TA Community Interview - Robster80

By Sam Quirke, 3 months ago
After my harrowing, painful interrogation personal interview by Mark last week, it's time for me to wear the cape myself!

(I've just been informed that there's no cape included in the role of Community Interviewer. I feel cheated. Still, I'll make the most of it...)

My first interviewee is a long-time gamer with a penchant for classic arcade games, but what interests me is a pattern in his interests. Mega Man, Transformers and Digimon and Fallout 4 all crop up frequently in the following text. My question, dear reader, is this: Could we be dealing with a robot in disguise? An automaton programmed to convert us all to classic games of yesteryear? Read on and draw your own conclusions, as we welcome... Robster80!


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

Well, I have my father to blame for that. Years back, he set up my own AOL account and he used this name for me; my name is Rob and he and some friends used to call me “Robster” as a nickname. The 80 comes from my football jersey number, and it reflects the year I was born (1980). It also happens to be my penname for fanfiction (though I'm semi-retired from that).
Any particular reason you retired? What was the source of the fan-fiction?

Mainly Digimon-centered fanfiction, but I tend a lot to "mix it up," as in take two or more series and throw them into a blender and make a universe where they all naturally co-exist. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's questionable at best, but it's what I've done with my imagination ever since I was a kid. I stopped because of multiple reasons, all of them real life related. The main reason is I just get lazy and bored, and try to move on to new projects which a lot of times never get off the ground plus my real life sometimes drains the creative and posting drive. I still come up with ideas, though, and maybe one day... one day I'll post again.
And your gamerpic – is there a story there?

Sorta, yeah. I’ve loved video games ever since I was a little kid, and I loved going to the arcades, even if to watch other people play the games. When I got the one prop from Dragon's Lair on the 360, I saw an opportunity for a unique Gamer Pic and ran with it. Guess I’m the nostalgic type.
Hey, my avatar wears a Guybrush Threepwood coat and everyone started reciting the theme tune when DuckTales Remastered went backwards compatible, so you're not the only nostalgic type around here!

I can't help but notice that remastered and ported classic games feature heavily on your profile – your best achievements, Trophy Case, Wish List... I'm guessing you're a fan of the golden era of arcade gaming?

You ain’t just whistlin’ “Dixie.” Haha! Yes, I’m a sucker for the classics. I’m a child of the 1980’s, and I have a lot of good video game memories from those years and into the 90’s. I just wish Microsoft and other developers would bring out more for us nostalgia-lovers, especially the arcade-only releases.
There's quite a lot of retro-inspired games around at the moment, do they do the trick for you? Or has it got to be the real deal?

Honestly, I'd prefer the original, the real deal. There are still many classic arcade games I'd like to see brought onto the XBLA - Spider-man, Captain America & the Avengers, Bucky O'Hare, Aliens, Alien VS Predator, Dragon's Lair II, and so on.
You know, given most of the recent history of the Alien franchise, porting the old classics wouldn't be a bad idea...

How long have you been gaming? What's your earliest memory of a game?

I’d have to say since I was 5-6 years old. As for my earliest gaming memory, that’s hard, because my memory isn’t the best. My earliest gaming memories were of the first two consoles my family and I ever owned: Intellivision and ColecoVision. The former I had a lot of games for, including BurgerTime (Best port of that game was for Intelevision, IMHO) and Kool-Aid Man. Though I did have some favorites for the ColecoVision system, too – Donkey Kong and Venture.
Oh man... I'm getting some weird flashbacks Googling some of those titles. I thought I knew my earliest gaming experience but now I'm not so sure!

Do others in your family or household play games?

Maybe, I don’t know for sure since I currently live on my own. My sister and her husband I think still have their Wii and DS, though I think my sis uses her tablet for gaming, too. My mom plays on her tablet as well. Though back when we had the original Game Boy, my mom loved Tetris and Dr. Mario.
What do the people in your life have to say about your gaming habits?

Not much, really, unless it’s got me riled up. The last major discussion I had with multiple people about my gaming was in the final months that I played Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook. I was getting really frustrated in certain parts, plus at how the game’s technical staff 1) kept pushing out newer content without giving tired gamers like me a break, and 2) did very little in regards to keeping the PVP tournament/gameplay fair.. One of my friends told me to just stop playing PVP for a good while, and another told me, given how much I got frustrated with the game in general, to just quit the game totally. One day, after a massive loss streak in PVP, I decided I had had enough and just quit; I removed the game from my profile and gave up everything I had worked to get for over a year and a half, deciding it wasn’t worth the stress anymore. Both my friends agreed that it was the best course of action, and frankly, it was.
I've definitely been there with games on my phone. Normally Marvel ones, too, come to think of it...

