We're trying out something new here on VGS. Well, sort of new... Some of you may remember a series of interviews I did with various members of NintendoAge that centered around the Weekly NES contest. This is a partial reboot of that effort.
And to kick us off is the one and only @Estil. The good-natured, cat-obsessed Kentuckian that loves to post his cherished YouTube clips! And he threw me an early curveball by changing some of the questions I asked him. Enjoy!
Hello Estil. First off, where did your username and avatar come from? (humor me here)
It's my first name...I guess you gotta ask this of everyone though.
What originally brought you to VGS and/or NA?
I honestly don't remember...mentioned on GameFAQs, found in Google search, maybe?
As many on VGS are aware, your wife Denise passed away just over a year ago. How did you two meet? Any particularly cherished memories you'd like to share?
Well we first met online on Yahoo Messenger (those were the days!) on 2/19/05, then we met in person in St. Louis on 3/17/05, then she moved in with me on 5/20/05 (yes I'm the sentimental/nostalgic type so I do actually remember the exact dates). We got married (my first, her third) on 6/17/05 by a local judge who happened to be my first cousin once removed.
I guess one of my favorite/funniest memories (though she didn't think so) was when we were at her mom's (she was so sweet/kind; the total opposite of the Fred Flintstone's mother-in-law stereotype!) house and we got to do the wishbone game (I honestly didn't even know that was a real life thing!) and figuring I may never get another chance to pull a wishbone (and I never did) I tried really hard to pull and my wife didn't have a good grip on her end and "it made me bleed!" (her words). Would you believe (again totally opposite of the stereotype) her mother actually stuck up for me and explained that I didn't mean to (and would never) hurt her? As for my wish...well...I wished to get the bigger piece!
You love cats. Tell us about your , past and present.
My first pet was a beagle hound named Misty when I was real little. Then I had an Australian Shepard named Blue during my childhood. In my college days I had a cute (but very old) golden blonde Pekinese named Gizzie (his original owners named him that because they thought he looked like Gizmo from the Gremlins).
Yes growing up we did have a few "barn cats" running around outside (it's not the same though) but it was not until my wife came along and in 2010 insisted she wanted a kitty and "she wasn't gonna let some man tell her she can't have one". I was skeptical of the idea but Tweetie (gray American Shorthair) lached on to me and I instantly fell in love with her and all those cute cat things I never seen before (when I first saw her "kneading"/"making biscuits" I thought she was exercising and I still like to call it that). Sadly she went to kitty heaven in 2012 and shortly after is when we got our "incumbent" cat Jamiee (golden blonde American Shorthair). He was just a kitten at the time and for the first few days he was actually afraid of me! But he became "obsessed with me" (wife's words) and we've been best friends/pals/buddies ever since! I'm very very much a wannabe "crazy cat lady" and would love to have a bunch of kitties but sadly my apt only lets me have one :,(
Past and present occupation or anything you are aspiring to be?
After college I worked for a local Kroger from 2004-10 (shortly after I had to go on disability). I would've liked to have gotten a more "college educated level" job/career but the main problem was I had no clue what exactly I wanted to do in that regard. But make no mistake about it, I'm GLAD that I went to UK and got double BA's (history & political science) and it was quite rough sometimes (I only managed a 2.57 GPA; it didn't help that I had undiagnosed Asperger's and was working almost six hours most weeknights and all day Saturdays)) but I made lots of happy memories (for example going to DC for the first and so far only time!) and my UK degrees are by far my most cherished possessions.
What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in life?
Earning my double degrees (history & political science) from the University of KY in 2003...the year of our basketball centennial!
Favorite non-gaming hobbies?
Reading my local newspaper archive from newspapers.com, reference books (especially the yearbooks from World Book, Britannica, my collection of trading card sets (over 100,000 cards all in albums believe it or not!), and I just recently got into coin collecting (the old fashioned "coin roll hunting" kind)
What's on your bucket list?
I'd LOVE to travel to places such as Cooperstown (baseball Hall of Fame), New York City, and of course Japan (especially if I can find/buy retro Famicom games, as well as those kitty cafes and that island with kitties and of course those cute chicks!). So far I've never been to another country or even west of St. Louis. But sadly I don't know if I'll ever have nearly enough money or chance or whatever. And even if I did who'd take care of my kitty?
What fictional character best represents you?
Dennis the Menace, especially the early 60s B&W sitcom. I often like to tease/aggravate (I've been told I get that from my late Grandpa Estil who got a Purple Heart in WWII) though Dennis doesn't mean to, he just wants to be helpful!
What skill do you wish you could have? What super-power do you wish you could have?
