels, one after another, until I practically had built my own expansion pack for Duke Nukem 3D.  During those days the internet (as it is today) didn’t exist, so unfortunately I had no way to share my creation outside of my group of friends.

 

When the actual internet came to my home, sometime in the mid 90’s, my love for Role Playing was at an all-time high.  I quickly found my way to online chat systems that specialized in imaginative fantasy role playing that, at times, came across more like collaboration toward novel writing.  The draw to these role playing rooms was the experience of being a part of a living novel.  Many of those who took part in the active role playing communities were exceptional “post” writers.  A post being basically your turn to describe to the “room” of people what your persona is currently doing.  These posts could take several minutes for an individual to write, and usually consisted of the length and level of detail a standard novel paragraph would have.  There was always a varying level of detail depending on the individuals involved in the role playing situation.  The most frustrating of times were with individuals who put no effort into their posts, but who you felt obligated to role play with since they were a part of your character’s current location.  Thinking back, those experiences seemed to be few and far between.  One of the online chat networks that stood out above the others was called Webchat Broadcasting System (WBS for short).  Some of my more notable characters included;

 

"Jackel"

The Dark Sith Lord

 

"Taleen"

The White Elven Mage

 

"Tevere"

The Wood Elf Archer

 

"Holographic Doc"

Captain, United Federaton of Planets

WBS stood out above the rest due to the extensive PHP-based experience it offered.  Room owners could set their rooms apart with extensive customizations.  Likewise, patrons of the room could set their posts apart with just as extensive customizations.  Some of the more notable rooms I frequented included “Inn of the Weary Traveler” created by a prominent US congressman, “Dragondale City”, “The Nexus”, and “The Star Wars Cantina”.  The popularity of WBS was extreme, said to have reached 1.5 million users by 1997.  Sadly around 1998 a company called Go Network purchased WBS and decided that a changeover from the PHP based system to a Java system was in order.  This change removed many of the features that made WBS popular amongst role players, including the many customizations people had grown to expect.  Go Network virtually killed the role playing community overnight.  Most role players sought out other similar sites to continue their adventures but the community would never recover from the loss of WBS, and it ended my days of online role playing.

 

For many years after WBS shut down I returned to a solitary gaming lifestyle, finding once again my love for adventure and exploration games.  That said, I always thought back to the “good days” of WBS and truly missed the adventures I once had.  It was about that time, somewhere around 1999, that I first delved into the realm of Dungeons and Dragons.  At first I began as a player, but quickly took on the role of “Dungeon Master” (DM) when our own DM decided he no longer wished to adventure.

 

I continued as a DM for several years and eventually went through the process of becoming a “certified” Dungeon Master.  Basically this meant I had a specific knowledge level required to not only police players in the rules of AD&D, but also the imagination to lead a group of players through a well planned adventure.  Being a DM also brought about the excitement of once again building a world of my own, which I called “Aleros”.  I would purchase grafting paper and make map after map, building my world page by page, until I had an entire binder full of maps that I could use for my players adventures.  I also build a large group of Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that would randomly run into players as they adventured the world.  Most notable was a tinker gnome/kinder mix who went by the name of “Ralph”, and who became so memorable my players could name him based on a description of his appearance.

 

It was around 2002 that I stepped away from the role of DM and back into the online world.  I found two new adventures to sink my time (and soul) into.  One was a fairly new arrival from Japan called “Ragnarok Online” that contained characters and creatures drawn in a very unique and “cute” way while the other was a futuristic space adventure called “Earth and Beyond”.  Both of these were from the growing genre of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs).

 

Ragnarok Online

 

Earth and Beyond

In the many years since my days starting out with the Commodore 64 there have been a slew of games come and go.  It would be simply impossible for me to name every game I’ve ever owned or played.  If you can name a title that wasn't considered rare, odds are it was in my library at one time or another.  This is where my detailed game playing history comes to a close.  That said, there have been several important events of note in my more recent history and they are as follows;

 

2003 - Began hosting this website in its first incarnation (viper01.com)

2003 - Began playing Star Wars Galaxies

2004 - Was present at the closing of Earth and Beyond, a very sad day.

2004 - Joined a guild in Star Wars Galaxies and rose to Chief of Operations.

2004 - Began playing World of Warcraft.

2004 - Began playing City of Heroes.

2005 - Began hosting my own Ragnarok Online server emulator.

2005 - Stopped playing Star Wars Galaxies due to the revamp of the leveling system.

2006 - Attended the opening of the Ahn'Qiraj Gates in World of Warcraft.

2007 - Ended hosting the Ragnarok Online server emulator.

2007 - Began moderating a publically hosted World of Warcraft server.

2008 - Ended moderating the World of Warcraft emulated server due to conflicts.

2009 - Began hosting a vanilla Minecraft server.

2010 - Attended the sundering of the world in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

2010 - Returned to Star Wars Galaxies under it's new system.

2011 - Opened my first YouTube account for gaming videos.

2011 - Was present at the closing of Star Wars Galaxies, a bitter-sweet experience.

2011 - Began DJing for an online radio station devoted to gamers, The Dark Radio.

2011 - Began moderating a high population Minecraft server (Opticraft).

2012 - Stopped moderating for Opticraft due to time restrictions.

2012 - Began playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

2012 - Was present at the closing of City of Heroes, an extremely sad day.

2013 - Was present for the closing of The Dark Radio, another extremely sad day.

2014 - Began hosting a modified Minecraft server, in addition to the vanilla one.

2015 - Designed, created, and began hosting a Tekkit mod pack for Minecraft called Viper-Craft Galaxy.
2016 - Designed, created, and began hosting a Tekkit mod pack for Minecraft called Viper-Craft Galaxy II.
2017 - Stopped pre-recording YouTube videos and began live streaming them instead.
2017 - Began creating vehicles for the Steam Workshop covering various games, including Empyrion.
2018 - Stepped away from the long-held branding of "Viper01" and rebranded "Jodian Gaming".
2018 - Returned to online radio DJing, starting at the station Asylum Radio.
2019 - Restructured the Jodian Gaming service to focus less on multiple games and more on Empyrion.
2019 - Performed a minor redesign to the Jodian Gaming website.
2019 - Added a forum to the Jodian Gaming website, specifically targeted at my Empyrion service.