My name is Ross Mills, although I am better (and preferrably) known as Oz. I was born in 1985, the same year as the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga (if Wikipedia is telling the truth). Although, of course, my baby-hands were unable to fully grasp a controller at that point. It took until the Sega Mega Drive in 1990 for me to gain a solid interest in computers. I still remember watching the adverts for Sonic the Hedgehog and being in awe of controlling this little creature on-screen.
Following that, I was very much hooked on gaming. Although it took a good long time for me to be able to play on my own terms, after all, I was only 5 at the time.
Taking a drastic leap forward, assuming that I had played brothers’ and friends’ consoles until this point, when the XBox came out, in 2002, I had just recently gained part-time employment at the tender age of 16, so invested in this and a large TV for myself. I don’t think I could have made a better choice by purchasing Halo: Combat Evolved.
I played this game for hours on end, it was all that I could talk about for a long time, I pored over fan movies, investigated Bungie Studios, its creator, and was a fairly vocal member of HBO, perhaps the biggest Halo fan-site at the time. Sure, Halo wasn’t the best game, but it did something big for me: It showed me a community, it showed me that games were interesting, it showed me that my interests were valid and something I could enjoy.
Granted, at the age of 16 there were a million other coming-of-age epiphanies I had, however, the playing of Halo shaped my life at the time far beyond what I might give it credit for.
When I was 18, I enrolled in a University course related to gaming. While this was unworthy of comment within itself, I did spend two years on placement at a Cambridge game development company. While there, I was introduced to a great many other sides of geekery, shenanigans, gaming, and a fantastic group of friends who I wouldn’t give up for anything.
Finally, after completing University, my grades weren’t that good, and my experience was not amazing, so I looked into the QA side of the gaming industry. I managed to secure a short-term contract at Virgin Media, testing Set-Top Box applications, which was as painful as the amazingly low-tech hardware they have. Finally, I have settled on my current job. I work as a Tester for a game developer in Dundee, Scotland, working on an upcoming game that I believe will shock the world, but until that is released, I plan to play games and write this very blog. Hopefully, it will continue afterwards, too.
Image by Laura Watton