As you may have noticed, we have a new member of the TVG crew, William. I’ve known William for a number of years and we’ve connected most notably with classic RPGs. William and I talk about video games quite often and after some thinking we thought it would be a great idea to bring him along and add him to the team. William is quite knowledgeable in classic gaming and loves them just as much as we all do, so he will undoubtedly make a great addition to TVG! As a way to let the fans get to know him, I did a short Q&A with him to open his mind for you guys, enjoy!
Q: Do you mind telling us what you do for your day job?
A: I am a musician and a computer programmer. My brother and I are beginning our own electronics/software business focusing on music recording, and possibly electronics hobbyist products.
Q: What are some other hobbies you enjoy, outside of video gaming?
A: Umm, see question 1! I also consider myself an armchair game developer, and I’ve got quite a few ideas, but don’t know when I’ll ever be able to make a true attempt at factuating them. I have a rather elaborate medieval fantasy world I’ve created, with it’s own magic system, theology, history, eras, etc. If I had a gaming house that just needed ideas, I have enough stuff in just that one world to make at least half a dozen different games spread out over a few hundred years, including a Tactics game and an action RPG or two. I also have a post-apocalyptic, science-‘fact’ion future world I’ve worked on, but I think that would be best to go into one gigantic game. Sometimes I think it would just be more productive if I just tried to write novels, but someday I’ll get around to making a game!
Q: Do you remember the first gaming system you ever owned/played?
A: Those are two different questions with three different answers! The first system I ever played was my brother’s Atari 2600 when I was really little. My cousin got a NES for Christmas one year and he wouldn’t let me play it! I wanted one so bad that I bugged my parents relentlessly for one. Well, my dad picked up a Colecovision at a yard sale with some games, but daddy didn’t raise no fool! That was technically the first game system I owned, but I only used it to bridge the gap until they finally relented and got me an NES. Score!
Q: Do you have a favorite gaming system and why?
A: Mmm, that’s difficult. For ‘gaming systems’, I guess I would have to say the SNES, but to be perfectly honest, since about the mid 90’s, I’ve been primarily a PC gamer. I really love how much more control and how many more options you can have in a PC game. I had been playing consoles for many years before I really got into PC games, but it was a natural fit. After I got used to PCs, I found consoles to feel rather limiting and clunky somehow, and I’ve since migrated mostly to emulators.
Q: Do you remember the first video game you ever played?
A: I don’t remember the first one I played, but the first one I remember was Combat for Atari. God I loved that game! Mrrrrrrrrrrrr mrrrrrrr *pew!* …PSHHHHHHHH!!!
Q: What is your favorite game/series and why?
A: Overall, I’d have to say the Final Fantasy series. I was originally a Dragon Warrior fan, the first Dragon Warrior was what made me fall in love with RPGs, but the Final Fantasy games just started really outpacing the Dragon Warrior/Quest games in my opinion. To me, Final Fantasy IV, VI, and VII are the apex of gaming in each of their respective times. I’m also a total fan of the Final Fantasy Tactics games, and I wish they would make a genuine sequel to the original Final Fantasy Tactics that was released for the Playstation 1. I started losing interest with Final Fantasy VIII though, which I thought was rather awful. IX was an improvement, but I just felt the games were going somewhere I didn’t care to follow, and IX was the last one I played of the main series. On PC, I’m a total Diablo fanboy, and pretty much eat up anything Blizzard software throws at me. Except World of Warcraft. ME NO MMO!
Q: What is your favorite gaming genre and why?
A: Role-playing games, without a doubt. I also like strategy games and a few others, but most genres just feel like time-killers in between playing ‘real’ games to me. I mean a stand out game is a stand out game, and I can enjoy a romp through a good side-scroller too, or mash out an attempt at a fighting game, etc., but it’s just not the same. I love the depth and customization of RPGs, being able to sculpt characters and mold the world around me, and a great storyline is the icing on the cake.
Q: Do you have a standout favorite video game character and why?
A: Umm, not particularly standout. I’ve always been fond of Cecil and Rydia from Final Fantasy IV, Olvan and Lux from The 7th Saga (dwarves and robots are sorely under-represented in games!), and I of course adore Link!
Q: Do you own a certain game, system or other piece of gaming history that you are particularly proud of?
A: I have an Atari 800 computer that I really like having. It’s stowed away, but I have a lot of good memories from it. Heck, I learned how to type by playing old text adventures like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, Enchanter, and Wishbringer. I was never too fond of the legendary Zork for some reason, but I did a good bit of keyboard practicing on it as well.
Q: If you could bring back any classic game for a sequel, what would it be and why?
A: Well, I already mentioned a Final Fantasy Tactics II, but early last year I was hooked on Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. I thought it would be awesome to do something similar to that with Final Fantasy VI and instead of making it a sequel, make it a prequel about The War of the Magi! It would probably market best if it was played like Final Fantasy VI, but I think it would work great as a Tactics-style game! There we go, two birds with one stone! Final Fantasy VI Tactics: The War of the Magi!
Q: How do you feel about the whole homebrew world?
A: To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really explored it much. I don’t even have nearly enough time to play all the games currently on my list! A couple years ago, I was exploring ROM hacking, as in doing my own hacking, but it was just for more minor tweaks and such. Conceptually, I think it’s fantastic that people can create games on commercial systems that are normally closed off to the public. That’s another thing I love about PC gaming, though. In PC gaming, homebrews aren’t called homebrews, they’re just called games! For consoles, there are true homebrew games, like a Hero Quest homebrew I found recently for the NES, and then there are elaborate hacks of pre-existing games. Since much of the underlying work is already done, they seem to be able to accomplish the most the quickest, but they also face the most opposition. A great example of that is the Chrono Trigger hack called Crimson Echoes (http://crimsonechoes.com) that was shut down by Square Enix. I would have totally played that, but alas, ’tis no more.
Q: Are you more of a player or collector?
A: I’m a player. I have some older systems and equipment, and I like that I have it and would never part with any of it, but I don’t seek things out to collect. I like what I have, and there may be a couple things I wouldn’t mind having (like the Final Fantasy 2us cart that was basically stolen from me over a decade ago), but that’s about it. I just really love playing games.
Q: What are your thoughts on emulation over original hardware?
A: I love emulators! To me, playing console games on a PC is a dream come true! Whenever I have the option to play the original or the ROM, the ROM wins every time. Being able to speed up the game and keep your thumbs intact are enough reason, but save states are just heavenly. Playstation games are great too, since I can just pop in my CDs and play them on my computer! Well, it’s great now that I have a computer that can breeze through them.
Q: What do you think you bring to the TVG crew?
A: Wordiness? Truthiness? I have a pretty good store of knowledge built up over the years and have explored some realms of games that many haven’t, like a few more obscure RPGs and foreign games that were never released here in the US. I played the real Final Fantasy’s II, III, and V before most people knew that the SNES ones were actually IV and VI. I’m not sure how useful it would be, but I used to basically be a walking, talking walkthrough for dozens of games, and I know how to quickly find the answer to about any in-game question a person could have on games I’m familiar with.
Q: Do you have a favorite Sam’s Score?
A: I’m split between the Advantage controllers since I always wanted one when I was a kid, and the Sega Menacer because it’s just so obscure and awesome looking! Pew Pew!!