Staff Writer at GamesRadar+
David Roberts took a long road to get where he is today, working odd jobs for over a decade until he finally got his BA in English Literature from ASU West in 2014, ending up at GamesRadar+ shortly after. There, he writes endlessly about Final Fantasy, Metal Gear (seriously, he wrote a thousand words about the cardboard box in Metal Gear once, don’t get him started), and other weird gems and rad indie games. He also co-hosts GamesRadar+’s weekly podcast RadioRadar+ and bi-weekly developer interview Twitch stream How Video Games Are Made. He currently lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two children.
What is the first video game you ever played?
The earliest memory I have of gaming was when I was four years old and living in Arizona. My dad returned from a business trip in Washington with a Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Super Mario Bros. was the first game I ever played. It was all downhill from there.
What is your favorite game of all time?
So I’m gonna cheat a little bit and name two, because they’re both equally my favorite for different reasons. The first is Earthbound. I bought it for like ten dollars on clearance at Best Buy a few years after it came out and instantly fell in love with its quirky charms and its bizarre sense of humor. It’s ultimately about friendship and the power of the connections we make with other people, but it’s not afraid to pull any punches, never talking down to the player or getting heavy-handed with its humanist message. The gameplay is a bit old-fashioned by today’s standards, but the story has only gotten better with time and life experience.
The second is Metal Gear Solid. It was the first game that made me feel like games could be capital-I ‘Important’. Yeah, there’s the giant mechs, and the revolver twirling Russian, and the cyborg ninja, and the clones, and the cardboard box (nope, not gonna start). But there’s also the notion that its story is built on top of actual global politics – and then that title card appears at the end to inform you that there are still tens of thousands of live nukes still in existence. It woke me up to the wider world in a way that no other game had at that point. It’d be a while before I started writing about games yet, but at the time it inspired me to dig deeper and think more about the intersection of politics and video games. All this from a game where a psychic reads your memory card saves.
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
I love movies. I don’t get to the theater as much these days (kids!) but I have a pretty healthy library of Criterion Collection Blu-rays that I’ve added to over the years. I actually run a small blog where I like to dissect the movies that I watch (which I haven’t updated in awhile… I should really get back to that). I love listening to and (time permitting) making music. And reading, of course.
I’ve also become more politically active over the last few months. I joined the DSA in an attempt to do something with all this confusion/rage I’ve been feeling since the election, and it’s been a far more productive use of my time than simply staring at Twitter and despairing. I feel like it’s my responsibility to do something, however small, to make this country a better place for my kids. I hope it helps.
Do you play video games with your children?
Absolutely! My two-year-old son is a bit too young to play games right now, but I play with my eight-year-old daughter all the time. She came up to visit for Christmas and we spent a bunch of time playing Nidhogg, Minecraft, and Quiplash. When she was younger, she’d play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, never getting past that first island in the game. All she wanted to do was walk around, talk to people, read signposts, mess with the pigs, and she’d ask me for help if she couldn’t figure out how to pronounce a word or what it meant.
How do you balance gaming with a busy family life and career?
I don’t sleep. Seriously, it’s hard to keep up with all the games that are coming out and the ones I want to go back to, both for recreation and for coming up with new features to write about. Games are incredibly time consuming, and the more games that end up in persistent online worlds without the ability to pause, the harder it’s going to get. Somehow I manage – it usually just means staying up until two in the morning if I’m in the middle of a review assignment.
You can find all of David’s work by visiting GamesRadar.com!