Meet the Reader: Kevling

Following the rather well received start, with SpikeyMikey23 in the hot seat, there was a flurry of requests in the forum to go under the spotlight next. Coming in at the top of the list was one of our Golden Oldies at TSA, Kevling.


Start you off nice and easily with: Who are you, how old are you and where do you come from?

OK! I’m Kevin, and am the ripe old age of 41. Probably makes me one of TSAs older members or “farts”. I’m married, with 2 kids (12 and 8) and have lived in Derby my entire life.

Since your real name is Kevin, I guess the following question will have a long and arduous tale to it: What is your screen name, and what’s its origin story?

Ha ha. Yes, it’s fairly predictable, but with a slight twist. Many (many) years ago, we were playing a board game with some friends (MB Hero Quest, I think), and there was a character or a creature called a Gretchling. A french friend of ours basically couldn’t say Gretchling and Kevin in the same sentence, and you can probably guess how it all came out.

Once my name got mispronounced like that, it basically stuck, so I’ve been Kevling from probably 20 years now. Luckily Kevling seems to be unique enough for me to nab it pretty much everywhere. Something Kevin Ling is probably furious about.

If he’s a TSA reader, he now knows where to start looking… From boardgames, we magically transition to video games. What was your first experience with video gaming?

I have my granddad to thank for that (see it wasn’t just the Wii that got families into gaming). He was an engineer and loved all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. Back in the seventies he bought one of those Grandstand Pong clones that did about 10 different sports, for when my brother and I visited. That was it; I was hooked from that point on. Getting me hooked on games is probably my most lasting memory of him.

That’s actually totally awesome. You must have quite the path through to modern consoles from there, were you loyal to your gaming manufacturers? Did you flirt with them all?

Yeah, from there my mum got us the original woody Atari VCS, then we stuck with Atari for the 8-bit era and the Atari 400 computer, and then the 600. My brother bought an Amiga 500 which he soon got bored of, so I inherited that, then moved on to the 1200. I was one of those irritating computer snobs who looked down on consoles, but had a brief dalliance with a Mega Drive II. Everything changed with the PlayStation, and I’ve stuck with Sony consoles ever since: PS1, PS2, PSP, and PS3.

My only regret is not keeping any of the old stuff, but then again, my wife may have had something to say about that.

Haha, I’m one of those that will hoard things. All my old consoles are tucked away places!

Oldest thing I still own is my Gameboy Advance (not the SP) which I modded with an internal light with a kit from the internet, and slightly melted the casing. My nearest thing to anything rare is a PocketStation! I used to work at Toyota, and one of the Japanese co-ordinators picked one up for me on a visit home.

One of my favourite gaming anecdotes from working there was when tamagotchis first came out. One of the senior japanese managers had, shall we say, a reputation for having a very short temper. I had my Tamagotchi on my desk, he spotted in and stomped over towards me. I prepared myself for the worst, as he stopped, pointed at the Tamagotchi and bellowed so loudly that the entire office turned round “YOU MUST LOOK AFTER BIRD. IF YOU NOT LOOK AFTER BIRD… IT WILL DIE!”

Now, you’ve mentioned family members a lot, so it’s obvious that almost all of them must have some interest in gaming. Have your kids caught up with you yet in gaming skill?

I’ve done my bit to get the kids into gaming… My daughter is 12, but she’s not as into it as she used to be. It’s all films and music at the moment, but she’ll be back.

My son however is a gaming robot. He loves Mario, and if we let him he’d probably spend every waking hour playing games, but we try and be responsible and only allow them a hour or so of what we call “screen-time” a day: TV, DVD, games etc. all count. We bought him the strategy guides for both Super Mario Galaxy games and he literally devoured both books and knows both games inside out.

As I said before, the kids share the Wii, but he also has just had a DSi, and an old PSP as well.

Far too responsible, if you ask me. You should be buying him CoD and GTA4 by now!

Ha ha, no we definitely pay attention to the ratings, and I won’t even play a shooter, for example, until the kids are in bed. Honest!

The kids understand and accept the ratings as well. I’ve been in a game shop with Jem (my 8 year old) and he’ll pick a game up, realise it’s a 12, and put it back down. I’m sure it will all change when they hit puberty, but let me enjoy it while it lasts.

We’re talking a little bit after the big three E3 Press conferences. What’s been your take on the shows? You said on Twitter that your son was agog at the Wii U unveiling.

Well I’d told him that Nintendo were unveiling a new console, and he loves anything to do with Nintendo. I showed him a screenshot of the Wii U controller and his simple response was “Cooooool”. We’re all sat wondering what on earth Nintendo are doing, and he got it straight away by just looking at it. “So I can carry on playing on the controller when the TV gets turned off? Cool!”

I didn’t see any of the conferences themselves, just caught up with the news after the event, and picked up on comments on Twitter and podcasts. My take, based on reading and listening to other peoples reactions, was that Microsoft seem to be riding the Kinect train. I thought the fact that the Kinect-ing of Mass Effect 3 is just voice control, which you could do with your 360 headset was hilarious. If BioWare pocketed some Kinect marketing cash for that, they must be laughing!

