Let's Talk with DrCanadianNinja

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
Hello all and welcome back to another round of TA chatter! This week, our guest is http://www.trueachievements.com/DrCanadianNinja.htm, a gamer who has much love for a certain Final Fantasy title and also happens to be a moderator for the site. That means best behavior in the comments! Let's give one of our great TA welcomes to DrCanadianNinja!

Marc: Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours.

I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite kitty on TrueAchievements.I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite kitty on TrueAchievements.

DCN: For that, we need to travel back to the days of 2001. Before then, I couldn't hold an online handle for longer than two months without being bored of it. On an oddly chilly and windy Florida day, 14 year old me had a hoodie on and held the front shut to prevent it from blowing off. A friend saw me and said, "You look like a Canadian ninja!" I really liked the sound of that, so it was my online handle for quite some time.

Around 2007, Canadian Ninja was no longer as unique a name as it had been, and I briefly considered grad school. The tipping point, amusingly enough, was Xbox Live. Once I got my own 360, I went to set up my account, only to find "Canadian Ninja" was taken, and most backup distinctions all fell over the character limit. DrCanadianNinja, however, was safe.

Marc: What about your signature?

Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur. Translated: "Whatever said in Latin seems profound." It makes me smile.

Marc: How long have you been gaming?

24 years and counting, started at age 4. Could've been earlier, but good luck remembering anything before then.

Marc: Do others in your family game, or are you a first-generation gamer?

Most everyone, to some small extent. Dad will play party games like You Don't Know Jack if prompted, but won't play by himself. Mom is the same way, though she dabbles in iOS games... and currently has more points in Wordament Snap Attack (iOS), mumble grumble.

My brother is my polar opposite in gaming. Where I juggle multiple games at a time, he picks one and sticks with it for months on end. I prefer co-op, he prefers PvP. We don't play much together, but it's nice when we do. My sister and brother-in-law... does fantasy football count? laugh

My wife, though, is just as much a gamer as I am, though she's mainly on handhelds and Nintendo. The main reason for this is simulator sickness; anything in a first person view or even some third person games will make her sick before too long. In the games we can play together, it's very satisfying to have someone on equal or near-equal footing, and in some cases, she blows me out of the water. Case in point, she once casually tried a speedrun of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and came within half an hour of the world record on her first attempt, without using any time-saving tricks.

Oh, and then there's the cat. He'll get into it as well. Even beyond cat games on a tablet, he'll try to help play Trials by batting at the rider, or make DJ Hero feature DJ Tao by going after the turntable. I couldn't ask for a better co-op partner.

Marc: What do your parents/significant other/friends have to say about your gaming?

While I still lived at home, it was the typical "you play too much." These days, it's been pretty quiet; once you're no longer dependent on someone else to live, if you can play games and keep your life together, who's to judge?

My wife, being a gamer, has nothing bad to say on the matter. Recently, if she wants to tell me I've been playing too much, I just need to casually remind her about Hyrule Warriors. laugh

The cat is less than impressed. It means less attention and occasional "oh crap I forgot to feed you" moments.

Marc: Assuming you’re not a professional gamer, what’s your day job?

I am a programmer/analyst. An analyst looks at the overall process to determine what needs to be done; a programmer takes the instructions from the analyst and enters it into the code. I do both. When someone's talking about IT making good money, it's generally both combined that they mean. It's pretty satisfying work, requires quite a bit more creativity than I would have expected beforehand.

Marc: What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy the occasional amateur coding projects, which are starting to spill into game development ever so slowly. I used to be something of a writer with a few novel ideas running through my head, but once I started to put them to potential game mechanics and pacing it through levels instead of chapters, I found they worked better. I know a few "friend of a friend" game developers, and watching their streams gives me a few good ideas moving forward. (Obligatory Timespinner plug here!)

Geohashing is a hobby I reluctantly tack a "but" onto. In short, an algorithm generates the decimal places to be placed after latitude and longitude coordinates, and the goal is to reach those points. They may or may not be reachable, and they're only valid for that calendar date. During 2012 and 2013, we hit points all over Florida, made roadtrips to beaches, flew over a few with my pilot father... but this year, there's been nothing. Everything's been just out of reach, or I have other things planned for the weekend.

