TA Community Interview - DavieMarshall

By Jonathan Barnes, 5 years ago
Strap yourselves in folks, because you’re about to be amazed. After weeks, nee’ months, of pleading, endless nominations, bribes, death threats and an eternity of ceaseless poking with semi-pointy sticks, we’ve finally convinced the man, the myth and the legend, DavieMarshall, to be the subject of a Community Interview.

As this is my first time as the Interim Inquisitor, Davie asked me to be gentle on him. Unfortunately for the outgoing Quizmaster General, I think you’ll find the following interview to be as rough as a Cole Phelps interrogation with a Rusty Galloway chaser.


OBJ - There's a story behind every gamertag, what is yours? I'm assuming DavieMarshall is some sort of great super hero to whom you pay homage across the pond, but can never be sure.

DM - He’s the super-hero I look at in the mirror every morning! My real name has a space in between my fore and surnames. Pretty slick hiding my identity by rolling it in to one eh? It’s like Clark Kent and his glasses and hair gel all over again.

OBJ – For the record, America has given up on Superman since Zack Snyder abducted him and put the Brit, Henry Cavill, in the role… it’s like casting an American to play Bond. However, I digress... Mr. Marshall, let’s see that super hero.

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OBJ – Your optometrist must be a wealthy man, Davie. Your Twitter bio labels you as a "Professional geek, casual nerd" care to explain?

DM - Well, day to day I’m a ICT Technician looking after two networks and assisting on a third. So it’s server this, network that, MSI the other. When I ‘down tools’ for the day I’m always on my gadgets. I’m a huge fan of Android (and my beloved HTC Desire!), fiddling with synching everything I can find to my laptop, PC and phone, and generally boring anyone who cares to listen with the latest slice of news from Engadget.

OBJ - By day, you claim to be an ICT Technician for Staffordshire County Council. As a liberal arts guy, that makes no sense to me... it sounds like you probably work for MI6, know where the nukes are and the color of Pippa's knickers. Confirm, deny or elaborate.

DM - M16 Staffordshire County Council are not. It’s a good job, but one that can typically be consumed by red tape as can so many public sector jobs. Regardless, I’m happy doing what I do (working primarily in Primary Schools), and am now in my fifth year of this job.

PS: I can neither confirm, deny or elaborate on the colour of Pippa Middleton’s knickers however. Does she even wear any? I bet/hope not...

OBJ – Oh, Pippa… perhaps someday we shall know… When you're not saving the queen at your day job or playing 360, what hobbies do you enjoy?

DM - I enjoy getting to the Birmingham Symphony Hall when I can. It’s only twenty minutes on the train, and there’s always a lot going on. This Thursday I went down to see a performance of a work by Wagner. Usually though they focus on composers like Mahler, Sibellious or Beethoven. The best performance I’ve been to is a rendition of Shoshtakovic’s Cello Concerto No. 1. That piece is insane. I’ve no idea how any one would begin writing something like that.

Aside from that I’ll write on my blog if I have time, keep up on the tech news and drink red wine. There’s always time for red wine...

OBJ - How's the home life? Do you have a girlfriend, spouse, concubine, harem and/or pets?

DM - Just a girlfriend, no concubine’s for me! Fun fact, today is actually our two year anniversary together. We live together and things are going really well. We’ve not had an argument in two years because I’m good at doing as I’m asked and she understands that I need to kill things on my Xbox to remain sane after a day at work!

It’s unfortunate having an anniversary on a Sunday, but we crammed in some stuff yesterday. We had an afternoon at the local spa with a Swedish back and neck massage, and then headed off to our favourite restaurant in the evening. She likes the atmosphere and main courses, whilst I’m entirely content to make the trip purely for their amazing cheese board and port!

If all of that wasn’t enough tomorrow is my birthday too (twenty five -- a quarter of a century old!), so the gastronomical journey will continue with steak cooked by my lovely girlfriend!

OBJ – I’m going to suppress the married-man advice and massage jokes to ask you, the reigning quizmaster, is there any question that you want me to ask and haven't? An answer to the question would also be helpful.