What are you doing when you're not gaming? What pays the bills, and what are your hobbies?

I work in a retail store that’s mainly based in my home state of Pennsylvania, in the Toys department. Actually, I’m the Assistant Dept. Manager for Toys. When I’m not gaming, or working, I’m websurfing or reading books/manga or watching movies on DVD/Blu-ray, or writing. I’ve done some fanfiction solo or in collaboration with one of my best buddies I met online while in college, but I’ve long since stopped posting said stories online. Aside from gaming, my hobbies include anime, cartoons, and the Three Stooges (again, I’m a sucker for the classics).
What real life achievement would you like to give yourself some Gamerscore for? Tell us about it.

Hmmmmmmmmm… If I have to pick one thing for a real life achievement, just ONE thing… it would be work-related; I have been sent to six different new store locations to assist in opening weekend, one in PA, and the rest in 4 other neighboring states. I say this because it’s fun and exciting to visit locations I haven’t been to before, plus see the different layouts for each store.
Impressive. Lets call that achievement “Cutting the Ribbon.” I'm sure you probably didn't wield giant scissors and cut an actual ribbon, but that's the image in my head and I'm sticking with it.

What’s your favorite game of all time on any console, and why?

I don’t have just one, really, it’s 6 – the six original Mega Man games for the NES. I rented the first Mega Man game from my town’s local rental place by pure chance and I just fell in love with it. Took a good while to figure out how to play it, but in the end, I loved everything about it: the music, the graphics, the gameplay… plus it featured ROBOTS! I love robots. Heck, my all-time favorite show is the original Transformers from the mid-80’s.
There IS that spiritual successor Mighty No. 9 kicking around, but as you're a die-hard fan of the originals maybe it's best to leave that be and stick to the Mega Man Legacy Collection.

If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Can’t decide – I've got a lot of games I’d want to play the rest of my life, so picking just one would be impossible. Unless it was a massive collection of games in one game, like Midway Arcade Treasures.
Cheat! As you're my first interview candidate, I'll allow it.

What part of the world do you live in? What would you recommend to a visitor, and what kind of game would you set there?

I’m in Pennsylvania, USA, in a small town called Elysburg. I’d only recommend visiting my area if you like small towns, though my town does have its own family-oriented amusement park a bit outside of town: Knoebel’s. What kind of game would I set there? Probably something similar to Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, where you play a character going around different areas of the park, checking out the rides… though the premise of the game would be to stop a group of people trying to buy out the park and make it more "commercial" like Disney or Six Flags.
That sounds interesting! But I'm getting more strange flashbacks now that I've Googled Adventures in the Magic Kingdom like I'm re-living a past life, so I must move on...

Any games you regret putting on your gamertag?

Honestly, I’ve been dreading this question… I have a shortlist of games I regret adding to my tag, at least two that I know I will either get lynched or tarred and feathered for… Skyrim and Mass Effect. Mass Effect, I honestly could not get into the game, especially the story. If the story doesn’t grab me right away, then I ask myself "Why am I playing this? Is it worth continuing my progress?” Skyrim, I honestly had high hopes for it. But my biggest mistake was expecting it to be like Fallout 3, which I really enjoyed; Skyrim was NOT anything like Fallout 3. Even with my friends helping me via the Xbox Live party system, I ended up in a battle I could not win, and finally I just said “okay, I’m not having fun anymore; I’m done with this game. I had more fun with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning than this.” To all of you fans of Skyrim and Mass Effect, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry but that’s how I feel about them both.
Hey, tarring and feathering heretics giving people a platform to express a different opinion is what we're here for. If we all liked the same games this feature would get boring really quickly.

What is your proudest Xbox achievement, and why?

The best I can come up with are two achievements.

Halo 3Steppin' RazorThe Steppin' Razor achievement in Halo 3 worth 10 pointsScore a Triple Kill with the sword in a ranked free for all playlist (Online).

