To say that I was holding an NES controller since I was in diapers is a good way to summarize my humble gaming beginnings. My mom and dad bought the NES bundle with Mario and Duck Hunt and it was on from then. I don’t think there was ever a point in my life when I wasn’t involved with gaming.
Weirdly enough, I consider myself a PC gamer even though I didn’t really get into it until a few years ago. Sure I built PCs in the past and played AAA titles such as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, but the Xbox 360 took up more of my time during that era. That all changed when Steam went mainstream and made it cool to buy your games online instead of in the store. Another fun fact: with the exception of the Virtual Boy and Game Boy Color, I have owned EVERY Nintendo console ever to be released. I know, who wants to friggen touch me?
Nintendo is probably my favorite game company, and always will be. Call it nostalgia or the quality of games they churn out, they will always be number 1 in my book (suck it haters). That’s not to say I don’t enjoy other platforms. I own all the current-gen systems, a trend that began in my youth. I love GAMING, no matter the company (console wars are stupid, stop partaking in them).
Asad and I started this little venture back in 2013 and slowly but surely we’ve made our mark. I’ve known Asad for years and we always shot the breeze about gaming and other topics (mostly bizarre on his end), so the idea to team up and start this podcast was an easy one to make. Dennis is a natural fit as well, and I've known James as long as Asad so we all gel pretty well together. Now that we're no longer a part of the RELM Network I feel this show can really take off, and I'm glad you're all a part of it.
Aside from gaming, WWE, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL are my other passions. The 49ers are on the rise with Jimmy Garropolo and when they win the Super Bowl next season you’ll see why they’re the best ever. The Giants already won 3 World Series rings so that’ll last me another 10 years easily. The Kings will always be my favorite basketball team; I'm not a bandwagoner that likes the Warriors too. The Golden Knights are definitely my favorite hockey team and their story is one of the best ever in sports, even if they didn't win the Stanley Cup. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Chris Jericho are the best pure pro wrestlers ever. That’s all I can think of for myself, so JO session over.
Games have always been a part of my life in some way or another. My father was a Computer Science major so as a kid there were always cool toys for me to play with--desktops, laptops, game consoles, etc. In my early youth I didn't get to game much--this was during the whole "video games corrupt children" phase which my parents paid a bit too much attention to. But, as I got older I fell in love with PC gaming especially and always found it to be a fascinating medium. I love how the best games transport you to another world and place. It would be an understatement to say that video gaming served as a powerful reprieve during the more difficult times in my childhood.
If I had to define myself, I really see myself as a creator. I'm slowly inching toward making my own games and make art and write music in my spare time. My dream is to make a game that allows me full creative control over game lay, art, story, and sound.
The guys love to joke and call me a contrarian, and I do admit that I am probably the most critical and skeptical among us in terms of reviewing and understanding games. The reason for this comes for my deep love of the medium itself. My favorite games are the ones that take full advantage of this. Video games are special because we aren't merely observers in them but participants. The future of the medium has much in store, too--I believe that one day games will be seen as essential art forms just as film and music are. They offer great potential for teaching people about the world and themselves. Yet, I think the industry as a whole often fails to reflect this. That is why in general I can come off as cynical--I think in many ways the industry has gone quite stagnant. The industry, in terms of creativity, peaked around the early 2000s, and I feel like since then we've merely been repeating what worked (with several incredible exceptions of course)!
This is part of the reason I find indie games so exciting. I believe the future of the medium lies in them, not in triple-A releases--just the way underground cinema pushes Hollywood forward toward brighter and more creative avenues, indie games do the same for mainstream releases.
"Immersive sims", as coined by Warren Spector and co., are one of my favorite genres, due to their grounded and emergent nature. They allow for truly cool things to happen. Ideally, gameplay and story should be one and the same and this genre constantly creates cool stories and moments that flow naturally from gameplay and player choices as opposed to pre-defined scripts. I also love RPGs and FPS games. There are few genres I don't enjoy, honestly, except maybe sports games and it's only because I don't play them regularly.
Dennis The Cynic
I love all things gaming and have dating back to the 1980s when my parents bought my sister and I an NES system. I'm not ashamed to admit to cheating more than once in World Class Track Meet.
At a certain point I stopped trying to keep up with the latest consoles and PC systems. However, the old school days of button mashing, simple graphics but difficult games and easy controllers is still alluring to me. So I still play and talk about them from time to time.
I guest hosted The Gaming Marathon back in 2015 and the gang was too nice to shoo me away so I’ve stuck around since.
My other love as a child was cartoons so I bring my best voice imitations to the show from time to time. As an avowed jeopardy nerd I love bringing trivia to the show too.
I used to live in Baltimore until life brought me to the West Coast which is, in a word, dope. However I still think fondly of Orioles baseball, crab cakes and chicken boxes.
Some people call me a retro guy, but I still enjoy the new stuff as well, especially since acquiring an Xbox One. My favorite characters in game history (in no particular order): Bomberman, Mario, Link, Sonic, the brothers from Double Dragon, and Shinobi.
When i’m not reminiscing about games I spend a lot of time (admittedly, probably way too much) talking politics, DIY, stuff I don't like and pro wrestling.
And Adam’s right: Roman Reigns really sucks.
Xbox Live, Playstation - dennisthecynic