My Favourite Game

Qs for QI Elves Dan Schreiber and An­drew Hunter Mur­ray

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Dan Schreiber is a writer, standup co­me­dian, TV pre­sen­ter and pro­ducer, while An­drew Hunter Mur­ray is a writer for Pri­vate Eye who also per­forms on stage. They’re also both part of the team of re­searchers be­hind UK panel show QI, and co-host – along with James Harkin and Anna Ptaszyn­ski – its spinoff pod­cast, No Such Thing As A Fish. Here the pair dis­cuss ar­cade hu­mil­i­a­tion, in­stal­la­tion woes, and ex­plod­ing ba­nanas. What’s your favourite videogame-re­lated fact? Dan Schreiber I love that Nin­tendo used to run love ho­tels – that’s in­cred­i­ble. It’s not your usual com­pany tra­jec­tory like, I don’t know, ‘We’ll start with model cars and then we’ll make real cars.’ I also re­ally like that Robert Bal­lard, a lead­ing oceanog­ra­pher who dis­cov­ered the wreck of the Ti­tanic and also hy­dro­ther­mal vents, only em­ploys gamers to drive his sub­mersibles be­cause they’re the ones with the best re­ac­tions. Isn’t it also true that Aero­smith earned more money from Gui­tar Hero than any of their ac­tual al­bums? An­drew Hunter Mur­ray Yes! A huge amount more – by an in­sult­ing fac­tor. What kin­dled your in­ter­est in games? AHM For me it was the CD-ROM ver­sion of En­carta. DS That doesn’t count as a game! AHM Wait… They had th­ese lit­tle ed­u­ca­tional games on them. Ul­tra-sim­ple – you’re in a room and you have to an­swer a ques­tion about some­thing in the en­cy­clo­pe­dia to move into the next room. DS I still use En­carta for my re­search – it’s my pri­mary source. AHM There was also a game where you play as two mon­keys throw­ing ex­plod­ing ba­nanas at each other. My father liked me play­ing it be­cause it teaches you physics, be­cause you have to take into ac­count tra­jec­tory and wind speed. All very ex­cit­ing… and ed­u­ca­tional. DS I had Duck Hunt, but I never got to play it be­cause I could never tune the chan­nel prop­erly. That’s my first mem­ory. Af­ter that it’s just get­ting my arse kicked in ev­ery sin­gle game, like Street Fighter, be­cause I grew up in Hong Kong where all you did if you were a kid was play games. It was a ter­ri­ble, ter­ri­ble in­tro­duc­tion to games. I went to high school in Syd­ney, and as far as I know I’m still the reign­ing Ms Pac-Man cham­pion of the Avalon RSL, which is the Aus­tralian equiv­a­lent of Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Clubs. AHM I never bought the new ex­pen­sive games, so when Deus Ex came out for the first time I spent a lot of time pre­tend­ing I’d played it, while my friends talked about the lev­els they were stuck on. I was still buy­ing all the cheap £5 games in Game in the bar­gain bin, so I was play­ing Might & Magic VII, which to this day I’ve not com­pleted be­cause there’s a bit where it gets re­ally hard!

“I love that Nin­tendo used to run love ho­tels. It’s not your usual com­pany tra­jec­tory”

Do you pre­fer any par­tic­u­lar gen­res? DS Yeah, I love sports games. I used to love go­ing and stand­ing on a pair of skis in the ar­cade. I loved any kind of rac­ing games, bas­ket­ball games, soc­cer games… Yeah, sport’s my thing.

AHM I like blow­ing stuff up. I like shoot ’em ups. I can’t get enough of them – they’re so sim­ple and sat­is­fy­ing. DS I used to play Star Wars Episode I:

Racer non-stop. That’s an amaz­ing rac­ing game – ev­ery­one knocks The Phan­tom Men­ace, but some good came out of it.

What are your favourite games?

AHM My favourite game is Fi­nal Doom, which I never man­aged to load onto my com­puter and play. I loved Doom and Doom II so much, but I could never get the third CD to work. That can’t be dis­ap­point­ing.

DS How can that be your favourite game?

AHM Be­cause it’s a po­ten­tial game. It’s a game of an­tic­i­pa­tion. I’ve never played it and I prob­a­bly never will, but it can’t be dis­ap­point­ing. DS That’s a ter­ri­ble favourite game.

AHM OK… Trans­port Ty­coon [laughs]. DS I strug­gled to pick just one. It was nearly Mario Kart on the Wii U, be­cause I think it’s the best game ever made. But the one game I still play com­pet­i­tively is

NBA Jam on the SNES. Ev­ery so of­ten I en­ter an NBA Jam tour­na­ment at retro ar­cade bar Four Quar­ters in Peck­ham Rye. You get given a team over Face­book and enough time to buy a retro jersey, so when you play you can be dressed as the play­ers. You go down and there’s a whole chalk­board of play­offs and line­ups and we made it three rounds in, last time – it was quite tough com­pe­ti­tion.

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