As excited as I am to kick on with Zak McKracken, this week is a bit of a killer on the professional front. I've just not been able to get a couple of hours free to write anything, so I thought I would take the opportunity to let one of the readers do the talking instead. This week it's one of the CAP board leaders...Ilmari!
The faceless symptoms seem to be spreading.
My age is… I'll be turning 31 in August.
The first adventure game I played was… Space Quest 3, or actually I just first watched my brother and his friends play it. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. Before that, I had played only shoot'em'ups and platformers, but this experience changed my taste completely.
It won't be long now and you'll get to watch someone else play it all over again
When I’m not playing games I like to… Actually the problem is more that I rarely have time to play games, because other activities take priority. That's probably why I like adventure games so much – I might enjoy CRPGs and strategy games,but you really need to be playing them to make any significant progress, while with adventure games you can do the main work or thinking about the puzzles everywhere. But now I've digressed... Most of my free time I try to spend with my wife and our 1-year old daughter.The time left over from that I will mostly spend on reading, which has been my primary hobby since I was just three and half. I mostly read scifi/fantasy, but if you refer me to a good book with fantastic elements, good humour, absurd plotting or important social commentary (or preferably, all of them), I will probably read it. I also like to study texts on philosophy, science, mathematics, history, cultural studies, linguistics, sociology or something around those areas. Finally, I like complex board games, mostly of German origin, strolling in nature and all sorts of stuff I rarely have time to indulge in.
My favourite adventure game is… You know, I just really hate picking up just one favourite, when there's a load of quality games I could choose from. Usually what I am looking for in an adventure game is an intriguing plot, which I have found at least in LeChuck's Revenge, Gateway, KGB, Trinity, Gabriel Knight and Tierra Entertainment's King's Quest 2 remake. Then again, I still have loads of adventure games to play, so I cannot really choose one over the others.
Gateway is one of those games that's always intrigued me. I'm not even sure I'll get to play it for this blog.
I like my games in (a box, digital format)… Preferably in digital format (takes up less space). But I'd still like a good manual with a lot of backstory!
The thing I miss about old games is / The best thing about moderngames is… I'll answer these two at the same time. I think that what I most miss is not the games as such, but the child's enthusiasm and the capacity to be excited of the simple things – and the time to use for playing. I mean, there were good games, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be gems in the modern games also.
And let's face it, many of the older games would be simply unbearable these days. The very first adventure game, Adventure, was really crude plotwise (collect all the treasures), while the mother of all graphic adventures, Sierra's Mystery House is possibly the worst game I've ever played: a two-year old could draw more convincing stickmen, and what's worse, you have to rely on the awful pictures,because the textual output is quite meagre – I mean, who could have known that a particular square in a bathroom was meant to be a towel?
I'm sure we all feel your pain on this one
There's definitely been progression going on, but it has been in some cases restricted to the improvement of graphics and introduction of better controls etc. King's Quest was in this sense already a progression from the Adventure – graphics, the ability to move the character and so on. In another sense there had been no progress at all, because plotwise both were simple treasure hunts. The most used plot in whole gaming history has probably been ”hero saves the world from an evil guy”, which isn't really imaginative.
Of course, there have been more complex plots also. In adventure games,especially Infocom was an early example of a more creative approach to plots. Take Brian Moriarty's Trinity, for instance. On the onehand, it is a game where you solve more or less ingenious puzzles in a fantasy environment with giant bumblebees, mythical figures like Charon, living origami birds and Klein bottles. On the other hand, itis a social commentary on warfare and especially nuclear weapons, where you'll get to visit places like Hiroshima, Bikini Atoll and the Manhattan project test site in New Mexico. Later non-commercial interactive fiction have taken the complexity of plotting to further levels, but they often feel more like pieces of literature than games.
The ideal would undoubtedly be to combine all the elements – engaging plots, gorgeous graphics, good interface and enough game activity to keep you entertained for hours. Sure wish they'd make more games like that – but it could well be that I just haven't had the time to find these true treasures.
The one TV show I never miss is… I tend to like all things scifi- or fantasy-related, so for instance,Game of Thrones, True Blood and Walking Dead are appreciated. Perhaps I still wait most for Doctor Who, because a) I have a liking for allthings British and b) it's a show that my daughter likes to watch too (it's good to share some hobby with your kids).
Yet another Doctor Who fan! I'm really going to have to give it a try sometime soon.
If I could see any band live it would be… I am not really fanatical music follower – I prefer stories over melodies, so I'd rather read a book, watch a TV show or play a game than listen to music. That said, I have a rather varied music taste. In my youth I was brainwashed by Europop and techno, which I still occasionally listen to. But I also like jazz, classic operas and some rock'n roll. I think I'll stick now to the fantasy/scifi-theme and vote for a live show of Queen with Freddie Mercury – no matter whether it involves time travel, cloning or magic.
My favourite movie is… I actually prefer TV shows to movies, because in a long series the plot has more time to grow and deepen – and if you catch me watching a movie, it's probably something mindless junk that I only use to clear my head off. But if you really want me to pick something, MarxBrothers - movies I never tire of watching. From more recent titles, I've enjoyed e.g. movies by Charlie Kaufmann and Terry Gilliam.
There's been a little complication with my complication!
One interesting thing about me is… This is probably the hardest question, because I feel like an average Joe with no interesting qualities. In real life, I am the shy silent person who mostly listens without anything to say, the oddball who has made a PhD on some really obscure topic (a great way to stop a conversation), the teetotaller who everyone depends on when they get too intoxicated and the dilettante poet whom relatives hire to perform bad poems on anniversaries.
Interested in sending your answers and getting 20 CAPs for you trouble? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.