This week the dynamic Hillary DePiano has consented to an interview for the magisterrex retro gaming blog. Hillary is known by many to be an extremely knowledgeable and witty writer and accomplished playwright. She has written and published books on buying and selling on eBay, as well as guides for popular collectibles, such as My Little Pony and She-Ra: Princess of Power action figures. Many people know Hillary from her blog, The Whine Seller, wherein she shares her thoughts and comments on eCommerce. Amazingly, she also finds time to run a successful business selling vintage toys and other collectibles on eBay!
Hillary is also a prolific twitter user, and that is where we connected (social media networking is cool). She is currently on an extensive blog tour, stopping here to talk about gaming and retro game memories.
magisterrex: Thanks for consenting to an interview, Hillary. Let’s start off with a little gamer background. What are your best memories of playing games either PC games, video console games, or board games?
HILLARY: Games are a pretty big part of my life. For starters, my brother is a massive gamer so I have grown up with every game system that exists. My brother told me proudly that I was the coolest of all his friends’ female siblings as I was the only one who would actually play. Most of my favorite memories are of playing games with my brother: his Dale throwing my Chip off the cliff while playing Rescue Rangers on the NES, his Earl wasting all our super jars in Toejam & Earl on Sega Genesis and getting me killed, my brother getting furious at me when I would beat him in Soul Caliber on Dreamcast (I can button mash like no one’s business!). You may have noticed a pattern. We work better when we have to play cooperative than when he has the capacity to kill or harm me because he just cannot resist. But to this day, just about every conversation I have with my brother in person is while we beat an old favorite game for the hundredth time.
We didn’t pick up Mario Kart until N64 but that has quickly become our game of choice. It is the rare game that we are both equally good at so it is more fun than his continually beating me or vice versa so lately that is pretty much all we play. My brother now lives several states away so the Mario Kart on the Wii with the online play is the greatest thing ever. We play online for hours. I leave the webcam on while we play because my brother says it’s not as fun if he cannot hear me scream and curse when he shoots me with something.
Games have always been something of a family thing. My mother is a total PC puzzle adventure game junkie. She beat Myst in a week and found it rather easy so she started this quest to actually find one that she found a challenge. She is too good at them, it is pretty hard to stump her. I used to love playing those games with her and have continued the tradition of playing those kinds of games with my husband. There are so many games of that out there and so few good ones so you get a lot of duds. But, on the plus side, you can usually pick up the older games for $5 each in the bargain bin so I usually just resell them on eBay after we beat them so half the time I get the fun of playing and then make a profit out of the deal.
The only gaming thing that is mine alone is my massively unhealthy obsession with The Sims. I can sit down and play that for hours and hours at a time without any awareness of the passage of time. Sadly, I only rarely have time to play so when I do, I am like an addict overdosing!
magisterrex: Do you see any content differences in today’s games versus older ones?
HILLARY: I think one of the reasons I love the Wii so much more than the xBox 360 or PS3 is that it feels like such a throwback to the games I grew up with on systems like NES and Genesis. So many games today have such a focus on graphics that they are just not as fun to play. I would rather have silly, cartoony graphics any day if the game is fun.
The motion sensing was just a fun extra. Ninety percent of what we play on the Wii doesn’t really use the motion sensing but the motion sensing games are always a big hit at parties. But between Mario Kart and Legend of Zelda (my husband is a total Zelda freak) we had to get one. The online play is the greatest thing.
magisterrex: Is there anything you still play today?
HILLARY: When Mario Kart Wii came out, my brother was still living locally. He came over and we played for about 4 hours straight and then, after my brother went home, I played an additional 3 hours online. I had carpal tunnel so bad and, of course, the boys (my brother and husband) wanted to play again the next day but my hand hurt so bad I couldn’t even hold the Wii Remote. My husband, the engineer, rigged me this hilarious system of rubber bands and paperclips that held down the A button for me so that I could still play through the pain. It was a little sad.
I still play The Sims 2 but have no interest in buying The Sims 3. They basically killed everything I liked about the game in the newest version so I am not going to jump ship anytime soon.
Also any PC adventure puzzle type game will make its way to us and then my mother and back again. We especially like ones that involve investigating a spooky haunted… something. Submarine, hotel, lighthouse, whatever you have, if it is haunted, we will investigate it. :-)
We are lately working our way through the Lego games. We already beat Star Wars and Indiana Jones so we have to get Batman. We also have Wii Sports nights where my husband and I will play through every single sport with bragging rights for whoever wins the most. (I am undefeated in Wii Baseball which is weird because I am terrible at Baseball in real life.)
My favorite games are Sonic the Hedgehog but there hasn’t been a good Sonic game in so long I just replay the old ones.
magisterrex: Given the chance, what game would you buy that you never played before (but perhaps wanted to)?
HILLARY: There are so many games that look like games I would enjoy but I just don’t have the time. I know I would like any of those simulations games like The Movies, Civilization, Black and White, etc but I so rarely have time to play my usual games, I know I can’t add more games to the rotation.
There are also games that look good but have terrible reviews. A good example of this was Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Horrible reviews but I love Sonic so I had to try it. I bided my time and got it for under $20 used and, while it isn’t the best game ever, we had a lot of fun with it. It wasn’t worth the original $50 but it was totally worth $20. So there are games out there that I want but I am being patience because I only want them for a certain price.
magisterrex: Have you ever sold games to gamers? Are we different in any way from other buyers you’ve dealt with? How so?
HILLARY: I am a little disillusioned at the moment with buying used games online because a recent game I bought off eBay not only didn’t work but trying to return it to the seller turned out to be something of a nightmare. As a seller, I always try to test a game before I sell it and if for some reason I cannot, I sure as heck wouldn’t give a buyer a hard time if they wanted to return a game that didn’t work.
Most of the games I sell are games we have purchased, played, beaten and no longer want. There are a few favorite games that we keep for the replay value but mostly, we sell games after we play them. It keeps the video and PC gaming habit low cost because we cover a good portion of the cost of the game by selling it afterward. Considering we mostly buy used to begin with, sometimes we end up playing a game and then sell it and make money in the end.
magisterrex: Thank-you for sharing your thoughts on gaming, Hillary! You can find Hillary all over the Internet these days, it seems, but more specifically here: