October 2013 Gamer of the Month Profile: Dave Vogt

Dave-VogtDave Vogt, gamer and indie developer, was our second Gamer of the Month, competing on Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved for our October competition.  Many gamers know Dave from multiple gaming sites, including but not limited to Twin Galaxies, Retroids and Gaming World Wide, which he works for as well.

An all around good guy and gamer, I had the privilege to meet Dave back in November of 2011.   I appreciate his willingness to complete this interview and the time it took to answer the questions to allow us a little more insight into his world.  We will be doing a follow up developer interview with him regarding his game, The Bounty.

Name: David Vogt

Nickname: LudicrousDa3ve

Non Gaming History:

Where do I start? I’ve been an odd mix of introverted, while close to people. Mostly family and a handful of close friends- but that grew outward as I got older and it was pretty much necessary to be more public oriented. Well, as a kid I really spent a lot of time out playing with friends, exploring and whatnot. A good deal of reading… actually was into a lot of nerdy stuff. Along with being an honor roll student, it led to some having some odd impressions of me. Not always positive. My really big interests- besides video games, of course- were martial arts and music.

We’ll condense the rest. I learned and adapted several styles of martial arts; eventually taught in a studio for a bit. I wanted to compete… but I learned fairly quickly that while I was really good at hurting people, I hated doing so. Music took over at that point. With the help of some really fantastic friends, I taught myself how to play guitar, picked up some music theory, and went off. I played in a few bands, the last of which being Ununbiun which I played with until mid 2006. I still play and write- some of that work has been recently adapted to work in my indie RPG, The Bounty.

Gaming History:

My parents were already gaming buffs- so I was born into it on that last day of ’79. My first full sentence-according to them- was “Mommy play Oh Shit”… “Oh Shit” being what I thought Defender was called. From Atari to Colecovision to NES and onward; games were a huge binding part of my life, with family, friends, and my own intellectual development. I got into and appreciated pretty much all of it; and besides a year or so of holding up the flag of the SNES, have been a fully nondiscriminatory multiplatform guy, too.

Throughout it all, I’ve been a pretty strong player. However, that didn’t really equate to being competitive. I played competitive games, especially fighters and Quake- but I didn’t really play competitively until 2008. Even now, I see it as more “me vs. me” than I do as myself against other players. Just a mindset.

I’m overall more about experiencing the medium as artistic expression- and the wide range that is available. There have been those landmark titles- Zelda, Doom, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy IV (II US), Metroid Prime, Diablo, Shining Force… y’know, the big favorites? But it’s the weird stuff that rounds you out. I’ve always loved hunting down and discovering the lesser-known games.

This broad spectrum has had it’s influence in my drive to develop games. Besides the score chasing RPG “The Bounty” that’s in development now, I have about half a dozen games existing as design documents or scraps of demos- all in a variety of genres, styles, and design philosophies.

legend-of-zeldaFavorite Classic Game:

There are SO many that could go here, but it has to be The Legend of Zelda. Nothing has ever replicated that feeling of wonder that I felt the first time played it; hell, even looking at the box, booklet, and gold cartridge on the way home from the mall that day was pretty damned mystifying. It has influenced all of gaming- including my own design work. The best part might be that after all these years- it’s still satisfying to play.

Favorite Modern Game:

I’m tempted to say Geometry Wars: Galaxies or The Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword. In fact, if I had to name “the greatest game of all time”, it’d be Skyward Sword. But for personal favorite game of right now, I’ll call Zombi U! It’s a first person survival horror with rogue-like tendencies; it does so much, has an intensely oppressive atmosphere, and truly pushes the envelope in immersion, thanks to it’s synergy with the Wii U’s suite of controls. There is nothing else quite like it.

wii-uFavorite Platform:

I love ’em all, but the top dog is Wii U. It’s modern, multifaceted, and plays home to amazing new content… including Nintendo’s, of course. Add in backwards compatibility and the Virtual Console, and you have access to huge amounts of games from several different platforms spanning over thirty years. It’s beautiful.

Why do you game?

I play to compete. I play to experience the artistic expression of others. I play to express myself. I play to unwind, and I even play to have fun.

Is there a gamer or personality that inspires you to achieve your gaming goals? If so, who is it and why?

I get inspired by pretty much everybody. For a less broad answer, if you strip everything all the way back, it’s my late mother. Obviously, she had a huge influence on my personal development. But, she was the first person I knew to really kick ass at games; and the first world record worthy game I ever witnessed was her maxing out Zanac on NES.

What was the first world record you set – with any entity? How did that make you feel? Why was that game the first game you set a record on and did that affect the scores you chase today?

geometry-wars-galaxiesThe first one was actually was the first galaxy in Geometry Wars: Galaxies with Twin Galaxies(say that ten times fast!)- though it was on a tape with multiple scores, so the first might technically be Wario Ware! I shot for Geometry Wars because, after seeing King of Kong, I thought “that might be a cool way to push myself… now which arcade game suits me”. The answer was Robotron, but since Geometry Wars is similar and I enjoy it far more, the arcade idea was dropped and it was the choice. It was a great feeling; but the thrill of victory is fleeting. It’s the process that I loved, which keeps me going and pushing into different categories and experiences.

What is your favorite record that you’ve set? Why?

Doom. More specifically, speedrunning Episode 3: Inferno. I’ve been a gigantic Doom fan since the day I saw a preview in a PC gaming mag. I’ve beaten the entire series many times on many different platforms, but to break it by speedrunning was a different experience.

What records are you looking to set in the next year? What challenges do you see for setting those records, if any?

extra-life-2014There aren’t many I have in mind, really. Besides some oddball games like Gain Ground, the only big one planned is to top my 50 hour fighting game marathon record. It’ll be a part of Extra-Life 2014 for Children’s Hospitals. The goal is 75 hours this time. The hard part is keeping the body from giving out… but if I can manage to have enough external stimuli (conversations, etc) then it should be possible.

You were Gamer of the Month for October on the game Geometry Wars. What was the hardest part about that challenge for you? If you could have done something different, what would it have been?

Well, the hard part was realizing that my GeoWars skills had atrophied so badly! It took a day or so to knock the rust off.

1032631_thank_you_sign

If you could say one thing to inspire future gamers wanting to set world records, what would it be?

Setting world records is a surprisingly difficult process. It’s also surprisingly rewarding, and revealing. You get to know yourself better, and improve on your weaknesses.

Any other comments, thank yous, or anything else?

Go for it. Set a score. It’s fun, it’s hard, and you’ll be glad you did.

I want to thank Walter Day and Twin Galaxies for getting the ball rolling on this whole crazy thing all those years ago. I want to thank Grace Snoke and Video Game Scoreboard, Trickman Terry and Ken Williams from Retroids, Josh Jones and Recordsetter- everybody who is doing their part in pushing competition. Huge thanks to everyone who competes, has competed, or will. We sharpen each other.

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game Scoreboard.com, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

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