Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Archive for March, 2009

Patrick (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 30, 2009

MMO community connection:

How I WoW | Frenchspin

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

The usual: Star Wars action figures, Legos, etc. I would always play with my brother (2 years younger) and cousin (3 weeks older). So definitely not a solo activity.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I did a bit of martial arts when I was younger, played basketball for a while.  I wasn’t very athletic though. My amazing physical traits just come naturally. :)

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Dude, D&D FTW!! I started playing when I was about 10 or 11, and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was an amazingly enriching experience. Exercising your imagination like that was a blessing. I was lucky enough that my parents never payed any attention to the D&D controversies bullcrap we had back then. Same goes for video games by the way.
By the time I turned 17 or 18 we started playing with a still dear friend of mine who created his own games from scratch. We never went back to rulebooks or pre-written games after that, and today I see them as sort of limiting. Why not just invent your story completely? Rules are very secondary in my opinion: just set a few characteristics and roll a dice when you want to decide something random. That’s all you need. I have to admit though, it doesn’t hurt that the game master in question is an accomplished writer; his stories are pretty compelling.
Anyway, all that is a bit behind me now. I’ve been on and off the “team” for a few years and I don’t really like it as much as I used to.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I didn’t read a lot as a child, and still don’t. It’s one of the things I’m not proud of. I see it as a shortcoming of sorts.
Well, I did read a lot of comic books, but I’m not one of those people who consider reading comics is “reading”. When most people ask that question they are asking about books, not the three bubble where Wolverine grunts because he’s being broody. I also read a ton of Choose Your Own Adventure books and loved it. But again, although that was real reading, what I enjoyed was the interactive nature of it. Almost like video games in paper form.
That being said, my favorite book is probably The Picture of Dorian Gray. Not so much for the storytelling, but for the incredible mastery Oscar Wilde has of the English language.
Close seconds are Cyrano de Bergerac and The Count of Monte Cristo. The first one owes a lot to the language too so I’m not sure how well it would translate in English, but the second one is just pure adventure, an amazing blockbuster from 150 years ago.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

Hmm… Hard to say. I guess that things like Lord of the Rings or Dragonlance shaped my tastes like it did every other nerd on the planet. I remember I couldn’t stop reading Dragonlance while walking from the kitchen.
But I wouldn’t say they had an effect on later appreciation of computer gaming or MMOs, because I almost see these as a continuation of the same culture. That culture had several branches that were complementary and moved at the same pace in different media. Fantasy and Science fiction are the two legs geek culture stands on today, and they were pervasive: from books to PnP RPGs to video games, to movies even… They all bled into one another, and in that sense I don’t think you can say one came before the other for me. It’s all one giant cultural wave that we’ve been riding for 20 or 30 years, I don’t make a difference between its parts, so I can’t say one had an influence on the other.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

Arcade games came first, when I was about 10 I guess. My dad used to work in a company that imported arcade cabinets from Japan. I used to go to “the office” and play for free for hours. And hours. And hours.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I guess I already answered that, but I can add that I used to do it in regular arcades too when I got a bit older. French arcades mostly sucked, but I still would go to check out the latest version of street fighter and the like.
More recently, in the early 2000s, I used to love the japanese arcades. All nice and well lit, I would spend a couple of hours there, chatting with friends, drinking ice tea and going for a few battles against people I could never beat, like, ever. Ah, good times…

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

I have a horrible memory, but it was probably a coleco vision at my cousin’s. It was an awesome toy I guess, but I don’t think I saw the potential at the time. I was young…

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Haha, you want a list? How about all of them!
Well, maybe not all, but I seriously had most of them. Ok, let’s try the list thing:
Atari 2600
NES
Super NES
Megadrive + SegaCD
Nec TurboGrafix + CD thing.
Gameboy
Gamegear
Saturn
Dreamcast
Playstation
Gameboy Advanced
PSP
DS
Xbox 360
I might be forgetting a couple.
And that doesn’t include the computers (Amstrad, Amiga…)

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

Not sure I was still a child, but I bought an import version of Street Fighter 2 for Super NES, which I paid 3 times the price of a normal game. That whole summer, my friends and I spent five or six nights a week crammed into my very small room, playing the game for 6 or 7 hours straight. Again: ah, good times…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Moormur

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 30, 2009

MMO community connection:
`

Chapter 1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

Moormur

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

I am host of LOTROCast: The Lord of the Rings Online Podcast

Please take a minute and describe what your blog/podcast is about.

Well one major feature about my podcast is that it has a certain structure. Many podcasts out there are very much stream-of-consciousness (and that’s fine by me). To keep myself on track and to help let people know what to expect, I have a few ‘departments’ in the podcast, much like a magazine. I usually start off with an overview of the episode, then do some ‘ranting’ about some topic or another that has come to my attention over the course of the weeks. Then I take some time and look at Turbine news as well as features of the very involved LOTRO community. After that, I tend to do a ‘focus’ segment, which is a discussion with a few other players about a certain aspect of the game. After that, I conclude and take care of so-called ‘housekeeping.’

I do my very best to structure episodes around what listeners tell me they want to hear…I have an episode coming up in early April that has been put together entirely from user input, so I really do value the communication with the people who take time to listen to my pontifications.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Norfolk, VA but my home is the USA.

Where do you live now?

I live in La Crosse, WI.

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?

If I could have any job I wanted without any sort of need for qualification, I would be the CEO of the Disney Company. Doesn’t that sound like the best job?

List five random things most people don’t know about you.

  • I’m a host of a podcast, lol. Only about 5 people I know in real life actually know this.
  • The only states I have left to visit are North Dakota and Hawaii.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

Not much to tell. Single and looking.

