Let's Talk with Conky UK

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
Hello all and welcome back to another community interview! This week, our guest is Conky UK, a man who has been at the gaming longer than some of us have been alive! Let's give a great big TA welcome to Conky UK!

Marc: Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours.

When my brother was little he couldn't pronounce Conrad and used to call me Conky (in fact he still does and he turns 40 this week!). I've always been surrounded by little kids and they just perpetuated the name. When Xbox Live arrived I signed up on day one, I had already been using Conky in other online games but wanted to communicate where I was, so added the UK.

Marc: How long have you been gaming?

I've been gaming for over 40 years!

Marc: Do others in your family game, or are you a first-generation gamer?

My Daughter is starting to game but I am the first – there was no gaming before me!

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Ziva enjoying a quick go on Lego Starwars after school

Marc: She looks like a great kid smile. I've never actually heard of the name "Ziva" before, but it sounds awesome!

What do your parents/significant other/friends have to say about your gaming?

My wife is incredibly tolerant of my gaming, although her eyes glaze over when I try and describe some difficult achievement I’ve just completed after months of grinding.

Marc: Assuming you’re not a professional gamer, what’s your day job?

I am the Director of Technology for ABa Quality Monitoring Ltd. We're always looking for new assessors - and yes Marc, Sainsbury's are one of our clients. It’s a family-run mystery shopping company - my wife is the Managing Director and we've been building it with my in-laws for 25 years!

Being in charge of all the tech means that as well as all the boring IT stuff, I get to evaluate lots of gadgets, tablets, spy kit etc.

Marc: Well that mystery shopper part explains that! Next time I'm in work I'll see if I can spot anyone who may be working for you. laugh

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

My hobbies have been dwindling over the years, now it pretty much boils down to eating and playing Xbox and travelling when we can.

Marc: Tell us about your home life – parents, spouse, children, significant other, animal companions?

My wife is amazing, we've been together 30 years next year, and she still makes me laugh pretty much every day. After 20 odd years of raising the business together we decided to have an actual baby and our daughter, Ziva, came along in 2008.

Marc: Being able to say you've been married for 30 years on this site is an amazing thing indeed. Good on you!

Of what real life achievement are you most proud? Would you give us some details?

I’ve got quite a lot to be proud of, there’s obviously my daughter who just fills my heart with joy unceasingly. There’s our very successful business which has grown and grown and given us and a lot of others plenty to be grateful for.

Then there’s my most nerdy accomplishment: I peaked quite early. When I was 13 I wrote a game for the Dragon 32 and had it published by Virgin Games. I was interviewed on National TV and made the papers too.
Castle Adventure

Marc: At 13!? That's an astounding feat at such a young age.

What’s your favorite game of all time on any console? What makes it special?

If we’re allowed computer games then it has to be Racing Destruction Set on the Commodore 64, playing for hours with my friends we used to build tracks with crazy gravity settings just so we could try and crash into each other in mid air.

Marc: Do you remember the first game you played? What’s your fondest memory of it?

Pong! When I was about 5 or 6 so about 1974/5 we got a console, I can’t remember the name, just that it had paddles and a Light-gun.

Marc: If some evil spell allowed you to own only a single game for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

It would have to be something that has infinite variety like Project Spark or Minecraft – not that I'’ve played either of them and I'm not going to now either just in case this evil spell really does get cast!

Marc: What part of the world do you live in? If I were to visit, what sights would I have to see?

Well Marc, I think you know my home town quite well. As should everyone because it is officially the greatest city on Earth: birthplace of the industrial revolution and Communism, birthplace of the computer, the Eccles cake, Manchester tart, Emmeline Pankhurst, Richard & Judy, home to the biggest student population in Europe, amazing music scene, great architecture and without a doubt the two greatest football teams in the world – Manchester United and Stockport County!

Marc: Wow, we are very close to each other! And the greatest city on Earth? Hmmm...laugh

Any games you regret putting on your gamertag?

I very much regret Fallout 3 (PC) being on my gamertag. I was persuaded by one of my team at work, the same guy that introduced me to TA, that it was free gamerscore and I thought why not. Now I'm not averse to boosting, using glitches or other exploits but this one just feels dirty - I don’t even know what the game looks like but I've got 100% for it.

Marc: Tell us about your gamer pic. Why did you choose that one?

I like green.

Marc: Simple and straightforward. I like it! I'm an orange man myself, though.

Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Kinect games that make you jump or run – having a bad knee makes them pretty tricky. The knee injury came from playing Kinect in the first place, so that doesn't endear me to them either. Don’t play in socks on a hardwood floor boys and girls, I ended up on the operating table!

Marc: Kinect getting someone into hospital. That's rather ironic...

What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

Tom Clancy's The Division looks like my kind of game, Elite Dangerous, and, of course, Star Wars Battlefront which has a lot to live up to.

Marc: What game(s) are you currently playing? How are you finding it?

