For those of you with a penchant for history, Avalon celebrated its TWENTIETH anniversary online to the public on October 28th 2009. The Avalon date of this genesis of a new world was 1st Midwinter 800. We have been playing out a continuous and uninterrupted history ever since.
I needn't tell you how pleasing it is to see Avalon continue to thrive, so far from those early days and how much has changed from being one poor sap locked in a converted garage-bedroom, squeezing a miniature version of Avalon onto one of the earliest home computers (the BBC Micro model B with a whopping 32K of memory)... waiting for folks to dial my solitary modem... to connect, to create a character, to set foot in a new, hopelessly ambitious and completely unimpressive gameworld. Twenty years. Many of you reading this now will not have been born when Avalon was already welcoming its first subscribers or when it received its virgin public unveiling at the 'Adventure 89' show towards the end of October 1989.
No more fitting tribute can there, in one of the most ephemeral of industries, than longevity to this most enduring of gameworlds: the first of its kind to bring to the multi-player gaming arena such staples as complex economics, diverse player controlled ability-driven combat, Gods and Goddesses, fully functioning socio-political structures (cities, governments, guilds, divine orders), group quests, competitive events, balance, equilibrium, the list goes on. Curious to suppose that before Avalon, none of these features were found in online games and that, moreover, many of Avalon's earliest critics were those in the 'gaming community' sneering at unrealistic, unattainable goals, assured we were overestimating the gamingpublic's desire to immerse themselves in a multi-faceted virtual life...
... but this was then, and now Avalon is older than a good percentage of its players. Although eclipsed, technologically, the very day it went public by more cutting-edge graphical games, it has thrived and its niche continues to endure; growing more robust, if anything, as the years stack up. Why? Many reasons, but perhaps primarily that truism: quality and originality will out. A good novel with its readership of ten thousands can co-exist with the blockbuster movie and its multi-millions.
I am, of course, biased, but I've a sneaking suspicion this 'novel versus movie' comparison will continue to describe Avalon in the decades to come and it will be our Mercinaens, Thakrians, Parrians and Springdalians [Springdale was destroyed and burned to the ground by Thakria - a year or so after this was written - Ed] taking to the battlefield against one another when whatever this year's vogue in hi-tech leisure has long faded from memory. And if twenty years, why not forty, or a century? Had you asked me when I was thirteen/fourteen years old whether I would be penning this text in 2009 I doubt I'd have had the faculties to even comprehend 'twenty years later' - though I'm sure the conceit of Avalon's early days, its design evolving over rapidly to something approaching what we have now [as of 2009 -Ed], would have been led me to bullishly predict "the land" will outlive us all...
(c) Yehuda Macbeth Simmons 2009/Genesis Skylelong 1204ADW
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