Sony seem to have a good solid line-up of games and had the Vita to show off which seems to be well received, and the Wii U had the bizarro-factor to grab the headlines.

There’s also a whole raft of games that have been unveiled in the last few months, and many coming before the end of this year. What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m REALLY looking forward to Starhawk. I bought Warhawk as a PSN download on day one, and it has been one of my favourite online games of this generation. I’m just upset that Starhawk is a “sometime in 2012” title, especially as Dylan Jobe made a big thing on Twitter about developers showing games off too early.

I’ve got a total mental block about upcoming games now! Mass Effect 3 will be another day one purchase. I absolutely loved Mass Effect 2 and played it solidly until I completed it and all the DLC.

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  1. Seems us older gamers really enjoy mass effect kev. I’m 31, my brother’s 34 and we both really enjoyed 2 and I’m loving how 3’s looking. One question, have you never felt the need to get away from Derby, having spent your entire life there?

    • Sometimes I think I’d like to move but I like living in a city whereas my wife would like to live in a village somewhere near the sea. So the perfect compromise is to stay here ;) also there’s the upheaval of the kids having to move schools and everything. I’m quite laid back and easy going so it’s always easier to make do and stay put!
      But you’re right, Mass Effect 2 is brilliant.

  2. Another interesting insight into the mind of a TSAian.

    I love the tamagotchi story, it wouldn’t have gone like that where I work. My manager would more likely confiscate it and watch it die.

    • Luckily he was nothing to do with my department, my supervisor wasn’t overly bothered and I took this to be management approval to look after the little fella in work-time.

  3. This could turn into a gaming OAP coming out session. I’m also 41 and had my first digital dabble with one of those Grandstand machines too.

    • Damn. Bang goes my claim of being the oldest TSAer. I’m 42 in August, do I win? :)

      • Dude, just be happy that you’re not a freak! Being old is a good thing, with age comes experience and all that :-)

      • I won’t hit 42 until next March, so you’ve got the oldie crown for now.

      • No, i’m older – not neccessarily as mature though ;) Nice read Kevin, refreshing to meet a seasoned veteran and comforting to know there’s a few more of us at TSA! :)

  4. Good read, Kevling’s kids on the podcast were hilarious….as was Kris’s reaction :D

    • haha good read =) love the tamagotchi story, always fun to read about the other TSAers =)
      keep these fun articles coming tef=) thier awesome=)

      • ok this comment wasn’t ment to be a reply…
        =D doesn’t matter

      • that comment*
        WTF is wrong with me!??
        *runs away to find a gun and bullets*

  5. Good read, these articles are really interesting! I especially liked the tamagotchi bit and how you talked about raising your kids. I still remember having “screen time” too (and viciously ignoring that rule when my parents weren’t there) Ah, good times.

    • How do you “viciously” ignore a rule? :-O

  6. An interesting read indeed. It must be cool to see the evolution of gaming as you grow older, and so I wonder, Kevling, what generation of consoles have been your favourite?

    • I honestly would have today the current one, at least for me. As mentioned in the interview I didn’t own many of the older consoles, the PS1 era blew me away with the move to 3D, which was further refined on PS2, but the connectedness of the PS3 changed it all for me. yes the original Xbox got there first, but PS3 was my first exposure to online gaming and opened gaming up even further for me.

      • Today = to say.

      • cool, personally, I look back at the old days with the snes and 64 with pink glasses. But I must agree, the current era is an overall winner with its many capabilities.

  7. You old fart.:op I am enjoying this articles.I’m glad it has been a success and not a failure like my world domantion plans.Serioulsy, why won’t any TSAers help to take over the world?;p Do you think Fanboyism has gotten worse or better since you started gaming?

    • There’s always been fanboyism in gaming, C64 v Spectrum, Sega v Nintendo, and as I said in the interview computers vs consoles. The only real difference now is the Internet let’s the trolls out of the playground and into everyone’s homes ;)

    • Domation! quick the domz are invading?!!!!

      (I think they’re domz or was it something esle but anyway its Beyond Good & Evil?)( I do have Mobile Suit Gundam on my mind though…? hmm )

  8. Wow, very interesting article. You were actually one of the TSAians I was most interested in seeing on this feature. Nice to know a bit more about you now. Oh and the picture is brilliant :p

    • Are you stalking me? Is that you I can see behind the hedge at the end of my garden? ;)

  9. My second name is Laing which is often misspelled as ling, so technically I should be pissed off you stole my name!!!!!!
    However I shall allow it for a fellow Kev. :)

    • Kev Laing? Has a familiar ring to it ;)

  10. I’m so happy screen time hasn’t and, now that I’m 18 and going to University, never will affect me. That Tamagotchi incident is the funniest work-related incident I have ever heard.

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