It’s time to interview another TSA member, and this week, since I’m interviewing one of my very favourite people from TSA, and someone who is quite a big name in the community, I thought it’d be nice to do another audio interview for you guys! As always, there’s a text rendition to go alongside it, just in case you can’t listen, or don’t fancy it.
Who are you, how old are you and where do you come from?
I am James McCaughern, I am thirty years old and I come from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland!
Ballymoney is such a good place name.
It’s certainly different!
What does the whole “bally” thing mean?
It’s pretty boring actually, just means town, I think…
Some sort of gaelic word? Am going to google it.
Town of Money, then? Google was no help for me, it came up with “a euphemism for bloody”.
Yeah, it comes from the gaelic word ‘baile’ meaning town.
Yeah, that makes sense, but you’re right in that it’s pretty boring!
Sorry to disappoint.
I should expect it from you… So, given that your name is James, I’m sure there’s a wonderfully predictable backstory over how you came up with your TSA/PSN ID?
It was actually some friends I made when at university the first time at Queens.
They called me a mixture of Jimbo or Jambo.
Then when I had to make an ID I used it, however Jambo was generally taken so due to my well known like for a certain game franchise I added the GT for PSN.
GT is a game franchise? Not ringing any bells. Was it a typo? Did you mean Grand Theft Auto?
Oh! It’s that car thingy? Yeah, I remember now.
Yeah, the one with the Japanese cars.
The Nissan GT-R simulator.
The REAL Nissan GT-R simulator.
Complete with 700 subtly different models!
MIDNIGHT PURPLE III.
Polyphony are crazy.
The kind of crazy you have to love, though. I just want to say despite my love for the series I am not blinded by it, and I could probably write a rather extensive essay on how to fix GT5, as you know.
I thought you’d already done one as a pseudo design pitch.
In my head, yes, but on paper, no. I do have a design document for F1 2009, though. I was having F1 withdrawal.
Did you actually play F1 2009? Wasn’t it just on Wii and PSP?
The PSP version? Yeah I have it, terrible game though. I had made the design document for university before the Codemasters deal was announced, if I remember correctly.
How do you rate Codemasters’ efforts with the brand?
2010 was a great first effort. Not without issues but a very promising beginning, with a well balanced handling model. It’s tricky enough to please those wanting a more sim-like game, and have it accessible enough for those wanting to go straight in and have some fun.
Saying that, there were a lot of issues that I thought would be ironed out in 2011, which was disappointing for me. At least on PS3, where the frame rate was shoddy and despite this the graphics were lackluster. You can deal with these things but I found that when the frame rate would dip the handling model would suffer also so it all built up.
I know there was a lot of criticism and it seems to have been taken on board so fingers crossed for 2012, especially now that the Williams should be a good car in it!
That must’ve been particularly painful for you to see Williams as a team you just join right away…
Yeah that was particularly galling. Fingers crossed this year continues in a slightly luckier manner than it has started.
I feel I should mention TSA as well in regards to F1. The championships were a big factor in me playing the games as much as I did, at least with 2010.
Their pace has certainly been pretty encouraging. The whole pack seems to have tightened up, and everyone’s pretty level, it seems. Should make for quite an exciting season of viewing!
Very much so. The division between the top three and the rest has shortened massively.
It used to be two races, the top six and then the rest, but now the top cars really have to keep on their toes. Will be interesting to see how the order settles once we get to the European season. I’m feeling pretty confident with the race pace the Williams has been showing.
It’ll hinge a lot on who can develop and steal ideas quickest. Anyway, I reckon non-F1 fans will be dozing off to sleep around now, so it’s time to move us along a bit. How did you first get into gaming?
Well there was always a computer here as far back as I can remember, starting with a Commodore 16 that my sister and I used. My parents aren’t into them at all so I assume it was bought to keep us amused.
From there I got a Spectrum 48K and then to a Sega Master System. I was already well into my racing games by then.
Isn’t that usually the way?
I would presume so, though I am sure some have stories of parents introducing them to games. All I have ever seen mine do is play a bit of Tetris on the Game Boy.
Oh, I’m certain some parents will be gaming fans, especially as the generation of PS1 players are of child rearing age.
Given that all our Facebook friends seem to be having children left right and centre.
So, how did you get from the Master System to where you are now, with a PS3 and, I believe, decent PC rig?
Well from the Master System I got a Gameboy, I personally didn’t own any of the 16-bit systems but spent a lot of time with friends playing various different systems. Stuff like the SNES, Megadrive, Amiga.
Quite a lot of it was Amiga actually, with Sensible World of Soccer, Cannon Fodder, and Grand Prix. I had a great time playing those, and a lot of time in the summer was spent in SWOS tournaments, though I was never any good.
Also spent a good bit of time on arcade machines, loved Virtua Racing and pretty much all the other Sega classics. Then I got a PlayStation for Christmas, with WipEout and Formula One and I was absolutely hooked again. Those games astounded me, between how they looked, the accurate cars and tracks (F1 not WipEout…), and the commentary. There’s nothing quite like Murray Walker commentating.
Imagine if WipEout had accurate cars and tracks, and we lived in 2050.
Maybe it does and we just don’t know it yet, wait till 2048 and decide! Studio Liverpool has been sitting on top of a time machine invention.
That’d be quite cool. Absolutely! We’ve still got a few years for Back to the Future to come true too.
Fingers crossed for the hover boards, but I’m not so sure about the self adjusting clothes.
People have been prototyping those auto-lacing shoes too…
Those do seem useful, though to be honest I think I have only one pair of shoes that has laces…