RPG Analysis

Posted on Jun 18th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (Fleach)
Posted under People of RF Gen, Interview, slackur, Collecting, Gaming

I'm very happy to bring back (again) the People of RF Generation series. This time let's sit down with blogging staff member, and over all great guy, slackur!

Name(First only):

Right now?  Living room couch, at home.  Near Erie, Pennsylvania.

Where does your screen name come from?
During part of my college years, I lived in a 24-hour party house.  I paid rent to sleep in a walk-in closet.  (No joke.)  It was named the Slacker House, for obvious reasons.  After its dissolution, I kept the nickname "Slacker."  Thanks to me getting in on the Xbox Live party about three months after it started, "slackur" was the closest spelling not already taken, and it's been my online moniker since.

How did you find RFG?
Once our collection exceeded a few dozen lists on paper, we started looking online for a better method to track games.  The rest is history.  Unless you live far enough in the past, then it may be the future.

What made you stay and become part of RFG?
The free food, mostly.  And the community, which was pleasantly welcoming and fun, without the obnoxious flavor of most of the rest of the intertubes.  I've always enjoyed how laid back, friendly, and nice RFG has been since I got here.  If the rest of the web were this great, 4Chan would just be a site dedicated to an awesome Asian film star/stuntman/human rag doll.

I've been been on 4Chan (I guess that's a good thing), so I'll have to take your word on that. Have you ever met or personally know anyone at RFG?
I'd love too!  The only times I've come close is at CORGS.  Seems no one at RFG is around Erie, PA.  Shame, it's a lovely place.  Unless you don't like winter.  Then Erie, PA hates you.


10 PRINT “I Don't Remember BASIC”
20 GOTO 10

Just a little joke for all those who remember the Commodore? Number of Games Owned(at time of printing):
RFG says 9146, my paper copy listing says that's off a few, Family Feud's survey says XX, and if you add the box of games I haven't tested to put into the collection and all of our many, many digital-only games that I don't list as part of the physical collection, I'm going to say my final answer is at least 50.  Can I use a lifeline?

Number of Systems:
70 or so, as well as many doubles.  A few triples.  Tetris.

When did you start collecting?
The day my dad brought home a Commodore 64 and a box of discs.  I was maybe 10.

What was your first system you owned?
My imagination working overtime with the pictures of Compute!'s Gazette magazine before the Commodore 64 purchase.

What was your first game?
The first games I distinctly remember playing were C64's Saboteur, Threshold, and Crossroads.  Not sure which came first as the order is jumbled in my mind.  Go Youtube Crossroads II: Pandemonium, if you want to know what madness has been playing on a background channel in my mind since my youth.  Jeff Minter would be proud.

What was your first game you bought yourself?
I don't clearly remember, but I think it was RC Pro-Am for the NES.

What made you decide to buy that particular game?
Back then, there was a radio program on a local station that had a call-in classified ads, called Swap Shop.  You had about fifteen seconds to freely advertise what you had for sale and a number to call to be reached.  It was Craigslist for us dinosaurs, without the human trafficking.  Anyway, I had saved up some money doing house chores, and lo-and-behold someone offered RC Pro-Am for fifteen bucks.  My eyes shot open like saucers and I said something like 'momcanIpleasepleasecallandbuythatpleaseIhavethemoneycanI?' as I grabbed the house phone (kids, you'd recognize it as that boxy picture with a C lying on the top that we use as a symbol for 'phone,' despite the fact that they haven't looked like that for years now) and called, my heart thumping in my chest because I just knew it would be sold in the two second delay I used to inform/ask my mom.
It was mine later that day, and I was spazzing more than N64 Christmas kid on a double espresso.

Haha! That's a great story! I can almost picture it. So, what was the first game you ever beat?
There were a few text-adventure games as well as a very simple medieval-style visual novel with ASCII graphics that I went through the first year we had our C64.  Back then, 'beating' a game wasn't even a thing you could do most of the time; it was usually just beating your high score.  I remember when we got an NES and being impressed that many of these new games could actually be completed.

Have you ever broken anything due to frustration from a game? Be honest, we won't tell...
I don't recall breaking anything in frustration, but I do have a funny story of a high school classmate who destroyed three different old grey brick Game Boys by smashing them against his forehead in frustration while playing... the original Kirby.  Two of the Game Boys weren't even his.  Glad I never showed him Battletoads, or he may have "Hulked" out and destroyed the city.


