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The Past of My Coding - Uncovered

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Searching through the reaches of the abyssal drawers of some of my nightstands and dressers in my room of ten years I came upon a number of buried remains of scratched-up CD-R discs which had previously served as reusable "diskettes" of a larger capacity for use in transferring data during the non-Internet days of my computing life. Amongst these compact treasure chests, I found a number of old pictures, as well as some old conversation logs and e-mails exchanged at key dramatic intervals over the last five years. I also found a large backup archive of old code and some site and logo images that I had been planning to use in some sort of abominable project or another. These horrors have been archived in a gallery best not spoken of, but if it were to be spoken, it would probably be here, and I'm sure it would have captions explaining the various horrors via words, letters, and, occasionally, some form of punctuation. Here are some "teaser images." Which aren't teasers so much as images that can remind you of the imminent punishment that awaits you if you click the above link.

The masochistic memory-craving side of me was urged on by these pseudo-prehistoric findings, and thus I began in search of what may just be the first real "game" I had ever completed. Though, first, a bit of a story about my beginnings in programming. Or, rather, what could perhaps be roughly classified as programming. I started off my life, and by "life" I'm referring to the age at which anyone reading this would really consider the Trent you read about in programming books and sites to be born, at the age of ten using BASIC (qBASIC for the win). I coded what were essentially RPG-oriented "Choose Your Own Adventure"-esque games, complete with very rough, very hard-coded, very lame ASCII intro cinematics in which I used no logic whatsoever, other than copy, paste, and slightly alter the image to produce a type of "animation" that could be thought of as crude. At best. These events laid the pathetic, termite-ridden kindling that is my current programming career.

Consider yourself immersed in a small wormhole that somehow transports you through not only space, but fucking time, to some magical point in time roughly four years ahead of the BASIC period. I decided that I wanted to start learning more about computers. I thought HTML would be a good start. I "learned" it in a span of a day or two. Man, I had thought to myself, this programming stuff is simple. Then I realized that I wanted to make the jump into a previously magnificently unknown field of "game development." Through whatever type of rabbit-out-of-a-cornfield internet search I may have performed at the time, I eventually learned that all the l337sauce programmers of the world worth his or her alphabet-mixed-with-numbers speech used C++ (Protip: Leetspeak may or may not have actually existed at this time, fictional liberties have been taken for the sake of this epic tale). So I bought a book with the green paperstuffs, and began my journey.

It hit turbulance around the time when the well-bounded (though severed numerous times at its spinal cord) book began to want to point fingers at shit. This turbulance was enough to send the programmin plane on a rocket-sped course straight into the cavernous depths of the Grand Canyon. Moments before any kind of explosion was neither seen nor heard (for it had yet to occur), the plane stopped in its tracks.

I thought running was the answer. So I ran. I ran a lot. I ran nearly three to seven miles almost every day. Some days I ran exactly five kilometers at a competitive pace against other people in a similar situation. Some people considered this a type of "meeting" signified by an X. An X-Country meeting of some sort. These heiroglyphics didn't fool me though. I knew what was going on. They were forcing us to run under these harsh conditions for their own fun and profit for some type of circus scheme. I had to make sure not to think too much during these times of flight, so in order to supress all thoughts and emotions, I had to exert all mental force during an "off time." These off-times could be had at my home residence or during classes of a special, lack of difficulty, sort during school.

The result of this mental subterfuge culminated in a game codenamed ARENA which could be played on TI-86 calculators across the nation for those people who had invested their green paperstuffs into a type of calculator-to-computer cable. The game expressed my deep, heavy regret for living in this hell of a situation in which human survival depended on a small number of men's (and, seperately, women) abilities to run at a very calculated pacing for five kilometers in a race-like situation. I likened this physical test of endurance to an arena fight against fantasy monsters, where the player could spend his hard-earned moneystuffs on upgrades to perform battle in a duel to the death against increasingly difficult monsters while the player continued to advance his or her skillset (PROTIP: game may or may not have been designed and created with such a social meaning in mind).

Feeling the power surging through my fingers, I grasped at the plane, milliseconds away from a near-death crash into the middle of the Grand Canyon, and pulled the plane up and out of danger in a miraculous, momentous, instanteous act of heroism. Suddenly the pointing fingers began to make more sense, the fog lifted, and I had finally begun to understand. My first act with this new, and as I see it now, very flawed, very misunderstood, and very ugly knowledge was to port my previous social commentary, titled ARENA, could be successfully ported to a far more powerful, more widespread platform. This port could not be done under the previous name though, as the chameleon-like stealth of the project could not be compromised at any cost, hence the port was titled ARENA: Evolution. The world could consider itself one step closer to social enlightenment with the release of this revelationary port of the original.

And thus ends my justification for what may just be the most pathetic code behind two text-based games ever.
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You've inspired me to write a similar journal entry, so...um...I'm going to steal your idea.

Also, Zakus rule.[smile]

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