Occasionally, my wife and I go to comic conventions and cosplay, though I've barely started myself. I don't see it as any different than dressing in team colors and going to a football game, though that happens more often. Nothing terribly intricate so far, but I did get an awesome feathered hat by being a Final Fantasy Red Mage. Which I then took to the Dance Central displays, because if you can do hard dances in a cape and large hat, you are morally obligated to do so in front of an audience.

Marc: After checking out that link, geohashing certainly sounds interesting! Maybe one day I'll stumble across one of those markers :-P

Tell us about your home life – parents, spouse, children, significant other, animal companions?

I've currently been married for a little over a year. We were particularly proud about the wedding itself. It was gaming themed, with game boxes and perler bead sprite art created by my wife as table decorations. Our cake was designed as a red-ringed 360. Our vows were completely irreverent and the ceremony was over within ten minutes. The only thing people complained about? It was on a Friday the 13th. I consider that a success.

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We also adopted Tao, named after the Blazblue character. Terrible name, by the way, since he's male and irritatingly clever at times. I wasn't too fond of the idea, being allergic, but given that he goes exploring on a leash, plays fetch with some of his toys, drinks out of the toilet and loves belly rubs, I'm convinced we got a feline dog.

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Marc: I want that cake! Eating an Xbox sounds like fun. :-P

Of what real life achievement are you most proud? Would you give us some details?

Bleep bloop! Achievement unlocked: Self-Sufficiency - 50G. I've been dependent on others for most of my life. I was dependent on my parents, because being a Canadian national in America, I couldn't work until I got authorization, and I was ineligible for student loans in both countries. Once I found a job in Canada, I couldn't afford to live nearby unless I moved into my sister's house. I was under someone's wing until the age of 25, which felt horribly depressing.

Shortly after my 25th birthday, I landed a job 200 miles away. Things were going well. I wasn't living paycheck to paycheck. I was saving each month. It was around the time I hit those unexpected emergencies, like an ER visit and a busted compressor in my car, and walked away unscathed that I realized I finally made it.

Marc: What’s your favorite game of all time on any console? What makes it special?

Oh good lord. Time Spent In Game makes Final Fantasy Tactics the clear winner, but marked with an asterisk in the record books. I know that my various save files would count up to 2000+ hours. I've beaten several challenges, mainly the Single Class Challenges. You get to a specific level, The Slums of Dorter, and from that point on, you are not allowed to change your class or use an ability outside that class for the rest of the game. I've even included some that were not meant to be; for those in the know, I gamesharked in a team full of Malaks and completed a Hell Knight SCC. For those not in the know, Malak is generally considered the most useless character in the game.

The asterisk in the above record book? I can't play FFT anymore. I can watch other people play, I can give advice, but my brain actively revolts when trying to play now. I blame the aforementioned Hell Knight SCC.

Strong contenders for favorite are Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Monaco: What's Yours is Mine, and Mass Effect 3. Monaco and ME3 were all about the co-op multiplayer, where Snake Eater had a story that just hit me harder every time I replayed it.

Marc: Do you remember the first game you played? What’s your fondest memory of it?

I'll do one better; the first game I was supposed to play was NES Open Tournament Golf, a title I definitely didn't have to just look up. However, when we plugged in the second controller while my brother was playing, the game froze and we decided to play something else.

Come on, it's a NES, you know what 'something else' is. Super Mario Bros., naturally. As for my fondest memory of it, probably that it was so simple that anyone in my family could play it. I remember my grandmother getting so excited that she passed 1-1, bouncing in her seat like a little girl.

Marc: If some evil spell allowed you to own only a single game for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

Between the co-op games listed above, the nod goes to Monaco: What's Yours is Mine for the many, many ways to play through a level. Every time I've played through with friends, if I'm not coming up with the plans, it's a new game every time. Absolutely phenomenal.

Marc: I'm used to seeing very well known series coming up in these kinds of questions. It's a change to see something more obscure come up!

