Meet the Staff: Vikki Blake

Aug 4, 2010

Name: Vikki Blake
A/S/L: 34/F/UK
GGS Position: Editor-in-Chief
Status: Married & babied. Sorry, guys. This ship has sailed.

Q: What’s the first game you ever played?
I think it was something like Chuckie Egg or Jet Set Willy on my Dad’s old Amstrad. There was also some game – I want to call it Two Tribes, though I might be wrong – set to the music of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, which was crap despite the rockin’ soundtrack. I think that was my first brush with the frustration of not being able to complete a game.

Regrettably, this has not a unique experience for me.

First console game was probably Legend of Zelda on the NES. The shiny gold casing bewitched me.

Q. What’s your gaming set-up at home?
I currently have permanently linked up a PS3, 360 x 2, Wii, PS2, Gamecube, N64, DSi, PSP and my iPhone. Computing wise, I have an iMac and a Macbook. I can also make use of my SNES and Dreamcast, although both of those tend to languish in the garage.

I don’t have a PC, though. Je ne regrette rien.

Q. And what’s your life-changing game? You know, the one that made you realise that gaming was completely awesome?
I can’t pick just one. I have several, and all for different reasons. And while they’re pretty generic choices, I’d imagine, I’ve taken the liberty of explaining why, too:

Legend of Zelda (NES): this was the first time I became thoroughly immersed in a gaming universe. The depth of story, the expanse of the Hyrule universe – before this point I didn’t realise how much games could offer. I played this for HOURS with my dad, he controlling, me bossing him about, and we spent about a gazillion pounds on the Nintendo PreRecorded Helpline – then the only place to get game help when we were stuck (there was no internet then, people). And while it’s not the first game I’ve ever played, it’s the first that made me reassess what a video game was. I was ten or eleven years old and I’ve loved gaming ever since. So, yeah – you have LoZ to blame for my being here.

Metal Gear Solid: I know – pretty generic. But this was probably the first game that showcased proper film-like cinematics, and presented itself as a story first, game second. I know people bitch about the cut-scenes but that never bothered me – I got so sucked into the MGS world that I didn’t mind, so desperate was I to uncover the next plot twist. I’ve probably played this game more than any other, and still watch Let’s Plays of it. Hideo is a fucking GENIUS. Finding the CODEC number of Meryl on the back of the game case? GENIUS. Changing the controller port when fighting Psycho Mantis? GENIUS. GENIUS GENIUS GENIUS.

Honourable Mentions go to Super Mario Bros 3 and MGS2, although Raiden needed a slap.

Q: And what is your all-time favourite game ever? Why?
Silent Hill 2. Without a shadow of a doubt.

Unlike a lot of SH fans I’m not overly precious about the franchise, so I don’t care about the whole KCEJ Vs. KCEA thing. But this? I cried playing this game: I sobbed. And though I played SH1 before this – and loved it – it was from this point on that I got all obsessive about the franchise, pouring over the symbolism and design. There’s so much beauty in the grotesqueness of the characters, so much pathos in James, so much fear the first time we saw the now overly-exploited Pyramid Head. The prison scene? OMG. So confusing, and so thoroughly mesmerising. Almost a decade after it’s release, we’re STILL discovering new things over at And if that isn’t a reason why this game thoroughly kicks ass, I have no idea what is.

Q: How do you unwind and relax?
Short answer: I don’t. I’m SHIT at relaxing.

Long answer: I read a lot. I write a lot (gaming sites, a blog, a writer’s journal and my first attempt at a novel). I watch some TV (current favs include The Office (US), True Blood, Grey’s Anatomy) and occasionally watch a film or two. But mostly it’s gaming or writing or hanging with my man and my little boy (who is six and is totally awesome, by the way).

Told you I didn’t relax much.

