The Gamer Tag

While searching for other gaming blogs to subscribe to, I’ve seen a phenomenon repeated on several of them called The Gamer Tag. Basically it’s just copying a list of questions related to video games that other bloggers have also answered. Examples of this can be found at e.g. A Reluctant Hero, The Hannie Corner and A Geek Girl’s Guide. But there are probably many other great examples out there.

So, with the twist of me being the pure PC gamer that I am, I’ve decided to have a go at this one too.

1. What is your all-time favorite video game?

Looking at my list of played games, I have given more than ten games the perfect score of 10 out of 10. But the craziest thing is, although I loved those games at the time, they may still not be what I think of as my all-time favorite game. This would have to be found among the many I have given the score of 9.

I put a lot of hours into The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind back in 2004, and I was really immersed. It came at the perfect time for me – when open world games was still very much a novelty to me.

The first town in Morrowind. I wonder what it feels like to wear a Silt Strider as a hat?

A strong contender would have to be an MMORPG, and there I would probably have to go with World of Warcraft. I joined this right from the beginning in February 2005 (where it was launched in Europe) and it had much of the same impact on me as Morrowind did.

I’ve written a series of My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, in case you’re interested in the details.

2. What is your current favorite video game?

What exactly is meant by current? From 2019? The past 5 years?

There were a ton of control panel puzzles in SOMA.

If I have to go with what I’ve played in 2019 so far, it would be SOMA. If the past 5 years are allowed, then definitely The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its expansions.

3. What is your favorite video game genre?

It used to be RPG because of the way the character is improved, the loot, the world, the story, etc. But lately I must confess that I’ve found a lot to like in modern exploration games too.

4. How long have you been playing video games?

Being an old geezer born in 1966, you might think I have been playing most of my life – but I was actually a late bloomer. Video games seemed like something I couldn’t take too seriously, only dabbling a little at various home computer, arcade and console games in the 80’s and 90s.

It wasn’t until about 2000 that I started playing the 3D games of the time and actually considered making it my new hobby. I then got pretty much obsessed and played a ton of games back to back.

You can read more about this inception in Diary Games: The Beginning of the Millennium.

5. What’s the first game you ever played?

I was there when Pong was hot and I seem to remember I tried it, so I guess that would be it. It does sound like kind of a cheat, doesn’t it? Maybe I should try one better.

Probably the first arcade game where I really opened my eyes and saw something that felt like a quantum leap was the shoot’em up Galaxian. I remember I first saw this on a ship. I always sucked at it, though.

The North American arcade flyer for Galaxian.

The only arcade game I was ever any good at was Mr. Do!

6. What game have you clocked the most hours into?

Again, definitely World of Warcraft. I have played more than 800 sessions when also including expansions, which probably adds up to thousands of hours. But that’s an MMORPG – do they count?

If we assume that an online game doesn’t count, then it used to be Morrowind for about 11 years. I played Morrowind for 32 sessions (40 including the two expansions) and it took way more than 100 hours.

Screenshot

However, in 2015 I completed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its two expansions and that probably broke the record. Just the main game alone took 30 sessions and almost 100 hours, while adding the two expansions made for 49 sessions and about 144 hours.

7. What’s your longest gaming session?

Probably about 6-8 hours in one sitting, but it would have been many years ago.

This I’m actually not sure about. It would of course have had to be one of those that went into the morning hours. My best guess would be World of Warcraft. I was in a guild that raided with 20- and 40 players, and some of those sessions went way across midnight.

8. Who is your favorite game developer?

It used to be BioWare back when they rocked with the Baldur’s Gate series, Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect series. They have since fallen a bit from grace and I’d like to think that CD Projekt Red have snatched their crown with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

9. Who is your favorite hero character from a game?

I liked the look and style of Commander Shepard in Mass Effect (original male version only). Another cool hero was Ezio in Assassin’s Creed II, who was probably the best in the entire series.

Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassins’ Creed II before he donned the suit.

Maybe Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series.

George Stobbart sometimes had really fun comments in the Broken Sword point-and-click adventure game series. And speaking of adventure games – Ben in Full Throttle. And Zanthia in Legend of Kyrandia.

Garrett in the original Thief trilogy had great situational sarcasm delivered with a great voice.

And of course there’s Lara Croft and Geralt of Rivia.

A close contender is Kyle Katarn as he was depicted in Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. I really liked the way he looked and wished he had been introduced in the movies as well.

Tex Murphy in Tesla Effect, as always quick with a witty remark.

But if I had my arms twisted and forced to choose one, I would probably have to go with Tex Murphy in his series of first person adventure games. I always loved his style and his sense of humor. It felt like having a great companion and protagonist rolled into one when playing these games.

10. Who is your favorite villain?

For this answer, I’ve decided that raid bosses in MMORPG are exempt.