Just started Titanfall. I wasn't tempted at first, being a purely multiplayer affair, but based on the fact that it won TA game of the Year and it was on sale for 10 quid I bit the bullet and now I'm really enjoying it.

Also, still working my way through the bean dive in one game that is Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Only 400/500 achievements so far. This set back my actual bean dive recovery which has only just reached halfway.

Marc: What game are you most proud of completing? Why?

I'm pretty proud of completing Battlefield 4, not because it’s the most difficult game I've finished but because I managed to get through it all on my own when some of the achievements were just crying out for a boosting session. (technically it’s not finished as I still have the last 2 DLC to do)

Marc: What single Xbox achievement are you most proud of? Why?

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon RisingDragon Rising - HardcoreThe Dragon Rising - Hardcore achievement in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising worth 449 pointsComplete the campaign on Hardcore difficulty

This is probably the one I can be proudest of, mainly because there was an exploit to get this virally but I did it legitimately and enjoyed the genuine sense of achievement.

Marc: In a slightly different vein, do you have a favorite achievement? One perhaps that you just really enjoyed attaining?

Halo 3Vidmaster Challenge: AnnualThe Vidmaster Challenge: Annual achievement in Halo 3 worth 0 pointsAfter 9/25/08, complete Halo on 4-player Legendary LIVE co-op, with Iron, and everyone in Ghosts.

Halo: The Master Chief CollectionAnnualThe Annual achievement in Halo: The Master Chief Collection worth 62 pointsHalo 3: Complete Halo on 4-player Legendary co-op, with Iron Skull, and everyone in Ghosts.

This is a really fun and great piece of co-op gaming. The first time I did it was made extra challenging given that the guy that organised the session was slightly drunk and, once we’d finally made it to the driving bit, he kept crashing his ghost into everything - we got stuck at a checkpoint and had to restart the whole thing. Luckily my good TA friend DirtyPanchez was in the session too and between us we managed to shepherd everyone safely to the end of the level. Recently got to do it all again in Halo:MCC this time with my regular Sunday night co-op buddies.

Marc: If you found yourself dropped into a video game, which video game character would you most want to have your back?

Has to be the Master Chief, he pretty much single-handedly saves the universe on a daily basis smile

Marc: In the same scenario, what character/creature would you most/least like to see headed your way?

I could say something crass like Lara Croft but I'm not that kinda guy.

Marc: Any characters you would like seen thrown into video game hell?

That guy from Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360) who just keeps coming back when you think you've killed him at least 20 times!

Marc: Ever had any bad experiences online? How did you handle it?

Had a few trolls telling me how bad I am in various competitive multiplayer games. One guy took the time to message me and tell me that I was sh*t at Halo 3, I can’t really understand why they feel the need to do that. I've also pulled people up for racist or homophobic comments.

Marc: Do you prefer single player or multi-player?

I prefer co-operative multi-player, then single player, then competitive multi-player. Playing with friends has always been a major part of my gaming.

Marc: Do you have a favorite group of friends you like to play with? If so, how did you meet?

I play every Sunday night with my best friend J P Rugged, we've been playing together now on and off for over 33 years! We used to take it in turns to play single player games on the C64/spectrum/Amiga huddled around a 15” tv in my bedroom. Over the last eighteen months his son Squedex and another colleague Chemmers have joined us online to make it a regular 4 player Combo Co-op session.

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Me (on the right) and J P rugged having a Sunday night sesh.

Marc: 33 years, wow!I might get to that stage with my friend eventually. :-P

If you could have a multiplayer session with anyone in the world, whom would you choose? Why?

I’d like to play Ghandi at street fighter – he’d be rubbish or maybe not such a pacifist after all!

Marc: What other consoles do you own? What are your favorites on those platforms?

I have a Wii which has mostly been used just to weigh my daughter. I also bought my wife a PS3 for Singstar, it just comes out for parties - we've never played any real games on it.

Marc: Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to that you were disappointed in when it finally arrived? Tell us about it.

Always looking for a decent Co-op game; The new Star Trek sounded like a really good fit for me and J P Rugged to play – especially as I'm really clever and in control of my emotions like Spock and he’s short and er...blond wink. I pre-ordered it from a store but when the reviews were published on release day, I just took it back without even opening the cellophane.

Marc: Tell us about your gaming set-up.

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This is the bit where everyone thinks I'm really spoiled. I actually have three setups; most of my gaming is done in our playroom which I share with my daughter and most of her toys. We have a 50” plasma on the wall with a great bracket that allows it to be pulled forwards or swivelled to either side.
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There is also a smaller 29” LG screen on the desk which Ziva uses as a PC monitor or for gaming. There is a 360, a One and a PC all connected through a matrix switcher so that any source can be routed to either screen. We have 2 X-rocker Pro advanced Ultra gaming chairs – which aren't half as good as they sound – and they don’t sound that good anymore either! They’re not at all comfy and end up giving me backache usually too.
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In our living room we have a One connected to a 55” plasma with a full surround sound setup. This is used more for media than for gaming though.
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Finally in the “study” I have my original ancient 360 connected to an LG 29” Ultrawidescreen monitor which it shares with my PC, this is great as you can view both PC and xbox side by side which can be quite handy for following TA guides etc.
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Marc: Yes, you're spoiled. You should be ashamed of yourself...joking! If you're able to have a set-up as good as that, you may as well make the most of it!

