20 years ago, a young lad named Nathan sat in a computer lab in his university and loaded the Oddworld Inhabitants website, as was his want. Reading Fan of the Month, he noted that there was actually a forum where Oddworld was being discussed. After a little browsing, he clicked the 'Register' button and, despite not actually liking the nickname 'Nate Dog' or even 'Nate' on its own, entered the username nate_dog_woof because he simply couldn't come up with anything better. Thus started a journey he never could have predicted.
He kept on the forums for a while, then fell away. Two years later he was stuck at an internship with not enough work to keep him occupied, and a high speed internet connection. His habit became to log onto the forums first thing in the morning and read through the day's posts. He'd open Oddworld Discussion (or 'Game Discussion' or whatever it was called at the time), and open every thread into a new Internet Explorer window, because this was before he'd heard of this Firefox thing or the concept of tabs. In those heady days, active threads could push through to the second forum page, each with a multitude of posts in them. It could take more than an hour to get up to date!
By the time the internship ended, he was hooked. When choosing a destination to go on university exchange, he realised that one option was in Oddworld Inhabitants' hometown of San Luis Obispo. Obviously there was no chance of choosing somewhere else. Too bad he signed up for it mere weeks before the company shut down. But it was during that trip that he received a PM from a certain Hobo, inviting him to a side-forum where we basically just bitched about the people we didn't like on OWF and realised that all of us were gay as fuck. While The Mausoleum/Glass Asylum/Glass Prison/Why Did It Keep Changing Name may have caused a rupture in OWF, it was the beginning of a number of friendships that meant a hell of a lot to him over the years.
[Changing to first person]
All that history was really just to setup the way in which I started feeling like not just a guy tapping away on the internet, but a member of a community. Yeah, soon after that I became a temporary moderator while Wil and Xavier were on vacation, then a permanent moderator, then a super moderator, then admin. But who gives a shit about that? I can remember folk that few, if any of you ever knew. I can remember Claire Bear and her mental image of me as a hunky, long-haired, blonde surfer, as well as her repeated obsession with having a spam thread. I can remember Olly, SeaRex, Luke, Ambi, and Nexy. I got to meet a bunch of you in person, including Wil, Peter, Marcus, Charlie, Kristen, Justin, and some others I'm forgetting (sorry). I even got to meet Lorne; one of the trifecta of game design heroes I've been lucky enough to meet (the others are Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert).
Blah blah, more history. Most of this place is a bit of a blur in my memory, but there's snippets and people and stories burnt into my life story that I'll always remember.
Sadly, the frangibility of internet communication has meant that I've fallen out of contact with some of you. If you're reading this Wil, Peter, Charlie, Joe, and Aiden, know that I do think about you regularly and wonder how you're doing.
Anyway, all this was to say that I wanted to make a post recognising my 20th anniversary on the forums. And I thought it would be neat if that was the last post ever. So here we are, after a remarkable history, saying goodbye. Thanks for an amazing time.
Spending as long as I do here, it's easy to forget that Oddworld has actual fans.