What part of the world do you live in? If I were to visit, what sights would I have to see?

Jacksonville, South Georgia Florida! Despite the 13th most populous city in America, there's not a whole lot to see here. I'd start at Jacksonville Landing and take a walk over to EverBank stadium to see the objectively worst team in the NFL. And yet I'm still a Jags fan. Go figure. The beaches aren't far at all, and while it's not as picturesque as the west coast Florida beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, the waves are good for surfing... or throwing yourself into and letting them knock you over, I don't judge. Finally, if you're a golfer, there's a cavalcade of courses around Jacksonville proper and Ponte Vedra, which is just outside the city limits. TPC Sawgrass, which holds the famous island green, is in Ponte Vedra.

Marc: As a British person, I've only been to America once and that was actually to Florida. I wouldn't be able to tell you where in Florida, though! All I remember is palm trees, sun and hotel staff walking around in Disney character outfits.

Any games that you regret putting on your gamertag?

Devil May Cry HD Collection is the only game I truly regret. This is coming from a person with Duke Nukem Forever and Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2 on their card. Frankly, I don't know what I was thinking. That sort of action game doesn't frequently appeal to me, the camera always felt awkward, and Dante was a terribly boring protagonist who absolutely failed at being cool. Almost like a Duke Nukem for the early 2000s, being milked by Capcom because they have no other idea what to do with it.

Marc: It's rare to see someone say something like that about Devil May Cry. Everyone has different tastes, though!

If you were forced to change your gamertag, what would you change it to?


Marc: What does the new tag reflect about you?

Ah, the days of Saints Row 2. My perpetual co-op partner, who for the rest of the interview shall be known as Chris, had the perfect storm going into this game. We both managed to do incredibly well with the character creator. I made the Sniper from TF2, he made Gandhi, and at a glance you could tell who both were. There was no friendly fire. Your garage was constantly stocked, so there was no fear for losing your best car or helicopter if it exploded. And most importantly, if you completed a base jump by landing on a moving car, you no longer took fall damage.

We put all of these together into what would be the most beautiful plan we've ever conceived.

1) Strap remote detonated explosive onto each other.
2) Get in a helicopter and fly over mission marker.
3) Gandhi jumps out of the helicopter. Five seconds later, the Sniper jumps.
4) Just before Gandhi hits the ground, call for an airstrike.
5) Sniper detonates explosive just as he hits the ground, killing enemies and giving time to get up and pull out a weapon.
6) Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the roles reversed.

The single most glorious usage was when the Gandhi missile took out half of the enemies, the Sniper missile took out 80% of the remaining enemies, the last 20% got in a car and fled... and were stopped when the helicopter landed on their car.

Marc: Tell us about your gamer pic. Why did you choose that one?

I wasn't able to really replicate it during the switch to the One. For the last few years, it's been my avatar facing away from the camera, but looking over his shoulder with a smirk, with the top of his face cut off. Only half of that was an accident.

An acquaintance described me as the smuggest [expletive] she ever knew, and I thought it was a great description. Everyone agreed, and I tried to replicate the expression with limited success in the avatar program. It was only when I found a pose that kept the smirk but cropped out the eyes that it looked properly smug enough. I tried to recreate it on the One, but since I don't have access to the posing, I have to settle for the next closest default.

Marc: Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Very few specific things, though most of the general ones get pulled out if I ever feel I have to defend my dislike of PvP. In short, other people. It's the co-op peeves that really get to me. Lack of consideration is the biggest one that gets me to swear into a muted mic and leave at the first opportunity. People who won't revive you when they're right next to you, people who run off on their own single player escapade because the group is still working/talking about something else... that sort.

Marc: What game are you most proud of completing? Why?

You'd think it'd be Child of Eden for the highest ratio completion, but you'd be wrong! Catherine. As shouted by Troy Baker! Why this? Here's a list of what needs to be done.

