Yesterday was Thanksgiving holiday. It was also November 22.
For most, just another day of family, food, and football.
For me, it was also something more. An anniversary. Ten years ago, November 22, 2002, a message board was founded.
It was founded out of the rubble of a failing forum about an overhyped, underwhelming video game on the Nintendo Gamecube. Founded by essentially, a group of about 10-20 or so teenagers (the youngest members being more around 10 or 11 and the oldest being around 19 to 21) who wanted a forum without the "moderator corruption", without the rules and restrictions of the old.
Basically we were entitled dumbass brats who wanted to do whatever we wanted. And so we did. And so a little forum called the McCloud Space Station was formed. I was 13 at the time, and no other community would shape me like it did. We had a forum-wide Role Play (led by the wonderful writer of Starfox fanfictions, RingShadow), which eventually just devolved into a regular RP forum with smaller games. We grew in size, we began to really determine what our alter egos were as characters. We developed ideas, we collaborated a story that spanned three episodes detailing the fictionalization of our experiences on the forums... as cheesy science fiction adventure set in the Starfox verse. They were bad and stupid, but they were ours.
We expanded in size. For a while, we were the biggest English speaking Starfox community. We had affiliates in several other big name forums, like Lylat Intelligence, the Cornerian Defense, and the Krystal Lovers Association. We expanded well beyond a clique of some 20 people looking to have a good time.
And yet, we faltered. We grew up. The community crumbled as interest in Starfox died. Fortunately, most of us never drifted apart. We were well connected through IMs and other forums, and video games. The few we did lose contact with, was for unknown reasons. They just sort of... drifted away.
In retrospect, keeping tabs on Emails might've been lucrative.
We tried a few revivals. Mostly clique-ish ones, and they worked for a short while before the MSS (as we had come to call and know our forum) would die again, and again, and again.
Nowadays, things are so similar, yet so different. MSS is gone, but the spirit endures. The bonds of friendship hold strong, if withered, over a whole decade. Reflecting back, I sometimes wish I could stay 13 forever, to stay in the happy days of teenage audacity, Starcraft sessions on money maps, watching anime on Adult Swim and talking about it with friends on an AIM chatroom (I was the only Gundam fan, pfah!).
Yet, I am grateful for my life now. I can't be 13 anymore, and too long I've lived my life trying to pretend I could, without even realizing it. I'm 23, now. I've grown up, and am just now acting it as best I can. While there is some bitterness to be had for my foolishness in clinging to the past, I also revere and respect those days even more now, and the fond memories I have of some typing on a message board can never be replaced. Most people wouldn't understand it, especially in todays much more social-network wired world (Had the MSS been a facebook group, it likely would've stayed going I bet!), where such things are taken for granted, but I don't care.
Tonight, just call me "Robert Monroe".