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

Oh geeze. Well, I have very distinct memories of my younger years. I remember very, very clearly that a friend of mine (Thomas I think his name was) had one of those jungle gyms in is backyard. We used to play Star Wars on the jungle gym all the time…just sliding around and stuff and making ‘pew pew’ noises. I went camping a lot with the Boy Scouts, so playing out ‘Star Wars’ was a pretty common occurance. We would make up our own storylines (this was back when the whole Expanded Universe thing was just starting up, so we were all captivated by the idea of making up our own Star Wars stories) and play them out over the trips. Good times, good times. If it hasn’t been made obvious, Star Wars was a big player in my youth, something that has inspired me to get into Film myself.

Besides the whole ‘make believe’ deal, I remember playing a lot of bored games. Some friends and I would set up a fold up table outside and play Life, Clue, Stratego, etc. I still have the copy of Life that I used back then. It still has the writing inside it from when we were counting up all our moolah at the end of the game. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I was a Boy Scout (although since now I work at some capacity as a Professional Boy Scout in my older age, I guess I should say I still am). Made it all the way to Eagle. I played soccer and baseball with kids around my neighborhood. Around the end of elementary school and the start of middle school, I began using our family’s video camera and making stupid kid films. Over time, that evolved into a much more serious hobby and now a career.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Heh. My experience with RPGs is pretty simple: I borrowed the core rules for the Star Wars RPG from a friend and forgot to ever give it back. I always wanted to play it, but never did. I still have the book, though.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

Oh, absolutely. I remember a series called ‘classics for kids’ or something. It had all sorts of classic books like Red Badge of Courage, Sherlock Holmes, The Jungle Book, etc. I devoured those. I absulotely adored ‘The Hobbit.’ It was and still is my favorite Tolkien book (although The Silmarillion comes in a very close second). I had a lot of science books on my shelf. I also started accumulating Star Wars fiction (starting to notice a pattern?). I never got into comic books. I would like to now but they are so darn expensive. And I hate cliffhangers.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

Eh, I don’t really know. Some might say that computer games have the opposite effect as books. Take Lord of the Rings Online (my MMO of choice) for example. It makes a concrete version of Middle-Earth. Once you’ve been there, it makes it hard to come up with alternatives. I am not as picky as others, though. I look at movies and games based on books as one person’s interpretation of a setting. I still hold to my own imagination, so that kind of thing doesn’t bug me as much as it does to others.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

PC, man. PC. I got a hand-me-down computer from my grandfather when I was pretty young, back in the ol’ floppy days. I remember we had some cheapo rip-off games. I also remember a Sonic CD game. I remember having a Game Gear. We eventually had to get rid of it because the adapter started sparking. Yeah.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I’ll be honest; I was just past the arcade generation. For me, many arcade experiences were in places like Jillian’s or Gameworks…those massive, awesome mega arcades. Tons of fun.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

Aww, man, making me think here. When I was younger, I remember watching people play Shadows of the Empire (I played that game again recently. Doesn’t really hold up to time well). I also remember Super Mario World. Was and still is one of my favorite Mario games.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

It was hard to convince my parents to get consoles, so we ended up with many handhelds. I have owned a Game Gear, a Game Boy Color, a GBA, and a Nintendo DS. In terms of consoles, I own a Nintendo 64, a Wii, and a XBOX 360. I do not like Sony.

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?

Ah, MUDs. I was heavily into the MUD Achaea about 10-15 years ago (good Lord, I feel old). I played for about two years then moved on. It was a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but without having a concrete map I found it tough to get around. It was my first time RPing, and it is a heavy RP setup. There was less joking around like we have here in LOTRO. I really didn’t understand what RPing was all about, really. I remember I had to do a ‘novice’ interview of some sort and I was talking about all my real life experiences to answer questions instead of getting into the mindset of my character. I learned a lot about RPing from this game and I remember it fondly.

More recently, I had a little fun programming my own MUD-style local game. Using what little knowledge I have of coding, I put together a zombie survival game in the style of a MUD, although it is solo. That was an interesting and very challenging experience.

What was your first MMO experience?

Star Wars: Galaxies. Do I really want to bring up those memories?

I started Star Wars: Galaxies back around 2005. I bought an account, which I didn’t know was wrong at the time. Regardless, I made a new character and deleted the old one. I remember the early days fondly. Star Wars: Galaxies allowed you pretty much endless customization, what with the multi-class system the allowed. And then came NGE. And suddenly the country was filled with 9 year old Jedi players (when all but a few Jedi were supposed to be dead) who thought they were so l33t that they accused me of cheating whenever my Officer would whoop them. They just couldn’t understand that sometimes skill and strategy are more important than button-mashing…
I ended up quitting that about three or four months into the NGE. It turned into more of a grind game than any I can think of. SOE created about three different bunker designs and cloned them over and over and over and over. On every planet, every single bunker, cave, and building seemed exactly the same. Once I realized this, I jumped ship.

About a month ago, I got an email from SOE telling me I had a free week to play so I thought ‘what the heck’ and jumped in for old time’s sake. It only brought back the memories. At level 40 something, I only had about 8 skills, three of which were combat skills and the rest were buffs/non-combat skills. Also the aiming system sucked. And they had such a weird set of invisible walls: in that game, you cannot jump off a ledge no matter how high it is…50 feet or 5. I ram through Theed, the central city on Naboo. Not a single other live person existed. I left after less than a day. For good.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

If you consider Achaea an MMO, then I played that first. Starting in about 2001 and going until about 2003. Star Wars: Galaxies was next, going from about 2005-2006, with a day trip here in 2009. I have played Lord of the Rings Online since 2007 and have a lifetime account there. I’ll be around for a while.

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

Definitely Lord of the Rings: Online.

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

As of now, (again, counting a MUD as an MMO) it would be Achaea. I’ve been playing for two years.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

I have reached the level 50 (when it was the cap) and level 60 now that it is the cap in Lord of the Rings Online with one character.

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

I would pick LOTRO, obviously. No other game dev team out there has taken so much pride and care in making their game so perfectly molded. The environment in LOTRO is superb. You haven’t lived until you have seen nighttime in Forochel, or jumped down into the Waterworks in Moria. Every time I enter a new area for the first time, I have to just stop and stare for a few moments.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

I was interested in the new Star Wars MMO developed by Bioware, but when I discovered it would be run through micro transactions, I ran the other way.