Are you collecting now, if so what anything specific?
I don't know that I've ever stopped collecting video games.  Lately, repros of otherwise unavailable games, classic imports we've never played, shmups, and physical copies of popular digital-release games are what I've sought out.

When did you feel a tipping point from gamer to both gamer and game collector?
I've always been both; if it was a game I never really got something out of, I'd keep it until I found someone to trade or give it too, or if I really liked it I'd keep a copy to relive and show others.  Once I realized how many games I didn't care for were games my friends enjoyed, or had interesting industry footnotes about them, it became natural to build up a collection.

What are your goals as a game collector, how have you developed them, and how do you feel about your progress toward them?
My 'goal' as a collector is to find homes for games; these things are designed and built for a purpose, and are wasted opportunities otherwise.  When I started as a kid I had a 'gotta catch 'em all' mentality.  But while I still enjoy picking up anything we don't have if I find it very cheap, over the years I realized that when it comes to setting a goal for game collecting, such as a complete set for a system, I easily start paying more for things I really can't find a reason for buying other than 'to say I have it,' which isn't my thing.  At this point I'll never own a Stadium Events or NWC cart, because while they're neat conversation pieces, now they'll never be at a price that would justify the cost for me.  It really doesn't take long to end up with more games than a person could reasonably 'finish' in a lifetime these days, so after that collecting is more for the fun of the hunt, as long as you have something to do with them afterwards. 

That is very reasonable. I guess you've had to exercise some restraint toward some games. How many games, systems, etc. are "enough"?
When more time is spent doing unproductive, unenjoyable tasks for the sake of keeping stuff.  I'm still learning and developing organization techniques, researching and learning about developers and genres, and growing as a person because of our collection.  If it ever becomes more of a purposeless chore just to have, we've definitely 'gone too far.'

What's your proudest moment as a game collector?
Any time I can give something away that I'd rather keep, because it is going to a better home.

What's your least proud moment as a game collector?
At a convention, the moment got the best of me and when a seller was trying to dump a bunch of import PS2 games I really didn't need, but he offered to sell the whole box for a few bucks.  There were three or four of us interested and I jumped in loudly and made a larger offer.  It may have been 'legit' but it reminded me how greed can creep in even for something we don't truly desire.  We so easily convince ourselves we really want something, and are made fools afterward. 

If you had to give part of your collection away for a worthy cause what part would it be, and why?
Anywhere it should go, really.  Stuff should serve us; I don't ever want to be stuck with something I can't get rid of!!  Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode.

Where/how do you store all your games?
The same pocket of space-time that G1 Transformers keep their guns and energy weapons, Sonic keeps his rings, Mario his coins, and Bubsy his epic amount of failure.  Also a finished basement, the lower story of the house.

What's your favorite part of your collection?
Cooperative multiplayer.

What about a favorite series?
Too many to name.  So I'll name some; Myst, Halo, Gears of War, Thunder Force, DiRT, WipEout, Zelda, Geometry Wars, Street Fighter, Silent Hill, Unreal Tournament, Soul Calibur, Burnout, Castlevania, Contra, Metroid, Rock Band, Gradius, and many others.  I'm rather picky.

What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to gaming?
Lately?  Destiny.  I don't like lottery-style designs in gaming and I don't have the time for MMO carrot-and-sticks, but somehow Destiny has become an off-and-on again standby for my daily bike workout.  I have so many things I want to play, and yet that game keeps me coming back.

What is the most valuable part of your collection(Value or sentimental)?
The real value is having so many great memories.  Over the years, so many things have broken, gotten stolen, or loaned and never returned.  It helps refocus where we consider our real treasure, where, you know, 'moths and vermin do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal,' etc.

What game do you have the most nostalgia for?
For the last few years, Beyond Shadowgate.  It's the one game in our previously stolen collection we've never replaced.  I did nab a copy a few years ago, but it had data rot and had to be returned.  Now the price has skyrocketed so much I can't justify the cost of replacing it.  So, fond memories.

What would you like to improve in your collection?
We're always looking for ways to make everything accessible; the goal is that any game, for any system, is available to just grab and play with minimum fuss.  Naturally, that requires a lot of planning.  And TVs.  Now that Salvation Army ends up with flat-screen CRTs and LCD TVs for a few bucks a piece, it's been a lot easier!

What do you think was your best deal while game buying?
Over the years we've come across a lot of great deals at yard sales and thrift stores, and such finds make up a big chunk of our collection.  If you're factoring 'deal' not in terms of how cheap something was purchased versus how much it later goes for, but instead how much play and fun we've gotten out of a single game, Halo Wars LAN play and Halo 3 ODST's Firefight were pennies on the dollar, and that's after multiple copies and systems.