DM - Quizmaster. This is the first time I’ve ever been bestowed this title, and I’m essentially not the Community Interview guy any more. If I’d have caught on to this sooner I’d have had a custom t-shirt made or something!

OBJ – Now that we know Davie, the person, let’s get to know Davie the gamer. First things first, let’s see your setup

DM - This is where the Xbox lives around 40% of the time. The problem is this is our living room, so when the girlfriend is watching soaps and crappy music channels, the Kinect gets no love. The small device to the left is my net-top PC, so I can hop between channels and make sure I can get access to the TA solutions when I need them! To be honest though, I do most of that on my phone.

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DM - This is the 'man cave'. It's not really living up to that statement at the minute though. It's used for drying washing, storing the hoover in a cupboard, and many other things besides gaming. Not pictured is the giant Pink Floyd double gold disc award for Dark Side of The Moon.

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OBJ – Dual setups… very nice. What is your first gaming memory?

DM - My first gaming memory? As a very young child I used to be really in to these handheld games you could buy off the market. There’d only be one game on the handheld, and it would be repetitive as grinding Seriously ... in Gears of War. Still, I was addicted to them. My nan used to buy me one most times when I went to visit, and I had a pretty big collection of them. That’s where it all began for me.

As for ‘proper gaming’ I can’t remember how old I would have been, but I remember a Nintendo advert in the early nineties for the original Gameboy. It featured a skull asking, “Do you have the power” as shots of games like Tetris and Zelda played in the background. All I remember thinking is, “I don’t have the power!”. The Gameboy made that years Christmas list, and was subsequently glued to my hands for the next year or two before my parents bought me and my brother a SNES. Damn fine choice if I say so myself!

OBJ – I’m going to fall back and ask you one of your own questions, which happens to be my favorite: If you imagine for a minute that every game ever made had achievements with them, what would your very first achievement unlocked be do you think?

DM - As I mentioned, Tetris was my first memory of a ‘true’ game, so it would probably something like “5G Jigsaw’s game - Dispatched a Tetris with a single piece”. The subtle Saw reference would have been a little odd given the mismatched time-lines...

OBJ - Has there been a recent game that you felt has exceeded expectations and, on the flip side, one that has been a major disappointment?

DM - A recent game that has been a major dissappointment? http://www.trueachievements.com/Fable-III-xbox-360.htm without a shadow of a doubt. I was sucked in my Molyneux’s big talk. The game itself was bland, repetitive, void of any meaningful social interactions between characters, and made copious use of crappy enemy spawn points which you could simply run through if you wanted.

I mean, what was with cutting down the social interaction options from http://www.trueachievements.com/Fable-II-xbox-360.htm to a random choice of good, bad and rude actions? And don’t get me started on the map system! No waypoints!? What the hell Lionhead?

As for a game that exceeded expectations? Toy Story 3! That game is a great example of how you should deal with a movie tie in. I went in expecting a quick 1000G, a ‘breather’ title and to get quickly bored. Not the case! The 1000G takes a bit of work, though you can polish off a nice 800+ without effort. The Woody’s Roundup section of the game is brilliantly put together and has so much to do and bits to explore, I’d bet most of the kids this title was aimed at would never touch half of the game. Certainly a very cleverly crafted game.

OBJ – Don’t feel bad about getting duped by Molyneux… the guy has made over-sell/under-deliver an art form. From your posts you seem to be a big fan of Kinect, what are your thoughts on Microsoft’s E3 focus on the peripheral? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

DM - I am indeed a big fan of Kinect. I know it draws a lot of criticism, but I feel that Microsoft should be applauded for sinking their/our money into R&D that is truly different to anything else on offer at the moment.

The voice control is brilliant and 99.9% accurate in my experience, and the motion control does work exceptionally well. I think the issue comes when game developers don’t make great use of the hardware and the data it offers them, and really dumb down their controls. I think E3 showed we can expect ‘the next generation’ of Kinect titles to be released in the coming months. Of course we’ll still stuff like http://www.trueachievements.com/Carnival-Games-xbox-360.htm, but http://www.trueachievements.com/Child-of-Eden-xbox-360.htm and Fable: The Journey look brilliant. I really want to see more of the latter as Lionhead have said that the navigation isn’t ‘on rails’ for the whole game. Of course, I could be being suckered in again, but we’ll see won’t we!

