I'd like to share a cool story like you do, but the truth is all I was looking for was a mame.net forum alternative after it closed down.
retrogames.net was technically dead and emulatronia.com (the site that introduced me to NES emulation in 1997) has not useful/active forums. Being an op at a dead emuchina IRC channel was not any good either. It was fun kicking kiddies asking for KOF2003 ROMs back then.
KiniKo, fataku, speechless and everyone who shared my interests on IRC, I'll remember them forever.