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

To be honest, I’m not all that interesting :(. I would like to share a passion I have developed over the past few months for the in-game music system of Lord of the Rings Online. LOTRO allows you to take a .abc file and play it in game. Your character does all the work while you get the credit. There are whole websites dedicated to the LOTRO Music system. Recently I have started up an in-game band where we take songs with multiple parts and play them on different instruments. I made a video of another band performing pretty recently (you can find it here).

I remember not too long ago playing a quartet piece called “Rohan” from the films. We stood in a circle and played the song. The moment was magical. Each instrument gives off a different colored note, so the colors were mingling in the air. The song was picking up pace and reaching its peak. People stopped and clapped for us. Some were even dancing. I will never forget that moment, standing right near the stables in Bree. LOTRO is filled with little moments like that, and that is the reason I will never stop playing it.

Posted in Blogger, Podcaster, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Andras (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 30, 2009

MMO community connection:

Free Play Podcast 

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I mostly played single player games as a hermit, but I did get Smash Bros. for the N64 and played with my sisters… And then they didn’t want to play with me after losing a few times with max handicap. Grrg.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I liked/like to run around in really big circles, also known as running Track and Cross Country. Listening to music, reading the odd book here and there. Oh, and I liked to play dress-up.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

I was exposed, but only recently, and it was filled with shenanigans and over-all silliness.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc. 

I used to be big into Sci-Fi, some great works include anything by Micheal Crichton, The Last Book in the Universe, and any of the “classics”

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

In a sense, yes, but only in the idea that I enjoy sci-fi games. I think that has more to do with the technology aspect than any literature I enjoyed prior. They do give me slight pains when reading quest text, though.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

A friend of mine at my old bus stop played the Game Boy Color, and when I saw the amazing potential of it, I had to have one. From there it careened into computer games, the playstation, the N64, and so on.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I would try my hand at Smiles Entertainment Center, and I would spend seemingly endless amounts of allowance on the styling of House of the Dead. I think that’s what really got me into shooter games.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

That would most likely be Pokemon Blue. The impression it left wasn’t so much in the content, but in the ability it possessed to hold my attention. It was my first grinding experience.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advanced, Playstation, N64, Ninetendo Gamecube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I played the Star Wars Dark Forces 2 game, and fell completely in love. I still consider it one of my top 15 games of all time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Riknas (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 29, 2009

MMO community connection:

Free Play Podcast

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

Well, as a kid I don’t recall there being a lot out at the time, though I suppose there were more than when my peers in the podcasting field were my age. I played a lot of adventure games in my earliest years like Crash Bandicoot, Banjo Kazooie or Donkey Kong. At the time it was almost exclusively a solo activity, I never heard of co-op, and was still an only child. Friends were for the weak.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

It’s kind of a shame in retrospect, I didn’t do a lot when I was a little kid (I assume we’re still talking about pre-adolescent childhood) other than running around aimlessly. I was content to play with my games or my little action figures. If I wasn’t doing that I was sitting there making up adventures for myself to be on, I guess I had a little Dungeon Master in me all along.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Only recently. I’ve been aware of them since I was ten or so, but only just started getting into them a couple months ago, and even then it’s not really pen and paper since I’m doing it over the internet. That said though I spent so much time thinking “Hah, that’s way too nerdy” until I came to the realization “Oh right. I’m a nerd,” and just let myself enjoy the ride of other people enjoying an adventure of my own.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I didn’t read a lot when I was very young, however it became something of a habit when I entered middle school and the reading sickness has been getting worse ever since. For books I liked things ranging from light stories of heroics like the Dragon Lance Chronicles or Deltora Quest, to the stories of the surreal and horror fantasy (also known as “low fantasy” to some) like The Damnation Game by Clive Barker and Robert E. Howard’s Conan The Barbarian. In the more contemporary settings I liked stories of espionage and stories of great empires and large scale consequences like Tom Clancy’s books, especially NetForce.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I wouldn’t say so, no. At least not until recently. Since I was interested in them around the same time I always saw them as two separate mediums and neither really “copied” each other (At least, I never thought so.) Furthermore the games I played were of specifically different genre type than the books I read. Or at least, the games I would play was more limited than the books I would read.

In books, I felt that since I was following a story, I could read about topics that may disturb or scare me. I had no control over what would happen, so nothing would be my fault, so I wasn’t (deeply) bothered by the horror fantasy I read and touchy topics like religion and the afterlife were being tackled for me, instead of making a statement on them myself.

Meanwhile, with video games, playing as the main character, I felt that it was very much my story, even if it was a rail shooter. I didn’t want things that involved the deaths of innocents horrific hitman or Grand Theft Auto, and I didn’t want to face things were it seemed over brutal or bleak like Doom or Resident Evil.

That said, they’re starting to converge more. Books have different genres, games have different genres. Computer games are their own thing, etc etc. They were simply separate. Admittedly, sometimes I’ll compare an MMO to an old game, but mainly to see how far MMOs have come along to being able to be like a single player or co-op game. “Hey look guys, collision detection!”

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

I believe the first game I played (Not counting for the educational computer games) was when I was 3 or four. A Kirby game for the Super Nintendo, though I can’t remember what it was called.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

Yea, I played in arcades. I still try to visit the old arcade every few months. Though I usually fail. But when I didn’t have many games of my own I was fascinated by the arcade. It was my equivalent of being a kid in a candy shop, I was a kid in the arcade. Seeing so many different games and different people, all on their own adventures at each terminal, it was awe inspiring at the time.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

Although I’d say every game has made some impression on me, that would feel like too much of a cop out. Ultimately I’d say the first game to truly affect me was the original Crash Bandicoot. It was a light hearted silly game at the core, but still appealed to my love for what I thought to be an epic adventure, fighting absurd and impossible odds to acquire crystals, supposedly of great power, all the while having a side quest line urging me to acquire special diamonds instead. It felt like being the middle man in a battle of two great powers, and I loved every minute of it.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

More than I should have no doubt. I’ve had a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color (And advanced, and DS versions), a Play Station, a PS2, and PSP, Xbox, and Xbox 360 (Still waiting on their handhold.)

