NicoleRenee00's Blog - Jul to Sep 19 (83 followers)

PermalinkCommunity Interview - Shh I am Batman
Please note that these interviews are unofficial, and therefore do not reflect the staff or site in any way. The opinions stated belong only to the interviewee.
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Current Interviewee: Shh I am Batman
Previous Interview: winginor
To Apply for an Interview: See here

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The man himself. No, not Bruce Wayne. Just Keith.

Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours. Does your gamerpic mean anything to you as well?

First of all, hi Nicole! It's a pleasure to answer your questions, and I'm truly thankful you are allowing me to be interviewed!

As far as Gamertags - I went through quite a roulette of them during my teens, trying to find out what fit. When I was edgy, I was Xanax187. Then I flip-flopped Star Wars and Halo references with JediSaberMaster and Reclaim_This. I dabbled in the competitive Halo scene under Le_Dovahkiin before finally landing on this one.

A bunch of friends and I were running through Halo Reach, and I prompted one of the long assassination sequences on a friend who was shrieking into his headset. Aping on the "Welcome to Dark Souls" meme of the time, I shushed him and quietly told him that I was Batman. For context, my friends have been calling me Batman since I was young, my old Gamestop name-tag had Batman written on as it had become my thing around town. So this is the tag that finally stuck.

My gamer picture is just classic Master Chief, representing the Game Franchise that first truly captured my heart.

Describe yourself in just a few words. How do you think the rest of TA knows you?

I'm fairly typical as far as who I am as a human. I'm a little too quick to argue sometimes, and have always had a way with words in that way. Missed my calling as a lawyer, but slid instead to commission based sales and writing novels! I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina in the United States, but stand near me for five seconds and you'll know that I'm born and raised in (my opinion) the greatest City on Earth - New York City!

I'm not too sure how TA sees me. I'm not the most popular of the site managers as far as post count and visibility, and I've had my fair share of flame wars. Alternatively, I'm usually the voice of reason from the WT staff perspective (at least publicly, if our Discord logs were ever released? *Shudder*). I try to make sure our process runs as smooth as possible, with handouts and publish times.

I admit, we're pretty bad on discord. But moving on! How long have you been gaming? What’s the first game you remember playing and do you have any fond early memories of the hobby?

I've been gaming since I was very very young. My mom used to work at Toys R' Us my whole childhood, so the SNES in our living room pre-dated my existence. I know I used to play Putt Putt and Freddie the Fish on the old Apple '95, and flailing about on the SNES controls for the Lion King and the old TMNT titles (first cheat code ever I learned was to unlock all levels for TMNT 2 on the NES). My sixth birthday, my mom bought me an N64 with Smash Brothers, and my older brother a copy of GTA III before I was eight. We shared a room back then, so the all night shouts of 'Falcon Punch' and the GTA III radio stations were not uncommon in my house.

Tell us about your home life! The real-life job, spouse, kids, anything.

Ah, the home life! I am happily engaged to Tiffany (hi Ifan!), an IT Manager for a tech-start up. She is far more than I ever deserved, and she's a gamer too!

We're looking to get married next summer, but we've been living together for five years (since I was 21, imagine that) and I'm fairly certain she's the one. We don't have kids yet, and no pets for now. We live in a swanky part of North Raleigh, which is only worth mentioning since our rent is lower than when we lived in a really crappy part of Queens, New York. I'm a New Yorker for life, and will always fly home several times a year.

As far as work, I currently sell an Information and Network Security platform from the single largest Enterprise level InfoSec company in the world. I have literally no education in Network administration or security, and kind of fell into it as a career move - but I now work a territory of 22 states and pretty well compensated for my troubles.

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Tiffany, looking breathtaking, as I'm sure she always does!

Would you consider yourself to be more logical or more creative? Which do you prefer to see in other people?

I think everything should be approached with a "not too high, not too low mentality". I'm certainly more logical than emotional, but creativity is a whole different suite in my brain. I think the world has too many forms of logic floating around to want to see more of it - but creativity without logic is like vapor; formless. I like to see people who have elements of both sides of the spectrum in them, to fill a more complete picture.

Do you have hobbies outside of gaming? Anything that you're well known for?

Outside of gaming, I am an author. I have a full graphic novel that is undergoing the final art touches now before publication, and a feature length novel that is mostly finished. I have several other writing projects in the works with release dates TBD. I've also very recently fell in love with Tabletop RPGs, and am DM'ing my first campaign of Pathfinder Second Edition. I DM for a party of five, and they are having a blast so far- so I hope that means I'm doing it right!

That's awesome! Tell us about the novel!

I honestly can't say all that much - but the graphic novel is set in a high fantasy setting around a mythical hero who isn't quite immortal, more locked out of Heaven until his purpose is filled. And that purpose just may be stopping a race-war between vicious, continent conquering elves and manipulative back-stabbing humans! Rounded out with a side cast of two kick ass elvish twins, an archer very obviously based on my wife, and a few other travelers along the way - The Last Phoenix is the first graphic novel in a planned twelve.

The feature length novel is still cooking, so I can say less about that. There will be superheroes, and it already purchased for publication by a major publisher.

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A sneak peek at The Last Pheonix.

Speaking of superheros... you're a big fan of comic books, right? Who's your favorite superhero

Well, my gamertag kind of gives it away - I am a huge Batman fan. If you asked me which superhero I could be though? Probably a Green Lantern. Followed by a Kryptonian. Strangely followed by Spider-Man. The neighborhood Peter Parker is from (Forest Hills) isn't even three miles from where I grew up my whole life. In-fact, it was Watchmen that first ever inspired to me to write by asking the one simple question on the inside cover - "Who watches the Watchmen?". 12 year old Keith had his mind absolutely detonated by that question, and a writer was born.

And what about supervillains?

I've always loved the Joker for the core conceit that the most dangerous foe is the one you cannot predict. Evil incarnate has no plan and no goal, just the propagation of evil. On the other side of that coin, I've also always loved Magneto. I'm not even sure he's a villain at this point in continuity, but the idea of self-survival being put before the common good of all; and having that be painted as a super-villain has always made me a huge fan.

Dare I ask? Marvel or DC?

DC hands down no question. MCU movies are amazing, and I love them all (save for the Thor movies, even Ragnarok. Ugh). But DC's story-telling, and animated cartoons / movies / games are by far of a higher quality. Their stories just speak to me differently. I've always preferred the notion of a God amongst mortals (Superman, Wonder Woman) versus the mortal who becomes God-like (Captain America, Spider-Man). Also, if anybody ever tells you they like DC more and doesn't mention that Wonder Woman is one of the coolest characters ever written - they're wrong and they should feel bad.

Do you think comic books are becoming an outdated medium? Do you still read comics, or do they sit on a shelf?

