Bogdan Zinchenko has been in love with video games ever since he caught a glimpse of "Spy Hunter" at a local pizzeria in Riverdale, N.Y. Now a patent agent in Mount Vernon, Zinchenko's tastes in gaming have evolved quite a bit since the simple vertically scrolling arcade classics.
Zinchenko has immersed inself in countless games over the years, from "Counter Strike" to "Starcraft" to "Mario Kart 64." Nowadays, Zinchenko finds himself wrapped up in "Star Wars: The Old Republic." Usually, he says, his wife Michelle has been willing to join in on his gaming adventures, but everyone has their bounds.
"She loved Portal, and to some extent 'Skyrim,' but she hates 'Star Wars: The Old Republic' because I sit at my PC with my headphones on almost every night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.,” he said.
Zinchenko is a self-identified member of the "Nintendo" generation. They're still up fighting for the fate of the universe at 2 a.m., but they're also professionals with families. After all, you gotta have your priorities – those Jedi aren't going to blast themselves.
What's in the tray of your Xbox 360 right now?
Other than "SW:TOR" and "Skyrim," tell me about one of your all-time favorites.
“Doom”! Absolute classic. Definitely my introduction to first-person shooters. Remember the B.F.G.? (Ed. note: “Big Effing Gun”). Oh, and the double-barrel shotgun of course! Or was the double-barrel introduced in "Doom II"? I forget. Either way, both were epic games.
Just how far have you gone for your love of games?
Driven 400 miles to a LAN party in Maine with my PC in tow! My "Counter-Strike" clan founders hosted a few of these gatherings in early 2000s. Not the geeky sweat lodge some may think it is, just a gathering of awesome people with highly specific and enjoyable interests in kind. Some of my most memorable gaming experiences are those that I've shared with others.
How competitive are you as a gamer? Ever let it get the best of you?
I've had a few rage-quits in the past, but not as many recently. I've toned it down quite a bit and just give an appreciative "gg" (Ed. note: short for "good game") for a challenging duel. Unless it's a someone taking advantage of an exploit or hack. Then I rage-quit, of course.
What are your favorite places in Baltimore?
Brewer's Art, Soundgarden and the alleys between streets. Ever walked down the street between Calvert and St. Paul? It's an adventure.
What’s the biggest thing you look for in a game?
Good game design! Graphics actually aren't that important. I've played Xbox Arcade games with mediocre graphics, but with a good story and polished gameplay, they trumped a lot of the $60 high-end games. So, in order of preference: gameplay, challenge, graphics, story. Everything else I can take or leave.