Fifteen years ago my friend asked if I would be interested in seeing something no one has ever seen before. “I am a tester for this game that’s not really a game… it’s like a world that I live in. I’m a Paladin of Freeport and I’ve met other real people who also live here. It’s like The Realm but in first person. It’s like I’m in the game!” That was the first and only time I have ever experienced a paradigm shift in real-time. Everything I knew about video games felt like a grain of sand compared to what was unfolding in front of my eyes.
Suffice it to say, you all know the rest. EverQuest changed the world. It changed my world. I was 14 years old when EverQuest launched. I think I ditched half of high school to level my Dark Elf Necromancer. I’ve shared #MyEQStory and many other fond memories over the years of my in-game adventures. I’ve compared games to EverQuest and used it as the benchmark for just about everything since.
I remember standing in the East Commonlands tunnel on New Year’s Eve. We were all wondering what would happen with the Y2K bug. Most of us were kids. I remember the same question was asked in OOC chat 100 times: “Does anyone think we’ll lose our characters at midnight?”
Back in 1999 almost no one at my high school had a computer of their own. A few had computers in their home. Maybe half of the kids had the internet. My family was always online from the moment it was able to be in a home for personal use. I think my dad’s work got it for him. In fact, I remember when our internet company contacted us threatening to shut us down for using our connection with them to run our own ISP. They told us no one could use the internet this much. My dad had to tell them, “You don’t understand. My son plays this online game called EverQuest.”
I remember having to beg for a graphics card to play on our home computer. My dad took me out to Babbages in the Mall and we picked up some Voodoo 3D extreme card or something. I clutched it to my chest the whole ride home, knowing only how precious the magic inside this box was — it would unlock the gates to EverQuest.
I may not have been an adult at the time and found my wife or gotten a job from EverQuest, but I was part of that group of kids just old enough to realize what was happening. I’m almost 30 years old now. I grew up on EverQuest. To this very day I am still testing EverQuest. I’m still playing EverQuest. I’m still planning on playing EverQuest. That really is pretty cool.