How I came Into Gaming

Here is an article that was placed online concerning my involvement in gaming and where it all started:

Mr. Christensen, First off I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

1. For those readers unfamiliar with your work, would you mind sharing a little information about your background? Feel free to throw in any information you’d like to include.

2. How did you first get into gaming, and how long you’ve been playing RPGs?

3. How did you become associated with FGU, and how were you introduced to Villains and Vigilantes

I knew I was hooked on gaming ever since my brother came home from the store with an Avalon Hill board game called Starship Troopers. I am not sure what year that would be, but I would have to think it was the late 70s. It wasn’t until high school that I came across D&D, and I remember pointedly each time I bought a brand new copy of the 1st edition set of AD&D — still to this day can I remember the smell of the binding, from cracking open the Dungeon Master guide. It was only a few years later that I started constantly DMing and then writing my own adventures.During those formative years we use to play a different RPG every month, trying out dozens of games — Sadly after three moves I own only a small percentage of my original core rulesbooklets.

It was during this time that Jeff Dee, and later Jack Herman, moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am unsure of the reasons he moved here, but I think it was a comic-drawing gig. The funny thing is I remember asking my mother if I could go down to this guy’s house and do some gaming, and my mom, always the worrisome type said no because it was in a rather unruly side of town (for Grand Rapids). So it wasn’t during the first alignment of the planets that I met Jeff Dee, but the second time when again he posted a sign at a local hobby store looking for gamers.

It was here that I was introduced to V&V. If I had to put a date to it, It was probably by 1983 or 1984. Jeff Dee was the best GM I have ever played with — his campaigns were so imaginative, the stories were intricate, and best of all the battles were engaging. I remember always wanting to go to his house and game. The years trickled by, and to be honest, I don’t think we played that many years together — maybe a handful (3 or 4). You would have to ask him how long he was in Grand Rapids, but it wasn’t that long at all.

During this time, I met up with Scott Bizzar of FGU and pitched him a number of ideas on different full length gaming system. This was before the time of word processing. If my memory serves me in 1984 the Lisa computer came out for Apple and that was the start of what I would call personal computing — although it would be another 15 years before I owned a Mac for a brief period of time. Alas, during this “stone age” everything had to be typed on either a typewriter or a bit later on my archaic Commodore-64 word processor. Around 1985 and 1986 that the ideas for Devil’s Domain and Return To the Devil’s Domain came together. Later, I did a Most Wanted III.

I believe that Jeff Dee moved from Grand Rapids sometime around 1987. I say this because I spent a year overseas in Japan — a beautiful country by the way, and I don’t remember him being around after I came back. If he was, it was pretty much over with by that time.

I look back on my V&V experiences with great fondness. Spending my Saturday afternoons holed up with Jeff and five or six kids in his little apartment, fighting battles to save the universe. I still remember the two super heroes I played in his campaigns, Meganaut, the wonder from another universe; and Imperial, the man with the legs of Jupiter. There was too many battles and stories to recount here, but I never had a dull moment in his house.

V&V, of course, wasn’t the only game we played over there. I want to specifically point out that we had several campaigns of “Swords & Glory” from within the world of Tekumel that were incredible. Of all the games I wish I could play again, even over V&V, I wish I could play S&G with Jeff again.

Speed twenty-odd years into the future and I am still gaming, though I have not played a table RPG in years. Sadly, even though I never thought it would come to this, I just don’t have the time or energy any longer to game like that. However, I would say, if Jeff came back to GR — I would dust of my dice and be waiting in line to play at his house.

I am working on several new projects for V&V, none of them far enough along to really talk about but I will say that the Devil is getting restless in his demesne! I hope to pitch a couple of books in the direction of Jeff and Jack here within the next couple of months, and I am very excited about the project.

As for myself, I have returned to school again trying for the final time to get my degree in History. I started at Grand Valley State University when it was only a college and now am in my senior years trying to take classes part time to finish up my BA. If all goes well, perhaps I will continue with my Masters and end up teaching in a college near one of the readers.

At the present, I work as a Computer Administrator at a company called Spartan Graphics in Sparta Michigan (if you ever see a Gerber baby food jar, we print the labels on them). I have been at SG for 15 years — can’t believe it has been that long.

Here is a link to the website where it is hosted:


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