I was playing around online and I came across something that I had seen before, but then put out of my head. It’s a little online world called Second Life. It’s a recent fad, a virtual world where everything is interactive and you can be anyone you want to be. To me, it’s something a little less boring that masturbating with a cheese grater. It’s also nothing I haven’t done before.

When I was just getting into computers about 10 years ago, I would get home from school every day and unplug my grandparent’s phone so I could hook up my 56K modem and visit the wonder that is the internet. The internet is taken for granted today as largely fast and downloads are almost instant. Not back then. Hight speed internet was just a dull spark of a rumor in my small town in the hills of Tennessee. So online gaming usually consisted of playing cheap Yahoo or Excite games. But those were not what I spent hours online goofing around with.

The object of my affection was a little online community known as Active Worlds. Sort of a dumbed down version of Second Life, it was the virtual place to be in the late 90’s. Many of you probably played it, if you weren’t still amazed at how you could send mail to another person in the blink of an eye. I had many friends inside, and we all would hang out for hours on Planet Mars in the Red Eye bar and just shoot the shit. (Where I was raised, there wasn’t much computer talk, so I had to reach out somehow.)

I sat there reminiscing over my very first virtual experience that ended up with my being a World of Warcraft fanatic. Now that I think about it, this was around the time I bought a game at Wal-Mart that I had never heard of call Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. So I decided to check out www.activeworlds.com and see if the domain name had been sold off to some porn site yet. Low and behold, it was still up and running. Not only that, it’s thriving. So I logged in as a guest, and after a half an hour of checking out my old stomping grounds on Planet Mars I shut it off, realizing how far I had come in the world of online interaction. I was definitely beyond this. Way beyond.

But now, I at least can link my love for online gaming to one starting point. The place where the internet first took hold of my imagination and I no longer felt satisfied playing Mario Bros. on Super Nintendo. So I salute you, Active Worlds, may you entertain and bore people for many years to come.

Don is an avid gamer, writer, screen writer,part time game maker, film director, and horror film fanatic. You can check out his book "How to Survive Zombies and Other Disasters" on Amazon.