What item in your collection do you feel you overpaid for?
Anything we haven't opened yet.  And Ninja Gaiden 3 CE

What do you feel is the strangest or weirdest item in your collection?
The recent find of a Star Trek Phaser Battle is nifty, if not technically a video game.  There's a picture at http://www.handheldmuseum...-StarTrekPhaserBattle.jpg

Our Master Chief statue has also scared a few overnight guests wandering in the dark.

What item(s) do you not have in your collection that people are surprised to hear you don't have?
Some contemporary stuff, such as more Maddens, FIFAs, GTA V, the type of games everyone assumes a modern gamer would have.  Though there are plenty of 'holes' in the retro stuff; lately folks were surprised we didn't have more Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games.  Bubble Bobble 2's absense has been noted, since we have some big fans of the series that come over.

Is there any way you'd ever stop collecting?
Many ways.  Apocolypse, sudden loss of all limbs, spontaneous combustion, death by falling cheerleader pyramid, awkwardly becoming antimatter, countless things could stop me from collecting.  Would I ever want to stop?  Only if I could no longer give some away.

Do you have a funny story about your collection?
Collections do the silliest things.  I once had a visit from a nice friend who was a few decades older than I, and the first time she looked about our living room, she asked, "so... is this all music?"

Have you ever had to move your collection to another house? What was it like?
We moved many times before buying a home, which we heard was preferable to buying a bunch of houses and then renting.  Every time, our poor friends agreed with each other that they'll never help us move all of our stuff again... and we'd bribe with pizza and video games until their altruism got the best of them and they'd kindly return.

If your significant other told you no more games, what would you do?
I'd quietly nod and begin carefully analyzing what mind parasite or alien control device has taken over my beloved wife, also explaining why she began breathing dryer lint and enjoying country music.

What percentage of your games are still sealed?
Seals are very dangerous pinnipeds known to destroy rare video games , so I keep them as far away as possible, especially ever since they hired PETA to defend their vile acts.

Darn PETA!! What percentage of your games have you actually played? Completed?
We've played about 99% of what we own, at least to test out.  Some newer games may have slipped our attention if purchased with a few others.  I only complete endless runners and Tetris.

Do you own any complete collections?
I am the only person I know with the complete “RFG's Slackur” collection.  I'm not missing one game!  As for systems, We have all of the region 1 Dreamcast game library, save for a few limited editions and a Web Browser 3.0.  We have every 32X Sega CD game, if that's a thing.  Is that a thing?

Let's make it a thing right now! You must be thinking that I am the evil interviewer with these questions....
I'm honored!  I wouldn't have thought I'd warrant THE Evil Interviewer.  I figured I'd hardly rank enough to be interviewed by one of your lackeys, maybe a junior-class inconvenient pollster.  Slow interrogation week?

What is your favorite game of all time?
If I were threatened with a loaded watergun held to our NES wall, I'd probably have to say Tetris.  Other days may be Gate of Thunder, Shadow of the Colossus, Rock Band 3, or Necromancer.  Some days I may say Destiny, but on those days I'm wrong.  We all have those.

Least Favorite?
Guess-the-random-thing-my-kids-dropped-in-my-drink? Or Deal or No Deal.  Not much for gambling.  See 'guilty pleasure' above.

Do you collect anything else besides games?
Not actively; in the past we've collected Magic: The Gathering cards, books, CDs, HeroScape, musical instruments, Mario Kart souls (I've won three but lost my own), occasional unicorns, and a few other things.  We've gone through a few purgings as well.  In fact, these days, we look to give away at least as much as we gain.  Yet our stuff still routinely grows.

What do you outside of games?
I'm a house-dad for our three kids, with a lot of side-jobs; part time at a local game retailer, pastor-elder at our church, lead vocal/guitar for a band, and working on a writing career, to name a few.  I have been known to sleep on occasion.

So you're a pretty busy guy. You’re also part of the writing staff on RF, what got you into writing blogs?
I've always been a writer, though certainly not very skilled nor developed (nor, obviously, concise!)  Funny enough, I had the idea to keep up with a blog many years before it was even a word; I intended to write on a public internet site to keep up with family and friends as I moved around.  I never stayed with it for many reasons.  Nowadays, RFG has been instrumental in my writing development because I can focus on topics I enjoy writing about, and the community is wonderfully supportive and a joy to be around.  I have other writing projects, but RFG is my favorite perpetual one right now.