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I feel obligated to put something here, but I struggle to come up with something as I feel like there’s so many stories that I’ve already gone through, as well as too many more to choose from still. However I’d have to say the best story to relay would be how fascinated I was when I first played KOTOR. Since I still hadn’t played D&D I didn’t really know what it was like to feel like you were in control of your own adventure, let alone make my own character and decide what to say to other people. It simply blew my mind that there could be such a thing as separate endings based on your own actions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Patrick

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 29, 2009

MMO community connection:

How I WoW | Frenchspin

Chapter 1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

I go by my real name (Patrick Beja), and sometimes people who really care call me “that french guy”. I’m also “notpatrick” in places I can’t get “patrick”, like twitter.

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

I run and participate in a bunch of podcasts. My french wow show is fairly well known here, but I do lotsa stuff in the podcast space, not the least of which is the How I WoW show my friend Shawn created, or The Instance to which I contribute a regular segment. I have also developed friendships with several other podcasters over the years, and you might hear me pop into different shows here and there. Anyway, all I do can be found on the site Frenchspin.

Please take a minute and describe what your blog/podcast is about.

Wow… Errr… So:
Azeroth.fr is a French Wow show.
How I WoW is “interesting conversations with awesome people”. No, really, it is.
Le rendez-vous Tech is a French tech news show.
The Phileas Club is an international news conversation show.
Noobz Online is a webcomic about gamers (I only “produce” that one).

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Lebanon and grew up in France.

Where do you live now?

Paris baby!

Your level (age) is somewhere in the range of (pick one): 10-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90

I’ll do better: I’m 35.

What do you do for a living?

Freelance assistant director / production manager.

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?

If I could only get a “real” career, I wouldn’t reroll at all.
If I could get anything, I’d love to do podcasts professionally.

List five random things most people don’t know about you.

Five is a lot, but I’ll try.

  • I’ve lived in japan for almost 4 years.
  • I’ve moved over 30 times.
  • I take on accents like a sponge. It’s like a very very useless super power.
  • It’s not uncommon for my female friends to joke that I’m gay. I’m just a good listener and like chick flicks.
  • I am an exceptional lover. (ok, I might have made that one up)

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I’m single, and my family is very small. All in all, my whole family is about six or seven people (cousins and uncles included).

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

The usual: Star Wars action figures, Legos, etc. I would always play with my brother (2 years younger) and cousin (3 weeks older). So definitely not a solo activity.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I did a bit of martial arts when I was younger, played basketball for a while.  I wasn’t very athletic though. My amazing physical traits just come naturally. :)

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Dude, D&D FTW!! I started playing when I was about 10 or 11, and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was an amazingly enriching experience. Exercising your imagination like that was a blessing. I was lucky enough that my parents never payed any attention to the D&D controversies bullcrap we had back then. Same goes for video games by the way.
By the time I turned 17 or 18 we started playing with a still dear friend of mine who created his own games from scratch. We never went back to rulebooks or pre-written games after that, and today I see them as sort of limiting. Why not just invent your story completely? Rules are very secondary in my opinion: just set a few characteristics and roll a dice when you want to decide something random. That’s all you need. I have to admit though, it doesn’t hurt that the game master in question is an accomplished writer; his stories are pretty compelling.

Anyway, all that is a bit behind me now. I’ve been on and off the “team” for a few years and I don’t really like it as much as I used to.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I didn’t read a lot as a child, and still don’t. It’s one of the things I’m not proud of. I see it as a shortcoming of sorts.

Well, I did read a lot of comic books, but I’m not one of those people who consider reading comics is “reading”. When most people ask that question they are asking about books, not the three bubble where Wolverine grunts because he’s being broody. I also read a ton of Choose Your Own Adventure books and loved it. But again, although that was real reading, what I enjoyed was the interactive nature of it. Almost like video games in paper form.
That being said, my favorite book is probably The Picture of Dorian Gray. Not so much for the storytelling, but for the incredible mastery Oscar Wilde has of the English language.

Close seconds are Cyrano de Bergerac and The Count of Monte Cristo. The first one owes a lot to the language too so I’m not sure how well it would translate in English, but the second one is just pure adventure, an amazing blockbuster from 150 years ago.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

Hmm… Hard to say. I guess that things like Lord of the Rings or Dragonlance shaped my tastes like it did every other nerd on the planet. I remember I couldn’t stop reading Dragonlance while walking from the kitchen.

But I wouldn’t say they had an effect on later appreciation of computer gaming or MMOs, because I almost see these as a continuation of the same culture. That culture had several branches that were complementary and moved at the same pace in different media. Fantasy and Science fiction are the two legs geek culture stands on today, and they were pervasive: from books to PnP RPGs to video games, to movies even… They all bled into one another, and in that sense I don’t think you can say one came before the other for me. It’s all one giant cultural wave that we’ve been riding for 20 or 30 years, I don’t make a difference between its parts, so I can’t say one had an influence on the other.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

Arcade games came first, when I was about 10 I guess. My dad used to work in a company that imported arcade cabinets from Japan. I used to go to “the office” and play for free for hours. And hours. And hours.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I guess I already answered that, but I can add that I used to do it in regular arcades too when I got a bit older. French arcades mostly sucked, but I still would go to check out the latest version of street fighter and the like.

