This site has come a long way since 2000. I still remember when it was almost all dark blue and there was this fun thread on "Ending goblin genocide" and Wavinator was making a massive space trade game and...oh, about me.
I've been coding since I was little, but stunted my own growth by becoming a beatnik during my first college degree (during which I got a psych degree and learned to act and play the guitar). I started back with Pascal, learned C/C++ on my own, then hit a glass ceiling and went back to school for a CS degree...after which I got a masters (also in CS). I did everything I could to diversify my training, taking security and digital forensics, AI, computer vision, research methods, whatever I could squeeze in. I did take a graphics course and a ton of math. I'm a professional software engineer who moonlights as a wannabe indie dev.
My favorite games are many, but here are the ones that stand out, in no particular order:
Jake Soloman's XCOM; Mass Effect (#2 in particular); Portal; Final Fantasy IV, VI, and FF Tactics; Fez; Batman: Arkham Asylum, Thief, Left 4 Dead (1, 2), Fallout (1, 2, 3), the Dawn of War RTSs, Plants vs Zombies, Braid, and Minecraft. In general I love deep character development, turn-based tactics, stealth mechanics with non-lethal take downs, and thought-evoking puzzle platformers. (I also love Warhammer 40k.)
I'm still blown away by the design and thought that went into Ultima 4/5/6, but I never played them back in the day, and now I can't stand the graphics enough to do it; I did enjoy reading through the FAQs though.
The dialog systems in Bioware games (especially Mass Effect) have forever spoiled me for other dialog systems.
Cecil, Kain, and Rosa will always have a special place in my heart.