Gamer Boy. Gamer Girl. Caleb Durward

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Magic Culture

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Caleb Durward

Screen name
CalebD, CalebDMTG, Marbleskull.

Avatar of choice
The hydrogen explosion from the intro to Paranoia Agent.

Years gaming
All my life.

Favorite male game character
Ryu Hayabusa. I’ve always had a thing for ninja-type story lines, from old Jackie Chan flicks to animes like Ninja Scroll or Berserk. Also, beating Ninja Gaiden Black on Hard was one of the first times where I was like, “OK, I’m good at this game.”

Favorite female game character
Already with the tough questions? Female roles are underwritten in most games. Makes me kind of grateful Magic has a fair distribution of planeswalkers, actually, and if I kept up with the story line I’d probably have a favorite. As is, I’m going to go with GLaDOS, the mastermind AI from Portal and Portal 2. Never has a puzzle game had such great characters.

First game you remember playing?
My dad was a computer geek, and when I was 3 or 4 I played all sorts of simple games on Windows 3.0, and by the time I turned 5 I was playing adventure games on DoS. Privateer is still one of my favorites.

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First gaming console you owned?
I remember begging my parents for a Sega because my neighbor had one, and they put an ad in the shopper to see if anyone would donate a console. I was gifted two Ataris and just about infinite games including Bomberman, Asteroids, Crystal Castles, and Pitfall. Years later, I traded them to some guy on MTGSalvation for a set of Thoughtseizes and Natural Orders.

What game have you been most addicted to lately?
Might and Magic: Duel of Champions, a free to play online CCG with little variance and lots of combat. The tactics and mechanics make it real intuitive for Magic players to pick up. I also spend a lot of time on League of Legends and Magic.

What game have you played the longest, and what keeps you playing?
Magic is how I make my living now, but even if it wasn’t I would still play. The sheer volume of cards, combined with new sets coming out and rules tweaks every few years, keeps the game fresh for both players and deckbuilders.

What game did someone convince you to try that you just hated?
League of Legends. I still play it.

What game causes you to rage/tilt the most?
Poker. Not because of the money, but because the game itself is infuriating to me.

Do you have any gamer regrets?
Nope. Misplays happen, and I accept them as a reality we all go through. My life is based on not having gamer regrets.

Trash talk: mandatory or unnecessary?
Depends. I get a kick out of it if it isn’t mean-spirited. On the other hand, no one wants a toxic gaming environment where everyone just badmouths each other.

Which one do you prefer the most: Video Games/TCG/Board Games?
Pick one. I feel like a dad being asked which kid he loves most. “I love all my children very much.”

If you could go pro in any game what game would it be?
Chess, and I wish I’d been in an area that supported it when I was younger. One of my minor goals is to get good online and go spike some amateur tournaments. I started at around 1100 and after a few years I’m at the 1500-1600 range, which is getting close to my goal of 1750-1800. It might take a few more years, but at that point I’ll go seek out live tournaments.

Is the overall design of a game or the fun factor most important to you?
I don’t think poorly designed games have much of a fun factor. Maybe Cards Against Humanity fits that description.

Do you listen to video game soundtracks? Why or why not?
Only when I’m playing Osu.

Tell me about the game you would create if I gave you unlimited resources.
Games are a great way to tell a story, and that’s where I’d start. Likeable characters with clear, believable motives. From a technical aspect, it’d have little variance and some sort of catch-up mechanic for those who get screwed in the early game. It’d teach useful tactics along the way so you don’t just plateau or get stuck (this is the major thing League of Legends is missing).

Who do you consider one of the most sexually attractive characters you have ever played?
I liked some female characters in Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive when I was in high school, but that was a while ago and I couldn’t list any names. Maybe Cortana from Halo? She has a sexy sort of competence about her.

If you could be any character from any game who would you morph into?
Dirk the Daring from Dragon’s Lair.

Do you see an issue with the portrayal of women in games, and why?
I read a lot of comic books, and gaming can also feature scantily clad characters as part of the genre. I’m not sure why people get upset about sexual images that are accompanied by violent, gory themes. Like the girl in the bikini is somehow more terrible than someone getting shot in the face.