Comics are certainly falling off the popularity cliff, which is a shame when you consider how important they are to pop-culture. It isn't all as doom-and-gloom as some media outlets put it, insofar as book sales, but it's definitely not where it was 20 years ago. I consume all of my comics digitally, and may or may not have allegedly torrented every new 52 comic, and every Spider-Man comic ever written. Ahem.

There are plenty of movies out there based on comic books. Do you have a favorite?

Pretty controversial question in my friend circle, since I loved Watchmen, Winter Soldier AND the Dark Knight. But I'd probably put Dark Knight Rises here - I'm a huge Tom Hardy fan and though I don't think the Bane he played was faithful to the Bane I read, his take on it still made me extremely happy. Also, I can imitate that voice pretty well so there's that.

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Who watches the Watchmen?

Do you ever feel like ideas are being "recycled"? Is originality something you look for in comics?

I think ideas will always be recycled, since effectively every story ever told is just pieces of other stories told previous. What makes something original, or unique, is the way in which you put those pieces together to tell a new version of those pieces. It's just like pizza, there are really only so many ingredients you can use to make a good pizza pie, the best pies in the world just put those pieces together differently than you or I, using different tools in a different order.

I'm not sure I default to comics for my fill of 'original' work, since we all love to read them for the power fantasy they provide. Sure, I want a new story and an awesome villain every arc, but realistically I want to see the hero succeed more than anything; and there are only so many ways Superman can punch his way out of a situation.

Do you feel that your own work is original? Or are there any materials that you borrowed from?

My work is certainly original insofar as I'm not borrowing from established IP. Sure, the concept of Fantasy is borrowed and informed by Tolkein and Jordan - and a lot of the overarching narrative is told through the prism of a cynical narrator (which in and of itself isn't original) - but the characters and the world they inhabit are of my own design.

In complete honesty, I have a line in all of my notebooks that all read the same - "Pervert the cliche'." So if I'm writing a damsel in distress, then I need to find a way to take that convention and flip it on its head - and not always in the way you'd expect. I find that it keeps my work surprising, even for me.

Is there anything within the writing process that you particularly struggle with?

Consistency, easy. I'm never out of ideas or ever out of desire to write. Just putting myself on a schedule and doing it is way harder than I ever anticipated. It's just like the gym, once you get into a habit - the habit stays. But getting there is a whole different beast entirely

I hope your graphic novel is a big hit! Back to talking about TA. You're on the walkthrough team! How long has it been now? Did you ever expect to become a manager?

I've been a TA Overseer since 2015, though allegedly I was accepted on the team during an earlier recruitment drive and was just passed over. I absolutely love what we do, and only wished that more people wanted to write guides. Before I was a manager, I was our 'AAA' guy, if the game was a huge release I typically oversaw the guide. I used to manage a Gamestop for 5 or 6 years, so my access to a gaming library was virtually limitless. Now with over 2500 titles at home, there aren't many games I can't touch to ensure that a guide is written accurately.

When Dang3R Gaming was promoted to management, I volunteered him my services in a more official capacity, since I knew he was swamped with his real-life schooling. Plus, being across the pond means we can stretch our coverage of TA affairs more evenly. With RadicalSniper99 as my other-half, he'll typically work the behind the scenes magic while I interface with the public. It's a good system we got!

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He could have certainly used a walkthrough for that chess game.

Why did you want to be on the walkthrough team as opposed to other teams on the site?

I used to lurk the TA WT boards for months and months in 2014 during a period of unemployment. I didn't have the patience to write the guides, but I really wanted to be involved. I didn't care for any of the other teams at that point - the guides were what had my eye. If I could do it all again, I'd try to edge my way into being a Mod. You guys have all the fun!

With three WT staff members with the mods already, it wouldn't be a surprise. But anyhow, does being a manager/staff member take away from gaming? Or do you still find the time to achievement hunt?

Not in the way you'd think. Maybe from a strictly time-based perspective, or if you're really afraid of spoilers. I find that being on staff helps me as a gamer, since it makes me aware of when guides are being submitted (so if a game I really want to play has a guide going up, I wouldn't otherwise know without looking) - or working off guides-in-progress.

You haven't written a full walkthrough, but if you were to take on the challenge, what game would you write one for?

So technically I have Batman: Arkham Asylum on my tag, as I was tasked with re-vamping it several years ago. I've re-constructed most of the first act and wrote it in a way that makes it legible and readable. I haven't started a guide from scratch though, and I'm not sure if I ever want to. Fact based writing and guide creation is a writing tool far beyond my prowess.

Have any advice for current/future walkthrough writers?

If you're not committed to writing the full guide, don't even start. Half-guides help nobody. That being said! Don't feel like you have to get it all done in 2 days. I find too many hopeful writers burning out when the initial thrill passes. Also, stay in contact with your overseer. Let them know if you need a break, most of them don't bite (save for Vitiated1, he may actually bite you).

Good advice! Especially the part about Vit! But moving back to the topic of TA. Why did you join the site? What piqued your interest in achievement hunting?

When I bought my first 360, it was a heavily mod'ed box that played burned discs. I hopped right into Madden NFL 06, popped the first achievement, and realized it didn't matter since nobody could see it. Threw down another 400 bucks the next day for a standard console, and the addiction was born.

Are you a hardcore achievement hunter, or do you play whatever you're in the mood for?

I don't think I qualify as a hardcore achievement hunter, since I lose my motivation for weeks on end at some points. I'll turn around and drop 15k in a night, and then not score for the next two weeks. I try to get through all the big titles I actively want to play, and will score like mad in the down-time between those releases. Of course, I fall to the ever-present curse of the backlog. I'm also juggling playing the PS4 and the Switch to not miss any of the big releases, something I am always failing at.

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Keith's gaming set up and Funko POPs for all to see.

Do you have a favorite game? A least favorite? What genres do you prefer?

I think The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the best game I ever played, but nothing will ever topple The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as my favorite game of all time. That Colovian Highlands jingle still makes me feel a waterfall of emotions, almost 13 years after I've first heard it. It was my first real foray into the RPG genre, and what a blast it's been.

I played Secret Service on the 360 once. I can't think of a more terribly awful experience than that. It should be burned and purged from the collective memory of all mankind.

I am a FPS man at heart, since Halo was the first real Franchise that I fell in love with. My reflexes aren't what they once were, and I've been hard on the MOBA (read, SMITE) bandwagon in recent years.

What do you enjoy most about video games? What do you enjoy most about TA?

As a story-teller, I enjoy narrative driven games the most. I find walking sims and TT games to be really self-indulgent and I shy away from those when possible. But a true great story wrapped around thrilling mechanics will always win my heart. I'd rather play Witcher level quality gameplay the rest of my life and never touch multiplayer again if that were an option - coming from someone who has spent tens of thousands of hours in online competitive multiplayer.

