Wednesday 4 January 2023

What's Your Story: LeftHanded Matt

Intro and captions by Ilmari

A new reader has found The Adventurer's Guild! LeftHanded Matt has been slowly going through our backlog, making some comments here and there. We received his What's Your Story -answers a while ago, and now we've finally managed to find a hole in our schedule for them. So, without further ado, let's welcome him to our TAG community!
Favourite album, perhaps?

My home country is...
United Kingdom.

My age is...
40. Yes, it's terrifying.

The first adventure game I played was...
This is really hard to answer. It feels like adventure games were always there during my childhood, passed around between friends in the playground and asked for on birthday/Christmas lists. My earliest recollection of them might be playing the original Space Quest over at a friend's house. I have a clear memory of being out at a family barbecue somewhere and the host letting all the kids play games on his PC, only to have my mind blown to discover there was a Space Quest THREE installed on his hard disk. I had no idea it existed! Sierra games in general seem to have been my introduction to the genre.
Like with so many of us, it all started here
My favourite adventure game is...
Again, extremely difficult to narrow it down. But despite my answer to the above question, it's always been LucasArts who made my favourite games. They added so much quality and refinement to the genre. If I had to give a single answer then it might be Day of the Tentacle. But I was also completely blown away by the storytelling quality of The Longest Journey and have really loved the wide variety of new adventure games that have been appearing over the past 10 years. Life is Strange, Firewatch and The Darkside Detective were joys to play.
It might take us a while to get here
When I'm not playing games I like to...
I'm an avid reader (mostly sci-fi/fantasy, but I try to vary it) and a bit of a film nut. I'm currently in the middle of a project with a friend to slowly read through all of Stephen King's work in publication order and it's been a lot of fun. We're up to 'It' at the moment, but I'd say that 'Firestarter' has probably been my favourite so far - much better than the recent movie. Also, 'The Dark Tower' is incredible.

I'm also a musician, guitar and piano primarily, so I spend quite a bit of time both listening to and playing music. I like rock music most of all, but do try to listen to all sorts of different stuff (especially since the state of modern rock music is very depressing). I was in several bands, but the pandemic caused problems and put an end to them. At that point I had the revelation that I wasn't enjoying playing live at all, so I haven't felt the need to go back to it. I teach guitar and really enjoy transcribing songs and creating sheet music for them.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)...
I tend to prefer physical media, and in a perfect world I would buy big box copies of everything. But they've largely disappeared for PC gaming, and when they are released they are so expensive. And digital is so damn convenient. So right now I'm happy downloading my games online. But an issue that is now appearing for modern games is that the file sizes are ridiculously huge and the download times are excessive. So ironically, I would prefer to have discs to install them from.

Fortunately, this isn't as much of an issue for retro games and the smaller indie titles I enjoy.

The thing I miss about old games is...
Nostalgia goggles alert! I miss the more intimate nature of it all. Games felt more exciting with each release, genuinely pushing technology and design. There were only a handful of people on the teams making the games and the companies had personalities. You could feel the love put into the products. They were also much more willing to experiment. Now the corporate business mindset has taken over. I have a huge dislike of multiplayer gaming and the toxic culture that's been created by it, so I miss how friendly the hobby was when I was growing up. I also miss having a huge manual to read through on the journey home from buying a new game!

The best thing about modern gaming is...
The sheer variety of choices. I have access to a huge chunk of gaming history at the click of a button, with the benefit of bug fixes and mods created by the community to help the experiences if needed. I can play a small indie game that does something innovative or enjoy an enormous blockbuster experience and anything in between. In fact, the indie scene has been the absolute saviour of gaming for me - anyone has the tools to create a game from their bedroom with a minimum of obstacles. And many of the tools are FREE. This means there is always room for new games in obscure genres and with diverse stories.

The one TV show I never miss is...
Oh, where to start? I'm afraid I'll have to give you a lot more than one! I'm a Trekkie, so all the new Star Trek shows are a joy to me (even if some of them have stumbled in places). Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks are wonderful. I love Star Wars equally, and right now Andor is shaping up to be my favourite show of the year, and that's saying something when we also had the brilliance that was Better Call Saul. Then there's For All Mankind which is a hidden gem, and House of the Dragon which defied all my expectations.
Who wouldn't love Lower Decks?
If I could see any band live it would be...
If we are talking about a fantasy pick, then it would probably be Queen in the mid-to-late '70s. By the 1980s they had become a bit of a greatest hits pop jukebox, and I love their heavier raw '70s music the most. I've listened to Queen since I was 3 years old and Freddie Mercury is deeply missed.
If I had to choose a more realistic answer, then it's Nine Inch Nails.

My favourite movie is...
I usually say Almost Famous. A gorgeous coming-of-age story following a semi-fictional rock band on tour in the 1970s. It's funny, heartfelt, perfectly cast and has a wonderful soundtrack, and most of it is based on the real life experiences of writer/director Cameron Crowe. The whole thing sets off nostalgia in me for a time I wasn't even around for, and it's one of those films that I genuinely don't want to end when I'm watching it.

Of course, a more honest answer would be Star Wars. All of them.
Let's go with the dishonest option
One interesting thing about me is...
I have a moderately successful YouTube channel based around music education/guitar playing (56,000 subs currently). I started it on a whim because I was a bit bored, but people seemed to like the way I was doing things and it grew. I got a bit burned out and have spent a while away from it, but I fully intend to return.

My favourite Alien film is Alien 3 and I will forever defend it.


  1. Welcome! 40 isn't too bad. Fits plenty of adventures before and after!

    1. I swear I was just in my 20s a couple of years ago!

  2. Hello! Happy to make myself known at last.

  3. I've just turned 40, so I'm hoping it's not too bad! Welcome to the blog.

    I've also been loving the new star trek shows, I was unsure of Lower Decks at first but it quickly won me over and is one of my favourite shows now.

    1. Thanks. Welcome to the 40 club!

      Yeah, it's a great watch and so genuinely funny while still being respectful of what Star Trek is. The DS9 episode was a real treat.

    2. it really was! I took a screenshot of the flyby intro bit to use as my desktop background :)

  4. The whole thing sets off nostalgia in me for a time I wasn't even around for, and it's one of those films that I genuinely don't want to end when I'm watching it.

    Really, it's that whole era for us in the 40 club. Personally, I prefer Dazed and Confused for that wasn't there-nostalgia kick.

    1. That's a good one too. I have to say though that as I get older now it's the 1990s that are filled with the most magical memories that I'd love to have a time machine for. I'm sure adventure games are a big part of why.

    2. That's a great period, too. I'm sad I haven't found a way to work "It's Rex Manning Day!" into any of the post I've made so far...

    3. I'm 46, and the '70s and '90s were the best. The '70s had Queen, Van Halen and Rush doing most of their best work, though I didn't really discover it till the '90s, and I loved grunge too.

      Also, I gotta say 40 isn't so bad. The drag is when you reach 41, because it means you're not just 40, you're "in your 40's".

    4. Grunge really captured my attention, but ironically not until it was all over! I discovered most of those bands around 2001.


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