G Is for GEnie

G Is for GEnie, and GemStone

Sometime in 1993 or late 1992, one of my housemates, John, in the Hippie Hut – aka then and now as “the Norwood house” – got onto an online service called GEnie. He wanted to be on GEnie specifically, as opposed to Compuserve or whatever else was around back then, because he wanted to play Battletech and GEnie had it. We’re talking the way early days of online gaming, and GEnie was the place to be. I used to watch over his shoulder when he played and chat with the guys – because they were all guys – he chatted with.

G Is for GEnie, and GemStone

After a while on GEnie, John discovered a text-based RPG call GemStone, and G is definitely for GemStone. It was when he started playing GS that I decided that I really wanted to get online, because I really wanted to play. So sometime in 1994, I rolled up my first GemStone character. Her name was Rhiana and she didn’t last long. Later that year, I rolled up my bard, Warble Singsong – go ahead, make fun of the name – and she still exists to this day.

It was because of Warble and my time in GS that I reached two of the most significant turning points in my life. First was that I met Scott there. It’s kind of funny, because John’s character got married in game, and Kyrion (aka Scott) and Warble were the best man and maid of honor at the wedding. That was where we met, and it still makes me laugh that the real world cliche of a best man and maid of honor getting together took this crazy virtual world twist for me and Scott. Our characters became pretty good friends after that meeting, and we did quite a bit of chatting as Kim and Scott, too. Eventually we met in person and the rest is history.

The second turning point was that it was because of GemStone that I became a Web developer. I made a friend in game who liked me so much that she hired me as her assistant for a gaming site she was launing. She was a mentor to me, teaching me about project management and HTML. Though the Game Grotto – two more G’s – had its plug pulled after just a year or so, that was the beginning of a career path for me.

So I owe my marriage and my work to a game. Hey, that’s another G.


4 Responses

  1. FED and GS3 all haunts of myself years ago when people were paying $6/hour to be connected on GEnie (some people there 100+ hours each month!).

    G is a good letter. It was through GEnie that I meet Scott as Tellurian in Federation II, a very literate trading/empire building game in the solar system. One of the great features of FED was the ability to a planet and create your own content for it. Many planets showed great care and skill, others not so much. However the game lost its luster when the developer basically lost interest and failed to deliver advertised features. Additionally, the luster faded when egos and personalities kicked into overdrive to see how much some could annoy others, player vs player and players vs game owners.

    Gemstone came afterwards. Aside from a few rotten PvP’ers it was a great place to get lost in. There as Karlel I knew Scott as Kyrion and was a casual acquaintance of Kim as Warble, who for some reason kept dying at the hands of players when she wandered into the Warfarer area. It was around this time that Gemstone parted ways with Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.), owners of the Runequest game rules Gemstone was roughly based on, with their great de-ICE-ing. Later they opened their doors to the unwashed masses of AOL (shudder) and things turned foul as hundreds of foul tweens and teens suddenly arrived. Later Simutronics, the developers of Gemstone, parted ways with GEnie and opened their own web presence. This was a great move as they also introduced a new pricing structure with a fixed cost per month for just about all the game-play one could stand and still leave enough time for sleep to remain employed or do well in school.

    Kim, thanks for the letter G and the old memories.

  2. That’s an awesome story. I know a couple that met through WoW, but your story is better. 🙂 What I would have done to convince my parents to get that service back in the day had I known it existed.