TA's attractiveness for me has shifted over the years. At first it was the stat aggregation. Then the community. Then the connections to friends I've made through here (such as yourself!). Now, it's just my online home. I couldn't imagine playing Xbox without the appropriate TA tab open.

Is there anything that you would like to see more of on the site? Walkthroughs, events, so on?

I love this community during big site-wide events. I personally love Leap Frog and UHH, and wouldn't mind seeing other contests of a similar theme pumped out more often. GTASC is great and all, but most of the community moves on from caring until the final 2 weeks.

Concerning the site, do you hold any impressive leaderboard positions or difficult completions?

I recently passed half a million gamerscore, that was pretty cool. And I had a streak last almost 4 years before I moved down to NC and let it die the night we moved. That still ranks up there amongst the longest streaks on site.

As far as completions, I was able to snag the Mile High Club achievement back before there were guides everywhere and everyone learned the exploits needed. I was the only guy in school that had it for awhile. Halo Reach LASO was a pain in the ass, but that's another feather in the cap. I'm also one of the few that can beat Through the Fire and Flames on Expert, though that isn't as exclusive as it once was.

What's the hardest achievement you've ever unlocked?

I still think beating the first Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on Sith Master difficulty is the 'hardest' thing I've ever pulled off.

Are there any specific types of achievements that you hate to hunt for?

Collectibles are the bane of my existence. I believe they have a place in games, and should always be a neat way for developers to tie in additional lore or concept art, or even just for the sake of themselves the way games used to have them in the N64 era. What shouldn't be attached to those are achievements. In very few cases does grabbing collectibles feel like a skill-based challenge where grabbing it feels like I've achieved something, and more-so I've just followed a good guide that reminds me to look in every small corner for audio files that I'm absolutely never going to listen too. Let's put our achievement-creating talent to better use than "collect 100 shards/collect 1000 mcguffins"

I wholeheartedly agree. Collectibles should give something to the game. While we're still talking about achievements, have you ever gone too much out of your way just to unlock one?

Oh god, the Cat's Call achievement in Injustice 2. I spent A YEAR AND A HALF grinding online towers waiting for RNG to bless me with that achievement. I grabbed some of the rarest gear in IJ2 (Staff of Grayson was a life-saver for online matchmaking), but sitting on netflix and tapping 'A' to burn through challenge after challenge, and tower after tower, from living in NY to living in NC, from working at Gamestop to working in Cyber-Securitiy... the only constant was that god damn catwoman achievement.

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Though his living conditions changed, his achievement hunting woes certainly did not...

Oof. Not the kind of constant you'd want to remember. With that story in mind, do you think games use achievements to their full potential?

Games absolutely do not use achievements to their full potential. Story related achievements are par for the course, and beating games at x difficulty are as well. Most games hide secret content that are not achievement related, and force you to go out of your way to alter your play style (use Shield Break 30 times to kill an enemy in Control) but won't reward finding the warden's secret office in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Let's reward secrets, and stop making players waste their time in an effort to pad out playtime. Games like Halo Wars strike a good balance, where each operation has side/bonus objectives that typically reward achievements, on top of the standard mission completion.

Would you say that achievement hunting has changed how you play games?

Achievement hunting as absolutely changed how I play games. I typically won't play games without walkthroughs, unless it's part of a franchise I love, and I don't play those for achievements anyway. Some games I've been on the fence about, I shamefully won't purchase if the achievements are too time-consuming. Since June, I've scaled back my scoring in favor of playing games that I just want to enjoy, and have found some happiness there. Of course, my score has barely moved, and that familiar itch to start burning through some achievements is calling.

Are there any achievements that you're working on right now?

I very recently went back to Halo Wars 2 bonus objectives and knocked out the last one I was missing. I have some DLC achievements to grab in that and Assassin's Creed to complete both of those. We're entering into the fall release window, and my gamefly queue keeps sending me new releases, so I'd like to get to Control and NBA2k this weekend to send them both back, and pray I can get to Borderlands 3 before Ghost Recon launches. I'm not sure I've paid full retail for a brand new release in several years, once you learn how to make Gamefly work for you - you'll never miss a big release ever again.

As I ask in most every interview, what are some things that irk you about gaming?

I've never understood why MOBA communities are so toxic. I play the ADC role in Smite at a near professional level ( or at least I did in Season 5, I've stepped away from the game for outside reasons), and never found it in my heart to BM someone who was actively trying to do well. Being new, or nervous isn't a bad thing - being the guy that ensures the new guy will never play again out of fear of your toxic rant is.

Also, Star Wars Battlefront II microtransactions at launch were hilarious. Purchasing Battlefield 4 and trying to play it at Launch was not. Funny how EA is the common thread here.

Let me ask a hypothetical question: If you had to choose between playing every game in the world but your favorite game, or playing only your favorite game and nothing else, which would you pick?

Option 2, every day of the week. Even if I hadn't completed Oblivion dozens of times, nothing can ever take away what that game means to me. So being able to experience thousands of other titles that have varying degrees of influence would always be preferable to the same experience that I know and love.

Do you think games are getting better or worse in quality?

Games get better every year. People who remember yesteryear fondly usually speak through rose-tinted glasses as far as how good the games they remember truly are. Nothing will ever replace the experience you may have had with a favorite old title, but to tell me that Shining Force is somehow a superior experience to XCom? You're outta your mind.

Games have certainly gotten easier though. I'm not sure I hate that the way some do, but it's definitely a thing. And then every game that wants to break the trend has to be a Souls-like. I wish we had more mid-tier games come out from big studios to break up the creative drought that is the current market. It's either AAA something you've played before, or Indie darling. There's no middle ground.

You said you enjoy games that are "thrilling". Are there any particular games that come to mind?

A thrilling story comes down to three key components for me, a "voice", strong characters and a memorable setting. Things like pacing and strong dialogue certainly help, but if your characters are bland or if the setting is forgettable - then there is no investment from the audience. I look at BioShock Infinite as an incredibly strong example of storytelling. Booker is both a strong protagonist and provides the 'voice' of the author, ushering the player into this immersive world via his own critical lens (which a player will happily adopt), as well as having the connective tissue to other strong characters. And of course, Columbia is one of the most memorable locales in all of gaming.

Beyond that, look at a game like the Witcher. Every character is fully realized, self-motivated and has some depth. The lowliest quest giver in the random part of White Orchard has their own ambition and desire, and the writing allows you to feel like a visitor in their life, a problem-solver. Not someone who validates the whole existence of that quest-giver by virtue of having a quest to give out. It's an incredibly slippery slope, double-so in gaming.

Let's talk about Halo for a second. It's not the kind of game you would think of for immersive story-telling. So what about it caught your eye?

