Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces


Posted by Randolph Carter on March 14, 2009

MMO community connection:

Travels With Troy

Chapter 1: Introduction

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

Troy Christensen, Shalimar (Everquest II), Tuffenuff (Everquest), Troynan (Age of Conan), Dagsabor (Warhammer), Meganaut (City of Heroes)

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


Voyages of Vanguard

EQual Perspectives

Travels with Troy


Emerald Tablet

Role-Playing Game Systems (Pen and Paper):

Phantasm Adventures

Advanced Phantasm Adventures




Game Modules & Adventures:

Devil’s Domain (Villains & Vigilantes: FGU)

Most Wanted III (V&V: FGU)

Dawn of the Devil (V&V: FGU)

Ice Age (GURPS: Steve Jackson Games)

Castle Guide (AD&D: TSR [Wizards of the Coast])

Arms & Equipment (AD&D: TSR)

Heroes & Rogues (RoleMaster: ICE)

Thieve’s Challenge (AD&D: TSR)


Amish Johnson and the Pegasus Chamber (unpublished)

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

Several years ago, while working in a constrained computer job, I started tapping into Itunes to listen to podcasts of the gaming nature. I started off with the more well known titles such as PC Gamer, but quickly wandered into a whole range of smaller podcasts. This is where I found Virginworlds and Brent.

At the time, I was very excited about a new MMO called Vanguard and I was shocked that no one was really talking about it. So in May of 2007 I created my first podcast called “The Voyages of Vanguard”. I ran with that show for more than a year before moving onto “Equal Perspectives” which tried to cover both the Everquest and Everquest II community.

With most podcasts, soon it became more of a chore than a fun hobby and the show waned. To try and revive my enthusiasm I created “Travels with Troy” a show that was less restrictive and allowed me to talk about all sorts of gaming. Alas, I have fallen victim again to the “Fade” and need to find inspiration again to continue my podcasting.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The street that my parents lived on was Jupiter and I tell everyone that was my home. It sounds a bit more exotic to have grown up on Jupiter than in Grand Rapids.

I have lived extensibly in the Grand Rapids area my whole life, venturing a bit north to Sparta and to another hamlet called Comstock Park. I did make a foray to Japan for a year and another journey to Washington DC for another year, but each time I was dragged back to my roots.

Where do you live now?

I live now, not more than a stone throw from the farm I grew up in Comstock Park. The rolling cattle pastures now gone and replaced with house after house. The ponds and copses of trees are gone, replaced with manicured lawns and concrete pavement.

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 (Can this be true? This must be a mistake I feel like I should be 10-20)

What do you do for a living?

I am an IT Administrator for Spartan Graphics

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

I would be a coral diver in Fiji. The thought of being surrounded by the aquamarine waves of the Pacific, with the lush golden sun overhead, seems serene. A small eighteen foot boat cresting the waves until I throw my cement filled pale overboard as an anchor, and diving into the warm, sweet waters filled with tropical fish of every kind – with no other worries than finding a few pieces of coral to buy me my dinner. No technology, no people . . . just a white sandy beach, a palm thatched roof over my head, and the lapping waves of the great pacific keeping time.

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

  • I am really not that gifted with working with technology
  • I am an extreme introvert
  • I used to drink too much, just shy of being an alcoholic
  • I like Big Band music, such as Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller
  • I dated my boss’s wife before they were married

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I have a brother, who is a successful programmer with People Soft.  I have a sister, who is a head nurse in UP (that’s Michiganese for the Upper Peninsula).  My parents are retired, my mom was a nurse and my dad was a truck driver.  I am the youngest of the clan, though married I have no children.

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?

When I was growing up we didn’t have any video games. I remember when I was around 14 saving up to buy a console that played pong. My next door neighbor had a small hand held unit that also had tank — I was so jealous of him.

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

I really always enjoyed games growing up, and my brother would play Risk and the old Avalon Hill strategy games. My brother is eight years older than me and he soon grew tired of trouncing his little brother. I soon after moved on to RPGs that were just coming out. I made my own Dungeons & Dragons game at 12. To this day I remember with pristine clarity going to the hobby store and buying the AD&D Dungeon Master’s guide.

I was never very active in sports — obtaining the nickname “pockets” for sitting out in left field with my hands in my pockets playing softball.

My parents were too poor for me to ever own a musical instrument and I never really got into it.

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

I could talk for hours on RPGs. I have so many fond memories playing Villains & Vigilantes, Dungeons & Dragons, RoleMaster, Swords & Glory, Star Wars, Champions, Phantasm Adventures, and Arduin & Grimoire. My best times were the saturdays in the late 90s, before marriage and the world bogged me down, having ten to twelve guys over in my little house and playing games from Noon to Midnight. Simply fun.

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 allot of stuff, probably not as much as others. My favorite authors had to be Robert Heinlein, Terry Brooks, and Alan Dean Foster.

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.

Terry Brooks basically shaped my idea of what fantasy is with his Sword of Shannarra series. I also think that Alan Dean Foster shaped my ideas on what a future rpg should be like and the fantastic stories that could be developed for such a system. Robert Heinlein proved that you could have great SciFi without getting bogged down into too much technology.

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

My first video games were at the arcades — I never owned a console until my early twenties and never found much use for them. I believe the first game system I had was a Gensis — Road Rash stick outs in my mind as a game I played allot of.

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

In Michigan you could get 10 cents for bottle returns. I used to drive around on my little scooter finding bottles and trading them in for quarters. The quarters then made their way into a slew of cool arcade games including Asteroids, War Wyzzards, and a ton of other games with their names lost in old memories.

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

Tank — I think that was the name of it. You have your tank in a three dimensional polygonal world and with left and right joysticks you plowed around in the world hunting other ray traced tanks. That was the impetus for three-D worlds.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Only owned one, the Genisis-64, if I remember right. Never did much of that myself. Road Rash was a favorite of my cousin and I; we would take turns playing the game, jeering and cheering the other on.

One Response to “Troy”

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