The lights are on
I used to call myself “The Original Gamer” in the magazine in tribute to Ice-T’s 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster, so I was excited to find out, via his many postings on YouTube and Twitter, that the gangster rap legend and actor is a devoted gamer. I recently got a chance to speak to Ice-T about his lifelong gaming habit, and he proved to be every bit as perceptive and entertaining as I hoped.
Whenever we talk to athletes, they all seem to game. Is it like that in hip-hop now?
What people don’t understand is that the video game industry broke right alongside the hip-hop industry. Video games, hip-hop, skateboards; all that kind of broke during the ‘80s. I had everything – the Ataris, the Segas. We grew up with it. The other thing they forget is that a lot of musicians spend their days on tour buses. If you’ve ever been on a tour bus, there’s nothing much to do. In the back of the tour bus, they’ll have a video game system. You start to learn to play the games. I’ve seen cats start a tour where they don’t really game, and by the end, they’re trying to get you to play them. You get hooked.
Obviously, it’s a lot different now, because games have become so mainstream. But back in the ‘80s, games were perceived as more of a nerdy thing.
I don’t think so, though. I guess in the nerd world, it was considered that. But there’s a lot of mistakes [people make] with hip-hop. People watch us and they might pick up the low-riding and all that, but they miss the humor. We’re still kids; we’re just like y’all. We still f--- around; we still do pranks – all that same stuff is a part of our make-up. So, we don’t really look at it as nerdy, we look at is as something to do. Go into a crack house, and they might have a video game! There’s nothing I’ve found that really burns time like video games. I’ve always said that if you put games in the prison system, cats would get out of jail and be like, “Hold up, I gotta go finish this level.” [Laughs] So, I’m here to say that it’s an absolute misconception that gaming is nerdy. I’ve been in some dangerous *** spots and there’s been a console there.Do you go back to the Atari 2600 and arcade days?
Absolutely. My first game system was an Atari, and I had a Nintendo. When I first started making money, if you see my episode of MTV Cribs, I had the actual video arcade games in my house. I had the first Mortal Kombat, the first Virtua Fighter, the first NBA Jam. I bought the arcade games because I found a place in L.A. where I could buy them. They were like $5,000, but I had them down in my studio in my house. But back to the nerd stuff, I think there is a nerd side to it when you get too deep into it. One thing they do now, I’ve noticed, is they have these platform wars, like “Xbox is better than PlayStation.” That’s nerdy to me. What the f--- is the matter with you?The weird thing is people are defending these huge corporations.
They could give a f--- about you! [Laughs] That’s nerdy to me. Also, people get too deep into the games. I have a clan on Call of Duty, and when you start telling me your kill/death ratio – I don’t give a f---. You really going to pick up a b---- by telling her your kill/death ratio? That doesn’t really matter. I think there’s a nerd element where you can get too deep into it that no one cares. But you can get nerdy with cars; you could start telling me the cubic displacement of an engine. At any point, you can go into the nerd world if you want to go deep. One of the key things about nerds is that they like to correct you. They get off on correcting you. That’s the part that we kinda fall back off of – we just want to play the games, we don’t need the heavy details. How many ounces is the controller? Who gives a f---? [Laughs]Do you play with other rappers you know online?
Absolutely. Snoop and them are big Madden fans. Warren G is in my clan. A lot of football. Early hip-hoppers mostly stick to the sports games. I never really went for the sports games because, early on, you couldn’t play them online. That required you to have people at your house all the time. I’m not really the type of person that wants a bunch of dudes on my couch drinking beers and playing Madden. That’s too much male bonding for me. But when the ‘net came out and you could play with people online, that revolutionized the game. I play with Lord Jamar from Brand Nubian – he’s in SMG. Xzibit is in SMG. Warren G is in SMG. There’s different people from all over the world. The leader of my clan, he’s named Coleman, he’s from Liverpool, England. I got some kids from Boston – white kids, black kids, it doesn’t matter. My son plays. My son lives in L.A., and we get to bond. I wouldn’t be on the phone with him all day, but I can be on the game with him for five hours. It’s really cool.SMG is your clan, right?
Yeah, “Sex, Money, and Guns.” That’s what makes the world go ‘round.You’re a huge Call of Duty fan, is that the main game you play now?
It’s the only game I’ve been able to get into and actually feel a skill curve on it. A lot of the games I’ve played – Battlefield or Medal of Honor – have great single-player, but when you get into the multiplayer I personally don’t feel like I’m getting better. Call of Duty, the way it’s set up, you can actually get better. The game that really got me hooked was Resident Evil back in the day. I was always into Mortal Kombat and s--- like that, but once I got into Resident Evil I really got hooked – survival horror, all that s---. Then I got into all the single-player adventure-type games. I love the Max Payne games. I loved to play by myself and challenge myself.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Body Count's cassette got me in so much trouble in high school.
When I read the article in my gameinformer magazine I thought it was interesting, but only interesting for the same reason people watch Cribs. My suggestion to gameinformer is that if you want interviews with gamers who have interesting things to say about gaming, interview random people from your subscriber base. Seriously, the same questions you asked Ice-T could be answered by just about anyone. To be honest I would rather read interviews of fellow gamers than famous people.
"You really going to pick up a b---- by telling her your kill/death ratio?"
What a cool guy lmao. Good laughs reading this.
WOW Best interview I have ever seen on this site. I wish it was video taped - I would love to watch it. Ice-T is awesome! Lots of truths and lots of laughs...he knows how to give an interview. Great questions too...
LOL this guy rocks.
I like Ice-T and he seems very knowledgeable about many things, but not exactly being a fan of his music, this interveiw scared me in the issue and it scares me now.
I love how he acts on SVU, who give some of the most ignorant portrayals of video games on television. How do you think he reacts to some of the stuff they put on that show?
I loved this interview, it really puts into perspective of how much people are into gaming... just think of it: how many professional athletes get a kick out of playing 'themselves' in some of the sports titles that are out? And how many veterans are out there that play the modern-placed FPS shooters and find anymore or less engaging then real-life combat? Or criminals playing GTA or some s**t.
I remember watching that interview on the Jace Hall show, when they called Cliffy B and everything. My only problem with this interview is that he uses nerdy as a derogatory term. A person who corrects everything you say, is not a nerd, I would call that person a pretentious know-it-all. Or maybe just learn you facts before you go running your mouth so that way there will be no correction necessary. I understand he is not calling everyone a nerd who plays games. He uses the word nerdy like that's the last thing on the earth you wanna be. I come the embrace the fact that I am a nerd and what he said left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Man, I knew from the last Ice-T article (I think it was the unboxing of COD BO) to expect some serious hate in the comments section, but this is just youtube levels of hate in here!
For the record I respect Ice-T, the man is just funny, always seems to be haveing a good time, is great on L&O SVU, and plus its just cool to hear from a different perspective then mine.(which is almost albino white guy that grew up in VT btw)
I don't quite get why Ice-T gets so much hate in here... maybe most of you are too young to know about the 80's rap game, maybe you just feel the need to hate on someone better then you, but *** guys! if we can't all get along, can't we at least keep it civil?
I loved this bit in the mag. I agree with a lot of his views (although I don't play COD and Madden :P).
And that is why I've been a fan of Ice-T since he dropped the POWER album; he's always told it as it really is. And he's funny whether he meant it to be or not. I'd love to be in a session of MW2 with him or Gears 3 when it comes out. And I won't be talking s**t about my K/D ratio because I have a family life too; I'll just be on there to have fun.
Ice-T has gained a whole new level of respect from me today.
Ice T is the coolest.
I love his point about how nerds can be nerdy about hobbies such as cars