My Favourite Game

US pro­ducer and DJ MK on clas­sic con­soles, queu­ing for mid­night launches, and how gam­ing helps him pro­duce

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DJ Mark Kinchen on mid­night launches and his eBay ad­dic­tion

Mark ‘MK’ Kinchen is an Amer­i­can DJ and pro­ducer who first rose to promi­nence in the ’90s with house hits Al­ways and Love Changes – both fea­tur­ing Alana Si­mon. Along­side his own music, Kinchen also pro­duces and remixes tunes for other artists, and has worked with a number of huge names, in­clud­ing Will Smith, Lana Del Ray, Pet Shop Boys and even Ce­line Dion. But in be­tween all of this work, he also has a con­sole-col­lect­ing ob­ses­sion to feed.

When did you fall in love with games? The first sys­tem I had was a Mag­navox Odyssey 2 – my grand­fa­ther got me one. Ev­ery­one knows that sys­tem sucked, but you didn’t have many op­tions. My next sys­tem was an In­tel­livi­sion. Then I kind of back­tracked and got an Atari 2600. And from then on I’ve had ev­ery con­sole that’s been out, pretty much.

Your grand­fa­ther sounds pro­gres­sive. I think Mag­navox had some sort of em­ployee dis­count where he worked be­cause he wasn’t into videogames – he just thought, ‘This might be cool for my grand­son.’ I re­mem­ber me and my brother used to laugh at how bad the graph­ics were – we’d put a game in and im­me­di­ately start laugh­ing.

Have you still got those early ma­chines? I bought them all again, so I still have them. I go on eBay and look for the con­sole that has the most car­tridges with it or is in the best con­di­tion, and I buy it and keep it in a box in my garage. I don’t re­ally play them be­cause I don’t have the time to, but I have them in case I ever want to. I think my favourite sys­tem grow­ing up was the Atari 5200, so I’m al­ways buy­ing good con­di­tion 5200s, or car­tridges that are un­opened.

What was it about the 5200 that ap­pealed to you? I was like 10, or some­thing; at that age when it started to mat­ter that you had a good sys­tem. The graph­ics were way bet­ter than In­tel­livi­sion, it’s got that cool metal stripe with a glossy black body, and it was one of the first sys­tems to have four con­troller ports. It was a cool sys­tem.

What else stands out from your col­lec­tion? The Vec­trex was a re­ally good sys­tem, and I have a Cole­coVi­sion in there some­where. I like all videogames, and I think I was just at that age where I had enough time to play them. Right around Zelda and Phan­tasy Star it was all about RPGs, and then the busier I got do­ing music I was just like, ‘Argh, I can’t play be­cause I just don’t have time.’ There was a time when I was in New York and I went out and bought a videogame ev­ery day for like a year or two, whether it was for PC or one of my con­soles. I was ad­dicted.

It sounds like you like buy­ing games as much as play­ing them. I have this crazy ad­dic­tion of wait­ing in line when new sys­tems go on sale. I had Switch on pre­order, but I went and hung out in line to see if I could get one any­way. At mid­night I stood there for an hour but didn’t get one. The next morn­ing I dropped my daugh­ter off at school and I was pass­ing by a Tar­get and there was no line, so I went and bought a Switch.

Did you can­cel your pre­order? Of course not, I have two! They’re both grey but I did buy dif­fer­ent con­trollers.

Do you have two of any­thing else? I pre­ordered Rift and a month be­fore it was out I saw one on eBay, so I was like, ‘I’m not wait­ing a month for it.’ So now I have two Rifts [laughs]. I’m into sim­u­la­tors, and my man­ager is too – he has a pi­lot’s li­cence.

“I had Switch on pre­order, but I went and hung out in line to see if I could get one any­way”

How do you fit games around your work­ing life? I have ev­ery mod­ern con­sole in my stu­dio, and any time I stop mak­ing music I’m like, ‘I need to play a game for a sec­ond.’ It ze­roes my mind and then I can go back to the music. I have to play games that are quick, though, so it usu­ally ends up be­ing Call Of Duty be­cause I can play quick matches. The only thing I play that’s a lit­tle time con­sum­ing is EA Hockey. I play on­line – I’ve been play­ing hockey games since like ’92, ’93. I’m pretty good.

So what’s your favourite game? I’m go­ing to have to say Call Of Duty: In­fi­nite War­fare. But I like them all. The thing is I’m not that good. You’d think I was a 30- or 40-kill guy but some­times I’m eight kills, some­times I’m 20. I’m still lov­ing play­ing it, though!

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