Who is this guy ?

The most uninteresting page in any kind of site, but one that everybody includes.

Anyway, I am Sharok Rillk, consultant and Notes developer by day, and rabid gamer outside of work hours. I live in France and I am fluent in English and French. I studied accounting and computer science at a French university.

I was born in 1966, I am happily married with one daughter, one cat and no problems. I have been playing computer games since the first IBM PC came out (no, not the XT, the very first one) and I have never killed, knifed or insulted anyone in real life (that is aimed squarely at all those people who think playing games is only done by potential psychos) - although I have sent thousands of pixels to their deaths without flinching on my computer.

What is this about multiplayer ?

In multiple sections of this site, I state that the lack of multiplayer in a game does not bother me and I refer to this page about my view on multiplayer. What do I mean ?

Simple, as any father of a family knows quite well, when you have a full-time job that is not a nine-to-five deal, plus a family to spend time with, the amount of personal time to allocate to self interest gets a lot slimmer than the golden days when being a student meant free evenings and Mom takes care of all household chores (thanks Mom). Add to that the fact that I live in a village 20 miles from the nearest city and you get a picture of the possibilities of getting a few friends for a gaming session : next to nil.

Add to that the fact that, in Europe, using a 56K dialup line to play online is economically impossible : way too expensive. Thankfully, after years of hype and marketing nonsense, broadband is finally becoming available and cheap. With broadband, online play becomes possible, and one can finally indulge in experiencing internet gameplay. Well, that's what you think until the day you actually try it, at which point you probably come back with a splitting headache (or an urge for murder).

Indeed, in my (totally subjective) opinion, the Internet is the haven of the highest number of idiots per square meter you can possibly imagine. I swear. In every single game I radomly connected to, with people I didn't know, if it was a team-oriented game I invariably had more problems with my "teammates" than I did with the enemy. I cannot even count the number of times I was shot in the back (on purpose or not), fragged by grenade or squashed by a tank driven by some nut on "my" side. For me, the conclusion is inescapable : playing on the Internet is fulfilling an urge to be knifed in the back. Repeatedly.

Unless you use the Web to create a private game. And thankfully, all the games I know that allow Internet play also allow for requiring a password to connect. That way, you can phone your friends, allow for a time and day, and at said time and day everyone can connect to the game in order to play NORMALLY, where teams fire AT OTHER teams, and not at each other (except for honest accidents). The password is, today, the only safeguard between pleasure and madness.

That being said, I do not, by any stretch of imagination, say that multiplayer is not good. Multiplayer is without a doubt the best thing that has happened to the gaming industry since the color monitor. Going to war against a human opponent, however bad, will always beat hammering (or being hammered by) an AI enemy, and the games that are available today (Counter-Strike and Battlefield are marvellous examples) are really very good at building strategy and team tactics. The web is by far the greatest medium to bring you that experience in the most diversified way.

Yet, the single-player experience still interests me quite a bit, and I would not want it to disappear.