Name: Thomas, but used to being called Raven, unless someone's mad at me
Profession: IT Professional, Security Officer
Hobbies: Computer Games (includes finding and resolving bugs in them), Nature, Forging (yes, that thing that if you do it right gives you a sword), Reading, hanging out with friends, P&P RPG, arranging conventions and LAN-parties and much, much more
Well, as I'm frequently asked about where this name comes from, let me explain. Back in the days when I switched role playing games from D&D/AD&D to a system called DSA (Das schwarze Auge), I had a character who was a knight and priest in the holy Order of Golgari. (Golgari was the raven that brought the souls of the dead over the sea to the god of death.) Since my earliest computer days I carried the nickname Raven. So put those two together and you've got an idea. So just call me Raven, since the first part is kind of a title (a knight of the Order was called a Golgarit).
The first video game that I played actually was Pong, then some C64 games and Demos, but only until I got my first Amiga500, where I really started to spend lots of screen-time on. My coding skills were - seen that I was merely a kid back then - beyond awful, so a friend of mine sold me his old Texas Instruments 99/4a, which I still own. I started with Basic, extended Basic and soon I wrote my own, small video games. On the TI, you had to code everything yourself, so if you wanted a game, you bought a magazine which had pages over pages of written code in it that you typed into your TI and finally saved onto an audio cassette and then played. That was the time I actually started on bugtesting games, and, as Basic was very easy, resolving them myself. Of course the really good games were all on Amiga, so I used that one for real gaming (Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Elvira, Lotus Turbo Challenge, the full spectrum).
My first "real Computer" was a Pentium 75MHz (the 60MHz was buggy, so I spent the extra bucks) runing on DOS, which could actually run those awesome Lucasfilm Games titles without juggling Disks the whole time. Later I added titles like X-Com, the Wing Commander series and many more.
When modems, BBS'ing and FidoNet came up, I ofcourse had to join, much to the frustration of my parents. I think it cost them a fortune. Really.
Yet time didn't stand still, so over time I got Windows, a newer computer, and eventually even FidoNet was pushed aside by this brand new thing, called the "Internet", that everyone was talking about. Of course, I jumped on that train and it took me to where I am today.
Today I prefer english over german, I started learning it in fourth grade and find it much easier to handle, since german has many words for the same things, where english differentiates much more and tends to be more accurate in meanings. My french could be much better, yet I'm way better at understanding things than expressing myself in other languages anyway.
Actually I'm playing GW of course, Two Worlds, Joint Operations, Joint Task Force, Homeworld 2 (on which I was involved getting the final multiplayer balancing patch on the road, even after the publisher dropped the ball.. kudos to Relic for working with us fans afterwards!), Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Need for Speed (Underground 2, Carbon and Most Wanted), Silent Hunter 4 (where I submitted quite a lot of bugs that were resolved in the 1.4 version and even started modding and bugfixing other mods, a well as multiplayer mapping), Axis & Allies and SWAT 4.
Other games that fit well with GW which I played were Rune, Arcanum, Baldurs Gate I + II, Heroes of Annihilated Empires, Drakensang and the other games of the "Das schwarze Auge" RPG series. I really enjoy games with medieval themes if they feature good graphics and nice plots. After all, those two points can outweight almost any bad points a game can have, yet I like my games as bug-free as possible. With Railroad Pioneer I can name a title that I helped on fixing, yet due to fast cancelling of support from the coders, the game didn't survive long enough to actually reach "playable" status. Rest in piece, that could have been a really great game with just a few bucks extra in QA before its final release.
Professionally I developed in a similar way, coming from being an accountant trainee that switched over to IT support, spent time in various smaller firms as Support staff, website programmer, IT trainer, IT security consultant and the like to having my own computer store, which I had to give up due to a too powerful rival operating in the same area. After that, I was jobbing as Sysadmin at schools on a per-hour-basis while I reinvented myself to start things over anew.
Out of that came a new me, a new job as Security Officer and a new place to live, now I'm quite busy enjoying that. :)