The Giant Spoon : A History

About a week ago, our friend Jaedia over at the Lazy Sniper reached an important milestone in her WoW blogging career: the one year blogiversary. Instead of celebrating by herself like other, more selfish bloggers, she reached out to everyone and proposed some personalized topics to those interested. Wondering what kind of topic she’d come up with for me, I jumped at the opportunity.

Sure enough, she gave me the question that I swear I’ve absolutely never, ever been asked before: What is the giant spoon?

It’s true that, while I’ve answered the question many times in comments, on podcasts and on Twitter, I’ve never written a blog post specifically about the Giant Spoon. After careful reflection, I’m not going to here either. See, all the important bits of the story are short and boring. So I’m not going to tell the short, specific story, I’m going to tell the long story.

It all started one late summer evening, way too long ago. My friend Anna called me, all excited: “Hey can I come over? I have a video game I want you to play!

Um..ok…what’s it about? Is it an adventure game? In a medieval setting? You know I only play adventure games in medieval settings.”

She hesitated for a moment. Anna’s white lies were always so obvious. “It’s sort of like an adventure game…and the towns are all different, some of them are medieval. Most of it is more futuristic…

I dunno. Science fiction isn’t my thing. I like historical stuff.

Just give a try, I promise, you’ll love it!

Then she came over and forced her video game down my throat. It’s a good thing she sat next to me and made me hit that “enter” button over and over again. Otherwise her game would have found itself buried it under my large of pile of games I don’t play and this blog would have a different name. I didn’t like this not-adventure, futuristic game. It was so stupid. There were no combat options, all I could do was select “attack” and hit enter repetitively. When I died to the first boss, I lost my temper. “This game doesn’t let me do anything! Why did it kill me?” She promised it would get better, but I didn’t believe her.

I stuck with it, though. I can’t abandon a poor video game. Then one day, it finally clicked. In an awesomely animated movie, my character burst out of an office tower in a badass motorcycle. I screamed in delight. OMG this was cool! I went back to my save point and played the movie over again. And again.

In case you don’t recognize the scene, the game was Final Fantasy VII and that very moment had me committed as an FFVII fangirl for life.

I grew up as a solo gamer so I did what I could to beat the game on my own. Final Fantasy fans know, however, that the games are designed with lots of hidden parts. It would take a lifetime to figure them all out on your own. There was one part in particular that drove me nuts: the main character is falling from some sort of roller coaster and has to catch treasures. My guy wouldn’t catch the treasure. I looked around online for some help but couldn’t find anything that explicitly told me what I needed to do to fix my stubborn (yet sexy, busting-out-of-office-buildings-in-a-motorcycle) guy. So I picked a fan forum that seemed friendly and started a thread about it.

My question was answered quickly, like magic. Beyond that, I was impressed by how close all these strangers on the internet were to each other. It was like walking into someone’s house and looking at their family. I decided I wanted to hang out with these people, so I stuck around.

And that moment had me committed as a message board junkie.

I was 15 when I registered my account there and I posted steadily for 6 years, until I moved to California. While I was in the States, real life took over and when I came back, I was focussed on WoW and sadly lost interest in the Final Fantasy world.

It’s weird how I sort of “grew up” on the internet. I did have a good social life offline, but, just like it is now, my life then was so hectic that I preferred to spend my rare down times in the peace and quiet of my house. Online friends have the advantage that you can answer them when you feel like it, you can do other things while you talk to them and if you fall asleep (or have a random outburst) mid conversation, they don’t notice. It’s also a lot easier to meet people from around the world and it’s fantastic how, wherever my nomadic lifestyle takes me, I have an old online buddy living nearby to show me around.

The kind of relationship people have with their guilds, servers and WoW friends, that’s exactly how it was on the forums. It was like one giant guild with 200 or so people (I think there were about 5000 registered accounts when I was there, but I estimate only a couple hundred members were active at any given moment). We had our own elaborate message board culture. We had debates and drama. We had internal cliques but united frequently for inter- Final Fantasy message board flame wars. We had our forum awards/internet popularity contests. (I won “nicest member” one year! Only time I’ve ever won anything in a popularity contest!) We had lonely teenage girls posting pictures of their breasts and we had annoying teenage boys going out of their way to piss off others. We had couples from around the world meet on the boards and fall in love. Many broke up, but I know of several who are now married with a few kids.

I won’t go into the private details of the many internet-related lessons I learned the hard way, but yeah, there’s been great times and not-so-great times. I ran my own little (but successful) spinoff social board for about 2 years, until I moved to California and abandoned my internet life. I made friends whom I’m still in touch with today. I got myself in trouble. I got myself out of trouble. Some experiences were happy and others were totally embarrassing.

What impacted me most, though, was our own, little community lingo. The words and expressions “gutted”, “arsed” and, yes, “I’ll beat you with my giant spoon!” became part of my every day speech. I still use them pretty regularly.