I'm probably not alone in thinking that your writing style is very personal. Each article is a little glimpse into who you are as a gamer or why you play games.
Unless it is a straight dictation or copy, everything any person writes is personal, really.  When a person writes, no matter how dry or passionate, direct or flavorful, it is impossible to communicate from one person to another without adding and subtracting, both as the message sender and the message receiver.  It's the nature of communication; we filter to and fro with our built-in biases, thoughts, fears, and loves, often without a real grasp on what we are changing because it comes so natural to us.  Something as simple as a single idea in a tweet can be sent and received countless ways based on sender and receiver.

What other features would you like to see more of at RFG?
I'd love something like an open-window chat on the side bar or another method to connect in real-time.  I use the chat on occasion, but it is often tough to find other folks and the separate window doesn't play well with my phone or computer.  Integrating it into the main page may ideally generate more conversation.

Bomba, the previous interviewee, would like to ask you: “What is the most times you've bought a single game (either in editions or the eternal buying/selling of your collection)?  For example, I've bought the original Final Fantasy a total of three times (selling/losing it twice).”
In the past I had the silly idea that I may one day compete in Tetris on a professional level.  I tracked down every variant of the game I could find, to play and test and train on different variations.  I even ranked up past the top fifty in a few online versions.  Then I discovered some professional Tetris fan-sites and I couldn't even decipher their language and terminology, much less their high-end strategy.  I realised that in order to really compete, I'd have to dedicate a much bigger chunk of my life to do so, and I made the call to just play casually and for fun.  But I still have many dozens of versions of Tetris lying around.

Lastly, do you have a question to ask for the next interview?
What message, feeling, or idea from a game personally connected most with you?

Thanks for your time!

It's our most precious resource, so I'm glad to spend it with such a welcoming community!

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Great read! Are you grabbing that Rare Retro collection to play some more RC Pro AM?
@Addicted:That Rare collection would have been my favorite E3 reveal if the Last Guardian wasn't resurrected.  The whole compilation is right up my alley!  So definitely. Smiley
Thanks for participating in this interview, slackur. You've got some great gaming and collecting stories, and I think it's so generous that you see your collection as a way to share with others.
I decided I want to be you when I grow up, Jess.  Your views and practices on collecting and playing games and people in general are very inspiring, and I always look forward to the wonderful personal touch you add to your articles.  In fact, might we be ever be entertained with anything additional you might offer?  Perhaps a slackur story hour, read by the author himself, hmm?
I love reading these things, and it's fun to learn more about you, Jess. Good news: if you become anti-matter you can start over with anti-matter R.C. Pro-AM.

Also, after spending an evening with top level Tetris players recently, I completely understand being mystified. They had me join in while they were playing, but I felt like it was more what adults would do to let a watching 3 year old try hard to play a game.
@Fleach:Thank you for the interview!  It was a lot of fun, and being a part of this type of gracious online community is a rare blessing.  I enjoy this series immensely so its an honor to be a part of it.

@bombatomba:We don't need more Slackurs, certainly not at the expense of a Bomba!  You and my friends on this site are often the inspiration I find to write and share here, so it wouldn't make any sense to lose the views and values of the community of individuals I respect.  As for stories, I've written a few, and if you are interested I can send some over.  I'd love to develop a web comic or something similar one day, but it would have to be part of a team, given my other commitments.

@Duke.Togo:Thanks!  Boy, having to rebuild a collection with the anti-matter versions would just be prohibitively expensive.  I'd be fine with a few classics, as long as I don't forget to put it in the anti-matter version console.
As for Tetris, I know, right?  I never thought I was the best or anything, but the top tier play on a whole different level with a conceptual understanding of the dynamics of the game that would take me much more effort than just playing more.  I may still one day, but again, I'd have to work it into a daily practice, and that's just not practical right now.
@Slackur: If you haven't seen it yet check out Tim Stamper's twitter:


He's throwing up artwork and teasing a look at Dream for the SNES.

@Duke: I second that. After watching Ecstasy of Order I'm impressed.
Another great interview!  Glad to read all about you, slackur, and I appreciate your wacky sense of humor that is obvious throughout these posts Smiley

Also, I'm on board with you in regards to seals:

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Role Playing games are my favourite genre of the gaming library. I feel it is appropriate to take a look at the games that have touched me in my time as a gamer and collector and share them with the community. Feel free to discuss your thoughts, ideas, and challenge my opinions. The conversation is welcomed.
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