Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Troy (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on April 4, 2009

MMO community connection:

Travels With Troy

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.

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