What does bother me is when female characters have cartoonish, unbelievable motives or dumbed-down dialogue. The actual characterization is far more important than whatever said character is (not) wearing. I’d like to see more central female characters.

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Describe what makes a central character in a story-driven game appealing to you.
Competence, motives, and traces of baddassery.

Have you ever cosplayed a character or could ever see your future self cosplaying a character?
I haven’t yet, but the cosplayers always look like they’re having fun and I’m jealous. I’d probably go as Wolverine or Garruk, as they’re both hairy dudes with epic story lines. I’d have a lot of fun with Okabe from Steins Gate, but I’d have to lose some weight, shave my beard, and dye my hair, and I’m not sure which of those sounds more awful.

What do you think about the phenomenon of turning popular gaming characters into types of pornography?
Eh, everything gets turned into pornography. Someday I’ll be surfing the net and find they’ve photoshopped my beard onto various sex fruits.

Does some types of lingo prominent with gamers, such “raped” or “retarted,” is actually damaging to gamer culture or much a do about nothing?
My friends have some pretty dicey humor, but we make a distinction between shocking each other and how we act in the community.

“Raped” is a word I actively avoid, as it could trigger terrible memories.

I remember a time, I must’ve been 14, when a couple of friends kept asking me to hang out with them. They were dating at the time, and I never understood why they wanted me there, as three’s a crowd. One night we were all at her place and her dad walks in and just stares at her. Stares at her with some evil, drunken longing. Minutes went by, and we were all avoiding eye contact, and he finally left. After that, I knew why they wanted me there. Ever since that night I’ve seen rape as a reality I’m lucky I never had to live through.

There is no way of knowing who has been raped, be it one brutal encounter or every day of their childhood. People play games to escape reality, and sending them back to that hell, even for a moment, doesn’t seem worth it.

What book or series not already  made into a game do you think would just kill it?
Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. One of my pet dreams is to write the adaptation for that one, for a film or game or whatever.

How have your friends and family supported your gaming or tried to change it?
My mom drove me to some JSS’s when I was a kid, and that hooked me on competitive gaming and motivated me to get good. I’m sure she’d rather I was a doctor or a lawyer, something that’s easier to brag about to her friends, but she’s glad I’m doing something I love.

Do you look for a love of gaming in the people you date or find it irrelevant?
Thinking over my more serious relationships, at least half of them have been gamers, and the other half have at least had nerdy interests like theater or Joss Whedon.

What kind of impact do you think MMOs are having on society. Would you change anything?
My main problem with MMOs is that the skill development isn’t actually developing a skill, you just mine coal long enough that your coal mining stat bar is real long and you’re the best digital coal miner that ever lived and you’re so proud of yourself you forget your troubles and don’t even question why you’re pretending to be a coal miner in the first place.

Skills can come up, like the top guilds on WoW breaking new ground and individual players managing some crazy number of actions per second, but that’s the exception.

So, I wish MMOs were less adapted into society and other games were more popular. Even simple puzzle games like Bejweled have something to teach the average joe.

Do you believe there is a correlation between violence in video games and violence in society?
The short answer is no. Video games do make it easier to kill a person, as it trains us to go through the motions. Fortunately for the human race, sheer ability isn’t the only thing stopping us from pulling a gun in a crowded mall. Back in WWI, they had difficulty getting soldiers to kill each other. That is, lots of death happened, but in the trenches there were good marksmen firing wide of their mark. One of the problems is that they were practicing on square and circle targets. Once they changed to human shapes, they got more soldiers killing people.

But yeah, ability does not provide the desire to kill or the requisite lack of morals.

Can you rank what you would consider the the top five games you have ever played?

Chess
Baldur’s Gate
Magic, the Gathering
Privateer
Ninja Gaiden Black

No particular order. Can’t rate games from different times and genres like that. Honorable mentions go to Osu, Smallworld, Tempest Chess, Might and Magic VI, and Ascension.

You can find Caleb on Twitter @CalebDMTG or streaming/writing for Channel Fireball.

@RevisedAngel on Twitter
Heather Dawn Meek on Facebook
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RevisedAngel on G+

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