Gears of WarCommandoThe Commando achievement in Gears of War worth 56 pointsComplete all acts on Insane Difficulty

To be honest, I am not very good MP person, or a good Shooter gamer. I got "Stepping Razor" by pure dumb luck - wasn’t even trying for it, but grabbed the sword on one of the MP maps and went after whomever was closest to me and slashed away as fast as I could without getting killed myself. As for "Commando," I doubted I could do it, but I went and took it in small doses before I reached the final boss fight with Raam and got stuck. After taking a break, I went back and kept on trying until I killed Raam and finished the game.
Nice! I'm always instantly proud of any MP shooter achievement I pop for the same reasons.

Do you have a favourite achievement – one you found particularly enjoyable?

One in particular, only for the name:

Gears of War 2Have Fun Storming the CastleThe Have Fun Storming the Castle achievement in Gears of War 2 worth 11 pointsStory progression in Act 4, Chapter 6

It’s a line said by Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride and one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. Soon as that achievement popped and I read it, I just smiled.
If I had my way, every achievement would be a pop-culture reference or a terrible pun. Or both!

Which 100% completion are you most proud of, and why?

Dead Space. I originally borrowed the game from a friend of mine after trying the demo twice. Even after my first playthrough, I didn’t want to stop so I kept on playing until I eventually got all the achievements before I contacted my friend and told him I was giving it back and that I got 100% completion on it; his exact response was “Holy spit, I’m impressed!” Even after that, I went and got my own copy of the game – it’s fun to replay over and over.
Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

What gamer doesn’t? I particularly am not fond of multiplayer other than co-op with friends. Mainly because of how competitive and vicious some of the players can be. And the trash-talking is downright annoying. I prefer playing co-op games more than multiplayer, but if there are reasonable achievements for MP I can get, I’ll play MP. I also don’t like how in co-op there’s a player who wants to rush through a game and disregard the in-game dialogue, especially when it’s a game I and my other friends really enjoy for the story as much as the gameplay.
What is your favourite aspect of gaming, or being a gamer? What keeps you playing?

I would have to say my favorite aspect is being able to talk about games with other people who enjoy them as much as I do. I’ve made a few friends in real life this way. I keep playing games because most of the time it’s like watching a movie or reading a really good book – you get so absorbed into the story it’s like you’re a part of it as a whole. It’s a nice little escape from reality sometimes, too.
Totally agree with that!

What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

Halo Wars 2. I really liked the first one, and I hope the second one doesn’t change the control schemes much, plus I want to see if it ties into the main Halo series' storyline eventually.
What games are you currently playing?

Right now it’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, mopping up achievements I haven't gone for yet; Halo 5: Guardians, also working on missed achievements, and honestly while fun, the story leaves a LOT to be desired, but it's not the worst installment yet (to me); Fallout 4, working through the "Far Harbor" DLC; Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Win 10), taking it one day at a time… I'm trying to limit myself to one achievement a day in reaching a 200 day streak of getting achievements consecutively.
Good luck with that!

Now, let's put you in a game. What would your character build be? What skills would you have?

Honestly, I want to be a sidekick character similar to the companions in Fallout 4, the guy who makes comments and/or wisecracks throughout the game. I really stink at character building, plus I don’t want to look like an egotistical guy. As for skills, one skill I’d really like is to make people laugh.
Plus if you were a Fallout 4 sidekick you can walk away from a nuclear explosion with little more than a limp. That's a definite advantage.

You can bring along one weapon and one character from another game to help you out. What are your choices and why?

Weapon of choice would be a sword, particularly the Crissaegrim from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as it does up to four hits of damage to enemies with one swing. One character from any game – Mega Man, as he could copy and use any enemy weapon his Mega Buster can allow.
What enemy or boss would you really hope to avoid?

One from a game I haven’t played mainly due it not being released in the USA and likely never will be – Donquixote Doflamingo from One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 2. I’ve seen gameplay videos on this boss and I wouldn’t want to face him because he can take control of your teammates to fight against you like a puppeteer controlling a marionette; if you defeat your controlled teammate, you can’t swap out for that teammate as they’re out of the fight/game.
Sounds like a real headache. No thanks!

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

For starters… Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, Jacob Danik from Dead Space 3, Dr. Challus Mercer from Dead Space, General Sarrano from Bulletstorm, GLaDOS from the Portal Series, and Col. Loomis from Gears of War: Judgment.
Apart from infinite lives, what gameplay feature do you wish you could make use of in real life?