Complete the game, once, on at least Normal difficulty. Get absolutely plastered in-game while doing so, unlocking all trivia soundbites. Help everyone survive the nightmares. Get all gold medals, then view all endings. Complete 128 stages of move-limited challenges in the form of Rapunzel. Get all golds on Hard, which features nastier puzzles, a faster combo depletion, no undo button, and all around worthiness of being called Hard.

Finally, there are four stages of Babel. Altar's nothing to write home about, Menhir is the first genuinely tricky one, Obelisk is flatout evil and all but requires lucky block placement to succeed, and Axis Mundi is a long, difficult climb to the top. Wait, what's that? There's more? Oh, Axis Mundi is glitched? You can't do it single player because the patterns run out by the end, leaving you unable to climb past halfway? But local co-op is a viable option? Well to hell with that, I'm going to co-op the entirety of Babel JUST BECAUSE I CAN.

Marc: I love Catherine myself, but I simply don't have the skill to fully complete. Kudos to you!

What single Xbox achievement are you most proud of? Why?

I have no choice but to go back to the achievement that started it all.

The Orange BoxZombie ChopperThe Zombie Chopper achievement in The Orange Box worth 51 pointsPlay through Ravenholm using only the Gravity Gun.

Now, I'll be honest. I hated the idea of achievements at first. Getting meaningless points for doing things in games I was going to do anyway sounded like a pointless waste of time. Slowly I came around, and by that I mean I'd check the achievement list to see if there was something fun that I wouldn't have done otherwise.

I was playing through Half-Life 2 with Chris watching, as well as my roommate who I will call Steve. I recalled there was an achievement for this very same stage, and damn if it didn't sound fun. Sure, this is a stage filled with foreboding, but... Gravity Gun! Steve authoritatively stated that it could not be done on a first playthrough. No way, no how.

A quick note about Steve - he was not what you'd call a skilled gamer. I've only seen him actively play a game that had cheat codes, and only when those codes were active. So someone telling me it couldn't be done when he couldn't beat the stage normally was now a Challenge. Bring it on.

Yeah, Ravenholm was difficult. But more importantly, it was fun. It was great finding the saw blades and hurling them. It was thrilling looking at the scenery not as walls and pathways, but as potential weaponry. The shining moment was holding off a swarm of zombies by picking up the physical boxes of ammo on the ground and hurling them at enemies instead. In the end, I got it. I preservered. I had risen above it with a new taste for achievements.

And I damn well made sure Steve was there to see it.

Marc: If you found yourself dropped into a video game, which video game character would you most want to have your back?

Bayonetta. Form meets function. An admittedly, yet shamelessly shallow answer.

Marc: In the same scenario, what character/creature would you most/least like to see headed your way?

Those baby necromorphs from Dead Space . I don't recall their names, and that's how I prefer it.

Marc: Any characters you would like seen thrown into video game hell?

Connor from Assassin's Creed III. An absolutely terrible protagonist with an ill-defined all-encompassing rage that led me rooting for the Templars. Also, any cutesy mascot character is an almost kneejerk reaction.

Marc: Both that game and Connor never get any love by interviewees laugh

Ever had any bad experiences online? How did you handle it?

Just the usual ones. I tried PvP early on, to the point that it left a permanently sour taste in my mouth. I furiously loathe the racist, sexist, homophobic culture that brewed in deathmatch multiplayer, a culture which thankfully seems to have gone from being a called a typical Xbox Live kid to a typical CoD kid. The fact that I can't tell you whether it's still a serious problem is enough of an indicator that I spent enough time away, but as I see it pop up occasionally, I can't say it's gone for good.

Marc: Do you prefer single player or multi-player?

Co-op, then single player, then PvP. You'd think that PvP being last was always because of the well-documented reasons above, but even with friends, it's the last thing I want to do. The main issue is that while I try not to be these days, I can be a very competitive person, and PvP can make me rage like no other. Co-op and single player are at the very least more calming and better for my mental state.

Marc: Do you have a favorite group of friends you like to play with? If so, how did you meet?

There's the aforementioned Chris, who I've known since middle school. I got a 360 because of him. Two of my wife's friends I met at the wedding, we got together regularly on Sundays to play Borderlands 2, though we still have the DLC to go.

