My name is David, but I am called Deyvid by some. I was born in 1974, in California, USA.
My first introduction to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien was in elementary school (which was late 1970s or early 1980s) when my class was shown the Rankin/Bass animated movie The Hobbit. I loved it. Other children were bored, talking to each other; but I was fascinated.
Tolkien's influence would remain in my life while I grew from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, in the form of the fantasy genre that was largely derivative of his works. I played games (table-top and video) that included halflings, axe-wielding dwarves, and tall elves; but the actual works of Tolkien remained on the fringe, the periphery. I always had fond memories of that Hobbit cartoon, and knew Lord of the Rings as "out there", but didn't seek it out.
When the New Line Cinema / Peter Jackson films debuted, I marveled at the spectacle and the awesome visuals, the scale of the films, and it rekindled my interest in Tolkien's stories. When I heard that Peter Jackson omitted large portions of the story (understandably so) and then changed fundamental scenes, I told myself I have to read the books someday.
I grew up with video games since the Atari 2600. Starting in the early 2003, I started playing the fantasy-based Massively-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) EverQuest Online Adventures for the PlayStation2 home video game console. EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA) was based on the popular EverQuest MMORPG for personal computers. EverQuest borrowed heavily from Tolkien-esque lore, involving halflings, elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, etc. I played EQOA for about 2.5 years, and then moved to the PC-based MMORPG World of Warcraft which also borrowed from Tolkien-esque elements (though less so than EverQuest). After about 3 years of WOW, I was ready for a change and a better game. That's when I heard about Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO). I decided to try LOTRO, hoping I wouldn't be disappointed. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
I found that the developers of LOTRO have gone to great lengths to faithfully represent the lands, races, and creatures of Middle-earth, as well as the feel, the spirit of the books. Not only does the game offer the ability to play as a hobbit, elf, dwarf or man, and tells the story of the Ring, but the entire world of Middle-earth is fleshed out and brought to life. Turbine works closely with the Tolkien family to ensure the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien's creative vision. Even the mundane and trivial quests made me want to know more about the ancillary characters, races, and locations, along with the history and lore behind them.
Where the movies did a phenomenal job telling the story of Frodo's Fellowship, the LOTRO game introduces you to characters never seen in the films, and sometimes only mentioned in passing in the books. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar succeeded in inspiring to read the books, and I mean all the books.
After playing LOTRO for about 2 months, I bought The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy as paper backs - the 1976 reprintings of the 1973 versions! Along with those I was able to get the 1981 reprinting of Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham together in the same paperback.
I quickly read The Hobbit, and am now almost finished with Fellowship of the Ring. I can't wait to read the full trilogy. After I finish the Rings trilogy, I plan on picking up copies of The Silmarilion and Children of Hurin.
I know I will be a paying subscriber to Lord of the Rings Online for as long as the game is actively online. I'm also a listed contributor to the wiki dedicated to the game, www.lotro-wiki.com.