When I named my blog, I went with “Bossy Pally”. It was my (probably self attributed) nickname in my old guild as well as a trait I’d observed in most of the paladins I pugged with. (I guess back in the day when blessings and stuff were a nightmare, paladins in pugs had to be bossy with each other to make sure everything got done.)

Bossy Pally” wasn’t enough, though. I wanted something catchy that showcased my absurd sense of humour. I didn’t even have to think much about it. “Giant Spoon”, a tribute to my message board days, fit the need perfectly.

The Giant Spoon is a weapon, always a weapon, designed to whack sense into silly people. But it’s a playful weapon, a mark of affection. It’s also loaded with memories and is a constant reminder that no matter how frustrating small, silly things can get, I’ll laugh about them eventually.

And if my search term history is any proof, I’d say I’m not the only one to take interest in large utensils.

PS. Writing this makes me want to do some shoutouts. Shoutout to LadyDragon, who keeps in touch with me after all this time. One day we’ll game together. To YE, crazy gamer extraordinaire and my San Francisco travel companion of yore. To Tenma Shilod, the Angry Bob who really wasn’t very angry. To the gentle, beautiful Michi. I hope that you found the same happiness your kind presence brought to all of us. To TTT and the Edmonton airport. It’s a shame we didn’t get a chance to really hang out. To Mostin Martin who eventually closed my catching treasure while falling thread. To Cutie Honey, whom I wasn’t at all fair to. I’m still embarrassed about it (although you did have a really bad screen name). To Munita who taught me a thing or two or twelve about myself. To Ace, who somehow was always able to make it all work, no matter the odds. To Myth, whose name still makes me swoon to this day. To Becci, my fellow bohemian. One day we’ll meet in some youth hostel in Thailand and have an indie rock party. To the Fellowship and the friendships that came of it. And of course, to the wonderful Hedo crew. I dedicate my Giant Spoon to you guys.

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23 Comments on “The Giant Spoon : A History”

  1. Jen Says:

    All I can say is “awwww”.

    (Ok, and more: I think it’s awesome how some people you’ve never even seen can become closer than RL friends, how you remember someone on a forum and you have no idea what the name of a primary school classmate was. The “traditional” ideas about relationships are nothing more than tradition not based on anything much… and I’m happy. I met most of my friends online, and I’ve known some of them for 8 years.)

    • Ophelie Says:

      It is pretty cool! I think the differences between online and offline friends tend to be exagerated. While online friends are definitely no substitution for offline friends, every time I’ve met an online friend in person, I’ve felt like I’ve known them forever.

      • Will Says:

        I definitely agree. There was a time when I would have not believed it, but now that I’ve experienced it, I don’t see as stark a line between “real life” friends and “online” friends.

        After I started being actively social in WoW, I logically started to talk regularly with certain people. As those conversations progressed, we got to know one another fairly well. I eventually reached the point where I realized that their companionship, as it were, impacted my life beyond the confines of the Internet.

        There are several people I’ve met on the Internet with whom I’ve grown quite close, and yet I have yet to meet any of them in person. In fact, I may never meet any of them in person. But the impact that they’ve had on my life has led me to consider them nothing less than my friends, medium and geography be damned.

        It may help that I’m naturally a very outgoing person. When I have the chance to have conversations with someone, when I grow to like them, it’s very difficult for me not to think of them as my friend to one degree or another. Even if it’s on the Internet.

        I have to chuckle as I realize that there are a few people who I know on the Internet that I’d like to think of as my friends, even if they don’t realize it. >.<

  2. Jaedia Says:

    Awww, that’s a really nice story, nice to know the origins of the giant spoon!

    I met quite a few people on forums and chat rooms over the years, I’m still in touch with 1 or 2, escaped a couple of creepy ones, 1 of them even plays WoW, it’s nice to keep in touch with him via Real ID.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Speaking of creepy ones, I wonder if my low creep experience in WoW comes from meeting so many weirdos on the forums, like, now I know how to avoid them!

      I have a couple of my old message board friends on Facebook (and a few will message me the rare times I log into msn), but as far as I know, no one plays WoW regularly :(

  3. Syl Says:

    LOL…FF7 was one of my alltime favourite RPGs back in the days (Sephiroth /gasp!) and I’m not even sure I would call it sci-fi – ofc its fantasy! :D I loved playing them all and some other great RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Xenogears, Squaresoft got me solidly hooked to the genre. Like you I ended up in an online gaming community because of it and it has kinda shaped things for me from there.

    Have you ever given FFXI online a go? It’s what I played before WoW, but I admit I wasn’t nearly hardcore enough to keep up with the japanese players there.

    I will give the upcoming FF14online a go though, it seems that they are going more easy now. I love the look of SE’s worlds and oh the BG music!
    Every now and then I just have to listen to the Black Mages performing ‘One-Winged Angel’, I am such a geek! ^^

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s true, FFVII isn’t science fiction, but I didn’t know that until I actually played the game. When my friend said “futuristic” I assumed science fiction.

