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Destructiod Community Assignment: Ten Things


1. Old enough to not have the internet growing up, young enough that I've always been around games.
That's pretty much explains it. I was born just before the Nintendo launched the NES in the US, and grew up with that generation. Thankfully I had two awesome older brothers who also loved games. Between the three of us, our parents stood no chance of getting away from gaming. I still have most of those old games, and every time I open them up to find sheets of graph paper filled with tips and tricks alongside beat up manuals, I'm reminded of gaming before the internet. I don't mean to suggest that it was better back in the day, just a little more D.I.Y.

2. I love academics
By the time I became a teenager, I fell in love with history and literature. Initially, it was more of a hobby. I wanted to read good stories, so I thought, "why not explore the thousands of years worth of stories that already exist? It'll be a 'greatest hits' tour." A simple enough idea, but one that spun into two university degrees, a handful of years of teaching history, and continued pursuit of higher education. I love the stuff, questions are my lifeblood and learning never leaves me bored. It doesn't really matter if the learning is about historical eras, philosophy, sociology, museum studies, international relations, literary criticism, game theory, or level design.

3. I didn't use to
Most of the inspiration and drive for learning came when I was in the latter part of high school and then college. Interestingly enough, from pre-school to grad school, my grades over my life tended to follow a standard supply/demand graph. My crappiest grades were in elementary school, the best were in grad school. I had no motivation. But that's the cool thing about growing up, for me. The older I get the more motivation I have to do the things I love.

4. Books
I love science fiction and fantasy novels. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea-cycle and Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" books hooked me early on. I became obsessed with Ed Greenwood's character Elminster (he's still my favorite wizard) and R.A. Salvatore's Champions of the Hall (the dwarf king Bruenor and his adopted daughter Cattie-Brie, the barbarian turned adventurer Wulfgar, the ever relaxing halfling Regis and, of course, the loner and moral beacon, Drizzt Do'Urden). I read Asimov, Orson Scott Card and a smattering of Terry Pratchett. Currently, I'm all about some Patrick Rothfuss and Braden Sanderson.

5. Comics
Like any kid whose formative years were in the 1990's, I knew comics were inherently cool. X-Force and Spawn were my entry points. But this was an interest primarily fueled by my older brother. When he stopped buying monthly issues, I stopped reading along with him. That was until I was in undergrad, and I discovered instocktrades.com. Trade paperbacks were what got me back into comics. I should be more specific, buying trades written by Geoff Johns got me back into comics. This was a singular author that convinced me that there are no such things as bad characters in comics, only bad writing. Do you think I expected The Elongated Man to become one of my favorite heroes after reading Identity Crisis? Do you think I wanted that? Now I hand pick storylines that I'm interested in: a Blackest Night here, an Amazing X-Men there, maybe a little Long Halloween, and possibly a Superman Red Son or Marvel 1602. But the real surprise was Brian Wood. Demo, Channel Zero and DMZ changed the way I read comics. Enough said. Currently reading: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus.

6. Tabletop games and board games
I'm currently engaged to a woman who's crazy about tabletop games, so I don't think this hobby is going anywhere. But Dungeons & Dragons, when I think about it, was probably the catalyst that started it all. I was four or five the first time I played, and I can still remember that gorgeously corny AD&D 2nd edition Players Handbook. It was an adventure played with some neighborhood friends, Dungeon Mastered by my best friends older brother. This is the group that formed the "Stand By Me" of my childhood. But keep in mind, this was long enough ago that being a nerd meant getting your ass kicked at school. As excruciating as it was at the time, those hours spent with friends after school were priceless. We made D&D characters, and sometimes never played them, painted Warhammer figurines, came up with imaginary side stories for Hero Quest and raced each other to see who could finish the new Final Fantasy first. All the while, mostly keeping that side of myself from my parents who thought a role-playing-game meant satanic worship. Good times. Anyway, enjoy this Doubleclicks video, they're super awesome.

7. The games that got me into games
Primarily JRPGs, platformers and adventure games for the NES. All those games that you found out a decade later were actually Japanese, and it blew your mind. A particular point of pride was that my motivation to learn how to read was because my brother told me I couldn't play Final Fantasy 1 unless I could. I got a Super Nintendo and an N64, but by that time I had discovered PC gaming. Command and Conquer, Baldur's Gate, Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, Monkey Island and Tex Murphy were my jam. By the time the Gamecube/PS2/Xbox were released, I started retroactively collecting a PS1 library. This is where I started collecting games that were a generation or two behind the current tech. I remember realizing that, despite technology getting better, newer games weren't inherently better games. Just like plays, books, standup comedy, movies, or board games weren't necessarily better because they were recent. This meant there were a lot of potentially good games out there that I'd never played. This was also the gaming generation that got me into handheld games. Before the Gameboy Advance, I thought of handheld gaming as decidedly lesser experiences than console or PC gaming. But once I had a SNES in my hands, I was hooked. When I was in college, most of what I played was the DS and PSP, that was where the games I loved were.

8. I'm a Smasher
... But not in a competitive way anymore. I bought the first Smash on the N64 the day it was released. From that point until the summer of 2004, my best friend and I played tournaments every weekend over pizza and insults. Every... week... no exceptions. My heyday in local tournaments was the late Smash 64 days and the early Melee days. I've been playing Project M recently, and couldn't be happier with it. But I'm still going to play the new one with item turned on.

9. I'm a Pokemon Trainer
All I will say about this is that I've played every generation, as they were released. My save time total between all the games, from all generations, is just under 1700 hours. *Considers the possibility that an alien mind controlling force has been coercing me into playing Pokemon much like Twitch Plays Pokemon*

10. I'm a Virginia boy
I was born, and have lived in every major city, in Virginia. Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads are all very different places, and that's pretty cool. Camping, fishing, rock climbing, spelunking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kayaking down the Rappahannock, swimming in the James, and hiking along the York (or Pamunkey River, depending on who you are talking to). You are never more than two and a half hours away from anything. And the food's awesome.

Keep Gaming!

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About Thumb Scarone of us since 11:57 AM on 02.25.2014

Been gaming since the NES days. I remember computers, before the internet. My motivation to learn how to read was to play Final Fantasy. Games have, wonderfully, helped shape my life. I love games, history, writing and discussion. Pursuing that is the goal.

I've played games on Nintendo consoles for most of my life, but branched out into PC gaming and Playstation by the mid-90's. Current platforms: Wii U, 3DS, Steam. Typically playing: 5e D&D, tabletop games, and a backlog of retro games.

We live in interesting times. I can't wait to see where the industry goes next.