Halo started as a passing fascination for a younger me, who was still up to his eyeballs in Star Wars. Getting older, having my older cousins and older brother school me day in and day out on the multiplayer scene gave me a drive to play Halo 2 non-stop. It wasn't until Halo 3 launched (and my subsequent purchase of the books) that I finally dove into Halo's lore. Then I ran through all of the campaigns dozens of times each, read the books until the bindings wore thin and became a fanatic. Halo is probably the reason I'm an Xbox gamer first, everything else second.

It's a damn good series. But with work keeping you busy, do you ever think you'll stop gaming for good?

I've found my play time has dwindled in the past two years, but I don't think I'll ever step away for good. If being a writer ends up paying my bills - I'll have all the time in the world to catch up on my backlog!

Do you foresee anything special in the future for gaming?

Streaming-based platforms are going to completely revolutionize the way we game. Wait until you're stuck between meetings at your desk, and you whip out your phone to continue playing through the campaign of your favorite RPG - instead of just fantasizing about going home early. Stadia is a promising first step, but if xCloud can deliver they way they expect, the whole industry's about to flip.

And what about you? Any special goals that you have for yourself?

I won't stop until I hit a million gamerscore, that's something I know for a fact will happen. I'm also just looking to experience all the great titles that have released, so I've made a backlog list with my fiance' that I am bound too. Up next is Halo Wars 2, once I finish Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PS4. Having that kind of structure makes me feel good.

As per usual, it's been great talking to you. As we wrap up the interview, are there any shout-outs you want to give to the community?

Only a handful - obviously everyone I've mentioned in this interview are good friends of mine. I also want to shout out BlitzDemon28, who is my best friend in the world by day, and an NYPD officer by night. I could not have asked for a better companion.

I want to shout out Chubbz89, T0rnstar and R4geDealer, who are my Smite fireteam (and real life fire-team as well).

I'm not going to throw up Tiffany's Gamertag here, but she has my eternal love and shout-out ability.

And to my older brother Cory, (PoppaBuns) who re-found his love for gaming this year, and has been my co-op partner through many an adventure.

Thank you Nicole, and shout out to you! You have to edit this whole mess. smile

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Keith, signing off with his brother, Cory.

Posted by NicoleRenee00 on 21 September 19 at 20:36 | Last edited on 21 September 19 at 22:44 | There are 6 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkFeatured Community Interview - winginor
Please note that these interviews are unofficial, and therefore do not reflect the staff or site in any way. The opinions stated belong only to the interviewee.
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For those of you who noticed the slight change to the title, I've decided to add something new to the blog. As a few people have mentioned previously, not every person, even those who achieve something great, will put themselves down for an interview. So starting today, I'll be adding featured interviews to the blog to combat this.

Featured interviews are interviews which revolve around a user who is currently doing something special in the community. Whether it be an impressive milestone, a first place position in a competition, or an admirable accomplishment outside of gaming. Unlike other interviews, these users won't necessarily suggest themselves (though they can if they'd like). Instead, I will contact them myself, in hopes of showcasing their achievement in an interview.

A few other things to know about featured interviews:
-Because they are based on accomplishments and not accounts, one user can have multiple interviews.
-There is no limit on interviewees. Multiple users/groups to be interviewed together, such as developers or teams.
-The content of featured interviews may vary, but will still include generic questions as with most interviews.
-The amount of featured interviews per month will also vary, simply based on what I can find.
-As per usual, anyone can suggest or apply for a featured interview as well.

And that's all there is to it! As always, if you have any suggestions or comments to improve the idea, let me know! This week's featured interview goes to winginor, after hitting his 10 year achievement streak!

Current Interviewee: winginor
Previous Interview: Priinz 31er
To Apply for an Interview: See here

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Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours. Does your gamerpic also have a purpose?

I'm a big fan a fantasy novels and at the time I was reading "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan, one of my favorite all time series. I still hope it gets a good game or even TV series at some point.

One of the bigger bad guys, the corrupted or lost, I don't know what they are called in English, was named aginor. I somehow liked that character and named some of my accounts after it. For Xbox that one was already taken so I tried a few other things. One of the English words I really liked was wing as it reminded me of Final Fantasy VII with Sepiroth as One-Winged-Angel and some other characters like Deathwing and others. So I ended up with winginor as a combination of wing and part of aginor.

My gamerpic is a simple picture of my previous avatar that was somehow reset the last time I downloaded my profile on the 360.

Describe yourself in just a few words. How do you think the rest of TA knows you?

I'm a bit of a nerdy IT guy that likes to do a lot of sports and gaming. On TA, I'm probably mostly known because of my streak which has gotten quite insane by now. I was also quite high up in the RPG leaderboards and still am at the top for my country for completed RPGs.

How long have you been gaming? What’s the first game you remember playing and do you have any fond early memories of gaming in general?

I have been gaming for almost as far as I can think back. I had friends with Amiga and C64 computers. Still remember that I really liked Giana Sisters back then. When they started a fundraiser on Kickstarter for a sequel, I sent them quite a bit of money to help with the funding, as this brought back childhood memories.

I'm not sure if it was before or after that, but on weekends my father sometimes took me with him to his workplace where I could play some kind of an early space invaders game. It only was two colors and everything was only ASCII symbols but it was quite fun.

A little later we had a 3/86 computer and I played Lemmings and Monkey Island together with my father, and also sometimes Civilization which I was not able to understand at that time and built all the cities next to each other. Years later I completed that saved game with a friend which was quite interesting as it was a bit tricky.

It's pretty awesome that you completed your save from so long ago! And it's nice to hear that your father helped to foster your interest in gaming. Personal life next. Hometown or state, spouse and kids, any pets?

I'm single, no kids or pets, and I'm also someone who is not comfortable with having people around me all the time. I guess to each their own, but work, sports, gaming and friends keep me quite occupied. I live in Germany in the city of Hanover which was quite well known around the world till some time ago for the worlds biggest IT fair CEBIT.

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Hanover, Germany

And your job? Any accomplishments outside of gaming?

I'm working as a software developer, so quite a perfect fit for someone nerdy. For everyone around me, it was quite obvious already early in school that I would be studying IT at some point, even if my chemistry teacher almost changed that due to how interesting she made that class.

So that would be one of my biggest accomplishments; finishing my studies of Business-IT with a diploma and already having my job before I was done. Also, as I play lots of sports, I was quite proud winning a few Badminton tournaments in the lower classes and finishing a season without any losses. And have been doing weight lifting for some time now and was quite proud when I was able to lift 100kg in bench pressing the first time, even if it isn't incredibly much.

Sports and IT is an interesting combination. So, back to gaming. Do you remember your first Xbox game? What piqued your interest in achievement hunting?

My first games on XBOX were Kameo and Enchanted arms. Was primary looking for RPGs for my PS2 and my local dealer had a cheap used XBOX and said Enchanted Arms could be interesting for me. I got hooked pretty fast as I really like statistics and having my achievements displayed on my account was something that really got me.

