Gamer – Steve Peacock

27 Aug

What is Gamers? Really, that should be what are gamers. Well, to be honest, I’ve been one for over 20 years and I haven’t a clue. So, I thought I’d ask. Over the coming weeks, months, maybe longer, I will interview many different videogame players. Some will be average Joe fans, others will be developers or journalists, no matter what they will all be gamers.

Each of them will be asked the same 13 questions. The purpose of this project is to find out what makes Gamers tick. What games do we like? Why do we play games? What our opinions are of new technology and what our favourite games are. I want to know these things as we are still a young audience to a young entertainment medium.

We start this long journey with Steve Peacock, Deputy Editor of Resolution Magazine and his 13 answers.

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

Steve Peacock – I’m Steve K Peacock, deputy editor of Resolution Magazine, sort of games journalist-ish, sort-of author and that. I also have a driving license.

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

SP – I’m going to have to use wikipedia for this, hang on… Right, the earliest game I remember playing was Dune 2, so I reckon I was about 6. My dad used to play it and I used to watch, then I nagged until he let me have a go. I only played the missions that were concerned with harvesting spice, I wasn’t willing to go to war for my beliefs.

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

SP – Well, it started with Dune 2 as I’ve said, but it blossomed properly when I stole my sister’s Mega Drive. Sonic the Hedgehog gave way to Streets of Rage, which gave way to a load of games I can’t even remember. Then my cousin got a SNES, and its vast superiority in the wrestling game market made me want one. Until relatively recently you could probably plot my adoption of games consoles by their wrestling games, although it was never a conscious decision.

The decision between N64 and Playstation was made by my dad, seeing as he was the one buying it for me. And Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid. They held up well until the craving for Goldeneye kicked in.

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

SP – I don’t think I find them as fun as I did when I was younger, but maybe that’s nostalgia talking. I play because it’s one of the few things I can do. I’m rubbish at sports, never had the patience for music, and my social circle consists of people too busy or disparate to meet up in the real world, so games have to do.

It helps, of course, that it’s a good way to deal with solitude, and the shift towards more complex and cinematic stories in games means I can play them and pretend that they are research for my novels and whatnot.

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

SP – Sonic 3. It’s the basic Kernal of gaming, something that can appeal to everyone without needing to tailor itself for a specific market. There are no Nazis to first-personally shoot, no swearing or gore, just enjoyment.

A lot of developers seem to think that all these extra things are what create the enjoyment, but that’s not true. They can add to the product, yes, but they’re not a substitute for talent. First and foremost we need to remember that games are to be enjoyed, and that’s easiest to see in some of the now-retro things.

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

SP – Crysis. It was… meh. The suit felt like a gimmick more than a mechanic, the story was stupid and the Koreans were far too aware of your position sometimes. If I’d paid full price I’d have been extremely disappointed, but the fact that it took me about 3 years to get a PC that matched the specs meant that it only cost me a fraction of the price. And still, despite that, it was a little disappointing.

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

SP – PC, because it’s basically been the same for as long as I’ve known it. I started on the pc just as DOS was being replaced by Windows 95, and since then Windows hasn’t changed too much. Sure, Windows 7 is swankier and slicker, but at the heart of it it’s still the same sort of thing. Other platforms jump forward in fits and starts, but the PC slowly transitions.

It helps, of course, that I was introduced to gaming via PCs, bonded with my dad over the building/maintaining/upgrading of PCs and come from a family of early adopters when it comes to things like the internet and broadband. Considering how long it took consoles to work out the internet (Dreamcast notwithstanding)…

8. Favourite game or franchise?

SP – I don’t think I have one any more. If I do, it doesn’t jump to mind. Maybe Beneath a Steel Sky. It’s the first game I think of when I think about my favourite genre, closely followed by Broken Sword 2 and Monkey Island 2, but it still comes first.

9. How do you feel about online gaming?

SP – I love online gaming because, without it, my social circle would be limited. Most of the people I talk to I’ve met via online games such as Counter-strike and Team Fortress. For a natural shut-in like me it’s like going outside without the threat of real people.

10. And motion control?

SP – Hate it so far. The Wii has done little to persuade me that it’s any better than the standard forms of control, and in some cases it’s clearly worse. I don’t know how Kinect and Move will pan out, hopefully for the better, but as it stands right now I’d rather have a standard control scheme.

11. How about 3D gaming?

SP – It does come across as a bit of a gimmick right now, just as in cinema. I think it’s a bit too early to tell right now, however.

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

SP – Pretty much where it is now, but with more Call of Duties. It’s a bit disheartening the amount of series that are being exploited to the detriment of creativity. I would hope that the next five years would see an increase in new (ergh, I hate this term) IPs rather than a reliance on brands like Call of Duty or the like. When you ABSOLUTELY MUST have a new game out each year I don’t think it’s a good sign.

13. What does gaming mean to you?

SP – Hopefully it will one day means a career, or something like that. Right now it’s just what I do when I’m not writing, a distraction. A fun distraction, definitely, but one that gets more of my time than writing does. Still, if you’re going to procrastinate you might as well enjoy it!

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