Gamer – Jared Newman

23 Sep

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

I’m a Los Angeles-based blogger and journalist who tried to write about video games but got sucked towards technology writing instead. My regular gigs include PC World and Technologizer, and I just started freelancing for the New York Times. I also run a small game culture blog called GamerCrave.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

My family had an Atari computer that played game cartridges, and sometimes they’d set it up for me, but when I was about four years old I learned how to work the Atari 2600. I’d play Berzerk and Space Invaders and come up with little narratives in my head, because back then, games didn’t really have plots. They were more like frameworks. I kind of miss that.

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Gamer – Martin Gaston

22 Sep

Well, we’re back. Sorry for the hiatus, it was a little longer than first expected as I arrived home to a bulging inbox and far too much to do at home. So, from today we’ll be back doing what we do best – pestering Gamers for their opinions on anything and everything. We’ve got some great interviews coming up soon, especially once I’ve nagged some people into sending their responses back.

So, without further ado, I bring you, arguably the King of straplines – Martin Gaston.

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

My name is Martin Gaston and I do many things. I’m also a Staff Writer for VideoGamer.com.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

Let me get out a calculator. We’re in 2010, so if I work backwards I end up, probably, at Christmas 1993 or thereabouts – which would have made me 7, which sounds about right. I got a Sega Master System (II) for my Christmas present that year. I wanted a Mega Drive, which my parents couldn’t afford, so I made do with the tinier 8-bit cousin. Basically, I was both delighted and furious.

I remember hooking the thing up on Christmas day – all the malarkey with RF boxes and tuning channels meant I had to get my Dad to do it, and he wasn’t best pleased. My only game (until my birthday eight months later, where I got Sonic and Batman Returns) was Alex Kidd in Miracle World. I never completed it. What kind of game, lacking any means of a save system, forces you to play a random game of rock, paper, scissors with each boss? The designers for that game are complete shits.

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Gamer – Nick Akerman

10 Sep

Today sees freelance dynamo, Nick Akerman, take on the 13 questions. With plenty of gaming history to read and an interesting take on 3D visual displays, it makes for a cracking read.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any updates to the blog next week as I will be away and unavailable to post. Stick with us though as we have some cracking content coming in the near future.

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

My name’s Nick Akerman, and I’m a freelance journalist. You can see my work on websites such as IGN, GameSpot, MTV and a host of others. I’ve recently contributed to GamesTM and also appeared on the pages of NGamer Magazine. I’m a freelance bitch, basically.

As of September 18th, I’ll be attending the University of Leeds for three years, reading Cultural Studies.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

Sonic the Hedgehog was released just after I was born, and it was probably the first game I ever played. My earliest memories stem from replaying the Green Hill Zone as many times as my brother’s would let me, and also getting worried that Sonic would drown in the Labyrinth Zone. Similarly, I loved to cram in as much Altered Beast and Alien Storm as I possibly could into my busy toddler schedule.

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Gamer – Pete Davison

9 Sep

I love these interviews, you never know what you;re going to get back from people. The process is simple, I send the 13 questions to people via email and they fill it in and send it back. It’s great fun opening each attachment to see what people have entered but also how they took each question. Pete Davison took each question very literally, which is fantastic. In the end, Pete had written over 2000 words and most of those were part of his gaming history. And what a history it is, if you like the in depth histories of our Gamers, then this one is a treat.

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

My name’s Pete Davison. I’m the brother of John Davison, whom you may have heard of. I’m a freelance video games journalist who currently writes news for Kombo.com as well as various other articles for anywhere who will take them. I’m also a founder member of “The Squadron of Shame”, and the editor/producer of their podcast.

I’m a trained teacher, but am pursuing a full-time career in the games industry right now. Because although both of them involve whining children upon occasion, at least when gaming with them you have a “mute” button.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

My whole family have been into games as long as I can remember. I grew up in a household full of Atari computers, from the 400 onwards. My Dad used to write for an Atari magazine called Page 6, later renamed New Atari User thanks to its absorption of another magazine whose name you may be able to guess. My brother got his start in journalism in his teens writing for this magazine, and so did I.

I couldn’t have been very old when I first started gaming. I was pretty much playing as soon as I was old enough to pick up a joystick. I vividly remember playing “Spy vs Spy” with my babysitter on one occasion. I won.

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Gamer – Lee Bradley

8 Sep

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

Lee Bradley – My name is Lee Bradley. I write for a number of websites – teeny widdly ones, news bloggy ones, big fat established ones, up and coming ones, respected ones… and other ones.

When I’m not doing that, I play videogames.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

LB – I’ve been playing them as long as I remember. They’ve always been part of the fabric of my life. Like television, cinema, BMXs or football, as a kid they were just… what you do.

The thing that cemented my passion is a little more interesting though. As a kid I used to get dragged from bowling alley to bowling alley by my Dad. He played to a high level. So

instead of watching him play (boring!) I would disappear into the arcades.