Then there's all the TA people. DarthFracas I met through boosting and we've gone through a number of games together, including NHL 12 and Gears of War 3 on Insane. Through the blogs, I met http://www.trueachievements.com/LeakyTinCowJudo.htm , which then introduced me to a semi-regular weekend morning crew of http://www.trueachievements.com/T+Svectra+T.htm, Iron Praetorian, and PoopShizzle, who is a decent fellow, name notwithstanding.

Marc: If you could have a multiplayer session with anyone in the world, whom would you choose? Why?

I honestly can't think of a decent answer. If it were someone famous I respected, I'd be too starstruck to play the game, so that's out. Most of the people I want to play games with, I do play games with.

Marc: What other consoles do you own? What are your favorites on those platforms?

Over the years, I've had an NES, SNES, Gamecube, Game Boy, GBA, and PS1. In order, favorite games were Mega Man 3, Kirby Superstar, Metroid Prime, Tetris, Fire Emblem, and Final Fantasy VIII almost solely on the strength of my addiction to Triple Triad and not wanting to say Final Fantasy Tactics.

Current non-Microsoft systems include 3DS (Fire Emblem Awakening), Wii (Super Smash Bros. Brawl), WiiU (Mario Kart 8), PS2 (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), and PS3 (only used it as a Blu-ray player).

Marc: Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to that you were disappointed in when it finally arrived? Tell us about it.

I'll take a slightly different approach by choosing a game that's still one of my favorites this year. I find it's much more disappointing to have a good game that left more to be desired than a hyped game that came out bad. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the end of a trilogy that was quite hyped within my household, where we both played it for two weeks, Erica playing in the morning and afternoon while I played after work.

First of all, part of the hype that gets to me, especially as it's constantly repeated in similar games, is the entire You Can't Save Them All shtick...except for the part where you absolutely, totally could. I was taking my sweet time on my first playthrough and finished everything that didn't require a second playthrough by day 10. No guide necessary.

Which leads me to the truly unpopular opinion. One bit that JRPG fans raged against was time as a gameplay mechanic. Personally, I loved the timer, it gave a sense of purpose to the story and avoided the "World's ending, this is the perfect time to do sidequests" trope.

However, 13 days until the end of the world was far too long. What would've made the game excel, in my opinion, was a Majora's Mask style timer - Lightning returns on the final day with thirteen hours to spare. Each hour corresponds to 20 minutes of real time, or just over four hours per game. Furthermore, there was already a slight nod to time travel in New Game +, which can work to the player's favor. Put a greater emphasis on that so there's no connotation of failure should you not get everything done in a single playthrough, because you shouldn't.

Marc: Tell us about your gaming set-up.

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60" TV with ample room for Kinect, my favorite part of the setup. Halo Reach 360 and One with a 4TB external are connected here. The 360 is wired through a Hauppauge HD PVR in the bottom left, which is for the occasional video guide and streaming. The tape underneath the TV and the grate over the middle may not be pretty, but it's one of the few things that'll keep Tao away from the TV and internet. The Wii and WiiU are connected to the 38" TV in the guest room.

Marc: How do you use TA? Tracking, walkthroughs, solutions, sessions?

A little bit of everything, really. I can be an absolute stat junkie, and this site scratches every itch. Walkthroughs I don't use quite as much as solutions, but the ones I have used have been top-notch. Leaderboards, I mainly look at the state-specific leaderboards or ratio/completion above 100k GS. I try to write a blog regularly, but the time it takes for me to ramble tends to take far too long to make it a regular occurence. I repopulate my To-Do list every month with random achievements, story completions, and almost completions. Sessions I don't use too much these days, mainly because of less time and more games, and goals have fallen by the wayside.

Marc: I understand what you mean about the blog thing...wink

Do you ever contribute solutions?

200 and counting! At the end of the day, I just want to help others if I don't feel there's a satisfactory guide, whether I'm the first or fifth to write. I try to document as much as I know about a given achievement, which can be anything from a few lines with padding to reach the word limit, or a sprawling solution that covers eight pages in a Word document. I try to answer every comment that comes my way. It seems to work pretty well for me.

