Welcome back on the saddle again. Ready to ‘high-ho silver’ into another 22 Question interview? I knew you would be. After a Halo 3 sabbatical, things are back how they were [although we all still miss our Halo 3 though…]. For this welcome back set of 22 Questions, I had a chat with Kevin Steele from RetroBlast! I am not going to spoil the information, and instead will let Kevin tell you all about it himself. Enjoy, and welcome back to your favorite set of questions that are a multiple of 11.
- What is Your Gaming Alias:
RetroBlast (on XBox Live) EZ Target (for Half-Life 2 Deathmatch – can you tell I’m not that good?)
- What Age Did You Start Playing Video Games:
I’ve been a video gamer since there were video games (yeah, I’m that old!) Started off on arcade games, moved to Pong on my home TV, then the 2600…and well, I’ve “sampled” almost every video gaming system since then, although I didn’t really get back into console gaming until the XBox.
- Who Would You Say is Responsible for Getting You Into Gaming:
Probably just me. We travelled a lot when I was child, and I can remember trying to find an arcade everywhere we went – even a rest stop was an excuse to play a pinball or arcade game. I always had quarters in my pocket, just in case…
- First Game That Had You Hooked:
Asteroids had the “WOW” factor, but it wasn’t until Robotron:2084 that I became hopelessly addicted to a particular game. I played Robotron until my fingers bled, literally. I’d close my eyes after an extended session and I’d still see Grunts swarming towards me. My “holy grail” right now is to buy my own Robotron. I just have to find that “perfect” machine…
- Little Known Fact:
About me? I don’t know. I’m an open book. Guess my “hidden claim to fame” was being part of the Nancy Regan “Just Say No” television special back in 86 or 87. I know, not much of a breakthrough role, but I had my 15 seconds of fame…
- If You Were to Make a Documentary, What Would it Be About:
Most everything frivilous that I think should be covered already has been (video games, pinball, etc.), but I’d love to do something serious, like the Tiananmen Massacre. That was just a tragic moment in time, a chance for democracy that almost succeeded but ultimately ended in horrible bloodshed. It happened on my first wedding anniversary, and I remember getting glued to the TV watching it all unfold. The man standing in front of the tanks was such an iconic visual, and I’ll never forget it.
- What is RetroBlast!:
RetroBlast is a web site dedicated to the “Home Arcade”—arcade-style gaming at home. Now that I’m the owner and editor of GameRoom Magazine, RetroBlast’s mission statement has evolved slightly to cover “Home Gaming Entertainment,” but basically it’s still focused on bringing the arcade experience home.
- What do You Do at RetroBlast!:
RetroBlast is my place to write about arcade-style gaming, whether it’s vintage machines or modern attempts to reproduce the arcade experience. I write reviews of arcade hardware, gaming systems, and post news related to arcade gaming. From time to time I also do video reviews of products, but it’s been a while since I’ve had the time (publishing a monthly magazine is time consuming, to say the least!)
- What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job:
All the review goodies. ;-) Seriously, though, it’s never been about the “swag” for me – I love talking to people about arcade gaming, and RetroBlast has given me an avenue to do just that, to share my thoughts and experiences in gaming. Plus I get lots of “confidential” inside information on what’s coming down the pipeline.
- What Are You Better at Than Anyone You Know:
Being humble. ;-) Seriously? I don’t know—I suppose writing would be my “true calling,” being able to communicate ideas clearly and in a way that people understand. I’m not quite as good at actually saying what I mean as writing it, if that makes any sense.
- When Did Coin-Op TV Start Up, and How Does it Fit in With RetroBlast!:
Coin-Op.TV is the labor of love of Robert Welkner, and he and I joined forces last year to share our content. He’s the driving force for Coin-Op.TV, and with the recent re-purposing of RetroBlast as my personal blog, Coin-Op.TV will be moving back to it’s own site (surprisingly, COIN-OP.TV). He’s a great guy, and has had some great interviews with some very important important people in the gaming industry.
- Closest You Have Come to Death:
I had back surgery about three years ago, and had a bad reaction to the pain meds. I became “non-responsive” and stopped breathing—I passed out in my hospital bed and awoke to a nurse slapping me on the face. I was surrounded my medical personnel, was full of IV lines, and had a “crash cart” next to me. Scary stuff.
- Last Gadget Purchased:
I just got an HDTV – a nice 56” DLP 1080p set (all the fun letters!). Now that I’ve got it, I’m itching to get an XBox 360, but the budget’s been stretched already, so it’s going to be a while.
- Song You Are Currently Listening to:
Dancing in the Moonlight, by Men Without Hats (2003). It’s weird to find old 80’s artists still putting out albums, but I like this song.
- Favorite Ending For a Game, Movie or Book:
I love being surprised. The Sixth Sense did that (I was fortunate not to have anyone spoil it for me). I love when a game, movie, or book pulls the rug out from under me, even though all the clues were there. The PC game 7th Guest did that as well—mediocre game, but it had a surprise ending that stuck with me (it wasn’t a great ending, but there was a nice twist that I still remember). Sorry if I’m being vague, but I don’t want to spoil the endings for others!
- Favorite Movie Quote:
Don’t know if I have a favorite. I’m a true geek and can recite things like Monty Python and the Holy Grail almost verbatim, but picking just one line that resonates with me is tough. I guess one that sticks with me as a “philosophy” is Ferris Bueler’s quote “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
- Favorite Arcade Addiction:
Robotron:2084. It never gets old for me.
- Game You Are Looking Forward to the Most:
A tie between Crysis and BioShock—they both look absolutely stunning, and promise rich, deep gameplay. I’m already saving for a system upgrade!
- Game That Was the Biggest Let Down:
There have been a number of them, but I reserve a special spot for Duke Nukem Forever, as it’s the let down that keeps letting me down, year after year. It may be the greatest experience in gaming when released, but being teased for ten years is just cruel. I hate being told a game is going to be released, then having to wait months or years to actually get it, and it’s even worse when you know the game will be worth the wait (yes, I’m talking to you, Valve!)
- Most Exciting Gaming Experience:
Probably the first FPS game I played—I had a Mac back when everyone else was PC, so I couldn’t play DOOM, but I got to play Marathon, which actually had a much better story behind all the mayhem. I was so into that game, I started dreaming about it. Great stuff, and a great story behind the action (which was very similar to the original System Shock on the PC, I believe).
- Ideal Game That Has Not Yet Been Created:
I’ve always thought the original Die Hard movie would make the perfect FPS—you start off with almost nothing (barefoot, even), and have to get your ammo, weapons, and even footwear from the bad guys you kill. It just seemed like the perfect FPS setting: a building, with different “themes” for each floor (construction, party room, etc.) There have been Die Hard games, but none really did justice to what I thought was a movie just begging for a first-class FPS game.
- What Message Would You Send to Gamers Everywhere:
Have fun. Some of us get so “into” the gaming thing that we forget to just play the game and have fun. Letting go of everything else around you and just immersing yourself into the game is like meditation to a gamer: we need it for our well-being.
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s interview. Stay tuned next week for another great person. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have at email@example.com.