I was playing some long RPGs before that like Rogue Galaxy, Star Ocean and Persona before, and often tried to max them out in some way. Having a kind of proof of my work on my profile was a really cool thing. It's also a real nice way to look back at the games when going through my profile. It's like going through some old gaming magazines which I also sometimes like to do.

You've mentioned your love for RPGs and Strategy games already, but you have a favorite game? A least favorite?

My favorite game probably is Final Fantasy 7. Still have so many childhood memories with it, as it was really special at the time it came out and I got a PS for Christmas and played it all the time over the Christmas days. I really wasn't sure if I should play it again after it came out on Xbox as parts of it are pretty outdated and I didn't want to harm my nice memories of it.

But anyways I had quite some fun playing it again and with the boosters especially the one to speed up everything it was really nice to play. For real Xbox games I would say Dark Souls, as it was really special. Stayed away from it way too long as everyone said it would be so hard. But I was getting through quite smoothly and it is kind of a perfect game in many aspects as it has the simplicity I really like in games and is always fair and not so random as many other games. That every enemy could easily kill you and you had to try to always fight enemies one-on-one made it real special, also compared to the newer parts of the series. It also has the most interesting learning curve that I ever experienced in a game, as after playing the game for some time I could really see that I made progress with my skills there.

For least favorite I don't have anything special. As I said, I even enjoy bad games as from a programmers perspective. But a few did annoy me with random achievements that were totally random or even buggy. For example, Flowers where the score achievement simply never unlocked because of some bug, or Skyler and Plux where I have played through most of the game a few times and a puzzle was almost always bugged and prevented from progressing any further. I think such developers are a shame when they even refuse to correct their game-breaking bugs.

What do you enjoy most about video games? Are you excited for any upcoming releases?

I mostly enjoy simple game concepts that get me hooked in any way. Gems of War, for example, is one of those simple games I still enjoy and play quite often. The gem matching is almost as simple as it can get, but there is so much more behind the game that you can do and collect that it stays fun. Also that the developers still add content all the time is pretty fun.

I'm not really excited for any new releases, as I normally don't find the time to play anything directly after release. So I tend to wait till the games get cheaper, as it doesn't make much sense buying things new and let them lie around for months before playing. There is only one exception, which is when an new Final Fantasy comes out. I tend to buy that directly.

I'm also looking forward to the release of Final Fantasy 8, as that was a great one and I really enjoyed back then. And really hope they will bring Parasite Eve and Secret of Mana, and maybe even Fallout 1&2, Lands of Lore and Might and Magic at some point as well, as these were some real childhood highlights for me. Especially Secret of Mana. It was incredibly fun as it was the first RPG on SNES that could be played with 2 friends.

I'd love to see more RPGs as well! But back to the discussion. You mentioned in the article that you enjoy playing "bad" games because you can see them from a developer's perspective. What do you think developers struggle with the most?

I think developers often want to do way too much and make things overly complicated, ruining otherwise good games.

For example, I really liked Assassins Creed, but at some point they added bombs that you could compose and throw and so much other stuff that it got to over complicated, in my opinion, to play for a short time after work and make any progress. Also, if you wanted to run away on the streets, every time you came near a wall the character tried to run up or against the wall and such things where the same button is used for different actions. Also using the same button for too many things sometimes really goes on my nerves. If "A" is used for picking something up and a a character runs into your view and you start a conversation every time instead of picking up your item, it really isn't fun.

With the amount of time I have, I often tend to enjoy a simple 2d Jump-and-Run after work and sports in the evening way more than an triple A title.

With your interest in the programming side of gaming, would you ever design your own video game?

I have done a few smaller games already. I started back in school where IT was an optional course and we could learn the programming language, Pascal. I programmed variants of snake/nibbles and breakout back then which was quite interesting. Especially breakout with the collision controls, and basic physics was something I had to think about a lot.

Later when studying, I programmed a Mahjong game as part of a programming project. At the start it was 2d but I added some pseudo 3d to it later and was quite proud when a company gave me some money to put it on a merchandise CD at the time. I also had it available as a JAVA applet on the internet for several years, but when I recently checked the web space provider seems to not exist anymore.

Later I had some ideas and concepts for a small Jump-and-Run that I started working on but had some problems with calculating the physics. It unfortunately ended after I began working as a software developer. The furthest thing I got after that was installing the development environment on my PC, but couldn't motivate myself to do more programming after doing that all day on my job. It's also a lot of work, especially if you aren't or don't have a good artist for the graphics.

With all the engines available today it would probably be way easier to get something done, but for the moment, I don't feel the urge to really do something in that direction while I can use my free time for a bit of gaming myself. So unless I lose my job at any point or retire from work, I probably won't be working on games myself.

It's still pretty cool that you've already programmed some things yourself. You mentioned that you're not a fan of over-complicating games. But is there anything else that irks you about gaming?

As previously mentioned, I really dislike game breaking bugs and developers not willing to fix them.
Buggy and unobtainable achievements are also something that sometimes goes on my nerves. And of course, the random nonsense where developers seem to think it's fun doing something a hundred or thousand times for a small chance to get a cheevo.

Other things are games that could have been really great but were ruined by the developers due to poor controls, over complicated mechanics, or other bad aspects that can make an otherwise real good game no fun at all.

With all of this in mind, do you think there are more good games then bad in the world?

On consoles, I would say definitely more good games, as developing for console is more expensive and so we don't get too many bad games as on PC. But with the latest changes and porting getting easier and cheaper we tend to get more bad games than previously. But I would still say we have far more good ones.

As many already know, you have the longest-running achievement streak on TA. A full 10 years of unlocking an achievement every day. It's a really cool feat! Have you been working on any other goals on the site?

Aside from the streak, I don't have really specific goals. I try to see and complete many games and keep my position on the leaderboards. Especially on the RPG leaderboards. I would like to go up again a bit but these often take way too much time and there are some insane guys playing even the JP only versions and who seem to have much more time for gaming.

So I keep my gaming in a way that I can enjoy it almost all the time, as for me, it's something to look forward to after work and sports. That's also the reason I normally prefer easier games where I can make some progress with the time I have available.

It was kind of interesting at the start, as I mostly used Xbox Voice for tracking. Didn't sign up for TA that early as I thought it would be mainly for multiplayer and, as an RPG fan, I more often prefer single player games than to multiplayer games.

Do you think your streak will eventually fail? What will you do if it does?

Looking back, I was already amazed that I didn't end up in hospital again for longer than a day during all that time and never got really ill. It wasn't too hard to keep it up till now with having prepared cheevos that can be unlocked within some minutes.

If it ever fails, I would probably start over. As I said earlier, doing things regularly is kind of a trick for me to keep things going. Also thought of switching back to PS as they have way more RPGs, but I would also miss my friends on Xbox and would probably miss the GS constantly going up.

