In gamer highlight I have been interviewing gamers from all fields of experience, behind a controller, at the table and in the field. We are as diverse as any group of hobbyists, many varied attitudes and perspectives depending on how we were introduced to games, and the games we play.
Q: First of all can you please introduce yourself
A: A while ago I asked the guys at 1001-Up.com to write a description about me and here’s what they came up with: “The Queen of Excel and bossy-boots of the team. If there’s a problem to be solved you’ll be damn right to assume that Kim would create a spreadsheet for it. An 80s child with a soft spot for Guybrush Threepwood and Gabriel Knight, she is the force that drives our site forward with her endless to-do lists and relentless chasing.” So I guess that pretty much sums me up!
Q: What was the first game you played?
A: When I was very young my dad bought a Commodore 64 with a view to teach my brother coding. However, he wasn’t particularly interested so that’s when I made my move! I remember playing a number of old titles on the machine such as Wonder Boy and Creatures, as well as the products of several type-in program books (Island of Secrets by Jenny Tyler and Les Howarth brings back memories); but the first game I really got into was The Secret of Monkey Island.
Q: What was it that first got you into gaming?
A: After the success of the Commodore 64, my dad bought be an Amiga for Christmas when I was nine. He spent most of the morning hooking it up to the TV and playing with it – I hardly got a look in – but once he’d had his dinner and was falling asleep I finally got my chance. I looked at all the discs that came with the hardware and finally decided to give The Secret of Monkey Island a try. dad asked what I was doing when he woke up and I showed him the game, then gradually both he and my granddad got sucked into playing it too. And I remember being so proud of myself because I managed to figure out the grog-and-mugs puzzle before they did!
Q: Why did you start blogging?
A: One day during the beginning of 2013, I came across a book called 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by Tony Mott. I bought it and during the following week I showed it to Phil from 1001-Up.com whilst in the pub after work one evening; and we thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be kind of cool if we tried to do just that? The idea then got bigger and bigger and eventually we decided to document the progress, and the site was born. We haven’t looked back since.
Q: What, in your opinion, makes a good game?
A: I know a lot of people won’t agree with me on this, but for me personally it’s all about the story. A game can have the best gameplay in the world but it won’t interest me unless there’s a good plot to hold it altogether – it just won’t capture my attention. There are a few titles I’ve played in the past year that have been criticised for their lack or style of gameplay, such as To The Moon and Beyond: Two Souls, but they’ve since become some of my favourites. I want something that’s going to draw me in, keep me engrossed in the world its trying to create, and make me feel something at the end of the journey.
Q: Given the opportunity and resources, what kind of game would you like to see made?
A: Fortunately for me, it’s already in the process of being made! The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey are some the best stories in video gaming, so as soon as I heard that Red Thread Games were launching a crowdfunding campaign for the third instalment in the series I headed over to Kickstarter to become a backer. If you haven’t played these games I’d recommend picking them up as soon as possible – and don’t expect to hear from me for at least a week in November once Dreamfall Chapters has been released. Ragar, I’m still waiting for your call…
Q: Finally, how has gaming changed your life?
If it weren’t for gaming, I wouldn’t be here writing this interview. I wouldn’t be the gamer I am today and I’d be less happy with the person I’ve grown into. I wouldn’t write for 1001-Up.com or have been fortunate enough to experience the wonderful times we’ve had together as a team. And most significantly for me, I wouldn’t ahve made some of the great friends I’ve gotten to know both in person and online. That may sound like a bit of a grandiose statement and it’s possible there’s a touch of rose-tinted-ness here but the moment I picked up The Secret of Monkey Island was one that really shaped me.
We all get deeply nostalgic about that one game that started everything for us. For me it’s always been Heroes of Might and Magic III (seventh instalment coming soon, I can barely contain my excitement), and I’ve spoken with Kim more than often enough to be surprised to see The Secret of Monkey Island be mentioned… let’s see… four times in this short interview. Gaming is now such a long standing media form that we look back at games like these with the same regard as classic works of literature.
Like Kim, and like so many more of us, I was raised with computer games being ever-present, along with films and music. They are a daily part of modern life now, from casual flash games, to the major multi-platform blockbusters, to the small independent titles, and have become a force to be reckoned with on the media market. 1001 Video Games to Play before you die can’t even begin to cover the wealth of experiences that await anyone wanting to expand upon their gaming “portfolio”, and 1001-Up is a great place to start looking for new things, and new games to play.
My thanks again to Kim, and to everyone who has taken part in the Gamer Highlight interviews including the people who read them! Next week, DMing 101 returns.