DLAN ARAPS

The Internet
of my life

I first used the internet when I was 3 years old. This is back in 2001. I was left unsupervised and no one had an explanation for how I figured out how to navigate my way around things.

I was playing online children’s games somehow. When I hit Kinder (early learning “school”), my mother asked the teachers for an explanation and was told that “I recognized colors and shapes”.

Take this lightly as I based this from an explanation from my Mother. Not to say this is fiction, I’m trying to make sense of 20 year old memories here.

Fast forward to my earliest tangible memories of the internet. I’m 8 years old, it’s 2006 and I’m in Primary School. I wasn’t doing anything productive however I was playing games. A lot of games.

The Mcdonald’s flash game takes me back. I remember playing this at School and being horribly bad at it.

My Primary School had blocked all video websites but I remember finding DailyMotion a couple of pages down in a Google search. This site was not blocked and had enough content to distract my friends and I.

One more bit of internet history before we jump ahead. I was drawn towards the numerous flash dirt-bike games for some odd reason. I had no interest in dirt-bikes and still to this day don’t.

I played the absolute shit out of this game and many others like it. I’m amazed at how easily I was able to find working links and screenshots to these pages which are at this point 10-12 years old.

The year is 2008. I’m 10 years old, spending all of my time playing Club Penguin, Runescape and Adventure Quest. This is where I started to leave my footprint across the world wide web and where I found the reason to write this piece.

I stumbled across this old BlogSpot blog which was created by 10 year old me in March 2008. I only ever made a single post on this blog and I’m amazed that BlogSpot have kept in only for a little over a decade.

The blog post was published at 12:48 am. Why was 10 year old me awake? I couldn’t tell you.

The following year my brother and I received the first bit of technology which awakened in us an interest in computers. An interest in computers that holds to this day.

The 2nd generation iPod touch.

I still remember the day my younger brother convinced me to get an iPod Touch. I was set on an iPod Classic for the large storage space for music.

My brother however was set on the idea of “Apps” (which were a new concept to us at the time) and outright wouldn’t let me get the iPod Classic. I need to thank him for this.

One of the first things we stumbled across was the Jailbreak. Freeing the device from Apple’s philosophy and walled garden. The first Jailbreak we used was Blackra1n.

This Jailbreak was Tethered. This meant is that when the device was turned off or the battery ran out, it became a useless brick. The device wouldn’t be useable again until it was plugged into a computer and the Jailbreak was reapplied.

The reason we Jailbroke our devices was to play Pokemon and Zelda through emulators. The emulators available at the time weren’t any good so we turned to the App Store to look for Pokemon and Zelda games.

We stumbled across an MMORPG called Graal Online Classic. An online RPG using modified and ripped assets from The legend of Zelda: A link to the past. This game took over our lives.

The servers for the game are still online and my brother and I still play it on and off to this day. The same friends we had made almost a decade ago still play the game. It’s weird as we’ve all become adults.

Fast forward a few years and the developers added a feature allowing users of the game to add their own content (for a small in-game fee). This awoke in me a love for creating pixel art and I made hundreds of assets for the game.

In 2011 a fan made forum for the game was created. The website was called Graalians and it quickly became the “Official” discussion board for the game.

The forum at the time had a board called “The Creative Corner” and I started a thread in 2012 posting my pixel art assets for the game.

Other uses posted critique and over time I got better and better at making pixel art. I never had a natural knack for art but pixel art had restrictions or as I saw them “rules”.

Eventually I got so good that I started making assets for use in other Graal games that were in development. The Graal Online Classic graphics team caught notice and I was invited to become a Graphics Artist/Moderator for the main version of the game.

My Graal profile. Notice the online time? That’s 200 total days of playtime. One money I decided to quit the game and I stopped playing. Nowadays I login every few months to say hello.

A few years later, my brother and I were getting interested in PC gaming so we both built gaming PCs. We started playing Team Fortress 2 and right around this time Valve was starting push for Linux support.

Valve announced a promotion where if you logged into TF2 on an Ubuntu system, you would receive an item featuring the Linux mascot Tux. My brother and I started farming these items in the hope that in the future they would be resold.

I never stopped using Linux. I liked it better than Windows and my hardware supported it without any major issues. I first used Ubuntu, then Linux Mint before settling on Arch Linux.

Once I was comfortable using it day to day and I knew how the terminal worked, I started looking into using my system better. I swapped to a tiling window manager (i3wm) and I had no clue about what I was doing.

A few days in it sort of just clicked in my head and I decided to stick with it. I then started learning vim. It took about a month before it felt natural to use the modal editing and hjkl movement.

WIP…