I'd love to be able to time travel in such a way I don't have to worry about screwing anything up...like what happened or almost happened sometimes in the Back to the Future series?
Favorite vacation you have taken?
I was student manager for my high school baseball team my junior/senior years as well as football my senior year and during my senior year (spring 1999) I got to go with the baseball team to Florida (Cocoa Beach to be exact) and I got to see the ocean/beach for the first and so far only time and I even got to see where the shuttles are launched way off in the distance (no launches at the time though)
Gamer? Collector? If both, what would you consider yourself to primarily be?
I haven't been able to in the past few years but I would love to start collecting cartridges (especially NES; I got about a third of them) again but lately I've added to other hobbies (though I don't get to do much on just SSDI every month). Since my Everdrive cartridges and such cover the gamer part, I guess I'd love to do the collector part more, if all of that makes sense. Plus I'm more into gaming history so there's that as well.
Favorite gaming series?
I guess getting caught up on the blue chip retro JRPGs, especially Tales of/Dragon Quest/Final Fantasy?
First video game or arcade game you remember playing?
Ms Pac Man & Pole Position (probably either version)
Favorite era of gaming?
Well I grew up in the 90s so naturally the NES/SNES is my "first love". And the GC/GBA era of the early 2000s also is nostalgic for me as that was during my early 2000s college days
Kinda depends on my mood, TBH. Though my first ever console was getting the NES for my 10th birthday in 1990 and that by far makes up the plurality of my retro game collection (I think I got about 220-ish?) and you know what they say about never forgetting your first love, right?
Least favorite console?
Never owned one but from the very start I knew the N-Gage was a complete joke...who wants to pay triple cost (at launch) to play WORSE versions of GBA games (Sonic Advance)?
What's your favorite item in your collection? Favorite non-gaming item?
I guess I'm most glad I still have the Mega Man Legends Trilogy games from my college days (early 2000s) considering how expensive they've gotten! As for non-gaming I have many extremely limited edition 90s insert sets such as 1996-2001 Ultra Gold Medallion sets (with SP's!), 1994 Pinnacle Museum Collection, 1995 Score Platinum, 1993-1994 Topps Finest Jumbo All-Stars among others. And boy did it take me a LONG time to finally find those 1988 and 1989 Kentucky Collegiate Collection sets! Let's just say they don't get NEARLY as much Ebay attention as the North Carolina ones.
What game are you most proud to have beaten?
Getting all 400 emblems in both Sonic Adventure games back in 2004. And getting my first two platinum trophies from both versions of Dragon Quest 11.
What's your favorite obscure game?
Is The Misadventures of Tron Bonne and the rest of the Mega Man Legends Trilogy obscure enough? I LOVED these games in my college days (early 2000s) and even did full transcripts/guides for all three games (see them at GameFAQs)
Describe your gaming setup to us.
I use two gaming monitors; to my left is a 20" Emerson CRT (for retro games) and to my right is a 42" Sharp Aquos for my computer monitor and PS3/PS4/WiiU. As for my retro consoles I have a top loader NES, SNES (regular), N64 (regular), Genesis 1, Wii (Christmas gift 2008), GameCube (for Game Boy Player), PS1 (PSIO equipped), PS2 original (with ISO loaded hard drive), original Xbox (for the arcade and MS-DOS games)
I do love to collect complete sets of MLB/NFL/NBA/non-sports cards from 70s/80s/90s. My wife being from Malden (greater Boston) was very much Red Sox first be we did have a Super Bowl party together (just us) whenever her Patriots were in it. As for me naturally as a native Kentuckian and UK alumnus I'm a fan of UK basketball (mainly their history) as well as my HS (I was student manager for baseball as a junior/senior and football as a senior). As for the "major league" teams I'd LOVE so so so much if the Kentucky Colonels ever came back.
Ever met anyone famous?
Tubby Smith (coach of UK basketball at the time), Joel Utley (radio voice of Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers since 1962), Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority Leader), Jim Bunning (also KY senator, HOF pitcher who also pitched a perfect game, Bruce Brubaker (local car dealership guy who pitched a few innings in MLB and has his own 1967 Topps card (#276)
Chocolate or vanilla?
I'm more into salty foods rather than sweet foods though I do enjoy Reeses as well as fresh baked chocolate chip cookies or fudge brownies (no nuts please!!)
Wheaties, Frosted Flakes, Life, Cap'n Crunch (favorite childhood cereal)...though I don't like milk on mine as I don't like soggy cereal So I just eat it crunchy right of the box!
What's the most bizarre "safe for work" dream you remember?