More recently, in the early 2000s, I used to love the japanese arcades. All nice and well lit, I would spend a couple of hours there, chatting with friends, drinking ice tea and going for a few battles against people I could never beat, like, ever. Ah, good times…

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

I have a horrible memory, but it was probably a coleco vision at my cousin’s. It was an awesome toy I guess, but I don’t think I saw the potential at the time. I was young…

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Haha, you want a list? How about all of them!
Well, maybe not all, but I seriously had most of them. Ok, let’s try the list thing:
Atari 2600
NES
Super NES
Megadrive + SegaCD
Nec TurboGrafix + CD thing.
Gameboy
Gamegear
Saturn
Dreamcast
Playstation
Gameboy Advanced
PSP
DS
Xbox 360
I might be forgetting a couple.
And that doesn’t include the computers (Amstrad, Amiga…)

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

Not sure I was still a child, but I bought an import version of Street Fighter 2 for Super NES, which I paid 3 times the price of a normal game. That whole summer, my friends and I spent five or six nights a week crammed into my very small room, playing the game for 6 or 7 hours straight. Again: ah, good times…

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs? If so, when was this and what was the experience like?

Unfortunately, no.

What was your first MMO experience? Again, when was this (a year please) and what was this like?

Ultima Online, when it came out (must’ve been 1997 maybe?). I was on a 33.6 modem from France to the US: horrible speed and lag… I was fascinated by the idea, but only played a couple of times.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

  • Everquest – level 14 or 15… Can’t remember the class. It took me six months to get there. One of my fondest MMO memories comes from this game: I tried to go to one side of the world to the other when I was way too low level. On that epic voyage, after having run away from lions and all manners of horrible monsters for hours, I came upon a wonderful vista of the sun setting over a dune in the distance. These four pixels of red and dusk were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen on my computer screen. Not far behind in memory lane are the trains of gnolls from that cave north of Qeynos (I forget the name). Trains were fun, I miss them to this day. Sort of.
  • Everquest 2 – level 41 templar. The experience was good at times, boring to tears at others. The idea of camping Chompers for days still makes me shaky with anxiety today. Ultimately the grindiness of it and the inability of the class to solo effectively (or rather, to solo at acceptable speeds) got the better of me. I keep very fond memories of the game though, mainly from my guild, The Legion of the White Rose, which I joined without knowing it was headed by Kendricke, a very respected member of the community. When I logged off for the last time, he came to meet me, took pictures of my last moments in Antonica and posted them on the forum. I still have the pictures and get a pinch in my heart every time I look at them.
  • World of Warcraft – level 80 mage and druid. I spend my days talking about the game, I guess the memories and experiences are too many to sum up.

I also tried out a TON of other games that I didn’t go beyond the first month with.

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

Wow of course.

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

Wow, many hours a week for over three years now… I never thought this would be possible. I played the beta and dismissed it before moving on to EQ2 which I considered more adult and diverse. I was right in many ways, but didn’t understand what I really needed from an MMO (fun>realism&possibilities). I guess many people made the same mistake, devs included.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

Wow is the only one I reached the level cap at. It’s also the only one in which the grind wasn’t an unbearable necessity to work through to get to the fun.

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

Can I choose the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic? I guess not…
That’s a really difficult one, but I think it might be Eve because the ever expanding universe is full of worlds and possibilities… and the ambulatory pack is (hopefully) coming soon so we’ll be able to get out of our ships.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

SW:TOR is the only MMO that has seriously sparked my interest in a long time, and that includes recent games like AOC and WAR. I detailed my reasons in this blog post here, but the gist is that Bioware is probably the only company that can come to the idea of an MMO with a fresh mind. They are also masters at crafting a compelling and immersive single player experience, and that is something I especially enjoy in a role playing game, even if it is multiplayer and online. Ironic, I know. My point is: I think they can make it work in ways that the “big dogs” of the MMO market couldn’t, because they were constrained by the rules and habits they gathered from their previous, old school experiences.

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

I was at a wedding and a bunch of us were wow players. At the evening reception, a group gathered and started talking about the game, the classes and the like. After about 40 minutes I turned to a guy who was sitting quietly in the corner and apologized for talking about this arcane topic that he probably didn’t understand very much about, figuring that he was bored to tears. He looked at me, beaming, and replied: “ah not at all, I have a level 46 shaman on Shadow Counsel”… :)

Chapter 4: Preferences

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent gaming? How about now?

Wow, errr… I think it’s safe to say it goes in cycles. Sometimes I’ll barely play for weeks at a time, and sometimes I’ll be completely obsessed and spend all my free time on the computer (and I have a lot of free time). Right now I’m still reeling from the awesomeness that patch 3.1 brought, so I’m in a “high activity” period. I’d say upwards of 25-30 hours a week.

When during the week are your regular play times?

Any time is play time!

Generally speaking, are you more of a social creature in MMOs (grouping to quest, joining guilds, etc.) or something of a lone wolf?

Lone wolf I guess. I enjoy grouping also of course, but I’m mostly a solo player.

Have you made any lasting friendships through your MMO experience? Please explain.

I guess I haven’t really. Do podcasting friendships count? I’ve made some pretty good friends in the podcasting community but I don’t suppose that’s a valid answer. Regarding the in game stuff, I think it has to do with me being so solo-oriented. Even my guild is just a small part of my gaming experience, so I haven’t really formed lasting bonds with anyone in the game.

I have however reinforced bonds with very good friends that I’ve been playing with. The memories from the game have just added to our already long common history, and I’m sure we’ll bore our grandchildren with stories from Azeroth just as much as stories from wild parties and trips to foreign lands that actually exist.

Before logging into a game, do you already have a course of action planned out in your head, or do you just sort of do whatever you feel like once in game?

I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to do at a specific time, but once I get in I might get distracted.

When playing MMOs do you tend to just play one at a time or do you take more of the smorgasbord approach?

I’m obsessive I guess, so one is all that I can handle while also playing the “other” game. You know, the one laymen call “real life”? Yeah, that one takes quite a lot of time also. So annoying.

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console or tabletop games?

I try to keep myself informed, and I do have an Xbox. I will play a major release when it comes out, if only to know what the fuss is all about. I feel it’s sort of my duty to know about other things too, even if I have to force myself a little bit sometimes. Kind of like a cooking enthousiast needs to try different kinds of food, even if he has one favorite. Not doing so would be close minded or illiterate. Am I making any sense?

