Wildcat Online was founded on August 6th, 2001, marking the beginning of my online presence and eventually becoming Lvl. in 2005, a video games opinion/feature project that would grow to the point of abandoning its Tripod origins and be reborn as Lvls. here on WordPress sometime in 2009. At its peak we had four active staff members including myself providing content (hey Nester, TEi and Jason X), featured several different varieties of topics (although we were mostly a video games site), curated a massive art section (which the site has continued to more or less include, even in its hiatus), and served as a means to share our passions and excitement for the medium. It was some good times!
However, in 2012 Nester and TEi both left the site for personal reasons, and in January of 2013 I decided to shut down the project, feeling my energy needed to be put into different directions than maintaining a gaming fan site. I retired a ton of content over the year, eventually leaving only the Imagery and a few choice posts (rehosted elsewhere) as its memorial. I devoted my gaming writing to Game on Girl (now the Geek Embassy) and to P4, a collection of my academic research and interests in the gaming sphere. And for a time that worked for me.
But in 2016, removed from everything I had once known and in the midst of a depressive streak I was unaware I was undergoing at the time, I felt I had lacked a crucial component of my life and needed to get it back, and that was writing about games in a less critical fashion. To just shoot the shit and talk about games in a more jovial and lighthearted manner. So I dusted off Lvls., rebranded it as LVLS (ha ha so creative), and have found so much solace and peace having this as an outlet for me again. And my art, another crucial element of myself locked away from the Internet with Lvls.’ shutdown, has blossomed anew at my dedicated art/photo blog.
My creative side had been suffering in silence, stifled by an unhappy relationship and irrational fears, things I had not properly addressed until recently. I hadn’t realized how deep those things had colored my day-to-day life. And it’s a fucking bear to shake off years of such ignorance. But LVLS has been a big part of helping me regain confidence and have some fucking fun. I needed that back in my life. So it’s my pleasure to celebrate 16 years (12 as Lvl. – LVLS) and expect it to continue well past this anniversary for many more to come. And thanks to anyone who stumbled into this little therapy session of mine and finds some enjoyment out of it.
Anyway, my art blog will have a full week of So…this webcomic strips for you beginning tomorrow (yes, that old comic is up and kicking again!), and I even have a piece of art for LVLS tomorrow as well! And I have some rudimentary thoughts on some content coming up that I’m excited to test out and see where it goes, as well as adding to all of the features and such I’ve launched or relaunched over the past couple months. I’ve recently switched search engines back on, so I imagine I’ll have some more viewers checking out the place — perhaps older readers from its glory days! — and I sincerely welcome you as I continue to gain experience and hit my next level up. 😉 Ah, old slogans…