Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Cuppy (Chapter 2)

Posted by Randolph Carter on April 10, 2009

MMO community connection:


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 gotta be honest here, I wasn’t a big board gaming kid. I was an only child, and so I often didn’t have anyone to play with! The games I can remember really liking were Candyland, Mouse Trap, Operation, Mancala, and Chutes & Ladders. I always preferred video games to board games.

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

Oh plenty of things! Pretty much anything a kid can try, I tried. I was in piano lessons for many years, and also vocal lessons. I played a few sports like volleyball, basketball and track & field – but wasn’t really any good at them. I loved drawing, riding horses, collecting stickers, riding bikes, and listening to music. I haven’t really changed much (except the stickers….)

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

Unfortunately, I wasn’t. My parents weren’t into that kind of thing so I didn’t play my first pen & paper game until 2007 or so when my coworkers got a little campaign running.

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 did actually read a TON. I’m having such a hard time remember what it was that I read, but I loved fantasy books, the Madeline L’Engle books, the Narnia series, anything involving horses. I could read almost anything at age 4, so I generally read whatever my parents had lying around. A lot of horror books too, including all of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

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.

Sure, I think appreciation of a good story is always going to help you appreciate good games. While they have plenty of differences, I ultimately play video games and read books for the same purpose – for entertainment and to “lose myself” in the experience. Reading teachs you a lot of secondary skills as well, like reasoning, predicting, memorization, patterns, problem-solving – all of which are beneficial to gameplay.

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

My first platform I ever played was the Sega Master System, which my cousins had when I was about 6. I remember going over there every Saturday night and playing Altered Beast, Sonic, Ecco the Dolphin, Spy vs Spy, and Double Dragon. The first platform I owned was a Nintendo, the first one where you had to blow into the cartridges sometimes to clean them out. I think I was maybe 8 or 9, but it could have been younger than that. I had every console that came out after then.

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

You know, I basically missed that whole awesome arcade experience. I think my generation (born in the mid 80’s) did a lot less playing around in the arcade because we had our own consoles at home. My parents didn’t like games much, so I didn’t have any one to take me to the arcade.

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

Oh wow, what a question. I’m going to have to say it was one of two – either Lunar: The Silver Star or Vay (both for Sega CD). Both of them were JRPG’s with great storylines that pulled me in. Up until this point, I don’t think I had ever beaten a game before. These two made me play all the way until the end and replay them over and over. Lunar had voiceovers, which was totally mindblowing to me. They really started my love for not just JRPGS, but all roleplaying games.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Oh jeez, almost all. First one was NES, and from there I’ve had an SNES, Sega Saturn, Sega CD, Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, Playstation 2, XBox and XBox 360 – plus one of every handheld except the PSP. I definitely was a huge console gamer growing up until I discovered EverQuest.

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

When I was little, I always thought Link’s name WAS Zelda. I didn’t understand that she was the princess. Also, when I’d play Ecco the Dolphin, I would just swim around in the same area for hours and practice jumping out of the water. I don’t think I actually played that game. Oh, and I was also the best Excitebike level creator EVER. That’s about it 🙂


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