Are you something of an altoholic?

Well, I have several mains, but I don’t think I’m an altoholic. I do usually play my main character until he’s reached the level cap.

Do you find yourself multitasking while gaming (perhaps watching TV, talking on the phone, out of game instant messaging, playing another game, or even listening to a podcast)?

Duh, podcasts!

Do you find yourself having much MMO discussion off-line, perhaps with friends or family?

Wow (or MMOs in general I guess) have a tendency to cannibalize the conversation when you’re with people who also play. So we sometimes have to make a conscious effort to not talk about it, especially when there are people who don’t play around.

So with friends, yes, definitely. Family, not so much. They don’t play.

Have you ever felt that you game too much? If so, how did you cope with that?

Haha, only all the time! I cope by thinking hard about whether or not there is something I would rather do but am not doing because I feel like I have an “obligation” to play. If there is something else, I force myself to stop and go do it. If there isn’t, then I understand that this is what I want to do with my time and I’m ok with it.

Since you started playing MMOs, have you ever taken a break from the genre? If so, please explain.

I take regular breaks, but they’re not scheduled or really voluntary. Every few months I get sick with the game and basically stop playing for a few weeks. This usually happens when I log in and realize I’m doing it out of habit and not really because I want to. I just leave the game alone until I actually feel like playing again.

Chapter 5: Blogging/Podcasting

When did you first start blogging/podcasting?

I started in mid 2006 by sending a few segments to shows I enjoyed (The Instance was the first one I think).

A few weeks later I started my own Wow show in french called Azeroth.fr (there were none at the time) and have since then taken on a variety of podcasting projects: The Phileas Club (international politics and news), How I Wow with my friend Shawn Coons, Le rendez-vous Tech (french tech news show) and more recently The Movielicious, a movie review show I do with Mark “Turpster” Turpin and Nicole Spagnuolo. I also “produce” the webcomic “Noobz Online“, whatever that means. My friend PH is the artist on this one. And I have a blog that I occasionally write articles of the “TLDR” variety on.

I think that’s it. All this can be found on Frenchspin.com (there’s a french and an english version).

Why do you blog/podcast?

I do podcasts because it’s a way to tell my oh-so important opinion to people without the hassle of actually having to write down entire articles. So I guess I podcast because I’m lazy. And also because I have a ton of fun doing it.

Do you have a schedule or some sort of routine you try and follow when blogging or podcasting?

Yes! Schedule and regularity is the key in those ventures. I always set a periodicity I think I can stick to (monthly/bi-monthly) and try to never miss an episode. If you start skipping shows it’s the beginning of the end. For you as well as your audience.

Is there some grind involved in blogging/podcasting? If so, what is it and how do you cope with it?

Yes, definitely. It’s like everything: once you get into the routine, it’s less of an “exciting adventure”. I still love doing it though, so it’s not like I feel I’m doing factory work or anything like that. That being said, sometimes I don’t want to do a show or I feel uninspired. But when I finally finish editing and get the show online I’m proud of the result. Most of the time. :)

I guess the way I cope with it is, as I said, setting up reasonable goals for myself. My first shows was monthly because I didn’t want to promise a weekly show and not be able to deliver. Then I started getting the hang of it. When I got enough experience to go from recording to online status in about an hour or so, I figured adding some bi-monthly shows wouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

I also do everything I can to rationalize my workflow: some people can’t cope with one show a month because they’re not using the proper tools or are attached to things that bring little to the product and consume a lot of time and effort. For me, if something is superfluous, it’s out. As long as the quality isn’t too greatly impacted of course. The point is, it’s better to be able to get a show out every time you’re supposed to than to make it a “job” and end up not doing it at all.

By contrast, what do you find pleasurable about blogging/podcasting?

Everything! The community, the relationships with the other shows, the fact that you get to know and interact with incredible people you wouldn’t have known or heard of otherwise, the hours and hours and hours of entertainment I get out of the shows I listen to… I don’t think I could find a single negative side to this hobby of ours. Except maybe the fact that it takes too much time to listen to everything. :)

I haven’t watched TV in years though, so that cleared up a big chunk of time. And believe me, I don’t miss it in the slightest.

How many people offline know you blog or podcast?

Pretty much everyone I know. I’m very open about it, mostly because I’m proud of it I think.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to try their hand at blogging or podcasting?

Again: set reasonable goals you think you’ll be able to achieve. Start small, you can always expand later. And second: expect it to take more time and effort that you thought it would.

What is something you know now that you wish you had known when you first started?

A ton of things… Mostly tools that make my life easier today:

  • Feedburner to host the feed: it creates an alias so you can change the original feed later if you have to.
  • Podtrac: data collecting. They track your downloads and such.
  • Blip.tv to host the files: they are the only ones that allow access to the original.
  • Sony Vegas for sound editing: blows ANY other editing software out of the water; you’ll spend half the time editing if you’re doing anything remotely more complicated that simple mp3 encoding.
  • Powergramo: Skype recording utility.
  • WordPress is easier to manage that static HTML… Wow was I an idiot to go with that in the first place.

I think that’s most of it.

Can you picture a future where you will hang up your keyboard or microphone and no longer blog or podcast?

I guess I can; nothing’s forever. I couldn’t picture a time when I wasn’t in love with Anime and Manga when I was younger… Boy was I wrong, those things suck! But for podcasting it probably won’t be soon.

At your funeral, what song(s) would you have played as your corpse is set alight and cast out to sea on a funeral barge?

Probabaly “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”, by the Monthy Python. Smile! :)

Posted in Blogger, Podcaster | Leave a Comment »

Hobbit

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 29, 2009

MMO community connection:
`

Chapter 1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

I am an investigative reporter for The Lord of the Rings Online, and as such I can’t reveal my identity for fear of reprisals… The egging of my hobbit hole, being barred from some of The Shire’s more reputable drinking establishments… You get the idea…

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

I operate The Hobbit Herald.