As for everyone disliking the Kinect focus at E3, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. This is Microsoft’s next console so to speak. There is going to be a lot more fuss over their multi-million dollar baby in the months and years to come. I can’t wait to see what the Kinect for Windows venture throws up.

OBJ - When it comes to Kinect, what direction would you like to see developers take with it? Is there a particular IP that you feel would benefit from full-body-motion integration?

DM - This is a difficult one. As a gamer with years of gaming values, rules, and methods hard coded into my brain, it’s difficult to think outside the box. I assume the industry is having the same struggle at the minute. I’d probably like to see something like a top down strategy game akin to Civilization where you play some kind of omnipotent being. You could use you powers to guide civilization to success or destruction, but of course motion controls are the only input method. No controls. You could whip up tornados, tsunamis, whirlpools, storms, meteors, lightening bolts with your hands and maybe zoom right in to a level which allows you to interact with and touch your ‘followers’ to their benefit or detriment. I envisage it would be the kind of game Lionhead would enjoy with their moralistic story lines.

OBJ - This could be a loaded question to a prog rock fan, but what is your favorite song to play on Rock Band and why?

DM - I don’t actually own any Rock Band titles other than http://www.trueachievements.com/The-Beatles-Rock-Band-x....htm , and I have only played http://www.trueachievements.com/Rock-Band-2-xbox-360.htm out of the ‘standard’ RB titles. Aqualung is a great track to play on guitar, bass and drums (or to sing if I’m in the mood!). I’m a Guitar Hero man, and I think Warrior of Rock was a great game. Graduate by Third Blind Eye is an amazing track (though not prog rock of course), and The Outsider by A Perfect Circle is excellent too. Of course the whole of 2112 by Rush is a must play most times I give the spin!

OBJ - What is your favorite all-time concert?

DM - The Genesis reunion tour of 2007. I was there at Old Trafford on 07/07/07 at 7pm to see them reunite to play the best gig of the European tour. It was quite emotional hearing the band you’ve listened to for years yet never been able to see live there on stage. The moment that really got me was as they segued into the wonderful Afterglow, my favourite song ever lyrically and musically.

OK, I admit their later ‘pop’ stuff is the thing most people associate them with, but I’m a huge fan of their seventies output and it’s something I’d love people to associate them with and credit them for more. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a superb double album.

OBJ – I know exactly how you feel, I felt the same way when I saw Pearl Jam last Spring and they played “Come Back”. You have some really high ratio games on your Gamercard, are there any games that you feel, in hindsight, were not worth the time and effort?

DM - Despite the fact it’s give me some massive ratios, sent my TA score rocketing and is quite a ‘rare’ game to be seen playing, http://www.trueachievements.com/MotionSports-xbox-360.htm was an absolute bleedin’ nightmare. I’ve only managed half of the achievements where some mentalists have managed a full 1000G. Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t have started it, though with that said, it was a Christmas gift. A difficult circumstance eh?

OBJ - With E3 behind us, what do you feel was the best thing to emerge for Microsoft and what was the best thing in general (this can be from any company: Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc.)?

DM - I’ll start off by saying Nintendo was a complete fail in my opinion. Using Xbox and PS3 footage in their montage and giving so few details on the monstrosity that is the WiiU was just pointless. They haven’t really responded to Microsoft in my opinion. The thing is though, the WiiU will still sell in its millions to the casual gamer. E3 showed that if you want choice, a fully functional media centre with next gen ideas, you have to own an Xbox. I don’t think it’s worth shelling out the cash needed on a PS3 for just a few exclusive titles.

OBJ - If you could forbid game designers from making one type of achievement, what type would it be and why?

DM - In light of the recent Kinect Fun Labs apps, I’d ban any achievement which falsely attempts to add depth to a game. Repeat this action 25 times when there’s only eight possible combinations? What’s the damn point in that?

OBJ - Around the office, I sometimes talk with fellow gamers and we tend to say, "I will buy any game that (insert developer here) makes." Who is that developer for you and why?

