Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

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.

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