Please take a minute and describe what your blog/podcast is about.

I provide news and views from The Lord of the Rings Online and champion LotRO inspired machinima. Among other things, I’m currently running a series of undercover reports from a roleplaying server, and award monthly accolades for the best LotRO machinima.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in a small yet serviceable home on the outskirts of Hobbiton, in The Shire.

Where do you live now?

Michel Delving, of course. I need to be near a decent auction house at all times… That’s where all the most salacious gossip can be overheard.

Your level (age) is somewhere in the range of (pick one): 10-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90

41-50

What do you do for a living?

When I’m not writing my investigative reports for The Hobbit Herald, I make a decent living pulling in fish from the Brandywine river.

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?

I’ve always fancied owning my own inn and entering The Shire’s various beer festivals each year. I’d win them all, naturally…

List five random things most people don’t know about you.

  • I was banned from The Prancing Pony for a year.
  • I’m a close and personal friend of Bilbo Baggins.
  • I’m often complimented on my beautiful feet.
  • I can play three different types of instrument.
  • My Shire Apple Pie can make grown elves weep.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I have two sisters and a brother, all of whom are currently in the field, protecting the free peoples of Middle-Earth. I’m very proud of them and refuse to believe the vicious rumours about my brother dancing for tips in The Forsaken Inn…

Posted in Blogger | Leave a Comment »

Sente (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 28, 2009

MMO community connection:
a

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

Both board games, card games and other were on the menu. Monopoly, Mastermind, Othello, Chess, Bondespelet (The Farmer game), Cluedo, Risk were a few of the board games. Card games included Canasta, Tölp, Bluffstopp, Svälta Räv (do not know the English names, sorry) for example. It was always with family and friends, never alone.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I did dabble a bit in a few sports, including karate, sabre fencing, table tennis – but did not really stick with any for any longer times. Same thing with music; tried a few instruments like trumpet,, trombone, horn and balalaika, but never stuck with any for long. In the winter time we usually did some cross-country skiing, since we generally had some good tracks through the woods not far from where we lived.

Around when I was 12 years old I started to perform magic tricks, entertaining (or annoying) family and friends :) That was something that got me hook, line and sinker – at least until those devious computers started to creep in too much ;)

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

I did play a few of those from time to time during a period of maybe 7-8 years. I was introduced to the concept though a D&D session by an older friend, but never really continued to play D&D or AD&D. Instead a number of other games like RuneQuest, Traveller, Bushido, Call of Cthulhu and Paranoia were the ones a group of friends and I played to various degrees.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

Yes, I read quite a bit – both books and comic books. For the comic books I read Bamse and Rasmus Nalle in the very early years, but also Tintin and Asterix – both of which I had a few books of before I could even read. My comic book experiences in the childhood years and into teens included mainly a number of Franco-Belgian comics; Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, Spirou, Johan & Peewit, Steven Strong, The Smurfs, Blueberry and Valérian & Laureline. In particular Valérian & Laureline was my absolute favourite comic for a long time and I still have everything that was published in Sweden.

Outside that sphere I did read The Phantom and Modesty Blaise also.

In terms of books I read many detective/mystery books aimed at youths not long after I learned to read. A few years later I started to read some of the books my father had, who is interested in SciFi and Fantasy. That introduced me to JRR Tolkien and Isaac Asimov and and I got hooked on those genres. The local libraries had somewhat small sections of SciFi and Fantasy books and I read most of what I could find there. In fantasy I think besides Tolkien that Ursula le Guin, Bertil Mårtensson and C S Lewis might be the ones I remember most. For SciFi there were many authors, but early on I think Isaac Asimov, Brian Aldiss, Robert Silverberg, Robert Heinlein and Harry Harrison were among those most read.

In the late teens I started to read novels from British and American authors in English instead of the Swedish translation and has continued ever since – if possible I prefer to read it in the author’s native language.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I do not think it affected appreciation of computer games in general, but perhaps to some extent the choices of games I would play – I knew which genres I liked.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

The very first experience was probably some arcade game like Asteroids or Space Invaders, or possibly Pong (an uncle had bought some game console I think). I do not remember which was first or when that was. I never caught the gaming bug at that point.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

That did happen and I think it was probably fairly fun. But it was never something that I spent a lot of time (or money) on.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

I got my first home computer when I was 16, a VIC-20. This was 6-7 months after I had started to learn programming (Basic). Initially I learned Basic just reading books, but did not have any computer to actually type in the programs I created. After I got access to a computer at school I started to actually write programs for real. The VIC-20 I bought because it was affordable and had a real keyboard and my main intent was to have something of my own to write programs on. Games were not on my mind initially.

I did pick up some games for it after a while though; Attack of the Mutant Camels was the very first one. The one though that caused me to want to start write games though were Scott Adams’ Adventureland. That game had me hooked on adventure games and I started to write some adventure games of my own (not particularly good though).

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Playstation, PS2, XBox, PSP, PS3. Still own the last two.

