The memory for this one is getting pretty foggy, so I have to get this down as soon as is possible.
The Marathon game community (the game by Bungie) died in a single event, and never recovered the steam that it once had, all because some (now-deceased) older members of the community decided to harass a child.
How it Happened
The Marathon community, at least early on, never liked children. Whether it was the idea that it was a thinkin’ man’s game, or what, the adults in the community tried to push out all of the kids. The modern Marathon community, to my eye, has no resemblance to the former one, as most of the members either left because of this event, or they’re no longer involved.
There was a child map maker, around my age: something like 7 or 9. He was fairly mouthy, in the best of all ways: he wasn’t going to be bullied. He would make custom levels (maps) and release them; and when the adults would say that they sucked, he would yell back at them. A bit of a stupid ‘power struggle’ began, with the adults starting all of it.
One day the adults baited him into posting his phone number. The adults then bombarded his phone with death threats, and rape threats. I ended up talking to his father, and, piecing together what happened, it seems to have gone like this:
- A few members (now-deceased: I pieced together who said what, and a few even admitted it) said all kinds of shit to the kid’s parents. One even yelled that he was going to ‘slit [his] mother’s throat and rape [his] father’ in front of him, and this was capped off with ‘and then I’ll kill you too’.
- The father instantly called the police.
- After I informed the community that the police had been notified, the people who considered them ‘senior members’ and a few ‘leaders’, threatened to call the police on me, and frame me as having committed these acts of abuse.
- I was like 9 years old, my dude.
Legally I have absolutely no idea what ever came of it. But, as other members of the community found out about this, they started to leave in droves. Entire group fan-projects were shelved, permanently; because no one could agree to work with one another. There were two sides: the people who hated the kid, and supported him being pushed out; and normal people, who all left.
And that’s how the game’s community died.
Why I’m writing this
I’ve felt terrible about this entire thing, for years. I had just come fresh off of a ban in a popular Sailor Moon ‘community’, for standing up to the adult admin who was grooming 3-4 underage girls, and, I felt that I was bad. I felt that I was doing a bad thing, for ‘breaking up the community’.
The reality is, for what they did?
When I was a little kid, the fact that I could download entirely new, fan-made levels, of my favorite new game, was heavenly. And I could make them, toot. I was never so excited. I jumped right in.
And, I was met with both racism, and sexism. Not to mention transphobia; but, Hell. That was the 1990s, and these were mostly a bunch of old white dudes. It’d be out-of-the-ordinary if they were nice.
Strangely, just as with the Sailor Moon ‘community’, they were pushing kidlings out— which is strange, because. Y’know. Video game, released for Christmas.
All of the bad shit, all of the ill-treatment, from the community, came to a head, in this little incidenti. And, it colored my thinking, my feeling, about the entire thing, up till now.
I don’t want to feel bad, when I think about this, anymore. I was just a kid, trying to have fun; and, I met the worst pack of assholes, evar.
I don’t wish for the community to ‘come back’. The Marathon engine(s?) are antiquated, though they’ve served their purpose. The multiplayer sucked, plain and simple. Beyond all that, the only reason I even bother to remember Marathon is it’s the first video game I showed to a pretty lady who actually cared about me, and Her response to it was absolutely magickal. Have you ever seen a person actually give a shit, as you explained one of your favorite things to them? It’s wonderful. It’s wondrous!
That being said, Doom was always better. And, I’m glad the Doom community is still thriving.
As for Marathon?
I think it can rot. The custom campaigns that people made, they’re as precious to me as all the Sailor Moon fanfics that were destroyed when the Sailor Moon FanFiction Archive dissolved around the turn of the Millennia. If we, or I, were to lose all of them, we would be losing genuine artwork.
But I just cannot get this feeling out of my soul. All the creepy and bad shit that happened.
One day, I hope that I can forget about all of this. And, by writing this down, I am officially deleting this from my memories.
I want to look back and see the sun. Not the shade.
On second thought…
… it wasn’t everybody.
The fact that the people who thought they were in charge, doesn’t mean that the entire community was bad. In fact, the fact that the community dissolved, when the majority of the people saw or heard this shit, means that the community was good. And I shouldn’t feel bad about it; and I shouldn’t look back at these levels with ill-feelings. They were made by people who got up and left when a bunch of people did something heinous to a little kid.
I write to process trauma. And, in releasing said write-ups to the world, I get rid of it, from inside of me. I set it in stone, online; and so, I feel that I no longer have to hold on it.
It’s not forgiveness. And it’s not forgetting. But it is letting go.
I’ve held this sadness in my heart for the last 27 years, or so. All the bad things that happened.
It’s time to stop feeling sad.