Meet the Staff: Stefan L [Teflon]

You might know Teflon from his Meet the Reader feature, which did in fact spin off from this very feature. Since he’s used to being on the interviewing side of things, rather than being an interviewee, this must have been very challenging for the poor guy. You also might recognise him from BBC’s drama series Sherlock. Because he’s a Cumberbatch lookalike, apparently.[drop2]

Name: Stefan L
Age: Old enough to have stopped counting
Birthplace: London
Living now: London
Trophy Level: 15, apparently!
Random fact about yourself: People often tell me that I’m rather tall.

Being here, at TSA, usually means that you play games. So how did it all start for you?

A slightly unusual place to start, but it was with the Atari ST. There were loads of good games on there that I can remember vaguely, but I’ve forgotten almost all of the titles. There was one I can remember called Elf, which was a side-scrolling action-adventure game. You generally had to perform your usual adventure game tasks, like trade a bit of newspaper with a bloke in a toilet hanging over a cliff, so you could take his bog roll to someone who needed kindling. It’s a game structure that lives on to this day.

Then you had some things like an F1 game, and a tank commander game, where you had to wipe out the Russians from some pacific island, all in real time, and with direct control as well as tactical control.

There was also another side-scrolling game where you were in a helicopter gunship on an island infested with baddies. You had to destroy the enemies to rescue scientists from within; a bit like Sonic, I guess. Once you’d rescued them you’d take them back to your lab and have them develop new weapons of destruction for you. You needed these upgraded weapons to go down a volcano, try and defeat some form of big tentacle thing, after a bit of Gradius-style downward battling.

None of these games had saves and always combined this with limited lives, so I never really got too far in them, but they were definitely awesome.

Apart from gaming and wearing odd foot-shaped shoes, what else do you do in your free time?

I do quite like messing about with, and learning about technology. For several years I had a Mac G4 Cube, which I gradually upgraded (yes, upgraded a Mac), until it really couldn’t get any better. Up from a measly 400Mhz G4, with 256MB of RAM, a 20GB HDD and ATI Rage 128 GPU to 1.7Ghz G4, 1.5GB RAM, 250GB HDD and an NVidia GeForce 6200 (a GPU that needed to be flashed with a custom ROM to even work, and run using drivers for a different GPU in OSX). I tinkered with every single part, but they were completely bottlenecked by the logic board, power supply and lack of much airflow.

I’m about to embark on that Codeacademy course, too. I’m quite looking forward to getting stuck in, but haven’t really started yet. Learning a programming language is something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, but I’ve no idea how I’ll do.

Aside from tech stuff, there’s the usual Books, TV, Film, and Music rigmarole. I tend to go through phases, so whilst this time last year I was reading everything Zombies (World War Z was excellent) I’m now reading through John le Carré’s long series of spy novels, and am look forward to seeing the film of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy when it’s out at the end of this month. I’m not really a fan of going to cinemas, though, so I generally wait for home releases.

The FiveFinger shoes are awesome by the way. I do like walking, and I like being barefoot, so they’re great. The only thing I have against them is that the soles really conduct heat extremely well. So if the ground is cold during winter your feet will start to get very cold, or start to get almost painfully hot during a typical single day British heatwave.

Share with us your most embarrassing moment. Go on.

Oh, I’m not sure about most embarrassing moment. My memory’s not that great, or I’ve successfully blocked them out. I did slip on a slick patch of train station platform the other day, though. Slightly embarrassing and it hurt my hand.

That does remind me of walking home quite drunk one night, and slipping on a muddy bank. I woke up the next day and wondered why my bottom hurt so badly, until I saw the back of my jeans. Nobody saw that, so I guess that wasn’t really too embarrassing either. I actually found it quite amusing to tell people.

Beside being a synthetic flouropolymer of tetrafuoroethylene, what do you do for a living?

I’m a still rising star in the TV and Film industry, don’t you know?

Most recently I’ve been the lead character in Sherlock and had a supporting role in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I believe the rumour mill also has me as the next Star Trek villain.

Which excellent – or embarrassing – nicknames (both in the real world and online) do you have?

There’s nothing too wonderful to say here. Online I’m either ‘teflon’ or the contraction ‘tef’, though some people think ‘teffers’ is inoffensive to peoples’ ears, or even a sensible evolution from ‘teflon’. I respectfully disagree with this opinion, but now fully expect people to call me ‘teffers’ a whole lot more.

