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