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About Paul Zero

Salvin A gamer card

Xbox 360 Gamertag: Salvin A

Hi, I’m Paul Zero, and I’ve been playing video games since I was in diapers.  My early gamer memories include Jumpman Junior and Wizard of Wor on a Commodore 64.  I went through a King’s Quest phase back when there were still only four of them and played Oregon Trail on my Apple II GS until I could get through it without losing a family member.  My introduction to Nintendo was Super Mario Bros. and I had a Sega Genesis back when that meant something.  The first console I ever bought with my own money was the Super Nintendo, which had the greatest Mario game of all.  My aunt helped me spend Friday nights at the arcade until I was 13, and I did the same thing with my friend Andrew through high school.  I loved every Mortal Kombat cabinet and I spent more on Gauntlet Legends than I usually admit.

I think Super Smash Bros. and Eternal Darkness were the best things that happened to the Gamecube.  I also think Knights of the Old Republic was the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars, and you can only call that heresy if you haven’t played it.  I think the Wii will be a great idea as soon as somebody designs a game for it, although I loved Twilight Princess enough to complete it 100% three times over – the same number of times I played through Wind Waker, although I only finished the Nintendo Gallery once.  I love the Xbox 360 for its Achievements.  See, I’m a completionist.  I don’t have to get all the Achievements for a game, but I like to get all the reasonable ones.  You’ll know I really like a game when I also do the unreasonable ones (Mass Effect).

I play PC games on my iMac, which runs Vista if it has to.  I liked Spore even after it came out.  And I know more about The Sims 2 than any man should.  But sandbox games appeal to my completionist side: I have to try all the combinations.  So far, I’ve managed to earn almost a billion Sim dollars by poking and prodding at the game until I found a way to make so much money, so fast, that the person who designs the expansions for that game should really be consulting me.  You take 8 Plant Sims (The Sims 2: Seasons), who don’t need to sleep, and you give them the Fortune aspiration.  Max out the Fortune aspiration rewards for each sim so that they can both give financial advice and play the stock market (The Sims 2: Free Time).  Build a room with eight computer desks (and chairs).  Put sun lamps overhead to keep the Plant Sims green.  Place Snapdragon bouquets on each desk (The Sims 2: Open For Business).  None of the sims should have real jobs.  They can now sit indefinitely at the computers, giving financial advice for 200 Simoleons an hour.  Every day, there is a random chance for the household to gain or lose a significant portion of its total money.  You can multiply your household money by 10 every hour and a half or so, of just running the game at 3x speed.  The sims never leave their chairs.  No rules broken, no cheats, no hacks.

See, I break games.  I pick them apart.  I look for how they work, and then I make them work for me.  I’m a computer programmer.  I want to understand what the guy was thinking when he wrote the software I’m playing with.  I want to get inside the heads of the designers and see where they went wrong.  Or right.  And when they go very right, they should consider offering downloadable content.  I don’t know if I bought all the content for Oblivion, but I think I spent more on that game than I’ve spent on Rock Band downloads.  And that’s saying something.

I’ve worked on games since I discovered MUDs in high school.  Before that, I made games in HyperCard.  I worked on Pox Nora during its initial development, where I wrote server game logic.  I was on the design team and again on the server logic team for its first two expansions.  Since then, they’ve taken most of the original team out of the game credits.

Now I’m a mid-twenties software engineer with a great job at the internet.  In my free time, I like to hang out with friends, play video games, explore reality, write fiction, write software, create food, and bake. I live in sunny Arizona with my sidekick/cat Sheba and my archnemesis, Litter Box.  I also have a fish tank full of kenyi Cichlids and a tank full of GloFish.  Both tanks have bristlenose plecostomus, including one that’s almost ten years old.

The nickname “Paul Zero” comes from a particularly energized game of Super Smash Bros. Melee involving gentlemen named AJ and Wombat. I use the name in a futile attempt to stay humble, and because it’s less pretentious than my other nickname, “Paul Awesome”, which I use whenever I’m doing something ridiculous.

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