The Starlite Lemming's Super-Lab

What is the Starlite Lemming?

A long time ago (1991), there was a computer game named Lemmings. Developed by DMA Design (later to become Rockstar North, creators of the Grand Theft Auto franchise) and published by Psygnosis, it was the first of a series of puzzle games. By equipping selected Lemmings with a variety of abilities, the player attempted to establish a safe path for a constant stream of mindless, animated rodents to reach the exit from a side-scrolling, two-dimensional level. The cuteness factor, combined with progressively more difficult puzzles, made for an instant hit on the Commodore Amiga and PC, led to at least eight sequels (including two special, Christmas releases), and eventually ports to any number of platforms. (See the Wikipedia page for more details.)

A little-known fact is that the idea for Lemmings originally came from an argument about how small you could make a game character and still have it exhibit personality (a consideration also at play in Mario having a huge moustache!). The answer was a very successful "ten pixels."

As I moved onto the Internet (starting at the end of 1993), I began to feel the need for an Internet persona. Originally, that came from the name "Starlite", which I had first used as my pilot name in LucasArts' brilliant, 1993 game, X-Wing. The game asked you to give your pilot a call-sign, but as with many games of the period, the name was limited to 8 characters. STARLITE was a combination of "star", indicating the outer-space setting, and "light", representing the light side of the force. The idea of the name somehow being "low fat" or a simplified version also ended up appealing to me.

But "Starlite" is neither a unique handle nor particularly suitable for more social forums. So eventually, I felt the need to choose a more quirky persona.

My first use of a Lemming persona was on the Australian Swing Talk message board for dancers of the Lindy Hop and other dances of the 1930s and 40s. There were already a few animal-themed handles around (based on possums, puppy dogs and platypi), so it seemed only natural to become "Lindy H. Lemming" (the "H" naturally stands for "Hop"). I even scanned in a picture I'd drawn of a generic lemming from the game (done for an ex libris book stamp) and "lindied it up" with a wide tie and two-tone shoes. This became my avatar on the board.

But Lindy Lemming was a bit of a niche creation. After running the Australian Simpsons Gazette website for more than five years (1997-2003) until real life interfered, I decided I needed my own personal web page, where I could publish instructional articles, opinions, game guides and the results of other creative endeavours. Intended to be a kind of "blog for the blogless", after a brief spurt of initial activity, this site lapsed into morbid inactivity (until now)...

Nonetheless, my new personal website needed a name. I thought of the handles I'd used in the past, and the array of different kinds of lemmings in the game (Climber Lemming, Builder Lemming, and many more), I felt it was time for the creation of the Starlite Lemming (that's me!).

And why the "Super Lab"? Well, I needed a noun for the website (den, home, lair, ...) and "lab" seemed a good description for hosting the sorts of things I'd be brewing. Plus, "Super Lab" kind of works, alliteratively.

So now you know! :)

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