      Out of curiosity, which community were you part of? After years of message board wars, I’m familiar with quite a few of the larger ones.

      I never played FFXI. When it came out, I couldn’t afford it. It also caused quite a bit of tension between the guy I was dating at the time and myself (it’s not fair that he could afford to play and I couldn’t!) so I was very anti-MMO for awhile. From what I’ve heard, though, FFXI isn’t really my sort of game. I value my solo play too much.

      I’d like to get back into the FF games, but I just don’t have the time or money to invest in consoles and a TV. Same goes for FFXIV, I might consider it if several of my friends play, but I barely have time for WoW, I can’t do 2 MMOs!

      • Syl Says:

        yeah this is exactly my issue too, I love MMOs but playing more than once at a time, no way! But now that WoW’s on a bit of an alltime low and most raidguilds have stopped to raid until Cata, there’s time to try out things. :D
        I stopped with FF11 exactly because it was so hardcore and solo-unfriendly. By the looks FF14 will be totally different in that respect, but I have this eerie feeling SE is gonna screw that up for me in some other ways. -.-

        ah my gamer community was country-online, we’ve probably never ‘met. hehe! :) but its the biggest board where I live and organizes gamenights several times a year (to which I first didn’t dare to go for 2 years or so, lol but thats another story for another gender topic some day).

        in any case, great to see there’s some other console game playing and fantasybooks reading girls around in the wow community!

  4. Apple Says:

    It’s funny, the guy who got me playing WoW was someone from my message board days. More specifically, he was a friend of a friend from a message board who played this MUD called Nilgiri. I never really got into the game, but my friend had put me in touch with him in case I had any questions about the game, and we ended up getting to be really good friends.

    That was… closing in on nine years ago, now. I still chat with him regularly, am in a guild with him, love him to bits. If I hadn’t miswindowed a question I had for a friend about music, we might never have started talking, never become friends, and I never would’ve started playing WoW. If I hadn’t started playing WoW, I wouldn’t have many of the wonderful friends I’ve made since then – both in-game and in the blogging community. :) I love being part of this corner of the internet, and I owe it all to one mis-windowed comment nine years ago.

    Good times. ^_^

    (on the note of old message board lingo that still crops up – I still cry “Death to the Arwench!” any time someone brings up Arwen, and “I’m not even supposed to BE in this movie!” whenever she pops up while I’m watching The Two Towers. And I still occasionally make reference to immortality spray, Keru loving pie, and Toey, the toe ring of typos. Sometimes stuff like that just sticks with you, even when you’ve long since parted ways with the people and the community in which they made any sense. I can’t bring myself to mind – they’re good memories.)

  5. Rades Says:

    This was a question I had always wondered as well! I figured it was something like that, the mock threatening. :) That’s a neat story about “growing up” online…something I get the feeling a lot of us did. I know I started to take part in forum discussions around the same age, and for the same reasons. I actually was googling some of my old usernames and found one of my old forums, which had been completely erased and restarted, and my name popped up in a post about “people from the old days you remember”. Seeing my name in that thread was surprisingly touching.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Ooooh I love those “people from the old days you remember” threads! My old screen name isn’t googleable (I used my real first name), but I think I’ve been gone so long that everyone I was was close to has also moved on. I still do leaf through threads like that to see if anyone mentions people I remember. It makes me so happy to see familiar names.

  6. KimboSlice Says:

    THIS IS AN EXCELLENT AND WELL THOUGHT OUT POST THAT ME ME THINK DEEPLY ABOUT STUFF…..(hopefully my comments dont get me banned)

  7. Endyme Says:

    I’ve always wondered what the Giant Spoon was. Now I know. And knowing is half the battle….

  8. Makabari Says:

    Ah, FFVII, those were the days! For me it was the first game purchased for my Playstation console and it became the measuring stick for all other RPGs to live up to after that. I too have fond memories of Cloud blasting out of the Shinra towers on that motorbike – it was the exact moment when the game went from alright to ‘HOLY COW THIS IS AWESOME!

  9. Parasolorama Says:

    Luvs it.

  10. Saunder Says:

    “It’s also a lot easier to meet people from around the world and it’s fantastic how, wherever my nomadic lifestyle takes me, I have an old online buddy living nearby to show me around.”

    So when are you coming to OZ? :D
    Not that I am an old online buddy, but I’d be happy to show you around!

  11. idlehands Says:

    I want to say Good job on your blog, I’ve been reading your blog, unfortunately, I’ve haven’t touched wow in 10 months, possibly once Catalsym is released, I will start again. I have a multitude of alts but mostly play tank or healer as pally, druid, warrior or rogue.

    Your blog is enjoyable with decent content. Not hardcore and not boring.

    Thanks.


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