Thursday, August 7, 2014

What's in a Name?

Of all things, the recent announcement that Wing Commander 3 is free on Origin got me thinking of my online identity and the names I've used in the past.  Incidentally Wing Commander 3 is a great space sim, and if you have Origin anyway, why not grab it?  Mark Hammill, Malcom McDowell, and life size cat-person Muppets in space.  How can you go wrong?

Adventure games are my favorite, but they're hardly the only sort of game I play.  When I was young, I remember playing Might & Magic and Ultima VI with my cousin.  One of us would control the game while the other mapped and made suggestions.  We never got very far while I was visiting, but it was fun.  Eventually, when I had my own PC, Ultima was high on my list of games to continue playing.  That led me to other Origin games, particularly Wing Commander.

I love Wing Commander.  I can't properly convey how much I love Wing Commander.  The gameplay, the setting, the whole package.  I'm sure nostalgia plays a part, but that game was fantastic.  It also was the first game I played that asked me to provide not just a name, but a callsign.  A callsign!  Top Gun style, like Iceman, or Maverick!  So I needed something punchy, something badass.

I had also recently been introduced to Marvel comics by a classmate; he brought comics to school and would let me read them.  The comic he brought the most issues of was the New Mutants, a book about a new class of teenage mutants at the Xavier School.  Most of the team were normal human-looking kids, but one was way out there.  Warlock.

Warlock was awesome.  A techno-organic alien who had fled to Earth to avoid having to fight his father to the death.  And his name was perfect.  Short, hard k sound at the end.  Ideal for a fighter pilot callsign.  So that's what I picked.  When I later joined the local BBS scene, I needed a screenname.  So I went back to that callsign, and my online identity became Warlock.

Of course, as you can see, I don't go by Warlock anymore.  When the World Wide Web, online gaming, and so forth became a thing, I found that Warlock wasn't a unique enough name.  I would have to be Warlock2734 or some such.  I never cared for numbers on the end of screennames; I wanted an identity that was mine alone.  So I had to find a new handle.  My new handle, oddly enough, also connected back to Wing Commander.  And also to Street Fighter II.  I'll explain how that happened tomorrow.

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