Whenever I dream of either my wife, grandpa, or uncle Jerry (all deceased) as if they are alive again, especially if I question in the dream how it happened. In a recent dream I questioned how Denise could be back when I have her ashes (kept in a special black plastic box) as well as how to get her back on her SSDI again and restarting other things like that.
Favorite ABBA song?
Gimmie Gimmie a Man After Midnight (because in the video Frida makes cute gestures)...plus I came up with a neat version regarding the famous Ikari Warriors ABBA code: Gimmie gimmie gimmie more lives after dying, won't this code help me chase the game overs away? And their versions of the classic American folk songs "Pick a Bale of Cotton" and "Midnight Special" are quite addicting!
Favorite music genres?
Classic country (especially 70s outlaw era) as well as 70s/80s...especially since my wife was the "disco queen" of the era (late 70s)!
Favorite TV show?
Way too many to list but I could spotlight a couple...Dennis the Menace (the 1959-63 sitcom) and for the REALLY obscure, my favorite children's show was Color Me A Rainbow (1987; ACTS cable channel) and I wrote to them constantly at the time and I did get to email/call the show's creator Linda King a few years ago and she now has the episodes posted on YouTube now!
Again way too many to list...though I suppose the first two Ninja Turtles movies, first two Home Alone movies and The Wizard were by far the most impactful in terms of childhood memories/nostalgia. To this day I refuse to watch the Academy Awards since The Wizard got completely snubbed...not even one Oscar nomination!!
Have you ever dreamt of Tiffany?
Tiffany the singer? Not really though I bet if I was a few years older at the time (born 1980) I would've had a major crush on her.
My sequence of Cats Pauses (1985-2020) and Kentucky Media Guides (1973-2010) and World Book yearbooks (1931-2013) as well as my collection of books about my home city/county.
Favorite trophy? (I meant on PSN)
The one I awarded and got created for my wife for our then tenth anniversary, which I had made 17 inches tall and the base six by six inches to match our anniversary date. It's a big silver color with gold color highlights (not real silver/gold of course!) and on the front of the base is a shiny red plate (her favorite colors are red/black...black is the color of the base) it reads "CONGRATULATIONS DENISE! For being the best wife you can be! 2005 - 2015". On the back side of the base is my name on a blue plate (UK's color), left plate is gold color with Jamiee's name and right side with silver colored plate with Tweetie's name (the colors both cats were/are). Her black box of ashes are under the trophy as they match the trophy's base and in front of that is a small memorial to our first cat Tweetie with her ashes inside it.
As for me, the only trophy I ever got was as a DARE graduate in 5th grade...and yes I still have it.
Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy or Tales of...?
Not sure about favorite of these series but my favorite game of each series is Dragon Quest 11 and 5, Final Fantasy 9, and Tales of Phantasia (translated SNES version with the surprisingly eh, colorful dialog!)
Tifa or Aerith?
You mean Bianca or Nera/Flora or Deborah? Nera/Flora! When I first played Dragon Quest 5 I couldn't decide so I had my wife pick and she chose Nera/Flora...and I guess we both found her more feminine/attractive and in the SNES version she is the most adorable bride ever! And her personality/demeanor and her using flowery terms like love/sweetie/darling would in fact be ideal should I get another SO in the near future. For much this same reason in Dragon Quest 11 S I "married" Serena though Veronica is cute in her own way too.
Sony or Nintendo?
In the 90s all I had was NES/SNES and wasn't much interested in Sega or Sony that much. I did get my first non-Nintendo console back in 2000-01 and I couldn't believe how TINY that PSOne was! I only got it to play the Mega Man games on it (which were mostly PS1 exclusive for 5th gen) at the time. In 2013 of course is when I got over my stupid turn based combat phobia and started doing JRPGs (some of the best ones were on PS1/PS2 so...) and then the past few years I've also gotten into trophy hunting on PS3/PS4. Still only got two platinums (both Dragon Quest 11 versions) though.
Sonic or Mario?
I have far more experience with Mario so I'll go with him. I got SMB3 for my 11th birthday in 1991 so nostalgia/memories and all that As for Sonic, my favorites by far is Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the two Sonic Adventure games.
Mashed or baked potato?
Baked but I'm very much a freedom fries person by far
Liquor, wine, or beer?
None, I don't drink adult beverages (they all taste nasty to me and considering a couple of my adopted relatives got into major trouble with them that's probably for the best) nor do I smoke anything
Pepsi or Coke? Coffee or tea?
Diet Pepsi, gotta watch my figure (lol) though I'm more a coffee (just brewed Kroger Supreme Blend, none of those fancy designer/take-out coffees!) and sweet tea person (I typically drink the latter with my meals; I get Kroger gallon jugs)
Ten people you could meet, living or deceased?
