Meet: Tunesmith

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Hello, fellow friends and gamers! My name is Tunesmith and like you, I have wiled away many (too many) hours glued to screens, enjoying various video games throughout my life.

I go by the moniker ‘Tunesmith’ due to adopting it from a restoration druid in World of Warcraft. I originally selected the name after reading Larry Niven’s Ringworld, a sci-fi favourite and a source of many names for my electronic avatars.

Reading science fiction novels is one of the things you might find me doing when I’m not engaged in games. While I have come to enjoy several works by Niven, Isaac Asimov is simply a master of creativity and writing.

If I’m not at home, there’s a reasonable chance I’m at university, studying to complete my Engineering and Science degrees. However, the end is nigh and next year I hope to find myself working hard as a professional.

I have also used my studies as a chance to follow up one of my personal interests: space and astronomy. Whether it’s simply looking up at the stars or discussing dark energy, almost everything to do with space interests me.

I find the concepts fascinating and believe that space technology is a tribute to human ingenuity and our continual outward search for knowledge. Just to top it off, you might also find me enjoying music, movies and the occasional alcoholic beverage.

The DOS Years

My gaming tendencies began at home, watching my brother play the classics that only a 286 can provide: Captain Comic, Stunts and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? – just to name a few.

While I haven’t extensively dabbled in the genre, to this day I still haven’t seen a track creation system as enjoyable as Stunts; who could resist using bridge on-ramps to create a jump over a building or a windmill?

And years later, even with the lure of modern graphics and gameplay, I still went back and played Captain Comic to completion, having only ever played the shareware version.

She was always in the middle location

Where Osama learned all his tricks.

PC Gaming – The Power of the Mouse

With the arrival of Windows 95, computer mice and the original Command and Conquer demo, I was soon captivated by the Real Time Strategy genre, which has remained true to my heart ever since.

As such, my gaming was primarily PC-based and I enjoyed a variety of genres and titles from Need for Speed and Diablo to F.E.A.R. and The Lord of the Rings. I have stayed loyal to the Command and Conquer franchise and I can’t go past Starcraft (and it’s expansion pack, Broodwars) as my favourite games. I could spend the rest of this article discussing them alone at length, but I’ll save that for an overdue review.

Other highlights on my list include Heroes of Might and Magic III (at one stage my offhand knowledge of creatures, artifacts and spells was perhaps commendable), Alien vs Predator 2, the Portal series and of course, World of Warcraft.

Broodwars: You’re doing it wrong. Or right, depending on how you feel about small children.

Console-idating my gaming

I now own an Xbox 360 to compensate for the decreasing performance of my laptop (or rather, the increasing demands on hardware) and am thoroughly enjoying the variety of RPG and FPS titles that have become available to me.

Most notably, I have recently completed the first Mass Effect and loved every aspect of it; the epic scale, the detail in which the universe has been created and described, the atmosphere and the character interaction. Just wonderful.

I share strong opinions on the negative stigma associated with gaming and believe there should be no shame in doing what you enjoy, although I do advocate moderation.

While the view that gamers are stereotypically white, ‘nerdy’ males huddled in dark rooms with no athletic ability (not that there’s anything wrong with this) has certainly decreased significantly, a negative attitude towards video games and their effect on people still exists.

Without having done the research, I won’t pretend to state facts without evidence, but in the same vein, I don’t support misrepresentation and I believe in education and discussion rather than uninformed judgement.

I’m thrilled to be part of the Non-Fiction Gaming team and look forward to making a contribution. Hopefully I can present some riveting reviews, interesting opinions and a few laughs along the way.

So please, feel free to post any comments, criticisms, suggestions or thoughts you want to throw my way!

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