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Interview with TownParkRadio
Interview with TownParkRadio (Victor Ziblis) in 2016
Where are you living now?
Marion, Illinois. After all of that ridiculous bullshit of my late teens all the way up to 35, it's nice to be back in Illinois.
Where did you grow up?
Westmont, Illinois. It's a few hours north of here, but where I live is "Illinois enough" for me, if that makes any sense.
What are your earliest memories of playing video games?
I can one up that question just a tiny bit. One of my very first memories EVER involves video games. I was sitting on my potty, and my Stepfather (referred to hereafter as "Dad") was on the big boy crapper. He worked at Montgomery Ward at the time as an in store technician.. I gotta go off on a tangent here.
Does anyone else remember when Department Stores really were full service establishments? You could go to sears or Dillards or Montgomery Ward, and they'd have clothes, electronics, yard stuff, somewhere to eat, and each department had an "expert" and a real service desk. My father worked the Electronics Department service desk... if something bought at Ward's broke down, my Dad would fix it, for free or for a nominal fee. That was back when companies stood behind their products... and their employees.
Sorry, back to the story. My Dad was on the crapper, looking through the Christmas Catalog. He spotted the Atari, and asked me if I wanted one. I know he was just using my brother and I as an excuse to get one, because he played as much as we did. I could spew some stuff about the Commodore 64 as well, but that wasn't my "earliest".
What is your favorite retro system?
You know? They say your first love is your greatest love, but that's just not true. It turns out that the Intellivision is my favorite. I made fun of my cousins for having the Inty... but man I was... I was just wrong. As an "intelligent" child the more cerebral nature of the Inty games would have stoked my imagination higher.
Do you play many modern games? On what systems?
Hah! I'm still a gamer. Mostly on my PC and Wii U, but you'll catch me playing my flashback systems a lot as well.
How long have you been in the radio business?
12 years now, at this point.
How did you get started?
Hah! That's a fun little story. I used to play (and direly miss) an MMO called "City of Heroes". On that, some players began streaming something called "The Cape Radio" (you're not super till you put on The Cape!) for people to tune into. One night I made a request, they played the wrong song, and so I applied to be a DJ. When they didn't get back to me within 3 days, I decided to open my own station.
What made you 'go off the grid' a few years back?
At the time I was suffering form severe identity theft issues. My SSN was being used in 3 different places for work, and in a fourth by a prisoner in Colorado. The IRS was constantly up my ass about taxes I didn't actually owe, and it was impossible to get a job because a background check showed me as, well.. someone who apparently escaped from prison last night. Tell me again how illegal immigration "harms nobody".
It was time to sell everything I could and vanish into the mountains of Montana.
What challenges did that decision come with?
Thankfully we had a few months to plan it, so we had already acustomed ourselves to far lower power requirements and I had learned how to hunt, skin animals and lots of basic farming. My wife learned to tan hides and crochet, so we could make whatever we needed ourselves. I bought enough materials at Home Depot to build a cabin with my own two hands, and, of course, tools. After some study and training from others, I got down to business. I built a story and a half cabin. It was 10x12, but it was insulated as could be, and even better, wired like a normal house connected to my solar power system.
We found out the local phone company would run DSL up to us for only FIFTY dollars. We checked on electricity... that was going to be 38 thousand.
I would spend my days working in the garden and hunting. Naturally, hunting outside of hunting season was poaching, so I TOTALLY did enough hunting for us to eat all year during the same three weeks all the other assholes were out hunting. *coughs*
Two weekends a month she would go back to where her old job was and put in 20 hours over the weekend. It was enough for us to get by until we decided to have a baby. Then I had her quit her job and begged the local grocery store to overlook my background and give me something, anything, at minimum wage. For the next two year I would drive an hour to work every day, then come back and hunt, split wood, and we decided to say "fuck the garden". For 5 months out of the years it actually took me an hour and a half, because I had to chain the tires halfway up the mountain to deal with the snow and then drive carefully.
If you could do it over again, what would you do different?
I wouldn't do it at all. I'd have dug down hard, and called the local media. I would have written every politician and newspaper I could find until someone helped me.
How did you manage to play games with a limited supply of power?
Well, emulation was easy on our laptops. Intellivision Lives and the Atari things for the Nintendo DS, as well as Activision Anthology on the PS Vita were what I mostly did, though. Then one day I plugged the Atari into our low-wattage HDTV. Lo and behold, not only was the setup working just fine, but it somehow drew less power than my laptop. We were already Atari players before then, but finding that out drove up our playtime greatly. After all; we might retire and each use our individual laptop and netbook otherwise. The power savings thanks to the Atari were immense.
Intellivision Lives got me so into the Intellivision that I dropped 40 bucks on a collection of "commons". Unfortunately, every Intellivision I used got ultimately destroyed by the impure power of the inverter, and I haven't had the heart to try again since then. I think you actually gave me one of those I destroyed, Rev. I recently unearthed the one system I never plugged into the inverter and tried it, but the system was DOA.
What are you personal favorite games?
Modern Gaming? Killing Floor 2, Metal Gear solid 5, and a TON of Rainbow Six Siege (co op only)
For Retro games? The DnD trilogy for the Inty. A shame nobody can fucking make Tower of Doom work right on any collection or flashback. I'd say after that go B-17 Bomber, then we hit the Atari for Moonsweeper, Dark Cavern, Keystone Kapers and Space Invaders. Oh and River Raid! Choplifter! (I can flip the game easily). I also have some multigame Christmas Cart I bought from this very website. It's... it's heartwarming and I cannot wait until my son;s cognitive skills enable him to play. He's special needs so it might be a while if ever.
How big is your game collection? And for what systems?
Steam says I have 527 games for my PC; but that's not hard when you buy one dollar bundles that include like 12 games. I have 7 games for my Wii U, four for my 3DS (my DS games.. including the Inty/Atari collections were stolen) like 90 for my Atari, and 50 ish Inty games.
How did you first come to know of the Atari Age forums?
Looking for old commercials to play on Town Park Radio I googled "Have you played Atari today?" And here I am.
What are your thoughts on the Intellivision homebrew scene?
I'm ashamed to say that since the very wonderful DK Arcade, I haven;t bought anything since. Oh! I bought a digital of Ms. Pac Man! I keep forgetting to download it and fire up the emulator. JZINTV is a giant pain in the ass, the learning curve just.. just doesn't seem worth it. I did my time on command line interfaces back on the commodore. No thank you.