“You can meet Cameron and read other interviews at AVID Gamers!”
Today, our admin The Well-Red Mage interviews that master of spacial crunching and temporal wizardry, The Timely Mage!
AVID Gamer Spotlight
Cameron Kim: Avid Gamer
The Timely Mage
“Talking with Cameron about gaming for any length of time
gives you the impression that he knows what he’s talking about. He knows why he loves gaming, why he is passionate to discuss gaming and he understands the gaming industry better than almost anyone I know. With his broad assortment of experiences and refined taste and insights, I know I certainly learned a lot just by talking with him.
First question, Cameron: How long have you been a gamer?”
“I’ve been gaming since I was a kid, maybe around 7. It was back in the Sega Genesis days.”
“The golden age so far as I’m concerned!
What is one of your earliest memories with gaming that got you infatuated with it?”
“At first I really got into some great platformers like Vector Man, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Sonic, Thunderfox, Altered Beast, and Strider. We also had an NES so I got to play Mario, Blades of Steel, and Duck Hunt. However my first real game obsession was with Mortal Kombat.”
“MK! Really? I wouldn’t have guessed that! ‘Poweerr up!’
Sounds like we were on opposite spectrums, you on Sega and myself on SNES.
So how has gaming impacted you since then?”
“Ever since then gaming has had a major impact on my life. Some of my fondest memories revolve around games, whether it’s who I’m playing it with, what I accomplished, or the profound storytelling.”
“What do you look for most in a great game
and conversely what ruins a game for you?”
“What I look for most are the characters and storytelling. I love experiencing unique or particularly impactful narratives that provoke deep thought or emotion. My first experience with such a game, and perhaps my most loved game because of its impact on my life, is Final Fantasy VIII. As far as what typically ruins a game for me, I’ve been burned in just about every category but perhaps what turns me off the most is a horrible main character. If the main character is a one-dimensional caricature, a brawny foul-mouthed grunt, or an irredeemably lame antihero then I’m pretty much checked out.”
“Could you elaborate on FFVIII?
I love Final Fantasy (obviously), but specifically what brings VIII to the fore of your mind and heart rather than other notable entries in the franchise?”
“It was special in a lot of ways primarily in that it was the turning point in how I viewed games. Before then I was passionate about games but it was still limited to just entertainment. I had anticipated Final Fantasy VIII long before it had come out and thus had high expectations but it is was the first, and still one of the few, instances where my expectations were completely blown away. I never expected to find a character that shared my personality nor a story that would cause me to be emotionally invested in it. The world was rich, the themes fascinating, and the gameplay deeply satisfying. Since then I’ve played a great majority of the entries in the Final Fantasy series and most were just as amazing but VIII was the one that opened up a whole new world to me that would captivate my imagination for presumably the rest of my life.”
“Wow, it’s really fascinating to hear about
someone’s first gateway into the realm of imagination possible with video games. Any other shout outs? Like what are some of your favorite games, and why?”
“Final Fantasy IV, X, and XII were also amazing games that really resonated with me as well. I’ll always appreciate the original Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed for bringing depth and intrigue to the action-adventure genre that I hadn’t really experienced until then. I also appreciate Flower for opening up the world of indies to me which allowed me to experience other incredible games like Thomas Was Alone and Journey. Some of my other obsessions were Twisted Metal, Star Fox, GoldenEye 007, Pokémon, Dissidia and Sins of a Solar Empire. And I’ll always remember the game experiences I shared with my brother (like StarCraft, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Final Fantasy XI, and a million other games) and my wife (Chrono Cross, also Final Fantasy XI, Suikoden, Tekken, etc).”
“Yes! So many definitive classics there!
A few final questions, I promise:
What do you think of the direction that the gaming industry is taking? Are there things you are looking forward to in the future and conversely
anything disappointing that you’d like to see video games move away from?”
“I’m actually really enjoying how most things are going. I love how a lot of the games seem like they put some amount of thought to their narrative. I love the variety from AAAs to indies. I’m particularly interested in VR for some unique experiences and I’m happy to see that it has so much momentum already which means it might be more than just a gimmick. I love all the options I have to play and connect with friends and family who live miles away. I am a little disappointed that classic RPG’s like what we used to count on from Squaresoft are now a dying breed so it would be nice to see a revival there. Of course there are great memories and experiences that are not possible to relive in this new era but I also see new opportunities as we move forward that I can enjoy with my friends and family.“
“Speaking of reliving past experiences,
Nintendo might be the company we all grew up with in a time when their name was synonymous with gaming, the same way that Kleenex is synonymous with nasal tissue, but recently Nintendo has fallen from the top before rivals Sony and Microsoft. What do you believe Nintendo needs to do to get back in the… game?”
“That’s a tough one. I believe their success until around the Nintendo 64 era was because they really connected with their target audience and consistently brought fresh innovative experiences that were relevant to them. However, as the general gaming audience matured and became more tech savvy the industry shifted more toward graphical fidelity and “Rated T” experiences. I believe the GameCube was their first major step toward irrelevance as they seemed to sacrifice innovation to fit in but didn’t offer any new and exciting experiences to get anyone’s attention. The Wii seemed to find some traction with innovative hardware, albeit still lacking relevant franchises, but I’m afraid all was lost with the Wii U as yet again they offered nothing exciting in the software department but also sacrificed another major selling point that I hadn’t mentioned yet: cost. Nintendo has always found its strength as the go to choice for young audiences because the purchasers – their parents – felt comfortable with the lower price point. To get back to your question about what they need to do to regain their relevance in this new era, I believe their first step is to fully embrace today’s technology, or specifically a full-fledged digital service that allows greater engagement with their customers. Another thing is to remain unique and innovative. Start creating new franchises, new ways to experience games, and new ways to deliver content. If they try to fit in and be another third party hub they’ll lose every time. That’s not to say they shouldn’t try to garner more third party support however, just don’t expect it to automatically make them relevant again. I personally feel Nintendo has one last chance and I honestly hope they successfully blow everyone’s mind in ways we haven’t imagined yet. I think that’s in the best interest of all gamers because it’ll continue to drive innovation in the industry.”
“Sorry for the novel. You can edit it if it’s too long like taking out my history lesson.”
“Heck no I will not!
An easier question now. Most frustrating experience in gaming? And go.”
“Pretty much any FPS multiplayer will get me pretty animated but I think Bloodborne might take the cake. That’s not to say there weren’t other experiences I’ve had that were just as frustrating but Bloodborne delivered it on an unhealthily constant basis. However I’ll always remember sobbing while playing Gex as I continually missed a jump from one particular platform to the next for no good reason.”
“Platformers and women are very much alike:
both can be exceptionally heartless.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to the FFVII Remake.
Any other remakes or remasters that you wish
were actually on the horizon in the coming years?”
“I think I would enter another plane of existence if they ever did a remake of Final Fantasy VIII. I would love a remaster of Final Fantasy XII. I think a remake of Final Fantasy VI could be pretty interesting.”
“Yes, yes, yes!
Dude, I was totally thinking about how amazing a FFVI remake would be, and how we need a FFXII HD release! Bring back the gambit system!“
“Yes! That gambit system was genius.”
what sagely advice would you impart to fellow gamers
if you had thirty seconds on a soapbox at E3?”
“Games have the special ability to bring people together from all ages and walks of life. It ignites passion and excitement all around the world like few things do. Embrace it and share those amazing experiences with those around you. Use it as a way to form new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. That is why I am an AVID gamer.”
“Thank you for that inspiring quote,
and thanks very much Cameron for your… time!”
“Thank you, Moses! It was fun.”