Illustration for article titled Author Profile: RadzPrower

For nearly two decades, I have been reading articles online about various different topics ranging from game reviews and previews, industry speculation and reporting, information about technology both current and future, and even the occasional political or social piece. Most of that time the articles I read are somewhat nebulous in their context in regards to their authors. Only in recent months and years have I started following specific writers and in doing so learned a bit about their history and general status to give a sense of context to their writing. Most of this context ultimately comes from sources outside their written publications and insteads comes from places like Twitter or, most commonly for me, podcasts.

While over the course of time, I am sure certain aspects of my history and overall perspective would come through, I felt it beneficial to write up a profile which gives a general history and current life status in order to give some context to any opinions or views I might express. You can see above that I have included a brief summary and perhaps that is all you want or need, but if you are interesting in learning a bit more about what has shaped my opinions and views, read on!

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Early Childhood

I was born in 1987 in a small town in the state of Georgia. At a very young age, my parents moved into their first house which would be the house I grew up in and they still live there to this day. This lack of moving in my life has impacted my opinions of home, family, and tradition as I grew up with a significant level of stability and consistency. It likely manifests in regards to my general lack of desire for change both in my personal life as well as the media I tend to consume.

They did not have capture cards back in the day
They did not have capture cards back in the day
Screenshot: Nintendo

One of my earliest, very vague memories is actually from the apartment my parents lived in before moving into the house. My father was playing NES and I was watching him. It was Super Mario Bros and that formative memory is likely a heavy influence in my tastes in gaming going forward. I had a brother born when I was three years old and, by the time he was two, he could play his GameBoy at a competent level...probably better than most of the adults around us at the time. That kind of gives you an idea of how much video games would go on to factor into my life.

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At the age of five, I contracted scarlet fever which ultimately resulted in my kidneys failing over time. As a five year old, I did not realize the severity of what I was feeling at the time otherwise I could have likely received treatment prior to my kidneys failing. How things could have played out and how they actually turned out were very different though. I was admitted to the hospital coming into the weekend and was closely monitored, medicated, and placed on a drip feed for three days. After three days of close monitoring and hospital grade medications, my kidneys had resumed sufficient function for them to dismiss me, but I would require regular blood work to keep an eye on my condition over the next year. Initially, they were performing blood draws two to three times a week and that slowly decreased in frequency over the next year. In the end, my physician stated that I had made a full recovery to the point that he told us that if he had not been there for the whole experience, he would not believe that it had ever happened. I feel that experiencing such a moment so early in my childhood, it directly impacted my general outlook on life. While it was not (as far as I was told at least) near death to be certain, an event of such magnitude at such an age was a significant hurdle to cross and has made me realize the importance of living life, perseverance, and regular doctor visits.

Five years later, I have another brother come along and you can imagine the gap in our ages causes a lot of issues growing up. As we both got older though, we came together both in terms of maturity and interests, so now we are all good.

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My middle childhood was largely uneventful otherwise.

College Years

At age seventeen, I started attending a local college in an Associate of Computer Science program. The program consisted mostly of elective and basic education classes with a few computer related classes and a whole lot of calculus. Math was not my strong suit as my grade in the subsequent level of classes diminished proportionally, thought I did end up completing the program.

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This was my brain in calculus, but the results were not so impressive...
Gif: Warner Bros Pictures (The Hangover)

After obtaining my Associate’s degree, I transferred to a university which was farther away, but still close enough I could commute. There, I enrolled in their Bachelor program for Computer Science. It was here though that I finally branched out in terms of socializing with groups of similar interests. Growing up in a small Southern town, not many people shared my interests at the time, but this university gave me the chance to find people who were interesting in things like gaming, trading card games, and even a bit of musical theatre.

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Illustration for article titled Author Profile: RadzPrower

I completed the program, received my Bachelor degree, and a mere two days later boarded a plane for New York City where I intended to broaden my horizons and look for some work. I was couchsurfing at a friend’s for about five weeks before my leave pay at my hometown job and disposable savings. While I did not spend all I had during those five weeks, I did however have a few significant expenses to deal with when I returned home…

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Married Life

Four days after returning from New York, my lovely wife walked down the aisle to meet me. To this day, I am not 100% certain if me being gone for the five weeks leading up to our wedding was better or worse for my wife.

