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hyperreal.coffee

Re: How you were using the Internet

I was born in 1988, so I was too young during 1991-1995. My first time using the Internet was in 1998. We had the AOL suite on a dial-up modem that used our landline. My screenname was BBJeff10 -- BB for baseball, my favorite sport, and 10 because that was my age at the time. My mom set up our screennames, and her user was the master account on our AOL instance. I don't quite recall what I did on the Internet exactly, but I didn't use it a whole lot. I think I mostly just chatted with my friends on AOL and looked up video game stuff on GameFAQs and Cheat.cc.

2000-2001

I was really into professional wrestling entertainment, like WWF (now WWE), WCW, and ECW. I found these fantasy wrestling communities called e-federations or e-wrestling leagues. These were communities of users who create their own original characters and roleplay various scenes, challenging other wrestlers in the league. The roleplays were written out and posted on the league's message board. Feuds between wrestlers would take place, and if there was a match between them, the wrestler with the best roleplay would win, as judged by the league owner/CEO who was usually the webmaster and did not take part in roleplays. The matches were simulated using wrestling simulation software. One such program in particular was called Zeus Pro.

The league that I was part of was called ACWL (Action Championship Wrestling League) and the owner, who was called Jim Rooster, wrote his own wrestling simulator software. My character had a caustic and cocky personality and his wrestling style was a mix of lightweight/high-flying and hardcore/roughneck. My character was inspired by the urban grunge/gothic aesthetic of the wrestler Raven, the hardcore dare-devil-ish Cactus Jack/Mankind, and the martial arts of Steve Blackman. He had some crazy high-flying moves too, like shooting star press and moonsaults.

I made one online friend within my first week of roleplaying; one user liked my roleplays and my character and asked me if I wanted to team up with their character. Their character was named Rune, and we formed a group called the Renegades of Funk. Our theme song was something by Rage Against the Machine (it might have been Guerilla Radio, but I can't say for sure. Or that might have been my own character's theme song.) Our partnership didn't last very long but I don't remember why, I think we just decided to go separate ways.

The owner/CEO of the league deemed me the most creative trash-talker in roleplays; my character won the ACWL North American title belt and held onto it for two matches before losing it to a character named Cyborg, with whom my character feuded for a time. Some users' roleplays were kind of perfunctory and simplistic; mine were among the more detailed ones.

Anyway, during this time I became more computer/Internet savvy because I spent a lot more time with it. I made my AOL username the master account, so I was able to view websites for wrestling news and M-rated video game stuff that was restricted by PG-13 AOL parental controls. HTML was often used for roleplaying on the message boards, and eventually I realized I could use HTML to design a whole website. At one time I had my own e-federation with a website I designed that was hosted on Angelfire. My e-fed didn't get very big, there were maybe 10 or so people, most of whom were online friends I made from the other league.

During this time also was when Napster was really popular. I thought it was amazing that I could look up any individual song and download it, for free, to my computer.

I will follow up on this post and share my Internet experience from the years 2002-2005.

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Last updated: 2021-11-19