Debating gaming topics here became the building blocks for the entirety of how I think about all topics now. I joined VGC in 2013 after lurking for a while. I started lurking after I got into a debate in the youtube comments section of some gaming video once, and the commenter privately messaged me on youtube telling me that I wouldn't survive on VGC, which I scoffed at. But I was curious.
Eventually, I saw enough opinions that I wanted to have my say in and joined in myself, but sparingly. I had this idea that I didn't want to be recognized, so I tried to not leave an impression. But eventually I guess I had a flavor of opinions and people remembered my username or pfp and would point me out. I'd get friend requests and PMs. I'd get more involved in discussions. I was really into the Wii U/NX era. Always a Nintendo fan with strong opinions.
I realize it more now, but what attracted me to VGC wasn't video games, it was discourse. I just happened to be really passionate and knowledgeable about games at the time. But no one else was to the extent that I was offline. The average level of discourse here is just on a different level than offline with regards to games. This is probably the case in most online communities, but this was mine. It's probably because just knowing more information than everyone else on a given topic doesn't happen in a community of people passionate about that topic, so you can't skate off of knowing more things. Everyone knows roughly the same information here, so the strength of your arguments really matters.
I'm still into games, but not nearly to the same extent as I was before. But that's only because I'm interested in many more things now just as much. Even so, I think the manner in which I hold those interests is exactly in the same way that I did so here, and I developed that manner here. VGC was the kiln that forged my ability to think critically, and that made me curious about many more things. In my life, there is certainly a pre-VGC, VGC, and post-VGC perspective that you can view it from. I passively have appreciated that in the past, but I'm more actively appreciating that right now.
I never come here anymore, but I don't think there will ever be a time in my life where VGC is still up and I won't drop by to see the discourse. I still care about and have strong opinions about games. I like seeing folks that I used to see back when I was here. I still think of the current UI as the "new layout" even though it's years old by now. But mostly it's just really important to who I've become. It's also just nice to see other guys get success who come from here. Arlo was a VGCer from before my time. The Golden Bolt is at over 100K subs now, and I remember when he first launched and asked for advice here about the channel. It's just so neat. Even the articles here really do a lot of good. I wish I was better about that, but alas.
I just felt nostalgic, and wanted to say something. It's a really cool little community you've got here.
I don't know if this belongs in general or website topics, but it feels more appropriate here.