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

Perhaps not so much a child experiences, since this started when I was 17: There was one game that was one of the first ones I got for the Commodore64 that stuck with me and a numberof my friends for many years – M.U.L.E. I think we probably played that at least semi-regularly for 12-13 years. It is such a brilliant game and works very well for a few friends getting together, since you can play 4 persons.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wiqd (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 27, 2009

MMO community connection:

iMMOvation

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I always loved board games and imagination (toys) games as I grew up.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I played sports in elementary school for a little league football team. I’ve always been artistic and creative, so writing and drawing have existed in my repertoire for a long time. I tried playing the trumpet for a bit, but music never caught on for me as a hobby.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

I was exposed to it in my early teens and have been playing it ever since. I started with AD&D 2nd edition and have played a number of games. I won’t touch vampire P&P games though ;)

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

Love(d) reading. My first set of books were the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. I haven’t yet read Wheel of Time, but I’ve read a few of R.A. Salvatore’s books and some Anne Mcaffrey stuff as well.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I think the introduction to the fantasy world helped, but seeing as how I’m attracted to futuristic MMOs as well, that can’t be ALL the reason. I don’t really compare MMO worlds I frequent to any books I’ve read, I just see how their take on “fantasy” compares with others out there. I do it for the sanctity of the book really. I don’t want to ruin a book’s world by going “it would be better if it had…”

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

I don’t remember the exact age, probably around 7 or 8, but my first system was the Nintendo Entertainment System. I had seen other systems for sale, but that was my first owned system.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I played coin-op games any chance I could. I remember flocking to them in pizza joints, movie theaters and the actual arcade places setup just for gamers. I miss those days and I miss coin-oping. I was quite sad when I first saw console games that outdid the arcade counterpart.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

I think that would be Sonic. I was old enough to be able to form impressions on my own and I played every Sonic game from beginning to end.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Genesis, SegaCD, 32X, Nintendo64, playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox, Xbox360, Wii, Gamecube, Gameboy, GameGear, PSP and some others (NeoGeo, etc).

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I remember when Rampage first came out for consoles and I was SO happy. I took it over to my friend’s house to play it and we ended up staying up ALL night to do so. I think we stopped when we realized there was no end, but that was at like 4am. Then we played Contra :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Foolsage (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 27, 2009

MMO community connection:

Fool’s Age

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I loved games as a child and still do. I started with checkers and chess, then moved on to board games like Monopoly and Life, then more complex stuff like Risk. Then this amazing new game called Dungeons and Dragons came out and the rest is history.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I played soccer for 10 years, played trumpet and baritone in band, and debated in the National Forensics League. I was also in the Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout).

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Well, I’ve played or DMed almost everything released in the last 30 years, and have playtested several games prior to release. I also have coauthor credit on a couple of D&D supplements. So, yeah, I was exposed.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I read the Lord of the Rings when I was 8 years old and loved it. I’ve read it at least once every year for the last 3+ decades now. See above re: my library to get a sense how much of a bibliophile I am in general.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

Absolutely; Tolkien influenced my love of the fantasy genre, which has led to fantasy being my favorite genre overall for gaming. I like scifi and comic themes as well but play more fantasy-based games than any other sort.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

I remember seeing Pong in a pizza parlour when I was quite young, and being intrigued by the bouncing ball. I moved on to proper arcades in the late 70s through mid 80s, playing stuff like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. At the same time I started computer gaming, with stuff like the Wizardry and Ultima series. At that same period I also used to get computer magazines like A+ and Byte, and use the code published therein to write my own games like Wumpus hunts.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

Heck yeah, see above answer. I used to spend a lot of time and money on Kangaroo and Galaxian and that era’s titles.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

The Wizardry series is the first that really drew me in collectively, and made me care about the overall plot. It was the closest I could get to computer D&D back then.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Atari 2600, XBOX, Wii, XBOX 360.

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

When I was around 9, my parents and some friends were playing Risk, and invited me to join them. Long story short, I won fairly quickly and they never wanted to let me play again. Thankfully my friends liked gaming, and I focussed on non-zero-sum games thereafter so I wouldn’t repeat the experience. Cooperative is better for me than competitive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Jennifer (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on March 26, 2009

MMO community connection:

Girl Unplugged

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I loved to play board games, and “house” – a general term for playing pretend. My family didn’t really enjoy playing, though, so I hardly ever got to play board games as often as I wanted to.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I didn’t have any other hobbies when I was 10 and under, because my family couldn’t afford club sports or musical instruments and the like. In middle school I joined the academic UIL team, and when I was 11 I joined a Masonic youth group that I belonged to for nine years.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

I briefly played pen-and-paper games, though it wasn’t as a child. One game was Exalted, in which I only played one story arc. Later on I played Scion, attempting to take on the role of story teller. It didn’t go so well, as my social anxiety rendered me nearly incapable of reading through my prepared script. I have since concluded that I am not good at improvisation or role playing.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I didn’t read very much as a child, which is odd considering the affection I have for reading as an adult. When I did read, I remember it was mostly biographies in elementary school: Dolly Madison, Anne Frank, etc. I also liked Roald Dahl a lot, The Witches and Matilda were my favorites.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I don’t think they did. My appreciation for gaming and MMOs today stems from my enjoyment of video games as a child…but I guess I’ll expand on that in the next section.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

My older brother had a Nintendo on which I occasionally played Duck Hunt. I was probably 5 or 6 at the time. Later on we got a Super Nintendo and we played a lot of Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Brothers. I loved playing video games because they offered me a chance to spend time with my older brother, whom I always looked up to and wanted to emulate. He often beat me mercilessly in Mario Kart and other games, being 5 years older and more naturally skilled, but I still loved playing with him.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I think I played some Pac-Man, and I remember a Simpsons arcade game at a movie theatre we used to go to as kids, but I was never much of an arcade fan. When we went to pizza places and other locations that had arcade games, I preferred to play skee ball if it was available.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

I recall Mortal Kombat very vividly. I loved playing Mileena or Kitana, because they were beautiful and just as tough as their male counterparts. Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 4 was the first game I actually bought for myself and didn’t just share with my brother or my friends. That was probably the day I became a real “gamer”, even if sports games are looked down on by some people in the gaming community. I say “real” because games became a hobby of my own at that point, not just something I did socially with my family or my peers.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

I didn’t own a console of my own until four years ago when I inherited my dad’s PS2.

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

When I played battle mode in Mario Kart as a child, I would sometimes play Luigi instead of Princess Peach (my usual choice). When I did this, and when I did something particularly evil to the other NPCs or to my brother, I would shout out “Ha, a loogie!” in a sort of sing-song voice. I didn’t know what “loogie” meant at the time, I guess it must have been my alternative pronunciation of Luigi’s name. Either way, I very vividly remember doing this almost constantly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.