DM - Rockstar. They’re a company who try different things and more often than not manage a great degree of success. The Warriors on PS2? The BEST local co-op game of all time. GTA, Bully, http://www.trueachievements.com/LA-Noire-xbox-360.htm , Red Dead Redemption. Need I say more?

OBJ - When I came aboard the Newshound team last fall, one of the "behind-the-scenes" discussions was beverage consumption while gaming. What is your current beverage of choice both of the "adult" and "non-adult" variety?

DM - I’m a sucker for red wine, though I do enjoy my lager as well. I don’t drink often when gaming though as I can’t concetrate as well. Though, anyone who has played The Beatles: Rock Band will testify to the fact that after five cans of lager I can hit 98-100% on the drums with a fair amount of consistency! I was semi-drunk when I unlocked some of the harder multiplayer achievements with some help from Matrarch among others!

OBJ – Red wine is a harsh mistress, she giveth and she taketh away. A few years ago, an episode of South Park featured a storyline where Cartman froze himself so he didn't have to wait for the Nintendo Wii. Since that episode, I've begun using Cartman as an expression for not wanting to wait for something. What is the one upcoming game that you want to "Cartman" yourself for?

DM - At one point I would have said BioShock: Infinite, but I’m not ‘feeling’ it any more. I think I’d probably have to say Batman: Arkham City. That game is going to be insanely good, and there’s no two ways about it.

OBJ - What is the one feature you wish the 360 had but doesn't?

DM - Ironically, the one thing I want the most was recently referred to by Microsoft. Cloud storage of saves, items and profile information. Recovering profiles or using pen drives to get your profile around with you is old hat.

OBJ - As a new feature to Community Interviews, I’d like to close by hitting you with ten, "Lightning Round" questions.

Favorite 360 Game

DM - http://www.trueachievements.com/BioShock-xbox-360.htm (original)

OBJ - Best game protagonist

DM - Tough one! Either Alan Wake or John Marston.

OBJ - Best game villain

DM - The Joker.

OBJ - Best game ending

DM - BioShock (again original) or Modern Warfare (original again!)

OBJ - Best game setting

DM - Rapture. It’s a beautiful mysterious environment that felt like home by the time I finished the game.

OBJ - Favorite achievement

DM - Those kinds which are damn difficult but ultimately obtainable by refining and pushing your skills. The Beatles: Rockband has some good examples, and Unbreakable! in Stuntman: Ignition was a good one too.

OBJ - Most Underrated Game

DM - Alan Wake

OBJ - Most Overrated Game

DM – Fable III or http://www.trueachievements.com/Call-of-Duty-Black-Ops-....htm

OBJ - Game you wish the 360 had, but doesn't.

DM – Little Big Planet or Super Smash Bros.

OBJ - If you could have lunch/a drink with one member of the games media, developer or publisher, who would it be?

DM - God knows!

OBJ - Any final thoughts, shout outs or soap-box statements?

DM - As I said in the final interview I conducted last week, thanks to all the users who PMd with nominations for interviews over the time I was running them. I also hope that this interview has appeased those who lodged their nominations for me every so often! Finally, feel free to drop me a message on Twitter or Xbox LIVE. I maintain TA members are the best guys to play with online.

In a final, editorial comment, on behalf of the Newshound Team (and the TrueAchievements team in general), I’d like to extend a warm, overdue thanks to Davie for all of his diligent work on providing these interviews to our community. Through all of the minor gripes and major compliments, Davie has been a tireless worker behind the scenes, lining up interviews, positing questions, editing and formatting the pieces and publishing them promptly during the slow, weekend news cycle. In much the same manner that Conan took over for Leno: Davie can never be replaced… and whoever does attempt to replace him will most likely be booted within six months when Davie gets “the itch” again. Hullaballoo.

If you’d like to be featured in a Community Interview, or want to be a solid citizen and nominate someone more awesome than yourself, send a PM to me, osubluejacket, as I will be keeping the seat warm until we have a permanent inquisitor. FYI – You’re MUCH more likely to be picked if you’re well-written, interesting, funny and/or hot… maybe not so much hot, but definitely the other three.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.