We got the first shipment from Blue Apron at our house last week.
If you’ve never heard of the service, they deliver fresh ingredients for two meals every week – just enough, in our case, to feed the three of us (and some left over for lunch the next day). The box arrives on our doorstep with an insulating wrapper, ice packs, meat, vegetables, and little bags with seasonings and other ingredients. Resting on top: step-by-step instructions for making each meal.
That first night, Catherine and I collaborated on a chicken schnitzel dinner with German-style potato salad and cabbage. I couldn’t help but think, as the meal came together, how similar relatively new services like Blue Apron are to OtherSpace which, as of this month, has been around for 19 years.
Think about it! OtherSpace is basically a delivered-to-your-doorstep (via the internet) instant space opera. In the box, you’ve got races to choose from, character archetypes, plot ideas, and lore framework. From those ingredients, you can build a tasty narrative buffet. And, like Blue Apron, it’s more fun when you make something with friends.
I asked some long-time players to share their thoughts about the game – how they found it; what keeps them coming back.
I found OtherSpace back in 1998, several months after the game opened. I had been on TOS TrekMUSE for two years prior to that, and OtherSpace was my first game outside of TOS. I was shown OtherSpace by a real-life friend who was on TOS. He came over here just before I did and played the Mekke named Abrix for many years. My first character was Darak, a Mekke Ambassador later turned warrior in their military after they were liberated from the Nall.
I had played a number of characters over the years. Most recently was Narai, the Opodian multiverse explorer… and my brief time running the Bright Cluster (and its war against pretty much anyone hahaha).
I’ve kept coming back to OtherSpace over the years for two reasons:
1) The story. It’s been great. Always in motion. Always something new. Great to get the creative juices flowing.
2) And…the people. Wes has been great over the years (even though I was a pain in his ass early on). The other players have been great too. We’ve seen a lot of good people come through the doors.
I came to OtherSpace in March of 2003 as a curious teenager based on the recommendation of my older brother (the cream-filled pastry, Danish) who was also an active player at the time. I started my first character, Raisa, as a timid journalist who got caught up in the whirlwind plots of far more experienced and creative players. From there, I was pretty much hooked. Over the years, I’ve played over a dozen characters ranging from the most innocent, naive girls to time-hardened mercenaries.
OtherSpace holds a very special place for me because I literally grew up here, going from a shy and overly innocent 14-year-old to now literally a married woman thinking about having a family. Through most of my ups and downs, I’ve had OtherSpace and the people I’ve met there. Some of the people I consider my closest friends came from this game and the stories we created together. Even my professional career came from the seeds of this game. It sparked my creativity and made me want to be a better writer. I even wanted to go to college for my writing, which transitioned me into an interest for editing, which I now do for a living.
I’ve left and come back multiple times, for various reasons. I think what keeps me coming back is always going to be the people and the stories that they create. In a small way, it’s also the characters that I’ve created and who have grown solely because of the other players. They’ve gone in directions that I never could have conceived on my own. I’ve never quite been able to put them to rest for good, even after I’ve sworn that this will be the last time.
I was one of the original members of OtherSpace, RPing in the First Night session with my Demarian character Grayback.
I’d met Wes on TOS TrekMUSE, and when that place was beginning to fall apart, he invited me to a new project he was starting. I was hooked pretty quick because OtherSpace gave me freedom to RP in ways that TOS did not, and the setting was open-ended and appealing, giving you the sense that you did have an effect on the world and that your character, at any time, could leave a lasting impression.
After running a plot that ended up having those world-altering effects, I eventually became one of the admins of the game and remain so to this day. I keep coming back because that sense of wonder is still there today, and the feeling that there is still more to do and that the opportunities to RP are still there if you look for them.
The players are another reason I keep coming back, because many are good folks and great to RP with, and often good folks to chat with any time. You get a sense of belonging at OtherSpace, not something you often get at similar places, especially those, for example MMOs, that have thousands, if not millions, of players, and one you meet one day you might not ever meet again. Here, though, familiar faces are always there when you log in. It’s been 19 years, and I still think there is more to the story to tell.
Like many of the most ancient of OtherSpace’s “oldbies” I started my role-playing career on TOS TrekMUSE. While the roleplay there was often restrictive and sparse, the wonder my 14-year-old mind felt at wandering through the world of Star Trek, even in text, is what got me hooked on the genre.
After an ill-fated attempt by players to shake things up a bit over there, Dolfan, another TOS player and one of the early OtherSpace admins, invited me to play here. I was immediately swept up in a plot that involved one of my very favorite things, overthrowing a repressive government.
My little Mekke (think of an ant the size of a big 12-year-old), helped lead a rebellion against the mighty Parallax. And we won! I was hooked. This was a world I could enjoy inhabiting. Since then, my characters have been blown up, kidnapped, paralyzed, punctured, chopped, driven insane, and most recently, roasted, yet those consequences to my characters’ actions have made the story all the more enjoyable.
I have also grown up during my time playing OtherSpace. Nearly twenty years has gone by. I’ve gone from a relatively immature, awkward 15-year-old to a slightly less immature and awkward adult. I now talk to people for a living, and have aspirations of adding writing to that. My love for storytelling has its origins in this game.
When the MUSH format seemed to be on its last legs, Wes Platt, OtherSpace’s creator, made a daring shift onto the Slack platform. While the system is not perfect, nor is it the same experience of the MUSH, it has breathed new life into the game, and made it more story-focused, I think.
The new platform makes it far easier for players to remain engaged without risking jobs/marriages/the well-being of their children, etc. Gone are the days when I had to sell my wife on letting me block out 4-5 hours on the spur of the moment because three people happen to be online and willing to play. In the modern world where an electronic device is never far away, this allows me to RP during the moments I have time, waiting in line at the supermarket, watching TV with my wife, (sitting at a red light)…
I’m not sure if Wes is fully aware of what OtherSpace is to the people who grew up on his game. I know he’s considered shutting it down a few times. To those of us who spent our youth typing away from keyboard across the world, fighting the Nall, evading Fagin the Pirate King, or just hanging out on landing pads across the Orion Arm or the Ancient Expanse, OtherSpace is a world not unlike that in Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel or DC comics, and so on. The difference was that WE got to be the heroes! Or the villains! Or a bit of both!
The community is great, the stories are epic. I could not ask for more.
No matter what folks think I bring to the table, the truth about OtherSpace is that you are the most important ingredient in our free-to-play, gourmet space opera. The adventure goes nowhere without player/storytellers. That was true in 1998 when we started. It’s no less true today.
Join us on Slack today!