Jasyla over at Cannot Be Tamed came up with this great gaming questionnaire. Since writing anything has been like pulling teeth for me lately, I thought I’d respond to her questions and try to breathe some life into this languishing space at the same time. Seems like a win-win to me! If you want to answer the questions yourself, you can do so in the comments over at her blog or on your own blog (but be sure to let her know so she can include a link to your answers!)
- When did you start playing video games?
Oh, geeze. The first video games I played were when we got an Intellivision. Our neighbours down the street were having a garage sale and my brother and I managed to talk our Mom into buying the Intellivision and all the games. It was $20 for all of it. For those of you who are too young to even remember this thing, see the little keypad? Each game had a thin plastic sleeve you’d slide over those keypads so you’d know what the specific controls did for the individual game. We played hours and hours of those games.
- What is the first game you remember playing?
It’s hard to remember which game I played first. Probably Burger Time or Frogger. There was also of course the classic Q*Bert and other games like that. We had a whole bunch and some were more fun than others. I definitely logged many hours playing Burger Time and Frogger though!
- PC or Console?
I’ve pretty much always played both! When I was still quite young my dad got a PC for us that was strictly for schoolwork. Of course, whenever he wasn’t around we played games on it as much as we could. I played Alley Cat and we played the King’s Quest and Hero’s Quest games, all those Sierra ones including a Camelot one (I can’t remember what the actual name was). We also went on to get an NES (my brother’s) and then a Super NES (mine) and later a Playstation. I’ve always played games on both consoles and PC, up to and including now. Don’t make me choose!
- XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
I hitched my wagon to Playstation’s star back with the PS1, which I got exclusively so I could play FFVII. Of course I played more than that on it. I’ve never owned an X-Box and we had a Wii but recently sold it. I was never into the motion control thing (I don’t like Sixaxis either, really) and the games seemed to get old pretty quickly. With the X-Box it’s simpler – I don’t like the controls that much and they always have felt monstrous and too big for my hands! Most games you can get on both Playstation and X-Box anyway so it hasn’t really mattered.
- What’s the best game you’ve ever played?
Oh man. This is a tough question. I mean, things that blew my mind previously might not retain that title. I suppose I should give it to FFVII, which was my favourite game for years. I loved it. I haven’t been able to replay it because my memories of it are so tied up into a particular time and place and I don’t want it to seem lesser by comparison. In recent years, I really loved Bastion. It hit all of my sweet spots, the gameplay was fun, the hand painted graphics were beautiful and the story was tore my heart in two.
- What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?
You know, it’s funny, because I still liked this game, but I have to go with Battletoads for the SNES. A friend of mine had it and we’d play it for hours, rarely ever getting anywhere because it was so hard and unforgiving. It was just unreasonably hard for a game but at the time we just thought we had to get better. (Probably we did).
- Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.
I tried to play the Mass Effect games. I really did. I wanted to get into them and I just couldn’t. There are some games I wish I could just watch the story without having to play them, and Mass Effect was one of those.
- Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
I don’t always pay that close attention to game reviews so I’m not entirely sure with this question which games might have been poorly received but I liked them anyway. I think I remember reading some bad reviews of Heavenly Sword for the PS3. I guess the game isn’t perfect but I really enjoyed it for what it was. More or less a God of War game but you get to be a badass lady character cutting people in half and I appreciate that.
- What are your favourite game genres?
Most RPGs, platformers, some action/adventure stuff. I always think I will like puzzle games and then don’t. I sometimes enjoy just a really immersive game (e.g. Journey) that doesn’t demand very much. I have played some simulation type games and enjoyed them. I also used to be really into fighting games. I’ll play a game outside my usual genres if it’s just a really fun game! I like FPS games but only with friends, not by myself.
- Who is your favourite game protagonist?
You know, it’s probably Elly from Xenogears. When I was younger this was the game that inspired me to learn how to make animated gifs JUST so I could make Xenogears gifs. I still have them! I found them on my terrible old Geocities website which was amazingly still on the internet. I made some other gifs but I made two of her and only one of all the other characters.
- Describe your perfect video game.
