1. What’s your favorite kind of video game to play with your parents?
Neither of my parents are gamers so I’d have to choose carefully… I think I’d have an in with my dad if I got him to play something like The Last of Us, with the father/daughter dynamic. On the other hand, he might need some hand-holding so honestly I think something like Little Big Planet or Portal would be cool to play with both of my parents. Portal has great humor, but I think LBP might be better since neither of them would be used to the first-person camera. But I’ll play anything with them! Anything!
2. What’s your favorite quality in a male game character? Female game character?
In a male game character my favorite quality would be someone with a touch of humor. Garrus Vakarian, for example. I do have a soft-spot for male characters that have been punched in the gut by life and are sad puppies but ultimately I think starting with a lighter character makes the moments where the game gets dark more touching, because they start from a place of happiness and then break. And I love breaking characters.
As for female characters, I like to see women who are competent and comfortable in their role, or who grow into that role (see Lara Croft in the 2013 Tomb Raider). I think it’s hard to get more specific with female game characters because I don’t want to pigeonhole them! I think my most-desired quality in a female character is that she exists and has depth.
3. What type of games do you avoid?
I’m not really a fan of horror games—weird from someone whose favorite game is Bioshock. I wouldn’t say that I avoid them but I certainly don’t seek them out.
4. What’s your favorite quality in your gaming buddies (kids or not)?
I really like gaming with people I can work with as a team. If they’re trash-talking the whole time, or snapping at me for messing up, it’s not fun. The only exception to this rule is Mario Party, which is a game that should contain as much backstabbing and trash-talking as humanly possible. Mario Party is the test of all good friendships. That being said, being a graceful winner is always a good quality.
5. What’s your main fault as a gamer?
I’m terribly lazy, and it takes me roughly forever to finish games. Except that, when I am playing, I play them obsessively. So when I start gaming it’s a dangerous on-off cycle of pain and missed obligations.
Also, I trash-talk during Mario Party.
6. How has gaming shaped your identity?
I think, like any hobby, gaming is something that I can use to relate to other people. Meeting someone new and finding out that you both love gaming is a great conversation starter; just try wearing a Mass Effect hoodie in public and see where it gets you!
I think mostly what I like is the sense of community that comes with being a gamer. Being able to go out to a convention and enjoy the same things that everyone else is enjoying—that’s really cool. And being able to have long discussions with my friends about the games we’re playing is awesome.
7. What’s your idea of a miserable gaming experience?
Dying repeatedly, just dying repeatedly. It’s the number one cause of week-long breaks for me. It’s the worst when it’s late at night and I’m too tired to figure out what I’m doing wrong, but also too tired to realize I should stop playing.
8. In which virtual world would you choose to vacation?
Rapture before the fall, or the world of Tearaway any time at all. I’m also really charmed by Wind Waker, so I’d be on that in a hot minute. But Tearaway has to be number one, and I would spend the entire vacation in cute-induced tears. Alternately, I would be on a boat to Failbetter’s Fallen London and covering myself in grime.
9. Which game did you find most visually appealing?
I’m a sucker for games with a strong aesthetic—less realism, more artsiness. I love Tearaway, as I mentioned, because the whole world is so aesthetically cohesive. Broken Age has an incredible visual style that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I love it when games embrace an art style that reflects the story they’re trying to tell.
11. Which game has your favorite story?
Why would you ask me this? Are you Satan? I have a lot of favorite stories. Mass Effect was the first game that brought me to tears with its story. I love the way Bioshock tells a decent story through gameplay and a fantastic story through found documents and ruined evidence. No seriously, I can ramble about it if you want. Fallen London tells thousands of stories and I want to devour every single one of them.
Bonus, there are way too many games in my Steam library whose stories I’ll be enjoying…maybe in the next 10 years.
12. Which video game character would you choose to be a hero for your kids?
Commander Jane Shepard!
13. What are your favorite gaming snacks?
I guzzle tea and coffee like a maniac when I’m gaming. Spaghetti is a bad gaming snack. Just from personal experience.
14. What’s your favorite video game villain?
My own inability to shoot accurately.
I like villains that are a little more fleshed out. Sander Cohen from Bioshock is a great character that you can read a lot of complexity into, if you want to. The Reapers from Mass Effect will always terrify me—I can’t hear that klaxon without sadness. Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts is a big favorite of mine, but I think that’s largely because of the fanworks that have been devoted to exploring their characters. Every monster from Catherine was terrifying, and Catherine herself…equally terrifying. And of course, GLaDOS is the villain I want to quote every day.
15. Which video game ability/item/superpower would you most like to be gifted with?
Absolutely 100% the free-running from Assassin’s Creed, but without my own incompetence. Alternately, I want the Normandy, the ship in Mass Effect.
16. What video game character would you pick to cosplay if you had unlimited time and resources?
I am 100% devoted to getting someone to build Shepard’s N7 armor for me to wear.
17. Most interesting or annoying way you’ve ever died in a video game?
There were definitely a few battles in Mass Effect 3 where I just devolved into running around aimlessly, hoping that a better strategy would dawn on me. I’ve never actually succeeded at beating a Thresher Maw because I suck at driving and shooting.
The first time I died in Limbo stuck with me because I had no idea what the game was about—by the time I ran into the first bear trap and saw that little boy torn to pieces it was too late. That was a shocker.