In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Billy Campbell is a veteran film and TV actor whose career credits include Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Dynasty. He was a series regular on the USA Network sci-fi show The 4400, and he played the title role in the 1991 film The Rocketeer. Campbell currently stars as Seattle politico Darren Richmond in The Killing, the second season of which is now airing on AMC.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Billy Campbell: Right now, I’m working my way through Red Dead Redemption, Dead Space 2, and Uncharted 3. This weekend will likely be devoted to Red Dead—I really want to go to Mexico. I haven’t had much time or headspace to play during the run of The Killing, so my progress in each of these three games has been slow and incremental. Multiplayer has been a big distraction, as well, especially with Red Dead. Hell, I can just ride around in that game looking at the countryside and skinning the occasional bear.
Gameological: What was the last game that you played start to finish?
Campbell: Grand Theft Auto IV. I still break it out on occasion. It has endless replay value. I mean, one of my very favorite experiences—still—is to cheat myself to six stars [the highest level of police aggression], then see how long I can stay alive.
All things considered, though, I think Rockstar left some of the fun out. They went for increased reality with GTA IV. Look back at [Grand Theft Auto:] San Andreas’ missions. They were a good deal more varied and fun. And though GTA IV’s environs were more realistic, its missions were repetitive, and the—what’s the word?—mischief, some of the twinkle in Rockstar’s eye, had gone out of the game. I think a lot of people felt that way. Here’s hoping Rockstar puts it back in for GTA V.
Gameological: You recently wrapped season two of The Killing. Congratulations on that. It’s obviously a heavy show, filled with drama and gloom. Was there any gaming going on on the set between takes?
Campbell: No. But there was some gaming on our days off, especially with Eric Ladin and Katie Findlay. Those two are a hoot to kill cowboys and whores with in Red Dead. I think I annoy Ladin, as I can be a bit of a back-seat gamer. Findlay’s a chatterbox, and they both love to talk smack to me as I’m playing. But I could kick either of their asses in a shoot-out, for I am the baddest ass in all of metropolitan Armadillo.
Gameological: Sounds like you’ve got a weakness for Rockstar games. What is it about Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption that you find so irresistible?
Campbell: It’s the whole open-world, sandbox concept that gets me more than anything. Rockstar’s dedication to it always advances the believability of the worlds they create. GTA and RDR are completely believable places for me, which allows me to more easily feel like the master of my destiny, as opposed to when I’m playing some game that takes me through on rails. When that happens, I feel like a rat in someone’s maze.
Gameological: Did you try L.A. Noire?
Campbell: I haven’t given it much of a chance yet. I was in there once, for five minutes, and I realized that I couldn’t steal a car and get chased, so I quit. I’ll go back and give it a fair shake at some point. But really, GTA, RDR, and especially Minecraft may have ruined me for all other games.
Gameological: There were a couple of video games based on your 1991 film The Rocketeer (one for the NES, the other for the Super NES). Did you play them?
Campbell: I never played them. But it would be kind of neat to eventually see a proper Rocketeer game, no?
Gameological: Let’s imagine for a moment that there’s a video game based on The Killing. It could happen. We’ve had games based on CSI, Alias, Lost. What would it look like?
Campbell: I’d like to see a game based on the show. Here’s how I see it. You would play as all the main characters. You’d make money as Terry, turning tricks for Beau Soleil. Maybe take random furniture-delivery jobs around Seattle as Belko, with a constraint that you have to be home in time for dinner with your nutcase mother. You could gamble in the Kulamish casino, or work as security, trying to keep drunken patrons from wandering the grounds and stumbling into Indian graveyards. You could also maybe play a Stan Larsen mini-game that challenges you to try to make Mitch stop crying. And you’d do all of it in that damnable pouring rain.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.