Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Biweekly Music Wednesday! No. 39 ~Labyrinth of a Dream~ (EarthBound)

Origin: EarthBound
Plays In: Magicant
Status: Original Composition
Composed by: Hirokazu Tanaka

When I used the term " hippies" in my EarthBound review, I wondered just how accurate that term was. Believe it or not, a self-described hippie did wander onto the forums during my initial time there back in 2002. He stumbled upon the General Discussion one day and seemed genuinely confused as to where he ended up: he always wanted to shift discussions towards his herbs and continually affirm his identity as a hippie (was he perhaps attracted due to EarthBound's beloved New Age Retro Hippie?). The forum archives don't contain his antics, but he lasted for maybe a week or two, declaring his moving onto a site/forum dedicated to hippiedom.

Today's internet population would deem him as some sort of bizarre troll, but when you're ten years old and attempting to fit in with an older crowd, anything on the internet can, and will, seem real.

Did my brief anecdote come across as vague? During my English Major studies at college, I once read about how autobiographers and memoirists are often confronted with gaps in their memory, and one writer shared a childhood story where she highlighted corrections to faulty memory: a new name here, a made-up exchange of dialogue there, and so on. It sounds shady, but it's mainly done to reflect the themes and morals of the story involved. So long as it's not overdone or performed with malicious intent, what matters is that your story touches your readers the same way it did to you.

I could have filled in such gaps if I wanted to, but that it's one of many fractured memories is so fascinating to me. Childhood recollections are funny like that: you remember clear as day when Spongebob Squarepants and the Nintendo 64 arrived in your life, yet entities like Rugrats and Dragon Ball Z were either always there or just suddenly pop in, like a new chapter in a book. I can't get over it.

My early experiences on online message boards are especially funny in how fondly I look upon them despite them ranking among the more embarrassing moments in my life. I raised my Nintendo fanboy banner high, could hardly formulate sentences, and often abused all-caps, emoticons and exclamation points; in other words, I was your typical noob. I knew I was out of my element, but this was something you'd never encounter in the schoolyard; it was an organic, ever-expanding world with people well beyond my years, both literally and figuratively. (And there were jerks, too, but you can never escape those.)

As mentioned in my aforementioned review, was electrifying in spite of all this. My topics were frequently locked and my attempts at humor often fell flat, but I was still part of a loving cult that worshiped a forgotten masterpiece. Maybe others felt I was another annoying kid, but I was just proud to have left a mark. I signed the Mother 3 petition that had 30,000 signatures and was sent to Nintendo and Mr. Itoi, even if my comment was awkwardly-phrased ("I just got interested in this game yesterday!!"). I participated in the Apple of Enlightenment comic contests with embarrassing garbage (really, guess which one is mine). Some of my entries for both that and the Flukes section were so terrible that they never made it through.

I remember some of these vividly; others, not so much.

The original still exists, functioning much as it did in the internet yesteryear...except for two relevant sections: the links and the forums. Most, if not all, of the former are dead and the forums don't lead to the archives I posted earlier (and as said earlier, not every post and topic are archived). I guess I could visit the old links via if I wanted to, bless that site's heart, but that they're dead and gone forever in the public eye sends me on a mournful nostalgia trip.

I still remember the likes of GeoCities and Tripod, which hosted sprite comics like Mega Mario World Comix and Third Attempt. I remember scanning Google for troves upon troves of Dragon Ball Z pictures, notably a bunch that were hosted on a site with "otaku" in the URL. I remember Pupkin, the webcomic with nebulous quality and how a high school honors student wrote to the artist not to stop the strip. I remember how the official Pikmin site had some sort of online game involving teams. I remember when the likes of Neglected Mario Characters, That's My Sonic! and Homestar Runner were relevant and not swamped with poker ads, cheating/abuse scandals or simply left to languish. I remember being sent a Yoshi fangame over PM on the VGF forum, and the game was credited to someone named Will. I remember the fanfiction on SmashBoards, where Creative Minds was secretly the best board and I made friends with people I still know today.

And so long as I remember...they're still alive.

Final Thoughts: I want to spend the rest of the night remembering.

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