How do you use TA? Tracking, walkthroughs, solutions, sessions?

I use TA for pretty much everything, I’d probably order my groceries through it if I could!

Marc: At the rate the site's growing and evolving, I won't be surprised if that is actually possible in a few years. laugh

How has your gaming changed or evolved since coming to TA?

I was never particularly interested in achievements until being introduced to TA. It’s added a whole new layer to my gaming and made me invest a lot more time in playing the games that I choose to play.

Marc: What do you like and dislike most about the site?

I love the look and feel of the site. It’s a superb piece of web design and I've often shown it as an example to the guys in my team who work on our web development.

The only thing I don’t like about it is the fact that there was no milestone for completing a 1 year streak until AFTER I finished mine! This, despite me begging Mr Stone to add it in – and I gave him a whole week’s notice! Oh and I suggested he add a begging smiley too, which he still hasn't done [Pleeeeeease]

Marc: With the amount of begging we do in the forums in regards to features and games that we want, I second this! Rich, if you're reading this, you know it has to be done.

How did you learn about TA? Have you signed up any friends to the website?

I was introduced to TA by one of the guys that worked for me. When I first signed up, I was so far behind the others that I thought I would never catch them but slow and steady wins the race.

Marc: Have you made friends here?

Yes, there are quite a lot of guys I've played with that I look forward to playing with again. My daughter always laughs when I mention DirtyPanchez, she thinks his name is hilarious. We once all played Band Hero together, she was on vocals, my wife on bass, I was on drums and he played guitar.

Marc: Not gonna lie, I thought his name was funny the first time you mentioned it. :-P

If you could have a game handcrafted just for you, what would your perfect game be?

Conky: I'm not sure that any one game could satisfy all my gaming needs, but I would like to see some more non-violent titles coming out. It's not that I don't enjoy the violent games, fps is my preferred genre, I just think developers could get more creative. I really enjoyed Watch_Dogs but couldn't help thinking that it didn't need all the shooting and killing. It actually would have been a better game if you had to bring down the bad guys just using the hacking, stealth, and a bit of B&E.

Marc: I am totally with you there. You don't need violence in games to make them great.

Why do you choose TA over other gaming sites?

You mean there are other gaming sites?

Marc: Do you have a “claim to fame” in gaming? If so, what is it?

Erm, I was the first to finish Castle Adventure on the Dragon 32!

*Lightning Round*

Favorite Xbox game?

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2

Favorite non-Xbox game?


Least favorite game?

Diablo III

Favorite game developer?


Favorite game weapon?

Toilet paper launcher from Disney Infinity

Most hated game enemy?

Small collection of flaming barrels and scaffolding at the beginning of Inferno IV – Trials Fusion

Favorite game character?


Favorite game sidekick?


Favorite game ending?

Halo 3

Most hated game ending?

Halo 2

Favorite game environment?

Himalayas in Far Cry 4

Favorite game music?

Wipeout had the best game soundtrack

Most emotional video game moment?

Portal 2 ending

Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?

Diablo 2

Non-Xbox game you’d love to have achievements in?


*End of Lightning Round*

Marc: Is there anything in particular you want the TA community to know about you?

I know more than any grown man should have to know about the Disney Princesses and I‘ve met them all!

Marc: Is there anything I haven’t asked that you want to talk about?


Marc: Care to elaborate...? :-P

Conky: No, just being facetious. smile

Marc: Well...that clears that up.

Any shout-outs you want to make before we go?

Dirty Panchez, always a good laugh playing with you.
GS13 ERGO PROXY, thanks for Fuse, looking forward to finishing MW2 some day soon.
Evil Toast and the rest of the Quake 4 grinders – I've played a couple of sessions with these guys and hopefully will again but I don’t think I’ll ever chase that number one on the leaderboard spot.
ThorsBaldEagle, thanks for getting me through the CODBOPS Zombie cheevos.
HENNAZ T3RMIN8, mbeard, and last but not least Cozzer77 – my friend, colleague and TA arch-nemesis.

There you have it, folks. Thanks a bunch to Conky UK for taking the time to share his own story with us. Join me next time where I'll be with my next guest, McAtee MADNESS.

Come back to see me and, you guessed it... let's talk. wave

I'd like to remind everyone that because of the huge waiting list for candidates, I am currently not taking any applications for the Community Interview. When some of the backlog has been worked through, I'll let you know. ~ Marc
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.