Your streak requires you to pop at least one achievement every day. Does this affect how you play games? Do you ever feel like you're missing out on content because you need an achievement? Or do you still play every game to the end?

I often feel that it does, as I would like to play all of the RPGs, but since I started working, I simply don't have enough time. On the other hand, if I really like a game, I tend to play it through even if I have all achievements.

I still continue to play Gems of War and Idle Champions regularly despite having all achievements.

Do you have any tips for other people looking to keep up their own streaks? Any advice that you wish you would have known before you began?

I would say if you have the possibility to stay up long enough, try to do the achievement shortly after midnight. In case anything happens. Then there are 48 hours till the next achievement necessary. I've already experienced a few outages of Xbox live where logging in wasn't possible for some time, and was happy already having the achievement for the day. Also, it's quite a good sign for MS as it also means their service has never been out for more than a day within the last 10 years which is something, especially compared to PS Network.

It was also really interesting reading what others have done to keep their streaks alive in comments under the recent article about my streak. It has also gotten way easier with Windows Phone, Win 10 and being able to use phones as a hotspot for the Xbox. I had to use the hotspot variant myself during some vacations. I took my Xbox with me when having no other internet connection and it works better than I would have expected.

I appreciate you taking the time for this interview during your vacation! And once again, congrats on the feat! Are there any shout-outs you'd like to give as we wrap it up?

I would like to thank all the nice and helpful people I have met throughout my time on XBOX live and TA. Especially III Torpedo III and sachsenhusky who are real good friends.

Posted by NicoleRenee00 on 26 August 19 at 03:43 | There are 3 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkCommunity Interview - Priinz 31er
Please note that these interviews are unofficial, and therefore do not reflect the staff or site in any way. The opinions stated belong only to the interviewee.
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Current Interviewee: Priinz 31er
Previous Interview: x Mataeus x
To Apply for an Interview: See here

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Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours. Does your gamerpic mean anything to you as well?

Yesh! i always use anime gamerpics because anime is a big part in my life. The Gamertag is a funny story: me and my friends wanted to name ourselves Priinz but i didn't know what exactly to pick. So he called me a 31er which kinda means you're a rat or traitor. So I thought it would be funny to name myself this way, haha.

Hopefully it was all in good fun! Continuing on: describe yourself in a few words. How do you think the rest of TA knows you?

Hmm... i would say I'm a pretty nice guy who tries to be friends with everyone but I'm also a person with a dark humor, who thinks some memes and jokes are funny that others would probably not like. Which is why I "try", haha.

You seem nice to far! So, how long have you been gaming? What’s the first game you remember playing and do you have any fond early memories of the hobby?

I think started gaming when I was like 5 years old. I cant remember at all what my first game was but one of the first ones I think was Mario on the Gameboy Color.

Mario is a classic. Let's hear about your home life next. Hometown or state, spouse and kids, any pets?

I lived in Klagenfurt, a big city in my country but I moved to a smaller town because I started living on my own and my work place is near me, so that's good too. And nope no gf and no kids (I'm too young for kids anyways haha).

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Klagenfurt, Austria

Moving out is always a hassle. But how is your work? Do you have any hobbies or accomplishments related to what you do?

My job is being a caregiver. I've been taking care of older people for almost 2 years now. My main hobbies are gaming and watching anime, but I also enjoy doing thing other people my age do like going to festivals and such. No real accomplishments as of now.

You mentioned festivals. Any that stand out?

Yeah, I'd like to visit Electric Love next year which is a pretty big event in Austria. I also really would like to go to Defqon1 since I'm also really into hardstyle.

You said you don't have many accomplishments yet. But is there anything in your life that you would like to accomplish? A dream job or something like that?

Well i would like to start working full time because I'm working part time currently. I would like to own a nice house and a nice car that I would drive around in daily.

Sounds like good goals! You also mentioned anime being a second hobby of yours. Name some favorites!

Some of my favorites are Steins;Gate, Made In Abyss, Kimi no na wa, Monogatari, Re;zero and many more. When it comes to anime, I could talk the whole day about it.

If you had to pick your favorite anime character, who would it be and why?

Probably Hikkigaya Hachiman from OreGairu because he just really sees how things are and doesn't try to see everything in a way brighter light, and I can relate to him on many levels.

Is there a particular reason as to why you like anime? Nostalgia, maybe?

When I was 13, I played Call of Duty with someone and he had an anime profile pic. He was talking about anime and that I really should try it. After a few days, I saw that the whole Elfenlied anime was uploaded to Youtube so I watched it, and then anime pretty much took over my life.

Do you watch anime with subtitles, or with dubbed voices? Is it a big deal to you or not at all?

Always sub and yes, it is. Because it just sounds so much more natural to me. I also don't like the English or German voices most of the time which is a minus.

Would you say that anime gets a bad rap sometimes? Do you think it's deserved?

Depends depends. Some people call it cartoons for children, some call it tentacle hentai.

In short, yes. I do think that many don't really know much about anime and then join the ones who don't know either, haha.

Have you ever watched an anime that you didn't enjoy?

Yes. I've watched over 1000 anime, so I've also watched some pretty bad ones, and actually also finished most of them because I don't like starting something and then not finishing it.

There's a pretty wide range of shows and genres in the world. What would you say makes a particular anime stand out? The plot or the characters? The design?

A bit of everything; the characters are important but so is design, plot, art-style and animation.
But it also comes down to the person. Some love Tatami Galaxy, but I really dislike the art-style. But that's just me and my taste in anime.

Have you played any games that were based off of anime? Were they good or bad?

On Xbox, just the Naruto games and Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet. The Naruto Storm games are nice, fun fighting games and also offer some story if you didn't watch the anime. SAO FB was surprisingly a nice, addicting loot shooter that I liked more than other loot shooters like the Division.

We've talked quite a bit about anime, but how about manga?

Yes, I also do read manga, however, not as much as anime. So any recommendations are always appreciated!

Back to gaming. What do you enjoy the most about TA?

The people, who all have the same hobby and enjoy hunting achievements. And the site in general, because I can check all my stats with ease.

What piqued your interest in achievement hunting? How long have you been on the site?

If I like something, I really want to collect a lot of it. I started getting more achievements and it really took me in. And so now I'm here and collect as much as I can. I've been on the site for 5 years now but that not really much compared to other people.

Do you intend to stay on the site for a long time?

Yes, for as long as it stays up (forever lets hope).

Would you ever change consoles or accounts in the future?

Nope. Xbox is pretty much my family. I would like to play some games on other consoles but I'm never going to switch from the console I used for over 10 years.

Do you have a particular genre that you enjoy? Any favorite games?

I like all genres to be honest. My favorite genre is probably role playing, even though I almost never play them because of the time investment. And my favorite game that I still play is probably Rainbow Six Siege.

And what about a least favorite game?

