What is the first video game you ever played?
That’s a tough one. You’re asking me to go way back to my childhood. I think the first game I ever played was probably either the in table Pac Man or Pitfall on Atari. I also knew a kid who had a Vectrex, which was the first one I remember having any depth to the graphics. It had these screen overlays that you would put on for different games to give them color and they included some other information on them sometimes. I seriously thought the Vectrex was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
What is your favorite game of all time?
These questions keep getting harder. How do you pick a favorite game of all time? I’ve probably played more Madden than anything else so if you’re talking game franchises and spanning platforms maybe that’s it. But I feel like favorite games need to be broken down into eras, or platforms. My favorite arcade games were Guerrilla War and Gauntlet. (NFL Blitz was an arcade favorite too along with Neo Geo’s Baseball Stars). Favorite NES games were Contra and Super Mario Bros. II. I’ll skip naming favorite games by console, but there’s so many that come to mind. I think the game that really made me realize what games could be, and would be though is Fallout 3. I had loved the original Fallout on Mac, and had hung through the slow load times of FO2. When FO3 combined the FPS fighting and movement with the FO RPG story line I was all in. I played it for hours and hours because I was trying to finish it while on a business trip. Basically, the company sent me out for two weeks, but after the first week they forgot I was there and stopped giving me work. I checked in every day to see where they needed me and they never answered, so I basically stayed at a friend’s house playing FO3 on his HD projector for 12 hours a day. When I got back home I bought it and replayed it plus all the DLC and did the nerd things like complete every side mission, find every spot on the map etc. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with any other game. It took forever to because my son was born and I had to stop playing in front of him when he started mimicking the Ghouls before he could talk.
What do you do for fun when not playing video games?
My main non-gaming hobby is rugby. I played for over 20 years, but I’ve spent the last ten years as a coach and referee. I love reffing, I get to see some great games from the best spot to see games. I’m also probably a better ref than I was a player. I’ve certainly had more opportunities as a ref. I’ve had opportunities as an Assistant Ref to officiate playoff games for USA Rugby including top level club playoffs and college playoffs. But mostly it’s my main form of exercise. I know that I can get a good run in at least once a week. I also help manage North America’s only rugby club dedicated to Deaf and Hard of Hearing players, the All Deaf RFC. It’s been a fun challenge helping to grow Deaf rugby in the US. The other rugby playing nations have Deaf national teams, we’re trying to get that going here as well. Oh, and I also have some online writing projects including one about my life as a SAHD, a sight dedicated to “Yo mama” jokes about Berkeley, Ca., and a couple others.
How do you balance gaming and family life?
That can be hard. I can’t play some of the games I like when the kids are around. I fudged it playing the Destiny Beta by telling them it was all robots. We’re trying to keep the killing of people out of view for as long as possible, especially the recreational killing of digital people. So Fallout New Vegas has been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Sometime I play Skyrim with them around, but only when fighting non-human NPCs. I play a lot after bed time. I won’t lie, it’s sometimes caused problems with my wife. There have been a lot of late nights in the basement wanting to just finish one mission. But I’ve learned to dial it back. Since I transitioned to being a SAHD I’ve had more time at night because I do housework all day. Our kids only watch TV on the weekends so many weekend mornings I’ll get in some Madden or MLB The Show while they watch cartoons. Then we’re kind of all doing something together (two TV set up). The main thing is I don’t really have a gaming budget anymore. I’m always at least a half a system behind, I’ll get a PS4 after this Christmas when the price drops. I also wait to get games. I usually buy them with my credit card rewards points and I wait for the GOTY or the special editions that have all the DLC included. It’s gaming on a budget, and with the understanding that I’m not in a hurry. If I finish FONV next year it’ll still be new to me. The next big milestone comes next month when my son turns six and I introduce him to the Wii. I’ve been wary about getting him into gaming because I want to instill a love of being outside and playing with action figures and dress up and all that before he gets into gaming. I think I just want him to see gaming as another thing to do along with everything else. I love gaming, and I know a lot of truly committed and hard core gamers who are also super into doing things outdoors and I would like to see my kids do both as well.
To read Roberto’s blog, check him out at http://www.bertoissirrantalot.blogspot.com