Marc: How has your gaming changed or evolved since coming to TA?

Bean Dive! I seriously can't underestimate the change the bean dive as had on my approach. For the longest time, I felt that if I bought a game and never played it, I was a colossal idiot of the highest degree. I might as well burn the money! Instead, it brings a bit of peace of mind. I can buy a game on sale, thinking "I'd like to play this, but not now," and if I don't get to it by July, it's about to be started in a whirlwind of craziness. Once it's on my card, I can't ignore it, and that's when I start playing it.

Part of it is also from a change in life, but I used to be more about finding a long game like Fallout or Mass Effect and playing the hell out of it. Now I'm balancing multiple games at a given time, trying to pop one achievement a day for my streak, for better or worse. I'm beginning to wonder if I should just hit a year long streak, then never look back at it again.

Marc: What do you like and dislike most about the site?

TA scratches all the stat itches I could possibly have, including the ones I didn't know about until they were being scratched. I also like how easy it is to contribute when you don't know everything about a game, just a specific part. I can't think of anything concrete that I dislike. Chalk that one up to drinking the Koolaid for four years.

Marc: How did you learn about TA? Have you signed up any friends to the website?

It's the end of 2010. Gears of War 2 is having a holiday XP special, where the multiplier goes up every day to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. I'm on XBA, trying to post to forums to join a dedicated group with minimal luck. Finally, I do join one; a session on TA didn't account for backups and were short one. I wish I remembered who it was, but they told me, "You should come to TrueAchievements, it's so much easier to set up boosting sessions." So while I was part of the do nothing group, I checked it out.

Full disclosure, I absolutely loathed the concept of TA at first. What, you don't like the rules so you're going to change it? Or are you just upset that your six figure no life gamerscore isn't as high as you think it deserves to be? Quit being elitist jerks and enjoy Gamerscore for what it is! The allure of boosting sessions proved too much temptation, however, and I went from tolerating the rest of the site's existence to, well, now.

As far as other friends, I convinced one to join on the social aspects, but given that she hasn't been back to the site since, I expected that. For the rest, I've gotten an unregistered friend to check the site regularly for Xbox-centric news, but I doubt he'll join up. Plus his privacy settings are on, so I can't force the issue.

Marc: Have you made friends here?

I certainly hope so! Everyone I mentioned above that I play with often is someone I consider a friend. I may not play with them often, but there's also ChewieOnIce, http://www.trueachievements.com/Casan0vaRodeo.htm, obligatory listing of the mod squad... even if I don't have people listed as friends, I'd still say I get on with people well enough regardless.

Marc: If you have a pro account, what’s the most number of forced scans you’ve done in a day?

I want to say my worst was in the 15-20 range during this year's bean dive. I was one of the first to join in, so it was fun watching each refresh and creeping up the leaderboards for all of one day. Of course, this is almost redundant now that the pro scanners seem to be listening for achievements. I still force scan when I'm working on a specific game in order to make the game page more readable, but there's a 50/50 chance that by the time I get to it, it's already been scanned in.

Marc: If you could have a game handcrafted just for you, what would your perfect game be?

Watch_Dogs with a pacifist twist. I'm a little tired with sandbox protagonists being sociopaths who don't particularly care what their actions are causing. Watch_Dogs in particular had an excellent opportunity to point it out, but they ended up denouncing corporate privacy invasions while not only silently endorsing Aiden's, but making privacy invasion into a minigame. Making the protagonist a pacifist where data isn't just your weapon, but your only weapon, can remove the initial sociopathy while still opening the story to that angle. You may not be killing the henchmen who are just drawing a paycheck, but by obliterating and destroying the people at the top, you're still ruining them. Make the hero's actions have real consequences, not "I did something evil but awesome and as a consequence I got high fives."

