New York Times profiles Wagner James Au

WAGNER JAMES AU, a 35-year-old journalist from San Francisco, has been playing video games since he was 9, when Space Invaders and Battlezone were about as cutting-edge as games got. These days, though, Mr. Au’s tastes are more discerning: instead of playing first-person shooter games, in which winning is only about getting the highest score, he finds himself gravitating toward more complex games like Grand Theft Auto and Planescape: Torment.

“What I get excited about is games that evoke artistic or literary qualities,” he said.

So his discerning taste is defined by the fact that he likes the most popular game of lets just say all time? I left out an apostrophe so that I can write this post off as joke in case I misread something in there like that time with the Jessica article.

Also, I hate to argue with the editors of the New York Times, but can your tastes actually be considered “discerning” if you “gravitate” towards things, which implies that you have no choice in the matter.

You failed to warn us that a picture of Kiefer Sutherland’s creepy uncle was part of the article.

Couldn’t we get something exciting, like “FBI profiles James Wagner Au”?

Damn, I wish I’d written down my high score in Half-Life after I won it…

WAGNER JAMES AU, a 35-year-old journalist from San Francisco, has been playing video games since he was 9, when Space Invaders and Battlezone were about as cutting-edge as games got.

Space Invaders: 1978
Battlezone: 1980

How could he have been playing these when he was 9?

Ehh, I’m being a picky little bitch today.

I thought Space Invaders was '77? Or maybe I’m just being swayed by an old Simpsons quote…

Groundskeeper Willie: “I canna pull a trigger, look at my thumbs! They got this way from battling Space Invaders in 1977!” (Holds up mangled thumbs.)

Chief Wiggum: “Oh yeah, that was a great game.”

Groundskeeper Willie: “Game?”

Uh, I remember playing these games at a young age and I’m a lot younger than WJA. Games had longer lasting power back then.

— Alan

man, the jealousy on this board for WJA is so thick you can feel it… sorry he gets more coverage and more mainstream exposure than anyone else here

ouch, that must hoit

Come on guys, Torment as one of the most popular games of all time? No way. It was loved by critics and hardcore roleplayers but I don’t recall hearing glowing things about how well it sold.

Frankly, those two games made a recent list of my own Top 20 of all time and I do appreciate what little artistry and depth I find in the games I play so I guess I’m a pretentious git too. Bite me. :)

Point was: If he’s 35, Au couldn’t have been playing these games when he was nine. He would have been older than that in 1978.

ouch, that must hoit

Why don’t you post as Quantum Pete or Sinner anymore?

He writes mostly for Salon, which is more mainstream, but I’m not sure it gets more readers than the mags and sites like Gamespot and Gamespy.

I think he gets picked on mostly because of the articles he writes. He praises Black & White as some kind of gaming revolution, he takes a small part of E3 (GOD’s Promised Lot) and misrepresents that as being emblamtic of the entire show, etc.

He also worked on Majestic. That alone should damn him forever!

Point was: If he’s 35, Au couldn’t have been playing these games when he was nine. He would have been older than that in 1978.[/quote]

If Au’s 35, he was born in '66 or '67, so he would have been in the 10-12 bracket in 1978 when Space Invaders surfaced. Seems a pretty minor point to me.

Peter

Point was: If he’s 35, Au couldn’t have been playing these games when he was nine. He would have been older than that in 1978.

don’t take this as a defense of au, but the author of the article is clearly a bit loose with basic facts, as evinced by the following quote:

But in 2002, the average game player is 28 years old, and thanks to the advent of online gaming, games that used to last only a few minutes now take 20 or 40 hours to finish - if a potential end even exists.

WJ’s Salon pieces have been getting better. I’m now classifying WJ’s writing as “inconsistent,” up from the previous rating of “misrepresentative.”

Obligatory disclaimer for newbies:

  • Alan “not related to WJ” Au

But in 2002, the average game player is 28 years old, and thanks to the advent of online gaming, games that used to last only a few minutes now take 20 or 40 hours to finish - if a potential end even exists.

That’s just weird. Single player games regularly take 20-40 hours to complete, and in the case of RPGs they always have. Older games may have only taken “a few minutes” to play through a single session, but you would have to put in hours to get good at them.

It’s fun to be a member of a misunderstood minority!

I think if you think about arcade games like Asteroids and Pac Man and the likes… they actually were longer because those games were indefinite. They really had no ending. Games these days, generally speaking, are more narrative oriented… story based, and have a beggining middle and end… except the puzzle stuff I suppose… not bad at all!

etc

Besides the variations pointed out above, certainly text adventures easily took 20-40 hours to complete. Now if you have a walkthrough maybe it only takes 20 minutes, but the original experience is obviously supposed to a very significant amount of time.

“That’s the result of a public school education.” - G. Gordon Liddy.