In the fall of 2003, my (now ex) husband proudly brought home another PC game and announced that it was his birthday present from the children. I rolled my eyes and continued folding laundry.
The boys, ages 9 and 7, ran to watch Daddy install and play the game. My daughter, just 4 years old, rolled her eyes in support of me, but ran to climb on her father’s lap to watch too.
Elmer (not his real name) played the game all through the night and all the next morning. He fell asleep at his desk later that afternoon. I woke him up for dinner and he went straight back to the computer. I wasn’t happy about it.
And then I found out that he not only had to purchase the game but pay a monthly fee! I reminded myself that it was cheaper than golf, better than having him off drinking, and good for him to have a hobby.
When Sunday night came along, he was still playing. Even though he had to be to work by 10. Finally, he stood up and asked me to come over and get his “toon” to this town on Lok so that he could place a house and help his friends start a town.
After a quick run-down, Elmer ran out the door and left me staring at his computer. There were no vehicles back then. Hell, we didn’t even have mounts. It took me nearly an hour to walk to the waypoint. And another twenty minutes to figure out how to change the cursor so that I could ask questions of the group of people standing around me, desperate to figure out how to help.
When the house was finally placed and maintenance had been paid to keep it up, the Wookie asked me to follow her to the guildhall for a celebration. As much as I didn’t want anything to do with this game, I followed. I didn’t expect to find more than twenty people inside. And such a diverse crowd at that!
There were dancers and musicians! Zabraks and Twi’leks! Short. Tall. Bald. Furry. Fat. Thin. Weapons of all sorts. I just ran around them in circles taking it all in. Some were dueling. Most were interacting. It was wonderful!
When Elmer came home the next morning, I was helping his group hunt a kimogila. Well, mostly I was dying.
Soon, I had my very own copy of Star Wars Galaxies. Elmer kept hovering over me until I told him to leave me alone and let me figure it out for myself. He laughed and settled in at his own computer.
An hour later, another new dancer and I were struggling to figure out how to dance. A beautiful Twi’lek in a beautiful red gown stopped dancing and walked over. She invited us to a group and explained everything clearly from flourishes to macros.
It wasn’t long before Elmer and his friends decided to drag me along to keep them healed while hunting. Of, course, I died. A lot. And, on one of those excursions, I looted a holocron. Everyone demanded that I use it or hand it over if I wasn’t interested.
The holocron demanded that I master fencing. The next, commando. I enjoyed playing with the boys and running through the mud and muck, setting things on fire, but I wasn’t all that interested in becoming a Jedi. And I missed the cantina.
Elmer’s solution was to buy me another copy of the game and another subscription. Of course, that went for him as well. Then Elmer’s mother decided that our oldest son should have his very own computer. So we were up to five accounts in our household.
The three of us had a fantastic time on one server. My boys played together, the youngest using my account, on another server. And they played with their father on yet another. If we could have found space for a fourth computer, we would have.
My oldest son is now nearly 23. He’s never really stopped playing SWG and just finally talked me into playing with him. He says that this is a great group of people here on Starsider.
And, I’ve got to say, it feels like home.