Speaking of consequences, how about upgrading morality systems? I am sick and tired of seeing morality on a flat sliding scale between Mother Teresa and Hitler. One of the reasons Catherine spoke to me was because they didn't do good/evil, they did lawful/chaotic. Neither side was truly good or evil, and there wasn't any usual punishment for going chaotic like you would going evil in a typical game. Ideally, I'd want a multi-faceted morality system, like how some stat builds in games lets you add a point to agility at the cost of one point from defense. Lawful vs chaos, calm vs passionate, proactive vs reactive. Let's make it complicated.

Which leads to my final desire out of this system - pure good is just as detrimental as pure evil. I like using a theoretical superhero game for this one. Say you're playing as The Flash and you see someone's about to get hit by a car. You can save that person by dashing in and pushing them out of the way, but then you cause a worse injury to the person because you hit them harder than the car. Alternatively, one of your allies could be the noble thief archetype, stealing for noble reasons and not for self-gain, but a pure good type would still see them as breaking the law and, eventually, an enemy. I would be all for a game where the dialogue choices don't all but spell out good choice, bad choice.

Marc: Is there anything you’d like to see added to TA’s functionality?

Most of the things I bring up get added eventually. The last thing I thought TA was truly lacking was Twitch integration, and that's two months old now.

Marc: Why do you choose TA over other gaming sites?

It's the social and community aspects of the site that got me to stay. While it may have started as a stats tracking site first and foremost, and no matter how much I love watching those numbers fly, it's the social aspects I can't replace on any other site. Furthermore, I think there's far less negativity at TA than any other gaming site I've visited.

Marc: Do you have a “claim to fame” in gaming? If so, what is it?

I don't consider it much of a claim to game, but when I was just Canadian Ninja, I was something of a veteran on the Triple Triad sites years ago. I used a popular minority but still particularly unorthodox ruleset of All Rules, Closed, and Random. Within those rules, I was a tough opponent. I co-created one of the top clans, the Zodiac Braves, during the Triple Triad X days, and went so far as to become staff on Triple Triad v3, creating the Final Fantasy Tactics deck. Still have the finished product and photoshop files. I never played on the current TT Advance site for various reasons.

*Lightning Round*

Favorite 360 game?


Favorite non-360 game?

Final Fantasy Tactics

Least favorite game?

Game Room. Friggin' bait and switch.

Favorite game developer?


Favorite game weapon?


Most hated game enemy?

Mass Effect 3's Banshee. I once asked where one disappeared to in a multiplayer match. One perfect beat later, instakill.

Favorite game character?

A tie between Metal Gear Solid's Big Boss and Tales of Vesperia 's Raven.

Favorite game sidekick?

Tales of Vesperia again, this time Repede.

Favorite game ending?

Monaco: What's Yours is Mine.

Most hated game ending?

RAGE, most notably its lack of one.

Favorite game environment?

Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland.

Favorite game music?

Shadow of the Colossus.

Most emotional video game moment?

Metal Gear Solid 3's ending.

Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?

Dead Space.

Non-Xbox game you’d love to have achievements in?

Final Fantasy Tactics. Only way I'd play it again!

*End of Lightning Round*

Marc: Is there anything in particular you want the TA community to know about you?

How do I set up my trophy case? There has to be a story involved with it, and once I forget why it's there, it gets removed. Some are feel-good stories, others are absolutely killing it on the leaderboards. Pets being recognized as human on the Kinect! Shooting the Duck Hunt dog! Killer pianos! Crude drawings! Good times.

Marc: Is there anything I haven’t asked that you want to talk about?

You look at the length of this interview and want to keep giving me a soapbox? You're braver than I thought.

Marc: Well, I'm not going to argue there. You sure like to talk! :-P

Any shout-outs you want to make before we go?

UK crew! Destiny's been some of the best co-op I've had in years. Staff! I probably don't personally know most of you but thanks for helping make this one of the best sites I've ever seen!

Well, there you have it, folks. Thanks a bunch to DrCanadianNinja for giving the time to share his own story with us. Join me next time where I'll be with my next guest, DavidMcC1989.

Come back to see me and, you guessed it... let's talk. wave

I'd like to remind everyone that because of the huge waiting list for candidates, I am currently not taking any applications for the Community Interview. When some of the backlog has been worked through, I'll let you know. ~ Marc
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.