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Triggers, Whiskers, and Dice. The Eclectic Dee.

This week, we feature Dee, co-host of our (currently defunct) podcast, and our scary game sidekick.

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Welcome to Acquired Tastes, our bi-weekly newsletter about the unique folks in the Hashtag Survival community!

This week, we feature Dee, co-host of our (currently defunct) podcast, and our scary game sidekick.

POI: Dee

I've been gaming since before I could form lasting memories. That's not even an exaggeration - my family has pictures of me, barely a year old, with an NES controller in my tiny, undexterous hands. I grew up playing video games. Whether it was alone, with my three younger siblings, with my uncles, or with friends - gaming has always been my main hobby and a big part of my life.

That's still true today, though video games aren't the sole way I pass my time. I'm also a huge fan of tabletop games, especially TTRPGs. I'm equally excited about getting into character as I roll big numbers on the dice (when it happens). A year or so ago, I started diving into the world of RC cars - I've built two, and I have a ridiculous amount of fun driving them. I also love watching cooking shows. Mostly because I love food and am fascinated by the process, but I am absolutely terrible at doing it myself. It's a work in progress.

I've lived in New York my entire life; currently on Long Island with my partner and our cat - our sweet little furry son, who I love with all my heart, Ramen. He has his own Instagram.

My journey into survival games started as it did for many, I th games such as Minecraft, Ark, and Conan Exiles. You could argue that it actually began with me playing The Oregon Trail on the computers in grade school, but that makes me sound like an ancient relic. It wasn't until Jordan began to share his love for the genre and what it could be and drag me along into some of his favorite titles with him that I really started to dive further into it. I became a part of the Hashtag staff not only to help out my friend - whom I've known since the ancient days of high school and who has been like a brother to me since - but also to help promote a genre that I think sometimes gets mislabeled and mistreated.

It's no secret that survival isn't my favorite genre. That title belongs to the more fast-paced world of first-person shooters (third-person is fine too, really; as long as I'm shooting things, I'm probably happy), flanked by RPGs not far behind. That means I do tend to be the more action-oriented player, and I gravitate towards the titles that allow me to indulge in that. I love a game that gives me weapons and lets me fight things - I hate downtime. While Jordan is happy to hunker down in the corner of a house and wait safely until morning, I'm the one running around outside punching zombies by moonlight. I die a lot. But that's alright - the corpse run is good exercise.

I studied philosophy in school, which wasn't great for my future career prospects but was great for opening my mind and giving me a stronger love for deep diving into the themes and meanings of the media I consume and love. I love and am drawn to survival games that embrace a story, no matter how prominent. That's why you'll often find me reading and digesting every bit of lore and story I can come across while Jordan AFKs and falls asleep. We make it work.

Check Out Some Games I Love!

  • SCUM - My favorite survival game. Gives me guns, lets me fight zombies with a baseball bat, and has impactful survival elements and some RPG-style stats that you can build up through gameplay. Be still, my heart. DayZ is similar if you’d like the feel of this one with less punishing mechanics.
  • Quake series - Any of them. Honestly. This is, to me, the quintessential arena shooter series. Absolutely play the first two if you enjoy retro games, but Quake 3 Arena and Quake Live are my top suggestions. It might be embarrassing to admit how many hours of my life have been spent playing those games. 4 is a fine game, as is Quake Champions - start with that one if you want a modern game. Fast-paced movement, shooting, a range of over-the-top weapons, and explosive chaos. What more could I ask for?
  • City of Heroes - My first, and to this day, my favorite MMORPG. This is a bit of a weirder suggestion because the official game servers were shut down many, many years ago. BUT! To my - and the rest of this game’s devoted community’s - utter joy, the source code ended up out in the public, and now there are numerous private servers to play on. It’s an MMO where you play a superhero or villain. It has a big pool of powers to choose from and the most detailed costume creator I’ve seen, even up to the present day. It’s dated in some ways, but nothing else like it has come out since.
  • Streets of Rage 4 - I gotta be honest; the hardest part of the section for me was not just listing a bunch of shooters and MMOs. While trying to decide on a couple of titles that weren’t that, SoR4 popped into my mind prominently. So here it is! The Streets of Rage series is incredibly nostalgic for me, and the 4th entry is a beautiful tribute to the old games while modernizing the side-scrolling beat ‘em up genre. This game is a lot of fun and runs well on handheld devices like the Switch and the Steam Deck.
  • Orna - OK, so this one is a mobile game... WAIT DON’T GO, HOLD ON, TRUST ME! It’s a GPS game (like Pokemon Go, remember that craze?) based on old-school, retro-style RPGs like the early Final Fantasy titles. You level up, unlock classes, gear up, fight enemies and bosses, do dungeons, build up an origin town, join or build a kingdom… Honestly, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do, and the only money I’ve ever spent on it is money I wanted to spend because I felt like giving back to the devs for making such a fun game. It can be very grindy, but honestly, for a game I play on my phone when I’m trying to pass the time, that’s kind of perfect. If this one sounds at all interesting to you, but you’re not into the GPS part being centric, they have another game, Hero of Aethric, which is basically the same game but with a traditional game map.

My Personal Recommendations

  • Mythical Kitchen - One of my favorite channels on YouTube. They do food-related content, usually with a pretty chaotic spin on things. In spite of that fact, all of the creators are very talented and knowledgeable chefs, so you will also learn things! They also have a podcast called A Hotdog is a Sandwich, which is incredible and probably my favorite.
  • Arctis 7+ wireless headset & Razer Naga Trinity - My two favorite peripherals among my PC gaming gear. I had wired headsets for so long, and now, after using this wireless one, I will never go back - I feel so free! As for the Naga, I use the side panel with seven buttons, and honestly, I don’t think I could game without them anymore. Razer, please don’t ever stop making these.
  • Steam Deck - I waited eagerly for this thing to come out, and when I finally had mine in my hands… I was not disappointed one bit. It’s significantly larger than a Nintendo Switch, but you can do so much with it. It's highly customizable if you want to dive that deeply, but it's just as great for playing your Steam games on the go right out of the box if you don’t. They are pricey, so I don’t suggest buying one immediately on my word alone, but I recommend looking into one if you’re intrigued.
  • Traxxas Slash - This was the first RC car I built. The kit comes with all the necessary parts and clear, detailed step-by-step instructions to assemble it. I loved making this thing - it was very zen for me. Seeing the final product felt incredible. The car runs beautifully with its stock parts, but it’s easily upgraded and customized. It also comes fully built and ready to run if preferred and is a great introduction to the hobby.
  • Roll20 - This is how and where I’ve been playing most of my TTRPGs for the past eight years. Easy to use with a lot of built-in functionality for finding, playing, and running games in many different systems. It's free but has a paid tier with some perks. Don’t bother with the mobile app, though - it’s… Not good. I’m holding out hope that they’ll redo it someday.