Well, the hosting has been officially canceled, but I’m still cleaning spam off the site. I guess I’m just waiting someone to flip the switch and turn it all off.I’m feeling a bit pensive at the moment, so I wanted to write a few parting words about this site, what it’s meant, and how it changed my life. I’ve already said some about when it started in my 30 days announcement.
I created Cymon’s Games because wanted to fill a void. My summers, when I was younger and had summers, was spent typing programs from the back of magazines into my Dad’s Commodore 64. That experience taught me a number of things, like that sunlight was evil and to be avoided, as were other people. But it also taught me that computers were awesome, but manageable and nothing to be feared. I had control of the computer and I could make them do whatever I wanted. But time marched on. To the publications that published code in the back of their magazines, these weren’t educational experiences, they were freebies to draw the kids in. So as IBM PCs and their clones dominated the market and the media they came ready to read became cheaper the type-ins gave way to the bundled floppy, then the bundled CD. Then along came the ubiquitous internet and all media was replaced with a download link. I hear QR codes are being experimented with now, but since no one buys paper publications any more who knows what will happen with those.
Still, for me, typing those games in was a valuable experience and I wanted to bring that back for a new generation. So I started a, perhaps ill conceived, project to revive and update type-ins. I chose C/C++ because in my mind that is the BASIC of the day, and I stuck to libraries that would cross compile on “any” system. Then I started to work covering the best of the old type-ins, in my estimation, into C/C++. To emulate the old type-ins I formatted the listings into PDFs with descriptions and illustrations, even going so far as to imagine that one day maybe I could compile them into a published work.
But this idea had a number of flaws that I kind of knew but ignored. For instance, in the age of digital downloads and copy-paste why would anyone type anything in? In an age of 3D games where pixels are considered “retro” what’s the draw for a small, text-based game? I knew these problems, but I imagined to myself that this site could be an educational thing or that it had at least some entertainment value in the “indie” arena. But It wasn’t really that educational, and it wasn’t entertaining enough either. What Cymon’s Games was was pseudo-nostalgic, and that was about it. And this denial further obfuscated the vision of Cymon’s Games and kept it from really achieving… whatever it was meant to achieve.
Not to say Cymon’s Games didn’t have value. When I started Cymon’s Games I was in college working nights at Wal-Mart, or I had just quit that gig, I don’t really remember. But I definitely wasn’t in my eventual career. However Cymon’s Games pseudo-educational slant worked for me when I interviewed to be a 7th grade math teacher, and it’s pseudo-programming slant worked for me when I interviewed to be a software developer years after that. I didn’t put it on my resume when I applied to be a software tester. Don’t know why. But the two career paths that I am most proud of I owe, in some part, to Cymon’s Games.
Plus there was ASCIIpOrtal.
Of course once I started programming for a living… well, they say that getting a job doing what you love is the best way to want to do it less… or something like that. I still love programming, but I don’t go home and do it any more. Consequently Cymon’s weekly updates slowed to a stop. But I was paid up, I had the site, and I still loved programming and video games. So I occasionally posted a link or wrote a rant. During the life of Cymon’s Games a show called Bytejacker came and went. I found myself enthralled with it and when it ended I toyed with the idea of venturing into videos of my own, but I could never really find my voice there. Rants, reviews, let’s plays, none of them found an audience.
Also during this time my family grew from just me and my wife to me, my wife, and 5 kids. I finished an undergrad degree in Math and a Masters in Computer Science. We bought a house with a lawn I have to mow, I’ve owned a convertible (a lemon, but the top went down), I won a $2000 3D printer, I published a book, and I’ve had half a dozen jobs, each one stepping me and my family up the income ladder. My life is now very comfortable, and very busy, and Cymon’s Games played a part in that.
And now Cymon’s Games is done. This chapter of my life is closed. And it’s just waiting for someone to flip the switch.