While I was there I met a boy called Damian. Turns out Damian’s Father was a high-up suit at Sega Europe. Accordingly, he had consoles, games and arcade cabinets coming out of his ears. It was my time spent with Damian that turned a pastime into an obsession.

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Gamer – Johnny Cullen

7 Sep

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

My name’s Johnny Cullen. Previously the editor of GOONL!NE and a freelancer, I’m currently Associate UK Editor for VG247.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

My brother and sister used to be hardcore SEGA nuts back in the day when I was 4. My cousin also used to have an NES, but I can’t remember what games he had. It also used to break down a lot, if memory serves me right.

Q3. Omit nothing, what is your gaming history? Where did it start and how did it progress?

When I was six, my mum bought me a GameBoy and the Olympics tie-in. For Christmas that year (1997), and a week before my 8th birthday, I got a PS1 with Crash Bandicoot and Porsche Challenge. A couple of years later, in January 2001, I got a PS2 for my 10th birthday with Ri(iiiiiiiiiiii)dge Racer 5 and Ready 2 Rumble 2. After wanting it with my PS2, I got SSX two months later (gimmie ‘ma new SSX, EA!). I got a GBA for Christmas that year with one game – the only game I’d get for it – Mario Kart GBA. Got a PSP at launch in 2005 with Need for Speed Underground. The following years for Christmas, I got a 360 with Gears of War and TDU1. I got a PS3 at launch as well with Resistance, Motorstorm and F1. I got a Wii the following year with Mario Galaxy and Guitar Hero III.

Q4. Why do you actually play games? Is it for fun? Or maybe something else?

For fun and to escape, really. I won’t get into it for personal reasons, but videogames have been the one thing I could rely on to calm me down (unless it was COD4 online)

Q5. If you could choose one game (just one) to give to other gamers, one that epitomises videogames for you, what would it be?

That’s a toughie. But I think it has to be Metal Gear Solid 3. It really is Kojima’s best work in terms of story. Amazing.

Q6. What was the last game you completed? Did you enjoy it?

I think it was Alan Wake. And yes, I enjoyed it. Gameplay was a bit off-key, but I loved the story and it’s soundtrack. Loved it, and I highly anticipate a sequel.

Q7. Now the tough stuff… Favourite gaming platform ever… and why?

As good as 360 is, and although PS3 is starting to come into it’s own, it has to be PlayStation 2. That defined my childhood, my gaming history and what has become my passion.

Plus, the games. MGS2, MGS3, GTAIII, San Andreas, Vice City, Zone of the Enders 2 and Burnout 3 just made it elite to me.

Q8. Favourite game or franchise?

Easy: Metal Gear Solid. As for favourite game, has to be MGS3. As much as I love MGS1, 2 and 4, 3 defined the series for me. Amazing.

Q9. How do you feel about online gaming?

I love it. Mostly. It just depends on the games, something Gears, Halo or CoD is good for me, but it’s Metal Gear Online that really made me love online. Let’s just say I’ve had some amazing online experiences with it.

Q10. And motion control?

I can’t really give an opinion as such. I’ve only tried Kinect once and PlayStation Move a couple of times, all of which at gamescom. But it’s obvious Wii has set the standard, so let’s see how both do against Wii first before giving a judgement.

Q11. How about 3D gaming?

I only played Motorstorm Apocalypse in 3D and a 3D tech demo of Final Fantasy XIV, so again, can’t give a real judgement. But it’s obvious we need a massive price-drop and be gone with the glasses before forking out on a 3DTV. That said, even though I haven’t seen it myself, I’m very interested on 3DS. I’ve heard people gush over it, so I’d like to see it’s potential.

Q12. Where do you want to see the industry in five years time?

Go ask Pachter. He’s more of a physic them me. 🙂

Q13. What does gaming mean to you?

This is going to sound silly, but in four words: it’s my life now. Without it, I wouldn’t have been into my job after all. And it also gives me a break from real-life whenever needed.

Gamer – Andrew Durdin

6 Sep

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

Andrew Durdin – My name’s Andrew Durdin. I’m an Aussie, living in Edinburgh, Scotland, and working as a web programmer at the moment. I’ve been an avid gamer almost as long as I remember, and have dabbled a bit in game development as a (rather meandering) hobby.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

AD – My earliest memory of gaming is from 1987, visiting some friends on a farm in the New South Wales countryside, and playing Sopwith and Temple of Loth — both of which have marked themselves indelibly on my psyche. I was 6 years old at the time.

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What do YOU Think – Games Retail

3 Sep

Obviously one of the reasons for this little blog is to find out what Gamers want and what they think of the industry as a whole. Every now and then a question will arise that needs answering by YOU the Gamer. We’ll be tackling these questions over on Twitter, as 140 characters is a lovely way of being concise in your opinion.

