Well... First of all, I've been always fascinated by the idea of imaginary countries. This was certainly inspired by Brazilian writer Ziraldo Alves Pinto and his book O Menino Maluquinho (The Crazy Little Boy), which mom gave to me when I was 6 or 7. The Crazy Boy of the title, on one page, describes his Lost Country of Eufeidolôcio and its capital city of Timólei-Mólei.
So, of course I had to make my own lost countries as well! Rocky islets on the Pacific... A small jungle nation in the Angola-Zaire border area... Or huge islands in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Brazil and Africa, with a multi-language Slavic and Latin American culture... Sometimes they were simply maps, sometimes they also had details like flags, factbook statistics...
Also, I've always been fascinated by role-playing games - something that, essentially, the Imaginations are. When I was 9, my sister's boyfriend gave me an old box with his Dungeons and Dragons books, guides, charachter sheets... "What, dice with more than six sides? These things exist?". Even though my RPG campaigns never lasted too long - it was really hard to convince the other kids to drop that football and oh, come on, let's fight some evil wizards with our swords and spells! It was fun, anyway...
Also, even as a kid, I was interested in politics. I remember watching the news on TV with my family. I remember the political crisis and scandals in Brazil and abroad. Yeah, it was fun too.
My friend, the ComputerEdit
In 1991, there was the Gulf War. Dad was an officer of the Petrobrás tanker fleet. Brazil was back then importing oil from the Middle East but, due to the war, this was interrupted due to fears of attacks on the ships. Petrobrás openned a volunteering programme, which dad called "the company is paying ten thousand dollars to anyone who's going there, so I'm going there". A number of these volunteer ships went there, did their jobs, returned to Brazil, and dad got then thousand dollars. With some of that money, he bought the finest piece of technology we could find in Brazil at that time: an IBM 386 PC.
The Gulf War is also the responsible for chicken being so cheap in Brazil during the 90s. Iraq was one of the major buyers of Brazilian chicken, but, with the UN embargo, we couldn't sell it anymore. So the farmers just flooded the market with cheap chicken for the masses. This story has nothing to do with Porto Capital, but it is a fun fact anyway. Actually, it is not that fun. But it would make sense if you were Brazilians, believe me.
Anyway, even tought our family have had a computer since 1991, we didn't had Internet access until 1997, as mom didn't want us drilling holes arround the house for the telephone cables... That year, however, she gave up, and we drilled a small hole through a wall, from one bedroom to the computer room, and passed a phone wire through it. So Internet began for us.
One of the first website I accessed was the search engine Cadê (at that time, it wasn't owned by Yahoo). And, one of my first search inquiries was "online games". One of the first results of that search was Cinet, an web-based RPG simulating the cinema industry. We could write our scripts, manage our studios, hire actors... One of the few movies I launched there was a medieval epic starring Gerárd Depardieu. It was a wonderful community, but the game came to a sudden stop in 2002. Too bad. Anyway, it certainly was an inspiration for my university chouce, and also a training for other online games I would come across...
In 2000, I discovered the FOTW website. So many days I spent so many hours learning about vexilollogy! Even thought I never participated on the FOTW mailing lists, I sure learned a lot about flags! One day in 2001, I came across the Personal Flags link on the FOTW main page... From there, I visited some personal pages of Imaginations players... Philippe Bondurand, Jorge Candeias, Zeljko Heimer, João Madureira, Ed Mooney... From links on their websites, I came across Vexillium!
So, there I was. It was October 2001. From my past experiences on online gaming, I knew I should study Vexillium a bit before trying to enter it. So I visited the many country pages. Finally, after some heavy tough, I contacted then-APM Max Suchy in early December... We exchanged e-mails for some weeks... From the beggining, I wanted a "Socialist Latin American-like nation", Max suggesting combinning the former People's Republic of Extremo to the Brolecian states of Guetaso and Bajapez. And, in the 28th of December, Porto Capital was born!