Q. Any nerdy gaming stories to share? Better yet, any embarrassing ones?
Too many to count, probably. I don’t play much online though – the games I enjoy most tend not to loan themselves to the multiplayer experience – but I can embarrass myself without an audience, believe me. The one that sticks most in my mind, however, was when I was invited by EA to try out their then new IP, Dead Space. The wonderful guys at EA Redwood Shores flew me out to meet the dev team and try out the game and as awesome as that was, I thoroughly TANKED the gameplay. The game completely terrified me, and trying to get through Chapter 6, even on average difficulty, was just too much. Each time a necromorph flew at my face I’d all but scream, panic, and promptly die. In the end I gave up and just watched the dudes either side of me, but not before a few people have spotted my ineptitude and hidden smirks behind their hands. Not my finest hour.

By the way, that chapter still terrifies me.

Oh, and our house is named Hyrule. And by named, I mean there’s a plaque outside with Hyrule emblazoned across it. Yeah, that’s totally lame and if that isn’t an embarrassing admission, I don’t know what is.

Q. Do you collect any gaming memorabilia? If not, why not? If yes, what and why?
Yeah. I don’t think ‘yeah’ is the Cool Skool answer, but I collect Silent Hill stuff. Like, lots of Silent Hill stuff. I have a collection that goes back a decade and I’ve never deliberately sat down to count up how much I’ve spent because I think my husband may divorce me if he found out. Suffice to say I have a lot, some of it rare, and I do give a little squeal of satisfaction when I find something I’m missing. (Psst – if you’re interested, you can see some of it right here).

Q. How’d you get involved in
T’was my idea, dude. :)

Q. What’s your perfect evening?
Cold bottles of beer (Corona, preferably) on a warm summer’s night, sat outside with friends and laughing ’til I cry.

Q. Conversely, what would be your idea of a nightmare way to spend an evening?
‘Networking’. Ugh. I HATE networking. I’m forced to do it quite often by way of my grown-up day job, but it never fails to make me cringe. You’re more likely to find me in the the corner of the room stuffing the buffet into my mouth rather than schmaltzing around kissing people’s asses.

Q. Name five people, alive or dead, you’d like to share a Multiplayer experience with.
Billy Connolly, Chris Moyles, Ant & Dec (will play fair and count them as two) and Russell Brand.

BTW, it took me forever to answer this question which means my answers are subject to change. Heh.

Q. What job’s currently helping you to feed your gamer habit?
I have a grown-up job in the civil service. And that’s all you’re getting; it’s a high-level, highly-selective specialism, and if I told you any more you’d be able to Google me. Fuck that.

Q. Anything else you think our readers should know?
I’m not a good gamer. I’m not a bad gamer, exactly – and on the better side of average given my gender and demographic – but I’m still not great. What I lack in skill I make up for with enthusiasm, but it doesn’t cancel out the fact that quite often? Quite often I suck.

Q. If you were stuck in a mall, surrounded by zombies, what celebrity, weapon and music would you have playing while you face the oncoming horde?
As my weapon of choice in Left 4 Dead 2 – and in the absence of something cataclysmic like an atomic bomb – I’d select an axe. Chop, splatter, chop, splatter, chop chop splatter splatter. For firearms, it’d be the shotgun – I am AWESOME with a shotgun. And at the risk of being ridiculously unoriginal, can I select Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now as the soundtrack? Yeah, I know – Shaun of the Dead already did that. But they did it so well, I wanna do it too. And if you won’t let me take that, I’d plump for Bitch by Meredith Brooks or You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrisette. Not because they’re good songs – they’re not – but because I’d like to go out riding an attitude wave.

As for the celebrity? It would be Patrick Dempsey – but only so’s we can frantically mash genitals in the face of certain death.

Q. Nominate the next person to get the QA interrogation!
I choose our newbie, Slurms!

Got a question of your own for Vikki – or how about for our next nominee, Tom? Post it in the comments and they just might answer!

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  1. Jen Hawkins /

    Haha, this is class! Really made me laugh, great interview! I won’t be able to get that image of Patrick Dempsey tea-bagging a zombie out of my head for weeks!

    • OMG. There should TOTES be a tea-bagging Dempsey poster, don’t you think?!

      Glad you enjoyed the interview. :)

  2. Michael Cripps /

    Nearly choked on my orange juice while reading about you on Dead Space! Great interview, looking forward to the next one with Tom!


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