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We started our married life both working part-time jobs and myself being just over minimum wage and her not much better. We were in a relatively tiny two bedroom and one bath apartment. Roughly six months into our marriage, my wife was fired from her job due to some petty office politics. Thankfully, due to the nature of her firing, she was able to pull unemployment for a couple months until she got a much better job than she started with, so that was a plus. I on the other hand was having issues finding a job to make use of my degree given the combined factors of small town and the recovery from the Great Recession was just starting and there was a lot of experienced workers getting back into the workforce. After a year though, I did eventually get a job as a junior software engineer at a company.

Nine months later our first son is born and my wife quit her job because she wanted to be able to stay home with him. A year later, we bought our house and moved out of our apartment. Two years later we have our second son. Then just recently we finalized the adoption of our third son (he’s the daddy’s boy unlike the other two who are more momma’s boys).

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Gaming History

A history of my home consoles
A history of my home consoles
Graphic: Nolan Brough (Sonoma State Star)
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As I indicated before when talking about my early childhood, video games played a large part in my life. Over the years I have owned many consoles, mostly Nintendo though there were a few others. My dad had a NES and I sort of inherited that as I grew up and started playing myself. My first system of the 16-bit era was the SEGA Genesis after seeing my uncle playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on his. That moment made me a lifelong Sonic the Hedgehog fan...for better or worse...mostly worse. I received a SNES for Christmas relatively late into its lifespan (I received the Donkey Kong Country bundle), but I had a friend who had a SNES, so I was already familiar with a number of SNES titles.

The 29th of September, 1996 was the year that my video game purchasing would change forever. I did not know that it had launched earlier than announced, so I actually waited until the announced release date. It was on that Sunday that I spent the money I had been saving to purchase the first console which I had actually purchased for myself, the Nintendo 64. I only had enough money for the console itself, but my brother had been saving as well and he was able to buy us Super Mario 64. It’s a moment I’ll remember for a long time as it was on that day I became truly invested in video games.

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We later got a GameCube for Christmas, waited in line to buy our own Christmas gift of a Wii, and a cousin of mine who worked at Walmart gave me the heads up when a surprise shipment arrived. I of course have wisened up in my old age and pre-ordered a Switch well in advance so I was able to casually pick that up the day of release. I did also receive an XBox 360 as a gift from the aforementioned cousin and my middle brother.

As I was growing up, I owned at least one version of every handheld Nintendo released:

  • GameBoy (OG Gray)
  • GameBoy Color (Teal)
  • GameBoy Advance (Glacier)
  • GameBoy Advance SP (Black)
  • Nintendo DS (OG metallic gray)
  • Nintendo DSi (Black)
  • Nintendo 3DS (OG Black)

In addition, I also bought a GameGear lightly used from a friend of the family along with a handful of games plus one or two we purchased afterwards.

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I have more recently gotten more into PC gaming as I built my own PC a few years ago. It is basically where I used to play multiplatform games and indies, but the Switch is quickly replacing it for those purposes considering the portability of the Switch makes playing while the kids are still awake much easier. I still play certain games on PC fairly regularly, including Fortnite and No Man’s Sky most recently.

Technology History

My history as it relates to technology non-related to games is actually fairly limited. I follow tech news, but I only recently began to actually deal with hardware in any meaningful capacity. Also, while I am a software engineer, I work in a field that is relatively obscure and I am no longer sufficiently up-to-date with modern technologies and languages as they relate to more consumer centric products. I know enough to tinker, but I am hardly proficient.

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Media History

I have not been one to follow the trends of popular culture for the most part. In my youth, I was playing games and taking interest in technology well before it was considered socially acceptable in my area. As a result, I have generally followed my own path in regards to the media and entertainment I have consumed.

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Illustration for article titled Author Profile: RadzPrower

Until the relatively recent rise of more comics or sci-fi franchises, I was not a heavy movie watcher and many times will miss a common movie reference because I have never seen or possibly even heard of it before. Similarly, I have not consumed much of what is considered essential television over the years either. Most of the TV I have watched has been sci-fi focused such as all the Star Trek series (except for Discovery which I intend to binge seasons 1 & 2 together when season 2 releases), all of the modern comic book shows on broadcast television, and probably my favorite franchise, Stargate.

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Illustration for article titled Author Profile: RadzPrower

My taste in music is also fairly non-standard as well. Considering most of the music I listened to growing up came from video games, I have an affinity for chiptunes or electronica, but also the genre of rock that inspired many of those early gaming tracks. Combine that with the butt rock of the Sonic Adventure era of games, and you can pretty much guarantee that my opinion of music should be largely disregarded.

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Conclusion

So, I hope that has given you some context for my future writings and some insight into where my views and opinions originate. I can only hope that I can continue to make contributions to discussion and insight into topics of my personal interest.

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