I generally don’t talk about myself, but I’m going to participate in Jasyla’s survey, for Science.
When did you start playing video games?
I first played videogames while in primary school – grade 4 or 5. I can’t actually remember which came first: we got a Tandy something-or-other home computer (wiki doesn’t have the model I remember so I think it must’ve been some local branded version); or I started playing during lunchtimes in the school library. These events were pretty close together so I guess it doesn’t really matter. I didn’t spend that much time on them at this stage, though, I really only started getting into videogames a few years later. Then I was introduced to the C64 that friends had. Oh man, that was a great gaming system. It wasn’t until I was in uni that I first had any games of my own – we never had consoles and were rarely allowed to play games on the PC we had. That was strictly for homework.
What is the first game you remember playing?
At school (Apple computers) there were two games which I don’t know the names of. One was a car-body design game to teach you about aerodynamics, the other was a platform adventure game that played a lot like Prince of Persia but in a Conan-style setting. Both of these were miles ahead of the first game I played at home, which was called Return of the Killer Tomatoes. It was a Pacman-esque game and was, like all our other games, on cassette. We also had a wild west shootout game – think Pong, but instead of a single “ball” bouncing back and forth you had two players able to shoot across. Add some cacti to hide behind and presto! We didn’t even have a colour monitor.
PC or Console?
PC for the most part. I do not own a console at this time, the last one I did own was a PS2 that only got played for a couple of months before being relegated to DVD duties. My first console was an N64 and was much beloved. I’ll probably pick up another one in the future and hunt down the games I never got to play when they were current.
XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
My first choice would be Nintendo, but PS4 would be a close second. Daylight third, then XBox.
What’s the best game you’ve ever played?
I would say that the Civilisation series (including Alpha Centauri) has received the most of my attention and love over the years. There is, however, a case to be made for Goldeneye, and its successor, Perfect Dark. The developer, Rare, totally carried the N64. Seriously, without Rare, that console’s game lineup would have been almost uniformly subpar.
What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?
I’m gonna say Starcraft.
The attempted port to N64. An RTS with no multiplayer capability, no ability to designate groups, no ability to map jump (only scroooollllllllliiiinnnnggggg) and trying to play it with a controller? Madness.
Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.
Quake. I loved Wolfenstein and Doom, but Quake just did nothing for me. The next shooter I loved was Unreal, then Half-Life came along and blew me away. I hated Morrowind, I don’t think I got more than an hour in. I’m enjoying Oblivion, however. And even though GTA San Andreas is one of my all time favourite games, I couldn’t stand GTA IV.
Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
There was only one fighting game of note on the N64, Fighter’s Destiny. It seems that I was one of the few who liked it, despite its flaws. Steel Storm: Burning Retribution is a more recent game that I have played a good way through and enjoyed it, though apparently it wasn’t liked by the general public. And I am not sure if it was poorly received per se, but Diddy Kong Racing was an excellent game that suffered from being forever in the shadow of Mario Kart. I much preferred DKR.
What are your favourite game genres?
I don’t really have a favourite. I find that I get burned out or bored by the same type of gameplay for very long, so I mix it up by playing one genre for a while and then moving to another one when I feel the need for something different. I am not a huge fan of racing unless there are weapons involved (see DKR), sports games, or fighting games (I think I’ve moved away from them).
Who is your favourite game protagonist?
Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate! I love the way that he is full of bravado one minute, and sheepishly self-conscious the next. He resembles an overeager puppy that is learning how to growl threateningly, only to bound over and start licking your face. I love that he has a porcelain phobia. “Grog me, barkeep!” should be a part of every adult’s lexicon.
Describe your perfect video game.
My perfect videogame would be able to tell what kind of gameplay I really want at any given time and direct me to, or create, that type of experience….it’s basically a Holodeck.
What video game character do have you have a crush on?
I gave Aywren a bit of grief about this, so I fully expect to get it back with interest, but I don’t really have a game crush. Unlike her, though, I just assume that it’s because I simply haven’t found my crush yet. I suspect it’ll be a character from an adventure game if it does happen. The closest I’ve come to a crush was Cate Archer from NOLF – she seemed to be a combination of Liz Hurley’s Vanessa Kensington and Heather Graham’s Felicity Shagwell from Austen Powers. And I got into her pants…>.>
What game has the best music?
I am actually in the process of downloading the OST that come with my Humble Bundle purchases. So far there have been some amazing tracks and I can’t choose any one game as having the best. Some examples of my favourite game music:
Digger in-game music.
The Secret World theme music.
All the music from Goldeneye and NOLF.
Bastion end theme.
As Syp puts it in his Massively article: “If you’ve played through Issue #7 and explored a certain nursery, then you’re already familiar with this song. Sleepless Lullaby is the music that Orochi was using in its experiments on the lil’ kids, and it’s everywhere in the mission, from lyrics scrawled on the walls in blood to playing over radios in mostly empty rooms. It’s haunting and sad and more than a little creepy.” The song he’s referring to? This one.
Most memorable moment in a game:
My last relationship was with a Japanese woman I met in Japan when I lived there. Then I went home, we had a long-distance thing going for a year, then she came to Hobart to live with me. At that time, I was playing an RTS called Sacrifice a lot, and in that game you have a Navi-like advisor that yells at you when things are happening. The most common thing he yelled (in a fake British accent) was “Your creatures are under attack!” This line became a hilariously mangled part of my partner’s English vocabulary. I regret nothing.
Scariest moment in a game:
Up until last week, it was System Shock 2. The first time a ghost materialised in front of me I emptied my pistol into it – while yelling in fear – before I realised that it wasn’t going to hurt me. The sound effects in that game were incredible for inspiring dread: the slow decay of the doctor’s voice as she leads you towards her location, the hybrids pleading for you to kill them as they hunt you down, the cyborg nannies crooning softly, and those fucking monkeys…ugh.
Last week I saw the scariest goddamn demo video I have ever encountered. The new Silent Hill game. J3w3l has it up on her blog (it’s the last video), go check it out if you have the guts! I was terrified but couldn’t stop crying with laughter at the commentary.
Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
Probably the ending in Bastion, the slow march (where that end theme from above starts playing).
What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?
The ones that are written by intelligent, thoughtful, passionate, interesting individuals.
What’s the last game you finished?
Analogue: A Hate Story. I have a post about it on the way…
What future releases are you most excited about?
This year: Beyond Earth, the new Alpha Centauri. After that: EQ Next, Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen and No Man’s Sky.
Do you identify as a gamer?
I do. True story: Last year, while doing a business admin course, I was talking to my trainer about what to put on my CV. She wanted to see some hobbies/interests there, so I took a breath and brought up gaming. As expected, the doubt and subdued disapproval emerged pretty quickly, but in an attempt to be diplomatic about it, she started asking about when and how often, what kind, etc., but my answers were confusing her. It took me fully 5 minutes of conversation to realise that she assumed I meant casino gaming (gambling), not video or board gaming. And then it took another while to explain to her just how widespread and varied gaming is…I still shake my head a little at that memory.
Why do you play video games?
You don’t want to know the true answer to that.