Year: 2000
Developed by: SegaSoft
Published by: SegaSoft
Platforms: PC
Feeling Like: Dave’s Addiction

To recall my experience with 10Six is almost too easy. I can see it now…

It is way too late to say anything, but luckily I’m alone and I have headphones. Our computer room in the year 2000 was exactly what I wanted; it had a brand new Pentium, complete with unreasonably large accompanying desk, a giant CRT monitor and enough of my dad’s work files littered about to soak up any spilled tea.

I would often look around in the dark and appreciate what I had. I didn’t (and don’t) do that often, but it’s hard not to believe in magic when you’re up on a Friday night and the lone nerd guarding a plot of land in what SegaSoft called the First True Persistent Universe on the Internet. My first MMO and I didn’t even know what an MMO was (Massive-Multiplayer-Online). I felt beyond privileged that I got to enjoy an online game where my “neighbors” were all my pals from school. That’s how I found out about 10Six, you see. I could never dive into something so experimental by my own volition.

10Six is a hard game to dig up any information on. I never see any retrospectives, the google image search brought up an embarrassing display and my own time with it was limited. Oh, it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the game. Far from it, I spent nearly all of a few months in the 10th thinking of nothing else. No, it was because David V was equally addicted and spent an inordinate amount of time at our place.

You really can’t escape Hello Kitty, even on a distant online planet.

Dave had a computer at his house, but it was a Macintosh and it was more fun to come over anyway. My parents long held Oliver St. as a sanctuary for anybody who claimed friendship with myself, Alexandra or Emily and that number grew with each passing year. Had they known how much time would be spent playing 10Six, they might have thought to charge cover. Could’ve made a killing.

So there I am, it’s nearly 2AM. None of us had real jobs, but Dave was Six foot Big as of the seventh grade, so he often got away with doing more adult things. He let me know that his dish washing shift at the Keg would be done late and that, if it was OK, could he come play 10Six since he knew I wouldn’t stay as late as he would. Of course, he would be insanely quiet so as not to disturb the silence. You know, I don’t even remember how we communicated back then. ICQ? Email? Talking at school? Who knows how clandestine plans emerged. Friends later were in awe of Dave’s manic dedication, but if you know him, it wasn’t surprising.

I don’t know if it was the complete willingness to share the computer with my buddy, or the fact that we were so entranced with this online world, but 10Six took a very real (temporary) hold. The gameplay itself, looking back on it, was mundane and confusing. No real tutorial in site, something like Jitter Booster Packs would get transmitted to your little plot of land (the planet had one spot each for one million players) enabling you to hoard resources, build a base and traverse to other plots in the name of galactic colonization. But this was such a far cry from anything else we’d played at the time that what we did in the sandbox was irrelevant.

I don’t think I took one step off my original homestead. I was terrified, since leaving the confines of your safe little hovel meant other players could invade. Stay put, and you were immune.  If I never left my base, why did I bother building all those turrets? Who was I pointing them at? Didn’t I want to go venture to other areas, increasing the chances of getting precious resources?

Never mind. The fact that I could chat to Ray, Duncan, Dobbo and the rest as they scurried about next door was enough for me. Equally enthralled and equally inadequate at mounting any kind of threatening force. But, much like in high school, it wasn’t about significant success. It was about discovery, communication about the unknown and trying not to wake dad up when I crept up the carpeted stairs while Dave played until sunrise – 5:50am? 😉

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