Obviously my wife and grandpas and other relatives, but among celebs I'd love to meet Adolph Rupp, Joe B Hall, Fred Rogers, Ronald Reagan (President I'd most like to meet), Happy Chandler (governor I'd most like to meet). And why not fellow cat lover Mark Twain? As for living, my boyhood idol Don Mattingly and it would've been neat if my late wife got to somehow meet her idol Carl Yastrzemski or Nomar Garciaparra. I KNOW there's a few I'm leaving out...
Star Wars or Star Trek?
My wife as a big time Trekkie, especially Next Generation (Data and Troi where her favorite characters) and yes I did very much enjoy watching the series with her. It sure aggravated her though when I'd also read all about Star Trek Next Generation as well and end up knowing more about it than she did; hee hee The sixth (Undiscovered Country) and eighth (First Contact) were my personal favorite Trek movies.
First thing that comes to mind: Louisville Cardinals
Playfully calling them LOSERville and their traitor former coach BeneRick...hee hee...
First thing that comes to mind: The state of Kentucky
Kentucky Fried Chicken! It's better than s...e...x... I haven't been able to have any in at least the past year because our nearest one is too far away and is expensive. And being a proud Kentuckian I always say the full Kentucky Fried Chicken, NOT "KFC"!
First thing that comes to mind: Tennessee
Osmond Brothers' "Rocky Top"...it honestly does rock as both the Volunteers' and state song. Same goes for John Denver's "Country Roads" for West Virginia, both their university and state song.
First thing that comes to mind: Canadia
The flapping head characters on South Park...where did they that idea anyway? As well as The Red Green Show!
First thing that comes to mind: French Canadia
That song from South Park (The Wizard of Oz theme one; one of my wife's favorite movies BTW) where there's no Canada like French Canada it's the best Canada in the land! ^^
First thing that comes to mind: Indiana
My late grandpa was from there so naturally when UK did poorly he'd call me and teasingly tell me "they played like little kittens!" I also love to call them "Clown U" and I really do miss our rivalry and I hope it comes back soon...of course the rivalry was especially fun when they had Bobby Knight (my all time FAVORITE Bobby Knight moment was when he was trying to figure out what a "game face" was!)
First thing that comes to mind: Montana
The fact that the United Kingdom is about the size of Montana (no really, look on a globe) and I'm VERY iffy about the idea of being all alone for many miles around as many in those big area/small population Plains/Rocky Mountain states do. Oh yeah, that song Meet Me in Montana by Dan Seals and one of my wife's all time favorites, Marie Osmond
First thing that comes to mind: Australia
Those "How to speak Australian" commercials...especially the one showing rugby and calling it "TOUCH FOOTBALL"!
First thing that comes to mind: Brazil
How aggravated they must be whenever someone goofs and thinks they're Spanish when they're actually Portuguese!
First thing that comes to mind: the other UK (United Kingdom)
Interesting how up to WWI/WWII or so "the sun never set on the British Empire" yet the UK proper is only about the size of Montana and England is only about Indiana size (no really, look it up on a globe). And I guess being careful sometimes to clarify where I'm from UK (usually!) means something VERY different!! God Save The Queen!
FMK (f#ck, marry, kill - match them up with each option): Taylor Swift, Agnetha Fältskog, Frida Lyngstad
Just being roomies with the ABBA girls would be amazing (you know, like Three's Company) and I'd love to hear stories of their prime ABBA years and such. And I'd love to play with Taylor Swift's kitties!
Pro wrestling or NASCAR?
I don't really follow either one though (though like a lot of kids in the late 80s/early 90s I was a "Hulkster" at the time and did enjoy his movies) for history's sake I did watch the first two Wrestlemanias (yes I'll get to the famous third one and the others after at some point) and it was interesting all the different guest stars in the first one such as Cyndi Lauper, Lou "Mario" Albano (I didn't know he was in the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun video!), and most surprisingly Billy Martin! And who could've imagined back then Jesse Ventura (one of the commentators) was a future governor??
If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
Easy! I'd want to get early 70s and then 60s Topps baseball (and football?) card sets with the HOFs in the 70s sets in PSA 7 and PSA 6's in the 60s sets. Other than that and maybe getting a near complete set of NES/SNES cartridges I honestly wouldn't know what to do with the rest. I'm perfectly content with my current apt, I don't drive so it wouldn't do any good to get a shiny black Cadillac so...*shrugs*? And as I've often said, if I was offered a million dollars in exchange for my kitty I would without a moment's hesitation say thanks but NO thanks!
What's the stupidest question I could ask you right now?
I don't know if this really counts but I do find it cute to respond to "Can I ask you a question?" with "You just/already did!"