I’m stepping off a plane in California and I’m about to meet the woman who will change my life. In the months previous, I’d braved battle and hardship, and fended off other would-be suitors. I’d won the girl.
Her name was Angela, and I had seen her photos, and so I knew what she looked like. She’s standing at the gate (it would be years before airport security would change forever) and I tentatively approach. My heart is beating so hard that I can feel it in my ears and her cinnamon-laced perfume fills my nostrils. We touch hands in greeting, and a spark leaps between us that had first ignited from across thousands of miles of space and kindled within the wild realms of imagination.
Angela and I had met in a world called Elanthia, a realm constructed entirely of electrons and dreams. I was a wizard named Lythe, and she was an elven dark temptress named Kaoti. Elanthia was the setting of a game called Gemstone. It was a social game, where people from around the world met to go on adventures, have fiery romances, and cross blades in combat. The game was played on an online service called GEnie, one of the social networks of the nineties—although that term wouldn’t be established for another decade.
Angela and I not only met in an online game, and came together romantically, we also discovered our shared passion for the art and business of games. We felt in our marrow that we could make great games, and so we did: launching our own Legends of Future Past on the Internet ...