Out in the real world, it’s just ‘Stefan’ or ‘Stef’. For a while someone called me ‘Polish’, because he thought I was Polish. It wasn’t the most inventive nickname, but did gain a little charm once he realised that I’m not actually Polish.

Do any of your family enjoy playing games?

My brother just got a PS3 of his own, and has pinched half the games I own to play on it. I wouldn’t mind, except that I’m very protective of my things, he has a history of breaking or losing stuff, and my collection has loads of gaps in it.

[drop]We also tend to duel on FIFA ’10 when he’s about. There’s no point in getting a newer version, since I don’t play it aside from that. He’s better than me overall but I often get very cheeky goals, so I think we’re probably quite even on wins.

Over Christmas I scored a goal, but the game glitched and instead of celebrating the player just walked about for 3 or 4 minutes as he performed endless failure animations. The best part was that the rest of the team all jogged up behind him, as if they were trying to tell him that he’d actually scored! We were cracking up for absolutely ages at that!

Oh, and my mum was hooked on Bejeweled for quite some time, but has managed to kick that particular habit a while back.

You’ve been here for a while, haven’t you? Do you remember how you found TSA in the first place?

Yes, coming up on 3 years, I believe, and yes, I do remember how I found TSA. You’re probably expecting me to explain that now, aren’t you?

Well, when I first got my PS3 I looked about the place to see what was what. I read ThreeSpeech for quite a while before it turned into the EU PS Blog. One time they linked to TSA, and I read that. Then a few weeks later thought to myself “Ugh, what was that website? It looked OK, I guess…” and had to hunt this place down once again!

The reason I’m on the staff is from Uncharted 2‘s heyday, where I co-created a TSA clan, and created a ridiculously complicated tournament for it (The first of many) . I ran that twice before Peter set up the Community Team, and gradually gave ever increasing amounts of power to Adam and me.

Finally, what’s your favourite game?

It’s a close one, but I’m going to pick a game called Myth: The Fallen Lords for this one. It is a 1997 Real Time Tactical game from Bungie, which had sprites in a 3D polygonal world, complete 3D camera control, and a great fantasy story pulling all the action along. Years after playing it I discovered that Bungie had actually pilfered a good chunk of inspiration from a book series called The Black Company by Glen Cook, which I subsequently enjoyed reading.

There’s an excellent sequel too, Myth II: Soulblighter, which really upped the ante on all grounds, but I think I just about prefer the original. Myth II does get extra bonus points for having a bug in the Windows version that would delete Windows itself if you tried to uninstall. Though that nearly bankrupted them, as they had to recall tens of thousands of copies of the game!

As a long time Mac user, from well before Steve Jobs’ return to the company, I’ll always pay attention to what Bungie are up to, even if they did eventually sold out to The Great Enemy.

Oh wait, before we go, do you have anything to say to the readers? You know, rather than asking them stuff.

Just that I hope my answers were suitably evasive and unrevealing…

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36 Comments

  1. Tell us something about yourself you charlatan!

  2. I would really like to know about you, and not Mr. Cumberbatch, you coy sod :P

    • Phill’s from Ireland. Where are you from?

      • I live underneath your bed.

      • Cell 7, Wing C, Cardiff Prison? Hey, roomie.

      • Yup, you’re on the top bunk, I’m on the bottom bunk.

  3. Absolute legend! Really love the work and effort he puts in… One of a kind that Blair is!

    As for Teffers, the mystery continues…

  4. You still remain a mysterious character after that :P If I am ever in London and see an idiot wearing no shoes and falling on his ass several times I will know that it is you!

    • He only has two toes per foot. One toe is actually four toes wide.

      • Must be a nightmare to cut his toe nails. Or biting them would take one whole afternoon.

    • Funnily enough, this was how people found me at EGX.

      “I’m that one with the toe shoes, leaning on a pillar.”

  5. Yeah. Those feet.

    Yeah.

  6. Urrgh Feet.

  7. Not much given away by Teffers-Teflon-Tef. :-}

  8. My only memory of you from EGX is that you’re the tall bloke with the weird feet and the HP Touchpad haha!

  9. That’s different you are from London, but use a Welsh Flag on your F1 profile. I live in Wales but use the Union Jack, although I’m not Welsh :P
    Knowing tef’s wicked sense of humour, he’ll be naked above those freaky sneakers, so I’d say that picture is perfect as it is lol…..I bet they are comfy mind you!

    • Well, he only asked where I was born and where I live… ;)

    • Tef is half welsh isn’t he? Where to do you live in Wales?

  10. I’ve always called you teffers :L

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