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!

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

LW – Atari 2600 and Commodore Amiga 500 aside, it was watching my elder brother play games like Monkey Island, Duke Nukem, Doom and other such titles on his PC that got me more and more interested. Of course, he probably hated me sitting in his room all the time and watching him play but it was so much fun at the time.

We never had any Nintendo or SEGA consoles at home because my parents couldn’t justify spending the money on them. Luckily we had friends who would bring over the megadrive and SNES for me, my brother and sister to play. There were plenty of hours wasted on Mortal Kombat and it only took a few weeks of spamming Sonya’s spinning kick to get me banned from using her.

I had a Gameboy and developed a scary addiction to Pokémon Blue but it was nothing compared to when the first Sony PlayStation arrived at my house. It was my first console and Jesus Christ I played the crap out of that thing. I still have a stack of memory cards in my drawer! Tomb Raider, Dead or Alive, the Final Fantasys, Grandia, Croc, Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, Parasite Eve II and a bunch of other games took over my life and just blew my mind. It was the graphics which felt so real at the time!

It just carried on from there. Stacks of games piling up and a mother worried about my new obsession.

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

LW – It’s for a number of reasons. I think I got attached to them early on, so whenever I needed some time out from any problems in the real world, they were my release. It got really bad when I went into high school and teased a bit there. I used to sit under the staircase with a few like-minded friends and play Gameboy at lunch times. There were those connector cables everywhere! I felt like I was part of something special, something fun and important.

I’ve always been a awkward child. I was nervous a lot of the time and I can’t remember a lot. Games are one of the few things that just take me back instantly. Playing Tomb Raider III, for example, just reminds me of reading Computer and Video Games magazine, watching Games Master on TV, my old cat Tiger and eating rustic family meals at the table.

Playing any turn based JRPG just reminds me of this Sailor Moon RPG that fans of the series made and uploaded online. They uploaded the game without finishing it and I would constantly re-download it to see what new content they had added. Sadly the save files wouldn’t cross over with each update and I would just have to replay the RPG over and over again. Just that reminds me of being sat in the dining room and it was always cold in there. Having to come off the PC to help my mum set the table for dinner and washing up. It reminds me of my childhood routine and that is comforting. So just playing games just brings up happier times really.

Oh and remember the dial-up noise? God damn I miss that.

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

No fair. I change my mind constantly….

Well, I’d have to say Star Ocean: Second Story for the original PlayStation. There is something about that RPG that caught my attention. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of it, the colourful graphics or the humble tone set during the whole journey. It was constantly offering me something new. It was one of the biggest adventures I had ever set my gaming paws on and it was constantly challenging and rewarding.

The voice acting was terrible, the characters were cliché and the story wasn’t even that gripping but, at the time, these things really didn’t matter to me. I liked the characters, the colours, the battle system and the over complicated skills system needed to create new items.

It just said to me “Hey, I’m a bloody good game and I’m well worth you money!” when I originally picked it up. You could even choose where your story starts by selecting a starting character, which at the time I thought was pretty neat.

I also remember finding it amusing when Rena asked Claude about his home planet “Urth” rather than Earth. A weird thing to get amused by, I know.

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

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was the last game I finished. It was amazing and I loved the change of pace from her usual adventures. Of course, I’d love to see more Tomb Raider but this was a nice change.

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

PlayStation 2. I grew up as a PlayStation girl and it wasn’t until the Xbox 360 that I really deviated from the brand but the PlayStation 2 just blew my mind from the get go.

The graphics and sheer abundance of titles available, it would be stupid to not pick the PS2. It’s had one of the healthiest lifespans out of all the consoles and really did have something for everyone.

Q8. Favourite game or franchise?

Tomb Raider. It’s just bloody fantastic!

Q9. How do you feel about online gaming?

Love it. Love it. Love it. I wasn’t very comfortable with it until I played MMORPGs at school. I realised that not everyone online is a total bastard and that there was genuine friends to be made online.

I think it’s the future and the Xbox 360 has done a fantastic job integrating it into every aspect of the console. It has made me realise I’m quite an aggressive gamer depending on what I play online. I get angry with fighters and even angrier with a poor team during a Battlefield or Call of Duty match. I get a little too serious at times!

Co-op games are a real blessing however and I just wish there were more of them.

Q10. And motion control?

Still down own a Wii but I’m looking at buying one very soon actually. It’s not totally my thing but Kinect looks like a right giggle.

Q11. How about 3D gaming?

I played the 3DS a few weeks back and I’m still undecided. While it totally blew my mind with the technology, it screwed my eyes over really quickly and I can’t see going from a 3D to a 2D screen constantly is going to help matters.

Regarding general 3D games, it depends how well it is done. I still find 3D movies a bit over hyped as I enjoyed Avatar equally in 3D and 2D. It doesn’t really do much for me.

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

I want to see it mature. I was there to be a wider variety of games again, like the PS2 era which, I think, was gaming’s most exciting period.

We are seeing a lot of games being made for the sake of money rather than for developing the technology and narrative. It’s starting to blur and I hope that in five years times, publishers and developers are doing new, innovative and exciting things.

Q13. What does gaming mean to you?

My life is pretty much surrounded by gaming and gamers. I’ve met my best friends because of this hobby; I’ve experienced wonderful things and have grown because of it.

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2 Responses to “Gamer – Lauren Wainwright”

  1. Jen September 1, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Star Ocean: Second Story was awesome! 🙂

    Games always bring me back to my childhood routine too. Lovely memories wrapped around them.

    • Ashton Raze September 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

      I started that game the other day! Didn’t get very far though. Maybe because I started it at 3am.

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