Felicia Day is a serial overachiever, the kind of person you might resent if she didn’t have such a disarmingly likeable manner. The 32-year-old actor, writer and producer has created her own successful original web series The Guild (inspired by her obsession with World Of Warcraft), contributed voice acting to Fallout: New Vegas, and worked with BioWare to create a dramatic extension of the Dragon Age universe. Now, she’s even achieved the status of becoming the first subject of a new section in our new look Edge.
What’s your earliest gaming memory?
Probably getting yelled at by my mom because I ran up a $400 bill on the Sierra helpline, which cost something like $4 a minute. I couldn’t get through many of the puzzles – because I was probably too young. Come to think of it, I actually got yelled at two times. Before the Sierra helpline incident it was dialling up Compuserve and getting hints for the Infocom’s Leather Goddesses of Phobos, and that was like another $400, because it was like $2 a minute to dial up to Compuserve at the time. So that was my most vivid early gaming memory, the trauma of being yelled at.
Did you own a console as a kid or did you stick mostly with PC gaming?
Yeah, I was on the little PC which had only green text on it, and then we upgraded to an Amiga when I was probably seven. So my formative gaming was done on an Amiga, which was probably the nerdy version of a PC. And nobody probably knows what an Amiga is now, so I’m really dating myself. But yeah, all my games were on the Amiga because for some reason my mother thought getting a console was bad for me – that I would play games too much. We had an Atari 2600 or whatever, but we got an Amiga, so that was like really advanced gaming. And that’s what introduced me to Sim City and Fairytale Adventure, which was my first RPG that I played, which I was like ‘This is the most amazing thing ever, I can walk around anywhere I want and do whatever I want all day!’ and then all the Ultima games, which really began my obsession with RPGs. But I was actually looking online recently at list of the 100 top Amiga games, I was like ‘Oh my god, I remember all these games!’ like Wings, and Populous, and Might And Magic. And Hurricane – that was one of the best games ever!
Are there any developers whose work you follow more closely than others?
I’m interested in pretty much anything that Valve does. There are definitely developers and people that I know that no matter what they do – even if it’s a game that’s kind of out of my wheelhouse – it’s going to be so well done, not to mention a social experience to share with other people, really, because so many people will be playing that game. There’s this kind of quality and attention to detail and world-building in a sense that’s so rich and obviously curated that you can’t help but be sucked into their experiences. And you know, Richard Garriott, from Ultima times, I mean I’ve always been obsessed with that guy. One day I hope to meet him in person.
We’re surprised you haven’t bumped into him at a game industry event somewhere along the line.
No, my brother has met him many times because he lives in Austin and he’s friends with somebody who worked with him, and I’m like ‘Damn you!’
Do you tend to favour a particular gaming platform?
I used to be more of a PC person, but to be honest now I’d really rather play on my Xbox, because I’ve got a really nice setup in the back of my house, with a big TV and I kind of enjoy seeing the bigger screen, and it’s a little more immersive, and if you’re playing Left 4 Dead it’s more frightening. So, yeah, obviously the kind of game can determine the platform – clearly you can’t play Civ 5 on the Xbox with a big screen like that, and MMOGs don’t run very well on there, so it kind of just depends what the game is and what mood I’m in, and what time commitment I have. The casual games don’t translate as well, although, you know, playng Bejeweled on Xbox is not a bad experience.
Have you had a chance to play Portal 2 yet?
You know, I downloaded it on Steam, and for some reason on my Mac it won’t unlock so I’m trying to figure out how to get my money back so I can get it for another platform. It’s making me angry every time I try to play it – I tried to do it last night. And I actually had an hour off and I’m like ‘Why won’t you unlock? I’m so frustrated!’ And I want to get my money back or fix it, because I’m very angry. It might be because my operating system is old. I need to get an updated Mac operating system, or I just need to translate it to my PC, which I probably will do tonight.
What kind of PC rig are you on at the moment?
One of the other actors on The Guild was using my PC desktop and dropped it during a take, during season four – yeah that was fun. So now I’m using an 11-inch Alienware, which I just need to get an external monitor to hook up to. I was going back and forth to Vancouver [during filming for Dragon Age Redemption] and playing a lot of Civ 5 for the last five months, and playing Civ 5 on that is really nice – there’s no lag at all, even though it’s a ten-year-old machine. So that’s my PC for the moment, my only PC. You know, it does the job.
It’s a humble little workhorse for you.
Yeah, it is. If I really had need of a big desktop, that means I would have a lot of time on my hands, and I don’t know when that’s going to happen!
Give us a snapshot of your professional life at the moment. What’s keeping you busy?
Yeah, I’m in the middle of shooting The Guild season five, and then we’re finishing up the episodes for Dragon Age Redemption, doing all the post-production, which is taking quite a while, and then at the same time I’m acting full-time on Eureka, which is a SyFy show. So those are the three things that I’m doing right now, which are kind of pretty hard to juggle, but I’m managing.
It is a trifecta. I long for the days when I had eight hours a day to just play WOW. Honestly, if I could just get a month of that, I think my energy level would be much more positive.
Ok, moment of truth. Favourite game of all time?
Ultima 7. It was the game that started my immense love and fandom of video games.