Gamer – Emily Knox

27 Aug

Seriously, what a cool name. Emily sounds like an evil villain in a comic book, brilliant. Next up are 13 questions for Miss Knox, she does like writing for places and once played a game called Gorillas… I don’t know either.

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

Emily Knox – I’m Emily Knox, a student, I’ve been reviewing games for four years, developing them for one, and I’m hoping to return to game development in art or design once I get my degree.

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

EK – I remember playing a few MS-DOS games on my dad’s computer with my sister, I don’t think we could finish Rescue Rover (that’s a game about rescuing a dog from robots, of course), Nibbles (Snake, with two players), but the best was Gorillas – where you’d take it in turns to throw explosive bananas over skyscrapers at each other by typing in the angle and velocity of each throw. I suppose I was about 6 or 7.

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

EK – It started more seriously than Gorillas when my parents bought me a GameBoy one Christmas, with Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which was totally brilliant and went with me absolutely everywhere. The next big step was a PlayStation, which my parents actually bought second hand from someone with about 20 games. Whoever this person was, they had excellent taste. I was drip-fed Crash Bandicoot 1&2, Tekken 2&3, Toca Touring Cars, V-Rally… a whole bunch of games that I thought were all completely utterly brilliant. I did need my older sister to help me through the scary bits of Tomb Raider: Chronicles, as I believe I emotionally crippled myself for life by playing System Shock 2 at a very early age.

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

EK – Last year I went through a phase where all I wanted to do was level up. I think games like MAG and Borderlands are good, but there’s a whole bunch of things about both titles that irk me. At the time though, I’d come home from work, sit down for hours and just level up. It was nice to switch off and feel like I’m getting somewhere with something (and shoot people). I like to think it’s back to fun now, but I recently tried to play an NFL game on all-pro and felt like a swore at the screen for a solid half hour, but I was doing it for several reasons: my boyfriend plays American football and I’d like to understand the rules better, a friend of mine is trying to out-level me with trophies on PSN, and you can only earn trophies by playing on all-pro (as a pose to pro or rookie which I’d be far more suited to), but the amount going on at one time in a match still overwhelms me.

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

EK – I want everyone to sit down and thoroughly absorb Metal Gear Solid (PS1). I found the story completely engaging, the stealth game play keeps you completely on the edge, the bosses are thoughtful and enjoyable, and there’s so much depth if you want it; the optional CCTV cut scenes at the start before Snake begins his mission are packed with information, and you can squeeze so much out each of your codec contacts whenever you like. The VR training is straight forward, it’ll allow anyone to understand the techniques you can use to get around the game when you finally start Snake’s mission.

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

EK – I can’t remember, right now I’m racking up a list of games where I’m very near the end and have given up frustrated. The last one might be Borderlands, my character is maxed-out stats wise but I haven’t killed General Knoxx on my second playthrough (once I’d stopped levelling up I stopped caring).

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

EK – My PlayStation. There were so, so many truly great games, and my console survived many hardships including spilt tea, which was very impressive.

Q8. Favourite game or franchise?

EK – The Metal Gear series, now and, I suspect, always. Although I found MGS4 to be a bit of an emotional downer because I’m so attached to Snake, the series has a new lease of life with me in the form of Peace Walker. David Hayter’s voice gives me goosebumps.

Q9. How do you feel about online gaming?

EK – I totally love teaming up with, and being competitive amongst my friends. I’ve had so many great moments playing Killzone 2, MAG, and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift with a strong group, there’s a great thrill with those games. In MMO’s I love nothing more than taking on a healing role, where other people depend on me and I get to stand in the background and look after everyone.

The crucial thing is having good friends. I remember my final match of Halo 2, I played Capture the Flag, and when my team cottoned on that I was female they all decided to kill me. I booted each one from the game and realised that it was actually moronic of me to be paying a subscription fee to be treated like this. I cancelled my Xbox Live membership shortly afterwards.

Q10. And motion control?

EK – The words “do not want” spring to mind. If I want to move around, I’ll go outside and enjoy the fresh air. When I play a game I want to sit on a sofa and relax with some refreshments to hand, not flail around the living room damaging people and objects. The only game I’ve loved that made me move was Flower, which was absolutely wonderful. Sadly when anything else asking me to use the Sixaxis has been frustrating and pointless, like Killzone 2’s explosive placements.

Q11. How about 3D gaming?

EK – I tried the Avatar game in 3D at the Eurogamer Expo in London some time last year, while my initial thought was “wow, that’s quite cool”, I was later thinking “my eyes hurt, the grass looks terrible when it gets up close, and I look like a complete pratt wearing glasses over my glasses”. I’m not sold, but I’d happily give it another go if it was done well.

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

EK – As long as somewhere out there, there are developers just concentrating on making good games where I can hold a controller and press buttons, not exploring for the next fad, I’ll be satisfied.

Q13. What does gaming mean to you?

EK – Years ago it was my hobby that I almost exclusively enjoyed alone. Gaming online has improved significantly now I’m part of a regular group, but amongst my real life friends it’s become a social activity- be it inviting some friends over for an enjoyable foray into Little Big Planet, teaming up in Guitar Hero, or slowly destroying ourselves with drinking game adaptations of Street Fighter and Mashed.

We are known to dip into the realms of discussion and analysis on more thought provoking titles, which is inevitable when you want to take it a step further and make a career out of it.

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