In a lot of ways, my adolescence (and early adulthood...and current adulthood) was defined by Bungie games on a Mac. Today, both those companies passed massive milestones, the iPhone 6 and Watch for Apple, Destiny for Bungie.
I know I'm gonna be cliche here, but I was using Macs even before it was cool. And it definitely wasn't cool when I was back in elementary and middle school; being a mac user meant fighting a never-ending war of insult attrition against the vasty more numerous Windows using kids. Still, I took being different as a badge of honor. It was something Apple celebrated too, with commercials like 'Here's to the Crazy Ones'. We mac users were a rare breed, fanatically loyal to our computers to a fault.
One of the very first games I ever got into was Bungie's Marathon 2, passed onto me by a friend in fifth grade. It started my lifelong love of gaming, but more importantly, was the first story I really fell deeply into. I was hooked on most of the early Bungie games: The Marathon Trilogy, Myth and Myth 2, Oni. I even played Pathways into Darkness, one of the original first person shooters. Being a Bungie fan meant being different from most of the other kids too: Instead of Doom, I blasted away at pfhor. Where a lot of my friends would play Warcraft and Starcraft, I fought the Fallen lords (though I found plenty of time for those other two as well).
And in both, I found a community rabidly protective of the things that brought them such immense joy, but that also set them apart from the wider, more shared experiences of others (and keep in mind this was before it was cool to like things before they were cool. Back then being a nerd wasn’t chic, it was just kind of lame. Still awesome, but lame to most). Our identity was defined by thinking differently, by being part of this sliver of subculture. We were the few, the proud, the strange.
Which is why I found it bittersweetly coincidental that both the iPhone 6 announcement and Destiny release happened last week. Both events were talked about all around the world. Both companies are raking in multi-million dollar success, so recognizable they’ve become part of the mainstream culture. I don’t want to go all hipster and say that things were necessarily better back in the days where they were less well known. I don’t know that that they were. But it’s a strange feeling, an exposed feeling, to see these two pieces of my identity, something that used to set me and others like me apart, at this worldwide level. They’ve changed, they’ve evolved over time, and part of me is glad to have been right about them. I’m glad the team at Bungie is experiencing the kind of success they are now, and it’s cool to know that Apple-fanboy-recess-me can now point to Apple as one of the most successful companies in the world. But another part of me misses when these two companies both felt like they were somehow more mine, like we were closer back then, made intimate through our shared detachment from the wider culture, our status as the weird and different ones.