I would say a big thing for me was Wildlands. I really thought its gonna be a nice, big, and fun game with a good story, but it was just a empty map with repetitive missions.

Do you have any long-standing goals on the site? Any accomplishments so far?

Yes, I really want to get to at least 80 percent completion because I have so many games that I still haven't played.

Considering that you're working on your completion percentage, are there any games you've had to pass up out of fear that you wouldn't be able to complete them?

Not really actually, since my percentage is pretty low. If I had 90 percent, I would probably skip some games to be honest because I'm not the best gamer. Some hard games will be impossible for me.

Are there any games on your tag that you haven't/couldn't complete?

Way too many. I wish I could complete some of the longer games like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim, but I sadly don't have enough time to play games that take longer than 40 hours.

You mentioned mechanics. Do you think that developers use video game mechanics to their full potential? Or do you think they miss a lot of opportunities?

Yep, most don't do the games justice. But I can kind of understand it because they surely don't want to copy and paste other games. And in the end, it's money. And if games still sell well even though they have bad mechanics, then they have no real reason to change anything.

Is there anything that irks you about gaming? Achievements, industry news, microtransactions, so on?

Microtransactions are only bad, in my opinion, if its more than just cosmetics. Also, achievements kind of changed how I play and see some games. Which is pretty normal for most of us, I think.

What do you enjoy most about video games? Are you excited for any upcoming releases?

That you can dive into another world and enjoy many different stories and gameplay mechanics. I do look forward to many games like Code Vein, Doom Eternal, Cyperpunk and many more.

It's been great talking to you! As usual, we're ending the interview with shout-outs. Any you'd like to give?

Yes, I'd like to thank you for doing all those interesting interviews. toast

Posted by NicoleRenee00 on 23 August 19 at 19:30 | There are 4 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkCommunity Interview - x Mataeus x
Please note that these interviews are unofficial, and therefore do not reflect the staff or site in any way. The opinions stated belong only to the interviewee.
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Current Interviewee: x Mataeus x
Previous Interview: ManicMetalhead
To Apply for an Interview: See here

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Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours. Does your gamerpic mean anything to you as well?

Way back in 2005, I was playing Outrun and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory on Xbox Live at a friend's house. We both shared the same first name, Mat, and originally he called himself Mateus on various online forums and the like. I don't know why. However, for reasons unknown colleagues at my various day jobs have always called me Mateus when shouting me from across the room, or in a playful way to get my attention. Again, I don't know why!

So anyway, when it came to hooking his Xbox to Live to play the aforementioned (awesome) games, he randomly called himself Dakkaboom, as one does. Apparently this represents the machine gun fire and bomb-dropping of WWII games, neither of which Outrun or Splinter Cell represent. So I thought “I'll have that other name then”.

When upgrading to Xbox 360, I added in the 'a' just for fun and created a permanent profile for myself, as I now had Xbox Live at home. But disaster struck! When updating the profile to be an online one, I lost connection midway through the process. Afterwards, it wouldn't let me sign into the profile because it said the information I'd entered was incorrect, and it wouldn't let me recreate it because the gamertag already existed. I know it bloody did! It was mine! So I played it offline for a year, then in 2007 I started afresh with x Mataeus x and have never looked back... Although there are still achievements in GRAW and PGR 3 that I had on my <2007 profile that I still haven't gone back and unlocked again some twelve years later. Shame on me.

As for the gamerpic, well it's something deeply important to my childhood: The Last Ninja. A superb trilogy of C64 games that really pushed the boundaries of musicianship, gameplay and graphics back in the late eighties, early nineties. I also have it printed on a T-shirt, which was a present from my brother (Brandi 13 – add him!)

So now I get to walk around with a T-Shirt with an exact replica of my gamerpic on it, which is pretty cool. Not wearing here though. Obviously.

Quite the story! It's interesting to think that we might have known you as Mateus instead.

Describe yourself in just a few words. How do you think the rest of TA knows you?

This requires two very different answers, and I'm going to do them in reverse.

I think the people who know me on TA see me as someone who is a little grumpy, and only really steps into conversations to complain. Very opinionated and slightly argumentative. A bit of a Marmite character, depending on how I conduct myself at any given time.

Here's the thing though: It is just an online persona. I play devil's advocate, to stimulate conversation. I know I occasionally come across as a provocateur and I know I can be blunt. I also swear too much.

But that's not the real world me, for the most part. I'm a fiercely loyal, unwaveringly honest person, even when it's to my own detriment. I love kindness, whether it's buying a sandwich and a hot drink for a homeless guy or just holding the hand of my lovely partner as she steps off the bus.

I know those two personalities contradict themselves and make me sound hypocritical, but I'm a bit of a weird guy. I just think, be kind to everyone you can, but stand up for your beliefs. I try to balance those things as best I can. There's a line in Scarface: “I have two things in this life: My word, and my balls. I don't break 'em for nobody”. But, y'know, with kindness and love instead of a mountain of drugs and firearms.

How long have you been gaming? What’s the first game you remember playing and do you have any fond early memories of the hobby?

Since about 1987. I had a friend in primary school called Dean, and he owned a Commodore 64. I had another friend called Craig, and his personal computer of choice with the Sinclair Spectrum +2, with the built in cassette deck. The C64 ended up being my first ever computer, and to this day it's my favourite piece of technology of all time. The way programmers used to use it to eke out extra memory and functionality was genius! I remember indie developers back in the day using the cassette deck buffer as extra RAM, where they would store temporary files between playing and loading, to create a more seamless experience.

Some incredible software was published on it, including the Gold Box AD&D RPG series: Hundreds of hours of role-playing across huge environments, all running on a machine with 64kb of RAM, and a CPU that ran at 1mghz.

My brother and I made awesome memories playing games like Dizzy, Target: Renegade, The Great Escape, Trapdoor... Great times.

Sadly, I'm not sure I do remember my first game. It was probably an arcade game in a seaside amusement arcade. I do remember playing Operation Wolf in the arcades, which would have been 1987.

You mentioned your C64 in the previous question. Are you passionate about technology? Would you ever work in the field of IT? Have you ever built your own piece of technology?

No I'm not. I like technology as much as how I can use it to improve my every day life, and how it helps me realise my hobbies and passions. Technology is everywhere, whether it's a pencil or a microchip. But I don't live for it. Quite the opposite in fact - I long for a simpler life.

I have worked in IT many times, including as an assistant systems manager for the NHS. My last IT job was programming Android terminals - forty at a time!

If I could change one piece of technology, do you know what I'd do? Un-invent the internet. No, seriously. I genuinely would. The excitement of midnight launches, going shopping on release day and reading the manual for your new game as you go home on the bus. Counting down the days until the release of the latest album from your favourite band. Buying magazines to read reviews. The smell of news books. Having to meet people to swap games and borrow films.

No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram - real contact with real people.

