Anyone who has played Team Fortress 2 on the Gamers With Jobs servers is probably well-acquainted with tboon. He's the pyro with the skull mask, cackling with glee and scolding "Check Yer Six" as he sets your teammates on fire. He's probably behind you right now.
For someone responsible for so many gruesome (albeit pixellated) deaths, tboon is surprisingly well-liked. I blame his genuine friendliness and affable nature, against which even the coldest of hearts stands no chance.
Tboon is one of the first Goodjers I knew well enough to count as a friend. Anyone who's played games with him is well-aware that tboon's a great teammate, and he manages to make a surprising amount of time for gaming, in between going to swim meets to support his kids, working as a talented-but-underappreciated developer, and general kickassery.
I look forward to making it up to the Capitol Wasteland one of my next visits east, to hang out with tboon in person and meet the rest of the Boon clan. If you get the chance, I'd recommend doing that, too.
Can you guess which GWJ thread comprised a surprisingly-high percentage of Tboon's first thousand posts to hit the tagging threshold? Hint: it's not any of the TF2 ones.Spoiler:
I know. Weird, right?
Who the devil are you?
Hi! I'm Taylor Boon, some old fossil who still likes to play games, mostly of the PC variety.
What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?
I am the VP of product development at a small financial services company. By day, I wrangle cats (aka developers, QA, support, product managers). Since we are a small company, I also get to write code, which is one of the few joys left me in this job. Plus a lot of other, more boring, stuff.
When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?
I have kids, so most of my non-working time is spent taxi-ing them around to their various activities or attending wonderful experiences like "swim meets" or "cheer competitions." On the other hand, I do get to read a bit while waiting for the next heat/event/what have you.
How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
I have a wonderful wife who has put up with my nonsense for almost 30 years. I have three kids aged 18, 15, and 12 who are really great (usually), even if they are the prime reason for my premature aging!
When and/or how did you get into gaming?
I first got into gaming in the late '70s when my family picked up an RCA Studio II (a truly horrible piece of hardware). Despite this (or perhaps because of it), we picked up a Commodore Vic-20 a couple of years later. Many hours of Adventureland, Gorf, and Radar Rat Race were wasted on that thing. But what really sunk its hook in me was junior year of high school when I saved up and bought a Commodore 64. Just so many games played on that system! By this time, there was no going back; gaming had become my thing.
What is your fondest gaming memory?
Man, so many, it is hard to decide! Skipping class in college for most of a week to play the first D&D Gold Box game? Figuring out Privateer actually had a story arc after 200+ hours of playing? Firing up Doom for the first time? Discovering my affinity for setting things afire in TF2? Hearing Dimmerswitch's rendition of the "The Trololo song" over voicechat during L4D2? Too many good ones to choose from!
Why do you play games? Why haven't you outgrown them?
Games provide stimulation I don't often get. Similar to reading a good book, a good video game places you in a different world — except in a game you are the main character and you decide what to do and how to act. This aspect of gaming is why I tend to play RPGs and strategy games rather than more directed experiences. I want a good story that I make for myself. In real life, it is highly doubtful at this point that I will rule a kingdom or take part in a hero's journey, but in games I can! If that be some symptom of existential angst or manifestation of solipsistic tendencies, then so be it.
I also play games because they give me a chance to think in ways that I do not normally in real life. Being a boring middle manager with kids means that my opportunity to think creatively is rather limited. Games provide an outlet for this that I would not otherwise have.
I've actually "outgrown" gaming at least three times. Each time, I have come back into the fold due to some need for thought and escapism that my daily life does not seem to provide.
What is your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
So many good ones to choose from. Let's see ... I guess it would be Crusader Kings 2. Medieval history has always fascinated me, and CK2 is the closest I will ever get to being a ruler in pre-Renaissance Europe. Plus, there are so many things that can happen in that game, it is truly amazing. Like the time my hunch-backed, leprous Duke of Flanders contracted syphilis and went insane. Good times!
What is your favorite game that you’re playing right now? Why?
Crusader Kings 2. Paradox has done a fantastic job of adding to the game since it was released early last year. Whenever I feel like I have seen everything CK2 has to offer, Paradox releases more interesting content that changes how you can play the game.
TF2 has to be mentioned as well. I still (after over 5 years) play it 3-4 times a week. I think this has more to do with the GWJ TF2 community than how good the game actually is, though. (It's a great game, but online games live and die by the community around them, and GWJ's TF2 community is the best.)
Which upcoming game are you looking forward to most? Why?
Europa Universalis 4, without a doubt. EU3 is one of my all-time favorites; Paradox is really hitting on all cylinders right now and the way they have talked about extending what was in EU3 have me quite excited to play it!
What first brought you to GWJ? What keeps you coming back?
I first came to GWJ after reading something on Dubious Quality, I think it was about Derek Smart, or maybe it was the Half Life 2 code theft. Regardless, I found a community of people who liked to talk (mostly) intelligently about games, who liked similar things to what I liked, and who did not seem to be horrible people like a lot of the rest of the internet. At that time (2005?), I viewed the Internet as a vast wasteland, devoid of intelligence and meaningful conversation. I was not wrong, but I did not suspect that there were oases of humanity within that wasteland.
I keep coming back because I like the people in the community. I enjoy engaging with them, I enjoy playing games with them. I feel like I have struck up some very real and tangible friendships with people I have never met (and sadly likely will never meet) in person.
Is there a particular forum on GWJ that you frequent/favor? Why?
Games and Platforms, without doubt. I came here for the gaming discussion and that's primarily why I stick around. I don't play MMOs and I have other outlets for P&C stuff. I check into the Sports and Everything Else forum a bit, but for me the site is all about smart discussions on games. Usually I am not disappointed.
What is the story behind your handle?
I used to be known by another tag, one I had used in various places over the years. But when I hit 45, I decided it was stupid and asked Certis to change it to the more pedestrian one I use now. After all, no one is going to have nightmares about me anymore.
Do you have any notable rivalries and/or friendships with someone on GWJ?
Big callout to Dimmerswitch; he's like the really great friend I never knew I had until I found GWJ. Just one of the nicest folks you will ever talk to.
And of course all the TF2 regulars, too many to list and I would feel bad if I left someone off. You guys are some of the greatest folks to play games with. I don't mind getting killed a thousand times a session by you all (mostly don't at least ). And I cannot forget the IRC crew: They provide some insanity to my day that paradoxically helps keep me sane. Never stop being horrible!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?
You know what is amazing? That I made it this far in life and still have a passion for video games. I've been blessed in this life, and GWJ is a wonderful part of that.