Finding lots and lots of free money. *laughs* Either that, or the ability to warp/fast-travel to and from places so I can get stuff done quicker and without wasting gas.
Do you have a favorite group of friends you like to play with in multi-player? If so, how did you meet?

I do, yes. My friend George in Florida most of all – he’s to blame for my whole Xbox Live career. He busted his butt doing lots of yardwork in his area to scrape enough cash to buy me my own Xbox 360 for my birthday, plus my first 2-3 games. We met by chance online while I was in my 3rd year of college – he saw some of my posted fan fiction pieces online and took a chance to contact me over AOL Instant Messenger. After gabbing a bit about our mutual likes and whatnot, we hit it off. Sadly, he’s not online as much as he used to be, so it’s kinda harder for us to game together, but when we do, we have fun.
That's quite the birthday present! Maybe he'll get me an Xbox One S for mine?

Any particularly memorable online experiences – good or bad?

Two at least, yeah; one’s a spoiler, so anybody who doesn’t want to know what I’m about to reveal, skip this answer. First was when a friend of mine and I were playing the add-on for Borderlands, “The Secret Armory of General Knoxx”: we were in a vehicle heading to our next destination in the DLC, and the in-game character Scooter is talking about who we had to meet, which was Mad Moxxie from the previous DLC for the game. Suddenly, Scooter finishes his dialogue with “By the way, she’s my mom.” My friend and I were like “…WHAT did he say?! Moxxie is his MOTHER?!” It was awesome yet disturbing at the same time, but hilarious.

The second experience was discovering a certain Easter Egg – some friends and I were playing Left 4 Dead 2’s “The Passing,” going through the one building with the pool room that had the jukebox in it and I was playing with the song selection on said jukebox while the other players were working to clear out some of the zombies down below in the streets. Suddenly I hear “Still Alive,” the ending theme from Portal, coming out of the jukebox and I start cracking up. My friends are like “What’re you laughing at?” I tell them to come to my character and find out, which they did, and soon as they heard the song, they started laughing, too.
Is there a book, movie or TV show that you'd really like to see adapted into a game? I'll accept ones that have tried and failed, but only if you tell me how you'd fix it!

Two movies come to my mind – The Muppet Movie and The Transformers: the Movie (1986). There have been only a handful of Muppets video games, all of which came long after The Muppet Movie. As for The Transformers – the Movie, let’s just say playing Transformers: Devastation whetted my appetite for more Generation 1 TF video games. I’d really like to see at least an 8-bit version of these games, and done in a way that captured the essence and spirit of said films, and that includes both films’ music.
Do you own other consoles? What are your favorites on those platforms?

I have a Playstation 2 (but I hardly touch it anymore), a Playstation 3 (currently loaning it to a friend), a Wii, a Wii U, a PSP, and a DS. Favorites are Rez (PS2), One Piece Pirate Warriors 1 and 2 (PS3), One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii), and Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (PSP)
Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to, but let you down when you played it? Equally, have you had any pleasant surprises from games you took a gamble on?

The first question, I can sum up in 3 words…Aliens: Colonial Marines. My friend George got it for himself and for me, and we both felt the game did NOT deliver what had been promised by the developers. Second question: Splatterhouse. I played it through Gamefly by pure curiosity, and shortly after I started the main game, I heard the Mask’s voice and my eyes lit up – the Mask was voiced by Jim Cummings, one of my favorite American voice-actors; I said to myself aloud “ohhhh this is gonna be fuuuuuuuun!” The comments that the Mask gave throughout the game were enough to make the game worthwhile as I played through to the end.
Tell us about your gaming set-up.

Robster80 - setup

Robster80 - games

Robster80 - xbox

All my consoles are in my bedroom at my house, right above where my modem and wireless router are positioned in my basement. The Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U are on the 2nd shelf of my TV stand, and the Wii and PS2 are off on the multimedia cabinet to the right. As for my game collection, it's smaller than you'd think, mostly because I rented/borrowed a few games, and others I traded away.
And the figures on top of the shelf – do any of them have special significance?

The figures are just part of my collection, that's all. The only part of my toy/figure/model kit collection that has significance is my one shelf dedicated to Optimus Prime, my all-time favorite Transformer.
Robster80 - Prime

What brought you to TA, and how do you primarily use it? (Tracking, walkthroughs, solutions, sessions?)