Jasyla asks the tough questions. I don’t know if I could have just ONE perfect video game, only games that individually satisfy each of the things I enjoy about gaming?! If I had to pick specific things: 1) female protagonist or a lady character given equal billing and plot attention as a dude (Broken Age fits this, and has been a great game SO FAR) 2) An immersive environment that is preferably gorgeous to look at, I don’t care if it’s space or a forest or some other world altogether, art is key in making me like a game and 2) must have a story with good writing. It has to make me care to want to keep playing it.
- What video game character do have you have a crush on?
I interpret “crush” here as “Find attractive,” how’s that? Aforementioned Elly from Xenogears, Princess Garnet from Final Fantasy IX, also who didn’t have a crush on Sephiroth…? And/or Cloud and/or Tifa and Aerith/Aeris/whatever, haha. Hey, he couldn’t choose either.
- What game has the best music?
Probably have to go with Bastion here. It’s the only video game soundtrack I listen to on a regular basis. (Probably Transistor is a strong contender but I haven’t finished it yet and didn’t listen to the soundtrack because of spoilers).
- Most memorable moment in a game:
Aeris’ death. I just did not see that coming at all. I guess a part of was so completely shocked that it could happen at all, too – that they would LET this happen. Ask me another time about my feelings regarding the sacrificial lady character in games, though.
- Scariest moment in a game:
I have to admit that I was playing Gone Home and I am such a giant wussface that I freaked out when I had to go down into all those hidden hallways by myself. I don’t do well with scary games in general, but atmospheric “You’re alone in the house” games don’t work for me. I had to watch videos to see the ending, and I had nightmares that night. It was a really good game, though.
- Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
The almost-end of Bastion just punched me right in the gut. Or the end of Journey, which never fails to make me cry.
- What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?
I like Go Make Me A Sandwich! Honestly, most of the gaming blogs I read are WoW blogs. I’d be open to branching out if I see some good suggestions, though.
- What’s the last game you finished?
I replayed Journey the other night, that’s why it’s fresh in my mind. It’s just such a beautiful game. Also, the part of it where you are going through the snow and have to hide from the giant monsters overhead is a strong contender for “scariest moment in a game for me.” My heart pounds like crazy and I am so tense. It’s not hard to freak me out, obviously.
- What future releases are you most excited about?
I’m really excited to see the second half of Broken Age. I appreciate why they had to split it up to finish the rest of it and get funding, and I think it’s a great game, but I’d sure like to know what happens next. Cliffhangers!? Ugh. I’m looking forward to the next Borderlands installment. I’m thinking we should be finished the story of Borderlands 2 before that one comes out. It’s been a slog but I am determined to actually finish that game.
- Do you identify as a gamer?
Yeah, I definitely do and always have. Some of my first friends became my friends because we had games in common and many of my current friends I have met through gaming. For me, being a gamer has always been about the social experience and I refuse to let dudebro asshats tarnish my own interpretation of something that’s been so much a part of my experience. My Mom and brother and I used to sit down and play Bubble Bobble together. I watched my brother play through Final Fantasy I and the original Zelda games and it was one of the main things we had in common. We used to play Super Mario Bros together. Later, I’d go over to my friends’ houses or they’d come to mine and we’d play each others’ games. Sonic, Ecco the Dolphin, Street Fighter, whatever. My family later had epic and really loud Rock Band parties. I met my husband playing Ultima Online, and chances are I met all of you because of World of Warcraft. Definitely a gamer. I also think anyone who plays any game, if they wish, can consider themselves a gamer. Whether it’s Farmville or Angry Birds or Call of Duty, whatever – if you play games you are a gamer if you wish to be.
- Why do you play video games?
For so many reasons – for the fun, for something beautiful to look at, for the challenge, but probably most importantly for the social experience. Whether it’s Journey where you play alongside other people you can only communicate to without words, to MMOs, gaming is a social experience for me and it’s one that I love. I deliberately avoid games known to have toxic environments or where I know I’d be subject to abuse (e.g. FPS matchmaking or other games with similar random elements). I feel video games are an important, interactive art and I owe much to them. I want to be an old lady in a nursing home with a console hooked up to her TV, haha. (Also no arthritis so I can actually still play the games).