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A History of the Gravitude Bar and Merqurycity.com

Released on: Fri May 08, 2009 5:40 pm
from: gondee
Viewed: 9314

Merqurycity.com is the premiere SSX Fan Site on the 'Net. In case you wanted to know a little more about the site, here's our backstory. :)

In The Beginning
Merqurycity.com was started as the brainchild of grandmort, one of the premiere SSX players. Merqury City was spawned out of the collection of high level players over at the Gamefaqs.com PS2 SSX board. As SSX became one of the most popular PS2 games, it became clear that there was no fan sites out there to celebrate the best snowboarding game ever released (at the time.) Grandmort was the founder of the site, paying for hosting and producing the graphic design. He polled what we thought the site name should be, and out of a laundry list of potential ideas, we liked "Merqury City" the best because it represented a "community" or "city" of players. And also it was just a cool name for a site and the name of one of the tracks in the game. :)

It was a small site at first, featuring a few handwritten guides from other members over at the Gamefaqs boards. Several of the SSX community "pillar" members started at the Gamefaqs boards, including FirebrandX, Tigerbalm, gondee, Dolphingirl and others. The majority of the community action was still over at the Gamefaqs boards and would remain there through the reign of SSX Tricky, through mid 2003.

Around that time, gondee gradually started taking over more of the site design, primarily because of a lack of time for grandmort. Over that period he also took over the SSX and SSX Tricky scoreboards, and became known as the "webmaster" of Merqurycity.com.

Around August 2003, grandmort changed hosting for the site, getting a much better deal than before and allowing us to expand our site to include a message board. Previous boards had either been too basic to really carry on a decent conversation, or had been hosted at outside sites (like this one and contained such hideous advertising that no one participated in the discussion.

So to facilitate a better site and better service to the SSX faithful, we started the Gravitude Bar on Merqurycity.com in September 2003. The Gravitude Bar quickly became the central gathering point for the SSX faithful. We expanded to include not only SSX forums, but general community discussion forums and fan art/fan fiction forums as well. A team was established to run the bulletin board and we've been the pillar of the community ever since.

Community Highlights
There have been a lot of cool things that have happened since Merqurycity.com was established. Here's a small history of some of the cool happenings since we've began.

  • Merqurycity.com gets attention from SSX developers
    Shortly after SSX was released, we were extremely excited to discover the following entries in our site guestbook (now defunct):
    Quote:
    I am touched.
    Keep up the good work.
    Sinisa Karolic - Chief World Designer - Electronic Arts (Canada) Inc.
    Sinisa Karolic
    Vancouver, BC Canada - Tuesday, August 14, 2001 at 13:50:25 (EDT)

    Quote:
    I'm with Sinisa on this one.
    I think it's great to see a site such as this up on the net.
    I'm blown away by the high scores and top times!
    WOW! Keep it up!
    Klaus Monies - SSX World Designer - Electronic Arts (Canada) Inc.
    Klaus Monies
    Vancouver, BC Canada - Tuesday, August 14, 2001 at 14:20:52 (EDT)

    Quote:
    I guess I should drop by too, since I discovered the site and told my buds about it. I can't wait to see the site once all the content is complete! Some of the times and scores people are getting are truly amazing, beyond what I thought was possible. Keep it up, you're the reason we love our jobs.
    Cody Ritchie - Lead Character Artist - Electronic Arts (Canada) Inc.
    Cody Ritchie

    Vancouver, BC Canada - Thursday, August 16, 2001 at 19:40:03 (EDT)


    SSX team members had taken notice of our site! Needless to say we were all :woot :woot :woot Our little site-that-could was now recognized by the people who created the games we loved! Our close relationship with the programmers would continue, much to our delight.
  • An Unreal Exclusive
    During SSX Tricky, our site's reputation as being the best SSX players in the world was cemented. The players who had set world records in SSX continued that trend in SSX Tricky. None more so than FirebrandX, who after claiming all the SSX racing records, took all the SSX Tricky records and held them for the main life of the game.

    Our correspondence with the creators of SSX Tricky continued, with a nice little bonus extra:

    Image

    Cody Ritchie continued giving us cool extras about the game, showing us a model of Psymon from SSX Tricky being used in the game Unreal Tournament 2003. Cody used the model from SSX Tricky and using 3D design tools, inserted it into Unreal Tournament. Unavailable to the general public but still mad cool, we really dug this little extra.
  • SSX 3 Weekend - The culmination of it all
    Our close relationship with EA Big culminated in what is commonly referred to as the "SSX 3 Weekend", an unbelievable opportunity in which EA Big picked 5 long time SSX players and flew them up during the development phase of SSX 3 and had them test the unreleased game and give their opinions on what they thought and what they wanted!

    You can read all you would ever want to know about the weekend in the SSX 3 Weekend Article here:

    kb.php?mode=article&k=105
  • The Ultimate Honor - The Merqurycity.com Snowboard
    Our good relationship with EA continued throughout the life of SSX 3, including EA giving us exclusive maps and other goodies available nowhere else on the 'net.

    As hype on the newest game in the series, SSX On Tour, rose we were elated to get a great bonus from EA Big in the form of exclusive character art of the SSX Tricky characters. A new pic was released every week, with 10 in total. You can see the amazing art here:SSX On Tour Character Art

    The greatest honor we've had to date is the amazing privilege of having a set of skis and a snowboard put into SSX On Tour. This honor was the result of a contest held on our site by our members in which a winning board design by Royank was sent to EA and ultimately put in the game as the best equipment in the entire game!

    You can read about this amazing set of events here: SSX On Tour Merqury City Snowboard

That's the lowdown on our great little site here. We always try to make it better every single day, and now that you've read all this, you are totally caught up like as if you've been a member here the entire time! :woot

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