It’s pretty human nature to look back at the past and wish that you had done some things different. My imagination sometimes thinks about what I would say to Past Me if I was given an opportunity — what advice I would say, encouragement, etc.
But if I was going to make recommendations to Past Me about gaming, I really don’t know whether or not I’d advise myself to get into MMORPGs earlier on. Back in college in the late 1990s, I didn’t have internet in my dorm room, so it wasn’t until 1999 that I started to have dial-up access wherever I lived. And that was, of course, dial-up. I didn’t use the internet to game; I was still engaging in console and single-player PC titles.
I was somewhat aware of MMOs back then, but only in the sense that a few of my friends played them and seemed weirdly and unhealthily obsessed with them. But every time I went to the store and picked up an EverQuest or Asheron’s Call box, I really wasn’t keen on the graphics or the idea of a monthly subscription. So it wasn’t until 2003/2004 that I got into games like Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, and World of Warcraft.
My personal irony is that from 1999-2003, I was living as a bachelor, so I had more time than I knew what to do with. It was only when I met my wife and started a family that my MMO interest ramped up even as available time decreased.
So would I advise Past Me to put some of that spare time into MMOs? It wouldn’t be because I deeply regret not playing those games now, that’s for sure. If I had to pick any title from the 2000 era, I’d say Asheron’s Call, but I wouldn’t be that enthusiastic about it.
But I might still prompt myself to check them out if only for the social scene. I was incredibly lonely back then, and knowing how much MMOs provide social interaction for me today, I think that would’ve actually helped my mental state somewhat.
It’s a moot point, of course; what happened, happened, and I’m happy where I am now. I’m just wondering, that’s all.