I have had more than one person tell me I’ve been “everywhere.”
The first forum I really glommed on to was a website called the Sonic Fangames HQ. It’s there I cut my teeth on indie game development over the first 8-10 years of my internet life, and made my first real long-lasting batch of friends. Eventually I just aged out of this forum. It’s still technically going to this day, but right now it mainly exists as a hyper-active Discord channel full of faces I do not recognize.
A year or so later, I found The Moogle Cavern, a site originally about anime and Final Fantasy games, but the owner was also a Sonic fan, and discussion of those games came to dominate. I started reading the site over discussion of Sonic Adventure glitches, because you can break that game in some interesting ways. SFGHQ and The Moogle Cavern were my “homes” on the internet, where most of my best friends were, and where I spent the majority of my time, for a long time. Unfortunately, the owner of the Moogle Cavern eventually got tired of typical forum in-fighting (we had a few masterful trolls that knew just how far to push things without getting permanently banned) and shut the whole place down without warning eventually.
Somewhere also around this time I became a member of Bigmog.com, which at the time was I guess what is known today as a Tumblr music blog. Every week or so, Bigmog would rotate out 3-5 MP3s of his favorite video game music. The point wasn’t to host entire soundtracks (as a growing number of sites did at the time), but to spotlight a small handful of stand-out songs. Bigmog is what introduced me to IRC, which is mainly how I interacted with that community.
I had a brief stint at the MegaTokyo forums when that web comic first started. I think it was probably around the time the co-writer (the real-life “Largo”) quit that I saw the writing on the wall and bailed out because the tone of the comic was changing for the worse. I’d honestly forgotten about this completely until about a year ago when I ran across an old post of mine in Google somehow. I guess I just try not to think about MegaTokyo in general these days.
I held a brief tenure at the InsertCredit forums for a while, which was right around the time I started dipping my toes in to game writing. A work-in-progress editorial I was calling “Dissecting a Hedgehog” that I posted on InsertCredit ended up landing me a gig on a short-lived quarterly zine called The Gamer’s Quarter.
I wandered in and out of the KenPenders.com forums occasionally because they were linked to the Archie Sonic comic. It wasn’t really the best place to be, because it was either full of creepy devotees who thought Ken Penders was the greatest writer who ever lived or people like me and my friends (mostly Moogle Cavern people) who maybe didn’t entirely like Ken Penders and just stirred up trouble in between legitimate discussions.
Also around this time was a brief run on TheGHZ.com’s forums, which was a fun way to interact with older, more cynical Sonic fans. It often varied between being comfortably chill and a little bit depressing.
I had a lengthy tour on the Penny-Arcade forums, which was slowly becoming a new home for me on the internet. Unfortunately, those forums imploded because the moderator staff actively hated a specific group of people I found myself a part of. It’s kind of a long and complicated story that I’ve forgotten the finer details of, but the short of it is there were these really big things called “Chat Threads” which would be for discussion of literally anything at any given moment, like a chat room in forum thread form. These weren’t a problem but weird rivalries began to form between subforums (particularly the gaming vs. writing sides). Unfortunately, most of the moderation staff spent their time in the writing subforum, which meant they mostly conspired against the regulars of the gaming side’s chat thread. Under the guise of “making the forum more friendly for Mike and Jerry to post in” (the creators of Penny-Arcade), they enacted a plan to “clean up” the gaming forum which meant permanently nuking the chat threads and making other massive, sweeping, ridiculous changes (that largely did not apply to the writing subforum).
It was pretty devastating and after enough anguish (and the moderation staff banning many dissenters), a lot of the notables from the gaming side of Penny-Arcade splintered off to make their own forum in the spirit of the original Penny-Arcade forums, minus the crappy moderation staff that was clearly just fulfilling a vendetta against a clique they didn’t like. That forum became a site called “Platformers,” which started out as trying to be a “real website” with gaming news and reviews but is now literally just a place for 20-30 die hard users to keep each other company. That forum as it stands today is non-public, and registration is closed. It’s mainly for close friends only, but we’ve been chugging along there for a little over a decade now.
At some point after Platformers launched I also registered at NeoGAF, though to say I’m part of the NeoGAF community would probably be a bit of a stretch. (Can you really be a part of a community that large and fast moving? It’s nearly impossible to stand out)
There’s a few others I’m leaving out, but this post is big enough already.