GLaDOS from the Portal games for one with great humor and eventually even redeeming qualities. Henry Stauf from the old FMV adventure The 7th Guest also sometimes had an amusing sense of humor.

Another really amusing villain was of course the Joker in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham games. I remember he often recorded a voicemail for Batman with wonderful voice performance by Mark Hamill.

And for sheer eeriness, SHODAN from especially System Shock 2.

It’s hard to decide among any of the above – but if I absolutely have to, it would be GLaDOS.

11. Who is your most hated character of any game?

Do you recognize the cliche of the boss that retreats just prior to being defeated but comes back again and again, eventually making you wish he or she would just die already? The worst version I’ve seen of this is the historical person you’re also not allowed to kill.

Yes, Rodrigo Borgia of Assassin’s Creed II, I’m looking at you.

Another cliche is the most incredibly annoying NPC that constantly follows you around as soon as they see you, sometimes asking you a lot of dumb questions. In the first two games in the Baldur’s Gate series it was Noober and then Neeber, but there has also been versions of this joke character in the Gothic and Risen RPG series by Piranha Bytes. I think even Bethesda had one in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

However, the winner of this price would have to be an escort quest in the Un’Goro Crater in vanilla World of Warcraft. I had to escort the goblin Ringo across half the crater to safety. This quest was almost driving me insane at the time. Back in 2005, I had this to say about it in my diary:

It quickly became one of the most disgusting quests of its kind yet. He often fainted and had to be helped up with a a bottle of water, but the tall grass often made it impossible to find him at all. At the same time there was of course a timer on this quest, and to top it off we frequently got aggro for good measure. Close to the damn camp in north he even started to get bugged too, blinking in and out of gaming existence, but I managed to deliver the quest anyway.

I have this theory that Blizzard deliberately wanted this quest to be as annoying as possible.

12. What gaming systems do you own?

For years on end it has just been a PC. I have only owned consoles for small stints. In the 80’s I briefly had the Intellivision. I also had the PlayStation 2 for a short while and even completed about three games on it, then immediately sold it when a friend offered to buy it.

This thing with gaming in my living room sofa, it somehow feels wrong to me. When I want to play a game seriously, I want to sit in front of my PC. The sofa is for relaxing afterwards and watching television.

13. What was your first game system?

My first home computer was the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A.

TI-99/4A

I’ve written a five-part series about My Computer Chronicles and it includes the TI-99/4A.

14. What’s your favorite gaming system and why?

My favorite gaming system is of course the PC.

15. Do you prefer to play male characters or female characters?

If there’s a character choice, always male.

I know someone that claims he play female characters in RPG because then he can look at a nice ass. But I need to feel in character with what I’m playing, and I’m not the transgender type of guy.

16. Do you follow walkthroughs, or do you play through on your own?

I always strive to complete a game fair and square and I would reckon I’m doing that in more than 95% of the time. But I’m not averse to using codes, trainers or walkthroughs if I feel the game is being unfair.

17. Have you ever been to a gaming convention?

I have been to one PCW and one ECE show in the 80’s and 90’s – both taking place in London. I have also been to a lot of oldskool demo parties, although they are a different kind of beast.

18. What game are you most excited to come out in the future?

I refuse to give up hope for Half-Life 3. I want to believe that Valve is still up to something.

As for a more realistic choice, maybe Cyberpunk 2077. But to be honest, I’ve turned my attention more into trying to drain my backlog rather than looking forward to more games adding to it.

19. What’s your best memory of a video game?

Exploring the dungeons and buildings of open world games such as Fallout 3 and 4, The Elder Scrolls series, and any RPG by Piranha Bytes such as Gothic and Risen probably gives me my fondest memories.

Concept art of Ragnaros. His rendition in World of Warcraft had way less detail.

Jumping to MMORPG, it would of course be the first time my guild killed Ragnaros in World of Warcraft.

20. What’s your worst memory of a video game?

There has been so many sadistic boss battles that had those added a scar each time, I would probably look like the Elephant Man today. I have been furious at so many of those, it’s a wonder I can still talk today.

That being said, there was one level in the single-player campaign of the FPS Tribes: Vengeance that was so unfair and frustrating that it almost made me want to quit this video gaming hobby altogether.

The level was one of those defense situations where I had to protect four satellite dishes from invading hordes of enemies. However, each satellite dish was located in the corners of the big area and it was really hard to cycle around to protect and repair them in time. It felt so incredibly impossible that even after installing a trainer, it was still almost impossible to complete it.

It’s not entirely unthinkable that I had missed something to make the whole thing easier.

21. Which video game character do you see yourself as, or if you had to be represented by a video game character, who would it be?

My main paladin in World of Warcraft. Or, if it has to be an existing character, probably Kyle Katarn.

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