The question this time was how Gamers felt about the current retail model set by high street stores and how they felt about the used game market. A reasonably hot topic, to be sure, but also one that can sometimes divide opinion. Below you can see every tweet we received and please feel free to add to the response in our comments section below, even if you were one of the original Tweeters.

@larserikdahle – The GameStop business model is exploitative and outdated and will cease to be profitable when downloads take over.

@GregGiddens – Availability problem. A decreasing amount of new games on shelves but loads of preowned marked up to profit the store only.

@BenBudr – The used game arguments confuse me. I’m supposed to choose between feeling sorry for the retail chain or the publishing giant?

@Wanyal – If prices drop quickly after releases, why not drop the standard retail price so people wont trade in as much to buy games new?

@Sogeman – @Wanyal Indeed, make the new Price f.e. 45€ instead of the 60€ it’s now. People won’t sell them if they get nearly nothing.

@bradgallaway – The industry’s business models are outdated and broken, and it’s easier to scapegoat and squeeze the player than effect real change.

@Thiefofhearts – People have every right to sell or loan their property without artificial “hobbles” or damage set by the maker.

@SilentHitoshura – Buying and trading is ofcourse totally fine, however nation chain stores basing their entire business off it is damaging and unfair.

@DarthMazda – I only buy day1 if it is something I LOVE/Must Play. Other than that I wait for price drop / used sale. Not enough $ to buy it all new.

@PeterSkerritt – IMO, used games are a part of the video game economy and do contribute to new game sales in a variety of ways. The reaction of the industry to get rid of used games or punish consumers is a knee-jerk reaction to poor economic conditions and some fiscal irresponsibility. Bottom line: If we’ve been fine with used for 30 years, why is it bad now? Oh, wait. IT ISN’T. (Peter Used more than 140 Chars as he hadn’t seen that requirement – Ed)

@sleepinghypatia – A strong second-hand games market is positive. But will it disappear as we move away from physical media towards digital downloads?

@DaxHalo – RRP needs to fall, but supermarket prices stop. Publishers to stop whining about used sales & piracy. Instead focus on worthwhile DLC.

Now let’s break off the shackles of 140 characters and open it up to everyone else. Seen a tweet you don’t agree with? Got your own opinion on the state of retail and the used game trend? Let us know in the comments below.

Gamer – Chris Schilling

2 Sep

Today’s Gamer is Chris Schilling, as Chris will tell you he is a freelance videogame journalist. What you may also grasp from his responses is that the freelance journalism “game” is a tough one. One often full of hard work and rejections. Chris is a wonderful writer and one that genuinely cares and loves the industry with a passion. It would be a shame for writers such as him to have to step away from something they love so much. Unfortunately in this financial climate more editors are tightening their belts and as we see on a daily basis people are losing their jobs and developers are shutting their doors.

There is little that we, as consumers, can do, other than keep buying the games; reading the magazines and websites; supporting our industry with honest money, opinions and decisions. We’re still an entertainment medium in it’s infancy and it’s only the audience, not the developers nor publishers, that can make it truly great.

I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Chris and his 13 answers.

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

Chris Schilling – I’m Chris Schilling, and I’m a freelance writer. Over the years I’ve contributed to the likes of Eurogamer, NGamer, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Games TM, Official Nintendo Magazine, 360 and a number of other publications and websites that I won’t mention here because that list was already starting to get a bit boring. I’ve also been a consultant for the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition for the past two years. Despite my experience I’m not getting enough work these days, so it’s likely I’ll be moving onto something else soon.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

CS – I must have been about five. My parents frowned upon consoles, but computers were fine because they could be used for educational/work purposes. Dad bought us an Oric Atmos, with a few games, of which I remember two: Mr. Wimpy and Zorgon’s Revenge.

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Gamer – Lauren Wainwright

1 Sep

Oh no, someone let Wainwright do the 13 questions. Be prepared for plenty of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft and Tomb Raider. But seriously, there’s more to Lauren than just  Tomb Raider, find out below.

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

Lauren Wainwright – I’m Lauren Wainwright, that’s who! I study (BA) Games Culture and Journalism at London Metropolitan as well as work as a freelance games writer for several publications. I blog about games and I’ve also dabbled in games PR.

Q2. When did you first get into games? How old were you?

LW – I was very, very young. We had the Atari 2600 but the re-release version with the better joystick. I was probably about three or four by then and don’t think I really paid much attention to what I was actually playing and more attention onto the big button on the joystick. I think I remember playing ADVENTURE though. Oh and Pong.

It wasn’t until my brother let me play on his Commodore Amiga 500 that I started to show interest. Games like Top Banana, Lemmings, First Samurai, Addams Family, Turbo Challenger, Alien Breed, Pinball Fantasies, Captain Planet, Theme Park, Rainbow Island and Chuck Rock. All amazing stuff!

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