My Journey to Full Stack Part 1 — The Man in Red Overalls

In a series of articles, I’d like to discuss my journey to becoming the developer I am today. My story begins as a child when my Mom would take me to visit one of my cousins and I’d watch him play this cool game where a red man with overalls would jump on evil mushrooms and turtles. Of course, that game was Super Mario Bros. and this kicked off a lifetime love of gaming and technology.

Of course, the next several years would span several subscriptions to gaming magazines developing a desire to make games of my own. In middle school, I faced punishment from my mother for the first and only time. She knew not letting me go out and see my friends wouldn’t be very effective so she took my PlayStation for the remainder of the school year. To amuse myself I did the only thing I could think of… use the internet. With Windows 95 and a 56k connection, I adventured into the world of online text-based MUDs and very early Massively Multiplayer Online games like Nexus: Kingdom of the winds.

In late middle school, early high school someone had translated game engine RPGMaker and made it freely available online (it would years later see a formal commercial console release.) RPGMaker was my first foray into programmatic thinking with its use of scripting, events and variables. I made several small games inspired by some of my favorite RPGs, in particular, Suikoden. My Mom during this time was doing her best to raise my brother and I on her own while working full time going to college to get a degree in respiratory therapy.

While she went to school she’d leave my brother and me in the college computer lab where we’d browse the internet mostly looking up anime facts and such. One day I decided I want to make my own website documenting my favorite show at the time, Dragonball Z. I then discovered Geocities and built my set of websites using their WYSIWYG editor. Although, this opened me up to the world of web development and soon afterward I learned HTML which would be a skill I’d use in everything I do thereafter.

Alex Merced is a Full Stack Developer, learn more about his work at

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