If, by chance, you’re reading this it either means you’re taking a break from playing Bungie’s long-awaited mega game, Destiny, or you’re waiting for it to finish uploading to your console. As the studio celebrates its first new game since creating the Halo franchise, the sci-fi first-person-shooter has already claimed a few history-setting records within the gaming industry. Gamers will note the similarities between Destiny and its predecessor: foreign worlds with heavily armored warriors fighting an ominous threat that appears everywhere. Being able to shoot at anything that moves can often be an exciting and compelling experience.
It's certainly true for Chicago MC Common, also known as Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., who, unbeknownst to but a few, is quite the gaming aficionado. Yesterday at Seattle’s EMP Museum, the man behind Nobody’s Smiling joined high-powered executives and Super Bowl champions to celebrate the arrival of the most pre-ordered game in history. Bungie held the fancy pre-launch party at the downtown venue, which had its share of highlights, tasty appetizers and, of course, plenty of PS4 gaming stations. Common, a self-professed "gaming head," has a small, but notable history within the video game industry having voiced Brummel and Barnes in the gaming adaptations of Wanted: Weapons of Fate and Terminator: Salvation, respectively.
At the event, players, including Common, got a chance to spend some intimate time with Destiny. Complex was able to chat with the award-winning rapper about his gaming habits, what title took his video game virginity, and how he manages to fit gaming in to his ultra-busy schedule.
When did you lose your video game virginity?
Man, that came early on. I think it was around Pac-Man or maybe Asteroids. It was back in those early days of gaming. My favorite that really took me to new heights was Pitfall. Do you remember Pitfall?
Yeah, the original was for the Atari 2600…
Yes! I absolutely loved that game. Ms. Pac-Man and Pitfall were the two games that took me to that next level place. Wait, you know what: I’ll say that Space Invaders was the first title to take my video game virginity.
Lara Croft is more rugged than Aeris.
Space is a great segue into Destiny. The game is rife with competition, which you’re well-versed in as an MC. Can you recall a moment where tempers flared competitively over a game? What game was it?
Usually, I play sports games. Basketball, Madden, and the like. I get competitive and there was a time where I even got mad at one of my guys. You know how you feel like sometimes this guy is cheating?! Well, it happened when were were playing Call of Duty—and I was just really sparked and into the game. It’s not just in video games or even against one individual, I work on mastering the overall game.
For those who don’t really know or see you as a gamer, what is one title that you’re a hardcore fan of that people wouldn’t know?
I really enjoy Call of Duty. That was a great game to me and I’m definitely a hardcore fan, but to be honest, I guess people wouldn’t expect me to be a fan of DJ Hero 2. [Laughs.]
I have to give you props for the performance you, Lupe Fiasco, and Jennifer Hudson gave over the weekend. Challenging people to be the best they can be and to compete in the fight against cancer is important. At what moment was it ingrained into you that mediocrity isn’t the path for you?
Being from Chicago, my father just gave me that sense of competition, honestly. It came real organic. Chicago breeds competitiveness. It is a culture full of people that want to win. It’s why you see “Win City” as opposed to “Windy City” being touted everywhere within the Chi. We want to win and we fight to win and we’re born to win. I remember one time I was playing with my guys out in the street. I got mad because one dude was faster than me. I was ready to fight him. My godfather pulled me to the side and told me that I just had to get better instead of readying to knuckle up. I just had to get better was what stuck in my mind. There’s no accepting being second place or mediocre which came from playing sports to playing video games. Realistically, it all stems from winning in life to be honest.
Speaking of hard work, as a traveling artist, performer, and parent, there isn’t much time to really play video games—especially something like Destiny. How do you make time to be a gamer, and what class are you considering choosing?
I’m really good with my time management. I get my workouts in. I take my time to do my meditation and whatever work I have to do for the day. There’s got to be a time to do something else that I enjoy, so I would take time to keep building for me. I need that time to engage in something that'll be fun; something that will take me to another world. When everyone else is away and I’m at balance with myself, that’s when I would go and rock with the game. As far as what class I would be, when I experience Destiny, then I’ll let you know. But, just because of the name, I'm leaning toward Hunter.
If you had to choose between Aeris from Final Fantasy VII or Lara Croft, who would you choose and why?
Lara Croft. Why? Because I know about her and she’s more rugged than Aeris is—from what I know.
Destiny is available in stores today for the PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PC.
Kevin L. Clark is a member of the New York Videogames Critics Circle and can be found @KevitoClark.