In Gamer Highlight, I’ve been interviewing gamers from all fields of experience. As I close off the series to pick up DMing 101 again, I turn to people who are so very proud of their hobby that they have taken to the internet to share their views: our friends over at 1001-Up! They’ve spoken on individual games, and specific matters, but it’s about time to turn the spotlight on their attitudes, their history, and how gaming has changed their lives.
First on the chopping block, Phil! I first met Phil at Kitacon in March this year for a game of Cards Against Humanity, that’s a hell of a way to introduce yourself to someone. He’s one of 1001-Up’s founding members and one of their most popular writers.
Q: First of all can you please introduce yourself
A: Going by the gaming handle of InfraRedPS (don’t ask, long story) I’m a long-time PC gamer that hasn’t spent most of him gaming life playing the original PlanetSide (hence the ‘PS’). I’m extremely competitive in online gaming and tend to enjoy action based games which require skill and teamwork more than the dumbed down FPS shooters such as Call of Duty. More recently I’ve become extremely addicted to Hearthstone and learning to play guitar using Rocksmith 2014, it seems to take a lot for a game to grab my attention in recent years.
Q: What was the first game you played?
A: The first video game I’ve played was most likely one typed into an Amstrad PCW by my Dad out of a computing magazine where he would use a ruler to track each line of code as he typed it in. The game that stands out the most is one where a aeroplane flies across the screen from left to right, slowly getting lower with each pass. Pressing the space bar would drop a bomb and the idea of the game was to destroy the city below before the aeroplane flew low enough to crash. Thinking of it now I guess it was just Space Invaders in reverse but without anything firing back at you. If anyone can remember that game or find a reference to it online, you are awesome! After that I went straight into the Sega Master System and an original Nintendo GameBoy with Tetris.
Q: What was it that first got you into gaming?
A: This was definitely my Dad’s fault as explained above, and when I eventually had to by my own gaming PC for a lot of money which my Dad lent to me because he thought installing Command & Conquer and Half-Life was the reason his PC was becoming so slow. That along with Mario Kart on the SNES earlier on secured my life as a gamer forever.
Q: Why did you start blogging?
A: That I will blame Kim of 1001-Up.com for as I never intended to be a blogger originally. I became quite interested in photography a few years back and created my own free WordPress blog for it but never really wrote much, when Kim suggested the idea to me that we should review every game within the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die book by Tony Mott and publish it online I couldn’t resist as I already had the technical knowledge to build and maintain a blog. I’ve never had such a positive experience in my life and we’ve achieved so much in just under two years, there’s so much left for us to do I can see this becoming an even greater achievement for us as time goes on.
Q: What, in your opinion, makes a good game?
A: It’s quite simple and that is quality: in gameplay, in story telling and visuals. I recently wrote about how pleasantly surprised I was by Hearthstone which is partly successful by its accessibility and addictive gameplay but also by the high standards that Blizzard Entertainment maintain. In terms of which more is important depends entirely on who you’re talking to, I know most of the 1001-Up.com team would prefer story over gameplay but I find that I tend to steer towards awesomely addictive gameplay as I enjoy movies and TV shows more for telling stories. That’s not to say I don’t play story driven games at all because sometimes that’s all I’m looking for when it’s time to relax and unwind.
Q: Given the opportunity and resources, what kind of game would you like to see made?
A: I would like to see a totally immersive video game just like OASIS in the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and if anyone has read the book they’ll know why. The digital world in this story is so convincing that people spend pretty much all of their waking lives within the game which contains a massive level of detail not too unlike real life. It’s pretty much reality with MMORPG elements except you can be whatever you want to be if you level up enough. Unfortunately it has its side effects such as global corporations fighting to own and extensively monetise the game but for those just content on playing OASIS is sounds like something worth experiencing. I highly recommend reading the book if you haven’t already.
Q: Finally, how has gaming changed your life?
A: Funnily enough for something that is considered a solitary and pointless hobby I’ve actually met a ton of brilliant people, sure I’ve had fun playing the games but it’s the friends I’ve made that have made it worth it and a life changer. While 1001-Up.com couldn’t replace my day job I would like to think that one day it could, how could any gamer not want to live and breathe video games every day? There’s a certain character within gamers that I can relate to and instantly build a rapport with so gaming has helped change my life by enabling me to meet the most amazing friends that I have.
Gaming is becoming hereditary, a way for families to bond in new ways, something for them to share and discuss. A lot of my hobbies I learned from my own father, but gaming is the one that really stuck when I found it easier to connect to other gamers than anyone else.
My first piece on 1001-Up was called What We’re Not, it makes no small issue of the fact that gaming is no longer a hobby of isolation. MMOs, gaming conventions, and people like Phil taking to the internet to publicly discuss and share their views on games make it one of the most talked about and shared activities of modern times.
My thanks to Phil for today’s interview, and for getting me involved at 1001-Up. Keep checking with them and us for updates on our tabletop game Keep On Them Borderlands… when we eventually get back to it.