When did you start playing video games?
I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t playing video games. I definitely recall playing Atari at my grandparents’ houses, and I would have been 5 years old or less around that time. It seems to funny now to think that both sets of my grandparents owned a video game console before my parents or I ever did.
What is the first game you remember playing?
I don’t recall what I played first as much as I remember what my grandparents played. I know that one of my grandmothers was fantastic at the Atari boxing game. I remember that at some point I started to really like Pitfall and some horse racing game.
The first games I really played on my own were Tetris and Super Mario World for my original Game Boy. I got it for Christmas the year it came out and I could not have been happier. I also played a ton of different games on our Apple IIGS, but I can’t remember the titles of most of those.
PC or Console?
Almost entirely PC these days. I’ve owned every Nintendo console from the SNES forward, but the majority of the games I play now are on my computer. I have never purchased a PlayStation or XBox for myself, although one of each currently live in my house thanks to my significant other.
XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
Wii, but really only because I want to be able to play Nintendo titles. If I could play those on a PC I probably wouldn’t own a console at all. I’m not particularly interested in motion detection consoles or software, but playing a super competitive game of Wii Sports golf is always fun.
What’s the best game you’ve ever played?
This is so hard. I guess it’s probably going to have to be the Mass Effect series, just because I feel like I could keep playing it over and over again and never get tired of it, even if I keep making more or less the same decisions that I always do.
What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?
Paper Mario: Sticker Star. This is kind of unfair to say, I suppose, because it was going to be hard for a new Paper Mario game to live up to my expectations for the series after The Thousand Year Door, which is one of my favorite games. Even so, the combat system and the need to collect stickers got very tedious very quickly, and the story didn’t grab me the way Thousand Year Door did.
Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.
I do not have the patience necessary to enjoy Braid. It’s a really unique idea with extremely challenging puzzles, but I just got too frustrated with it too quickly to want to continue. I guess my mind isn’t cut out for time travel.
Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
As I mentioned in my introductory post, Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums is a game that got almost universally poor reviews that I absolutely love. Sure, it’s a terrible example of a Carmen Sandiego game in that it is in no way an actual Carmen Sandiego game, but it’s a fun stealth platformer that I come back to every few years if I want a game with fun mechanics and basically no story.
I also had a ton of fun with Fable 3, which is another game a lot of people hated. My boyfriend and I played through the entire campaign on multiplayer (which made saving up all that cash you need at the end ridiculously easy). The game really didn’t scale up difficulty appropriately for having two players rather than one, so we mostly smashed through everything with the silliest abilities and costumes we could find.
What are your favourite game genres?
Action/adventure, time management, stealth. That’d be a pretty weird game if you combined all 3.
Who is your favourite game protagonist?
Red from Transistor. I love her character design and her voice, and I love that one of the first things we see her do in the game is to turn right when Sword Boyfriend tells her to turn left.
Describe your perfect video game.
A really deep story (preferably something sci-fi or set in modern day, not fantasy) with an interesting female protagonist. Engaging combat and some sort of stealth system.
What video game character do have you have a crush on?
Thane from Mass Effect 2/3.
What game has the best music?
Transistor. The game came out months ago and I still can’t stop listening to it. Music from Transistor is my ringtone and my text notification. It’s my startup and shutdown sounds for Windows.
Most memorable moment in a game:
When I beat the original Mass Effect game for the first time and my Shep crawled out of the pile of debris and smiled. I’d played my Shep very serious that entire time, and so seeing her give just the faintest smile as she emerged was a big deal to me.
Scariest moment in a game:
I’ve mentioned on Twitter that I have a really hard time getting into scary games because they just don’t usually work on me. So I suppose the closest thing would be something that scared me because I didn’t like what was going on or kept failing, and that would absolutely be the wolf attack quick-time event in the Tomb Raider reboot. That thing made me want to toss my computer out a window.
Alternatively, one of the biggest rushes I’ve gotten from playing a game was climbing up to the top of the Empire State Building way back in the Spiderman 2 game, and then diving off the top and casting out my webs just in time to swing away from the street.
Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
There were several points in my first play-through of the Mass Effect series that I simply had to sit at my desk for a few minutes with my head down and try to decide what decision to make. Probably the worst of these was when I did Legion’s loyalty mission in ME2, and I brought Tali with me because I had no idea what was going to happen. Fortunately, I had enough Paragon levels at that point to be able to reconcile them, but not realizing that was going to be an option, I spent a good 10 minutes basically doing this before I made my decision.
What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?
Paste Magazine’s games section, Rock Paper Shotgun, and a handful of others. Generally, though, I am more interested in specific writers than websites.
What’s the last game you finished?
Hyrule Warriors, in that I finished the Story mode. I’m definitely not done with the game, though.
What future releases are you most excited about?
The Telltale Game of Thrones project, Bayonetta 2, Splatoon, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Do you identify as a gamer?
Generally no, and I’ve become even less comfortable with that label after the events of the last few months. I rarely identify as a gamer within the gaming community, because I do not want to take on the mantle of all the other things that identity conveys aside from simply “a person who enjoys playing games.” I don’t personally feel that the term holds much value for me, or accurately describes who I am. That said, I am more likely to identify as a gamer to someone who is outside of the gaming community, because I do think it is important to break the idea of what a “gamer” looks like and how they act. Ideally, I would prefer that the term eventually become synonymous with saying something like “I am an avid reader,” where it merely expresses an activity I enjoy without simultaneously conveying something about my personality.
Why do you play video games?
For entertainment – specifically, entertainment that is more interactive than other forms of media. Also, because there is so much depth to the critical analysis going on of video games right now, and I’m really happy to have a chance to participate in those discussions.