My Favourite Game

Co­me­dian Stu­art Gold­smith on the joys of Gears Of War’s Horde

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Stu­art Gold­smith is a standup co­me­dian and street per­former who also hosts the pop­u­lar The Co­me­dian’s Co­me­dian pod­cast. Here, he takes a break from pre­par­ing for his new tour to dis­cuss an­other of his pas­sions. Do you find much comedic in­spi­ra­tion from play­ing games? I ac­tu­ally wrote some ma­te­rial for the last show I did [Com­pared To What], which I’m tour­ing, which was about Clash Of

Clans. I love strat­egy games, and I thought there was a funny el­e­ment to be found in the fact that be­cause I spend so much time play­ing them, I don’t get any­thing done in real life. Which is not much of a strat­egy. I only got into Clash

Of Clans be­cause my ten-year-old god­son had got into it, so be­cause I had him in mind I joined it with the user­name Un­cleStu, and then I felt more and more like some kind of aw­ful preda­tor that was try­ing to get kids to join his clan.

I thought they were both funny ideas, but they fell by the way­side be­cause, while Clash Of Clans might be hugely pop­u­lar among gamers – or at least phone gamers – there still aren’t that many of those in a room full of av­er­age peo­ple. There was too much es­tab­lish­ing the ter­ri­tory to make it uni­ver­sally funny. How of­ten are you able to make games work in that sort of con­text? There are one or two bits of standup that I’ve ever done about gam­ing. One was a long time ago, when Halo 3 was just about to come out, and was about me and my brother and a ran­dom kid in the Science Mu­seum in Lon­don, play­ing what was then a re­ally amaz­ing setup – there were three mon­i­tors and we were all play­ing it against each other in the same room. The child starts an­ni­hi­lat­ing my brother and I, and then at the end, just be­fore he’s about to get his 30th kill and win the match, his mum turns up and takes him away. That was broad enough that ev­ery­one could vi­su­alise it. When did you first play videogames? I had a ZX Spec­trum 48K. That car­bon­dates me. Even be­fore that I played the

Lord Of The Rings text ad­ven­ture on the Am­strad, but I must have been about nine and I couldn’t get past walk­ing around and around in a cir­cle in a for­est. But I re­mem­ber play­ing Hun­gry Ho­race,

Jack The Nip­per II, and I re­mem­ber map­ping games – get­ting A4 sheets of pa­per, tap­ing them to­gether, and draw­ing out the world. In­no­cent times. I also re­mem­ber buy­ing Rep­ton for my best mate, Noel, and then se­cretly tap­ing it be­fore I gave it to him. I felt ter­ri­bly guilty. Was that the point at which you fell in love with games? Those were the very early games, but I can think of two or three iconic mo­ments where I thought, ‘Woah, this is an­other world.’ The first is when you first see the T Rex in Tomb Raider – it was a joint mo­ment of, ‘Oh my god, it’s a T Rex,’ and then at the same time, ‘Oh my god, this is pos­si­ble now.’ The sec­ond was when the dogs first jumped through the win­dow in Res­i­dent Evil. I was play­ing it with three mates and we all shat our­selves. Were games al­ways a so­cial thing? When my mates came round when we were teenagers, we’d play Com­mand &

Con­quer: Red Alert, with two TVs back to back. Be­ing able to play a game to­gether, each on our own screen where you couldn’t see the op­po­nent’s hand, as it were – that was re­ally ex­cit­ing. Later, I also had a friend who worked in QA at Code­mas­ters in Leam­ing­ton Spa, and he lived with an­other of my friends. He would be play­ing Mi­cro Ma­chines V3 for nine hours a day, then he’d come back and play it with us. He also brought back a blue Ja­panese N64 be­fore it had been re­leased in the UK and we played Mario

64 in Ja­panese. It’s sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand all of the car­toony in­struc­tions with one or two key words of English.

“I re­mem­ber buy­ing Rep­ton for my best mate and then se­cretly tap­ing it be­fore I gave it to him”

How about your favourite game? Be­cause I now have a child, I play fewer things than I did be­fore. But for me the pin­na­cle was play­ing co-op Horde mode in Gears Of War 2. I used to use com­puter games a lot to hang out with my brother – he’s in the Mid­lands; I was in Lon­don at the time – but, two or three nights out of seven, we could put on a head­set and then also have my house­mate or an­other friend else­where play. It stim­u­lated all of those mem­o­ries of play­ing as a child with my brother. We had the time of our lives.

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