I discovered TA through Achievement Hunters. I had been looking for other partners for getting certain co-op achievements in Portal 2 and one of the gamers I met said he was also on TA, so I checked it out, and eventually signed up. I mainly use it for tracking my and my friends’ progress as well as for upcoming games/achievements, news, solutions, and occasionally sessions.
What do you like about TA? Anything you would change?

I like the variety of solutions offered by gamers on the site for acquiring achievements, in both actual solutions and in the comments. They’re usually very helpful in some of the hard-to-get achievements. Not sure if I can think of any worthwhile changes to suggest, except maybe the ability to list up to five most favorite and least favorite games played.
I noticed that you recently reached your goal of 5000 achievements earned – congratulations. Do you plan on setting yourself any other goals?

Thanks for that. As for setting other goals, aside from my current goal of a new personal Achievement streak record of 200 days, nothing is concrete. Yet. I am going to eventually go for a Gamerscore of over 100,000, but I won’t set my goal for a while, maybe when I hit 98,500 GS...
Imagine your perfect game, tailor-made just for you. What would it be like?

Probably nothing like anyone else would think of, I think… my perfect game would be a collection of ALL my favorite games, including ones that have NOT been released through legal channels; and it would include an in-game feature to pause and save at any time and reload that save at any time necessary (like in the Sega Vintage Collection games and Mega Man Legacy Collection). And I have a pretty hefty list of games I’ve played – in arcades, on consoles, and through emulators.
Sounds like Rare Replay dialled up to 11, and would probably go straight to the top of the Highest Scoring Games on TA...

What kind of achievements do you like to see in a new list? Any common achievement types that you find especially irritating?

I like seeing achievements for beating each level, by level (example, beating each mission in the Halo games); I also like achievements for alternate choices and/or endings, which makes replaying more interesting as you see different outcomes as you play. Achievements I find really irritating are ones like “Complete a level without dying” (I’ve done The Library in Halo: Combat Evolved AND the Master Chief Collection, but it was annoying) or “Beat the game without taking any damage.” Those kind of achievements are why games like Dead Space 2 and 3 are likely to remain uncompleted in my stats.
Outside of games, what are your other media habits? Do you have favourite books, TV series, movies or podcasts?

I have favorite books, movies, and such. I got a BIIIIG list for each.

But for simplicity's sake, I'll whittle it down to one answer each:

Favorite books: the Harry Potter series (Go on and laugh, you HP haters, I don't care).

Favorite animated movie: The Secret of NIMH

Favorite live-action movie: Return of the Jedi

Favorite TV series: NCIS - I have the first 11 seasons on DVD

Favorite anime/manga: One Piece, though I have a soft spot for Sailor Moon

Sorry, no podcasts.

Lightning Round

Favorite Xbox game?
Favorite non-Xbox game?
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii)
Least favorite game?
Yeah, probably for the best that Marc passed the CI baton to me...

Favorite game weapon?
The Lancer (Gears of War)
Best boss battle?
Optimus Prime VS Megatron, Final Battle (Transformers: Devastation)
Favorite game character?
Mega Man
Favorite game ending?
Most hated game ending?
Favorite game world?
The Commonwealth (Fallout 4)
Favorite game music?
Bubble Man stage (Mega Man 2)
Game that deserves a remake, remaster or sequel?
Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?
Non-Xbox game you’d love to have achievements in?
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure

End of Lightning Round

I'll give you the floor. Anything else you'd like to tell TA about?

You are NEVER too old to do what you like, especially if it’s reading comics, watching cartoons, and especially playing video games. If someone tells you that you are too old for any of that, ignore them. More importantly, thanks for making me a part of your online community; I really like TA and where it’s going, and hope to be around for a few more years.
Sound advice for us all, and we hope you stick around as well! Any shout-outs you want to make before we go?

Yes – Hammerfall99, GBHPrime84, AngstO0580! Hope we all can get together to rock on Xbox Live once more soon!
And that's a wrap! I'd like to thank Robster80 for being my guinea-pig in this new run of interviews.

The TA Community Interview will be posted on the first Sunday of every month, perhaps more frequently if we get lots of nominations! If you have a friend you'd like to nominate to be interviewed, or if you'd like to nominate yourself, please send a PM to kintaris. You’re more likely to be picked if you’re well-written, interesting, funny and/or a robot in disguise.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been gaming long enough to know the pain of a failed DOS install on the fifth floppy disc. As well as writing news, he also looks after our Community Interviews. Send him a PM if you are interested!