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MXB:EVE Is Born

Welcome to MXB:EVE!

What is MXB:EVE? It’s an EVE Online blog by Maximilian Black (aka MXB or MaxBlack), one of tens of thousands of pilots in New Eden. While I’d love to be able to tell you that I have some great claim to fame such as the CEO of a massive corporation or leader of a vast alliance, the reality is anything but glamorous. I am, as many of you are, but a newborn pilot that’s finding his way through this vast expanse of space.

My intent with this blog is to have it grow with me, to share my observations, vent my frustrations, propose new ideas, and anything else that springs to mind. And let there be no doubt that I’m loaded with opinions!

While my pilot is new to EVE, I’m hardly new to online gaming or gaming in general. I can safely safe that my love of gaming, both online and pen-and-paper based, dates back to 1977, when I first encountered a game in the Frankfurt am Main airport (in then-West Germany) called Missile Command. As I approached it, I didn’t know what it was or what it did, but I knew I liked it. It didn’t take me long to understand that quarters equated to happiness – and from that moment on, the seeds of my love for games began to grow into the obsession it is today.

It wasn’t long after when the kid in the apartment upstairs from me introduced me to a game called Dungeons & Dragons (before it got the Advanced prefix) and this little purple module called Keep On The Borderlands. Something about my personality perfectly suited assuming the role of some fictitious and fantastic alter-ego, and that remains true to this day.

In 1981, at a middle school computer summer “camp”, I discovered the personal computer for the very first time, in the form of the Commodore PET, a monochromatic behemoth that gave me the ability to do things I’d never dreamed of. To this day, I vividly remember that experience when I wrote my first simplistic program, and my imagination was captured forever. It went a little something like this:

10 PRINT “HELLO”
20 PRINT
30 “MY NAME IS GREGG”
40 PRINT
50 GOTO 10

And that was it. That’s all it took. The fact that I could instruct a computer to do something – and it would actually do it – fascinated me… I don’t think I can ever adequately explain the feeling that shot through me, but it’s fair to say it was perhaps the most pivotal moment of my life that’s still having a massive impact on it nearly 30 years later. It was a revelation.

I went home each night and wrote program and game ideas down on paper, excited about all the possibilities. I even found the local computer store/ typewriter repair shop called CompuType, rode across town on my brother’s too-big-for-me 10-speed, befriended the owners and became a regular fixture there. I started learning more about the computers they sold than the owners knew, including the newest on the market, the Apple II. I was hooked.

The one traditional RPG that influenced me more than any other single game was without question Traveller, by the Game Designers’ Workshop. This in itself is a very long story, and one I won’t bore you with all the details here, but for a number of years I’d immersed myself in the game and ultimately began publishing my own magazine for it called The Security Leak Magazine with the blessings of Marc Miller himself. (You can find scanned and converted issues online at SecurityLeak.comsecurityleak.com.) While SLM went for only 5 issues, it was starting to get subscribers from Europe to Japan. I was even lucky enough to be credited by GDW in the MegaTraveller Rebellion Sourcebook, which to me still stands as a great badge of honor. I really did love that game – unfortunately, it has been eclipsed by computer games and relegated to near-obsurity along with so many other pen-and-paper RPGs.

Over the years, I’ve played more pen-and-paper, arcade, online, MMORPGs, PC, console and board games than I can possibly remember. I can say with dead certainty that the list easily exceeds 1,000 titles, and that amazingly is not an exaggeration. The list of computers and consoles is absurd – PET, Vic 20, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Atari 400, Atari 800, SuperBrain, Apple II, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, Tandy CoCo, TI-99/4A, Amiga, IBM PC, the original Compaq “luggable” desktop, an original Altair computer, VAX, Prime Minicomputer, original Macs, the original Apple Portable, Apple Quadra, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, IntelliVision, Sega Genesis, Neo-Geo, Sega-CD, original PlayStation, PS2, PS3, XBox 360, Red Hat Linux 2.0, early SCO Unix… I could go on and on. But you get the idea. I’m a game geek.

So much of a game geek, that in 1991 I got my very first job in the video game industry making Amiga games, and spun that into an 8.5 year career, working for companies such as Electronic Arts Canada (EA Sports), Acclaim Entertainment (I know the guys that made Mortal Kombat a household name), Sierra Online (Dynamix) and The 3DO Company. It wasn’t just a profession, it was a passion. But at some point, working 100-120 hours per week, sleeping under my desk, eating pizza for every dinner, and dealing with narcissistic and bad management was not my idea of how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, so I bailed from the game industry and jumped into the Web industry.

Today I work in the digital marketing world and manage the development of custom enterprise software used by Fortune 500 and multi-national companies engaged in B2C, but that game geek still lives inside of me and is just as passionate about games as ever.

Over the years I’ve gone through the whole online gaming spectrum, starting with ASCII-based MUDs on ARPA Net before the Internet was commercialized in the mid-1990’s, and then went through a list of MMORPGs: Ultima Online, the original EverQuest, EQII, Vanguard, Tabula Rasa, and some others I’m forgetting. But ultimately I’ve come to a point where I’m now focusing my attentions on EVE.

EVE, at first glance to me, offered the in-depth, complex and expansive type of universe that appeals to me. I’m analytical and egotistical… I want to be able to carefully and methodically build up a vast war and trade machine, ultimately wield vast power across multiple star systems, beat my chest and scream to the world “Top of the world, ma!”, moments before it all goes to hell. And then I’d start all over again from the bottom. That’s me in a nutshell.

And so, my dear reader, this blog will be my outlet for all those thoughts that ramble around in my head, from the kooky to the insightful. So I hope you’ll forgive my momentary self-indulgence, braggadocio and reminiscing in this initial post, but I thought a bit of context would help you better understand me and where I’m coming from.

EVE to me is new and filled with possibilities and things to learn. There are thousands of pilots to meet, for me to be killed by, or for them to possibly kill me. This will be my chronicle of that new life.

This is MXB:EVE. And so it begins. Welcome.

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