I am so incredibly late for this, but the following lines are going to be a kind of introduction. I feel attached enough for this now. The process of writing this down was actually a little bit nauseating since I had to notice a certain degree of obsession in my life.
So, videogames. I grew up in a kind of pedagogical black hole, with forces tugging at me from different directions: with my father being rather indifferent to the perils of popular culture (exposing my juvenile mind to classic movie monsters and fascinating comics stashed away in the darkest corners of the bookshelf) I developed a rather distinctive taste for the morbid. On the other hand my somewhat overprotective mother tried to shelter me from Masters of the Universe and plastic guns. Any depiction of violence was a big taboo. Especially videogames were absolutely out of the question.
So I developed an obsession about comics early on, buying many hundreds of incredibly cheap pulp-magazines popular at that time. Gespenster Geschichten ("Ghost Stories") were equally cheesy as they were extremely awesome.
Everything on paper, everything written was not considered to be too suspicious, I hid my treasures anyway. Just in case. Today I have a large collection of movies and graphic novels.
Most of them deal with sex or violence. Or both.
And I started to draw very soon in my life. A lot. At some point I must have realized that creative endeavour was not subject to hours of tiring arguments. That's when I really got into drawing.
I mostly designed death-trap-labyrinths.
This amused me immensely and seemingly shocked my environment, which used to amuse me even more.
The first cut is the deepest: I do not know anymore when exactly it was that I saw my first videogame but I vaguely remember some Game&Watch at school. And I fell in love.
Not so much with the grizzly graphics and the game itself but the mystery and the hysteria the whole phenomenon was connected to. Stories were told of unheard-of adventures and strange, almost arcane languages were used in doing so: "press button B in order to run faster"
What was meant by that?
When I was 8 I got an Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. I unwrapped the parcel and after some moments of realization I punched myself in the face. Out of pure joy.
I actually punched myself in the face, twice.
I got a NES and Dr.Mario and nearly fractured my chin. Up to that point I hadn't even detected Super Mario Bros. yet. I think that was the moment when my parents realized that this present might have been a big mistake. They told me later on, that they didn't want me to loose the connection to the digital avantgarde, with the "sudden" rise of personal computers and all that. Ha!
I learned to press button B in order to run faster. I admit that it took me some time,
After the first constitutive years I developed an attitude:
As soon as I understood a game's structure (be it narrative or gameplay-wise) I got bored.
Unless it's structure proved to be of certain elegance. Then I would play it until my thumbs hurt.
Essentially, I unlifted secrets during my really obsessive years of playing games.
I did my best and amassed about 300 games for 8 different systems.
I invested uncounted hours in videogames and the associated subcultures. As a child I videotaped bugs and glitches together with a friend. Whenever Crash Bandicoot got stuck inside some stairs or Mario Kart 64 exploded into multicolored abstraction we would yell:
"Get the camera!" and document the unthinkable: a bug in a videogame...times do change.
Apropos Nintendo64: I also remember now that me and some friends rented a japanese Nintendo64 (in an impressive metal-case), in order to be among the first Europeans ever to play Mario64 - constantly reassuring each other that this game would be the summit of digital creation.
I am also in the possession of the golden membership card of a long gone chain of game-stores, entitling me to a 15% discount. (yay...)
Whole weekends were wasted with playing Doom and burning holes into our gastric mucosa with cheap imitations of well-known soft drinks. I remember counting as much as 14 Bottles (1,5l) of soda for two kids a night. Glorious.
For years he was my closest companion in games, he wrote move-lists for Clayfighters and Mortal Kombat, together we hit the level-cap for River City Ransom/Streetgangs.
He will always be my hero.
(depicted as an old man)
So what else is there to tell?
Something not game-related, yes? I was born and raised in Vienna, Austria.
I have two part-time-jobs (I actually like to do) and I am spending too much of that hard earned money on videogames, comics, cinematic extravaganzas and cigarettes.
I paint and I build things. I write about the erotic of the undead
I really have come full circle (see above).
I even built myself some friends.
I almost forgot to mention that I wrote my final thesis about videogames. About their dualistic nature between disciplinary mechanisms and emancipatory effects, to be precise.
At university I played a lot of Soulcalibur and Medal of Honor - out of adademic interest of course.
Two of my colleagues during an important experiment:
(academic dispute at its best; please observe: a player of Urban Terror, on the left)
The way I see it, every aspect of my being seems to be deeply connected to videogames.
That is frightening.
but now I'm here and all is good. thank you very much