I'd give up the internet to bring that back to the first world any day of the week.

That's pretty deep. So if you're not into technology, do you have different hobbies to keep you busy? Anything that you're well known for?

Yeah, loads! I love to write, usually articles and reviews but I have story ideas up my sleeve too. I love reading all kinds of fiction, from Terry Pratchett to Sophie Hannah. I also have one of the largest collections of Fighting Fantasy books in the country, and used to run The Unofficial Fighting Fantasy Forum (under the handle Master Chief of all things). I'm a musician, so I get carried away creating all kinds of weird tapestries on my guitars. Ad-libbing on the fly, just seeing what comes out is a real thrill for me, lost in my own mind, playing until I'm sweating like a pig. Such a lovely image!

My other half and I love getting out and about, whether it's camping in a tent in the middle of a valley or exploring the beaches of Morocco. It doesn't matter if it's a trip to the seaside or an excursion abroad, we always have the best time.

You mentioned that you enjoy reading. Do you have any recommendations? What's your favorite book that inspired (or was inspired by) a video game?

Absolutely! Any of the Sophie Hannah crime novels are great to get engrossed in, if you want to get into whodunnits with a plot you can't predict. The very first one, Little Face, is a bit ropey but the rest are superb. If you're into sci-fi, I can't recommend Peter F Hamilton enough. His Night's Dawn trilogy is exceptional work, but at 1,200 pages per book it's hardly light reading! Everything is in there though, from the smallest human detail to the grandest depictions of space opera. If you're British and have a dark sense of humour, the seven World According to Clarkson books are superb.

As for books based on games, I own several Halo and Assassin's Creed novels. Halo: The Fall of Reach is an awesome read.

And for music, do you prefer a certain genre? Have you played a live show, or have any intentions to?

I have an eclectic taste, but I'm not a genre man - same with films. I enjoy well crafted, talented productions when it comes to both, regardless of where it gets pigeonholed. Because of that, it's much easier to list my favourite music artists:

Iron Maiden, Disturbed, Cradle of Filth, Marilyn Manson, The Cult, Tori Amos, Bjork, Sia, Bat for Lashes, Florence + The Machine, Sisters of Mercy. Many others too, but they're who I mostly listen to.

As for playing music, I've played live a couple of times, first time at college, and I sessioned on an album that was pressed on vinyl a number of years ago. Now though, I mostly just create for myself. It's hard to get people interested when you're lost for hours in your own world!

Speaking of getting lost in worlds, do you have a favourite game? A least favourite? What genres do you prefer?

I don't have one particular favourite across all genres, but Final Fantasy IX, Riven: The Sequel to Myst, Tomb Raider (1995), Magicland Dizzy, Fallout 2, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Broken Sword and Deus Ex are all right up there.

Least favourite is easy: Call of Duty. Any of 'em. They do nothing for me. As for genres, I would say RPG, strategy / management, racing and platforming in that order.

What do you enjoy most about video games? What do you enjoy most about TA?

As much as I adore chasing high scores in, say, pinball, I love being lost in another world. Seriously man, just plug me into the Matrix and let me go! I get so absorbed in good games. Morrowind was probably the first time I truly found myself living another life in another world. About 500 hours on Xbox, and many more on PC. Every time there's a new Elder Scrolls or Fallout title, that's it, I'm gone for the next three straight months.

It doesn't matter if it's open world, something more self-contained like My Time at Portia, something linear such as Prince of Persia SoT... As long as I get engrossed in either the world, the character or the stories being told, they are my favourite moments. Absolutely.

With TrueAchievements, I enjoy being able to see how my gaming stacks up against the rest of the world. Not necessarily leaderboards, but being able to follow other people's guides and contribute my own is a big plus.

If you had to pick one game that had the most immersive world, what would it be?

Morrowind. No question. Deus Ex would be a close second, then probably Fallout 4 to be honest.

In your bio here on TA, you mentioned your love for indie titles. Do you have a favorite indie game specifically? What, in your opinion, makes indie games great?

Jeez, that's tough! Again with the genres thing, there's such a multitude of games and styles across so many platforms... If we're sticking to the Xbox One, then I'm probably going to say Stardew Valley. But there are some fantastic ID@Xbox titles: My Time at Portia, Fell Seal, and the amazing experience that is Elite Dangerous. I've been playing a community game too, Siralim 3, which is like Pokemon from a very, very small dev team where most of the work is done by one guy. No cheevs, but it's really great if you're into that kind of thing.

As for what makes indie games great, Well, my missus just said of this question: "Nothing. You have to rifle through twenty tons of shit to find something decent". She's being lighthearted of course, but surprisingly, that seems to be a lot of people's attitude on TA as well. I always see folks commenting on sales, for example, saying things like "Same old ID@Xbox trash". I guess non-AAA production just turns some people off.

For me, the great thing about indie games is the lack of any real filter between the developer's vision and the end result. There's no shoehorning in of microtransactions, no publisher to satisfy. Of course, this can lead to absolute garbage and it occasionally does, especially on Steam, a non-curated storefront which sees the launch of 12 new games a day on average. But there are some outstanding experiences out there that big publishers just wouldn't touch: The Turing Test and What remains of Edith Finch, for example.

What do you think all game companies (both indie and AAA) seem to struggle with during development? (ex: most games suffer from bugs, or something along those lines)

Announcing too early. Historically, Bethesda are the only company which don't do this, with the exception of that one teaser screen for TES VI. AAA companies tend to announce then push people into crunch, which is a bullshit situation in the first place, and indies tend to get over-excited and announce stuff which doesn't materialise for years.

In your opinion, what makes a developer "good"?

Doing something they believe in and want to do and not compromising their vision. OK, sometimes content will have to be cut because of feature creep or time and technology restraints, but that's a whole different thing from bowing to publisher demands or unfairly monetising their game. When I look at the studio which calls itself Bioware today, it's not the same passionate team of individuals which created the brilliant Baldur's Gate titles. It's not even the same as when they were making Mass Effect 1 or DA: Origins. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry that dozens of people would choose the simpler road of acquiescing to an overbearing publisher and creating Anthem, which is not something that allows Bioware to build upon their heritage and experience at all, instead of taking charge and saying “You know what? I'm out of here. This isn't what we do; what I do”.

You can argue, well, mortgage to pay, kids to feed... But you have to be true to yourself. Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down. The greatest risk in life is the risk of doing nothing.

Do you think that AAA titles are more successful than indie titles? Should they be?

Speaking in terms of sales and income, yes, of course they are. It's not even debatable. People love things which they can show off: Huge choreographed set pieces, amazingly detailed graphics and fantastically memorable scores. They want to be awestruck.

It's the same reason why huge blockbuster movies are always expensive, action-focussed spectacles shown in IMax and 4DX. Occasionally a story-based biopic will come and steal the show, yes, but for the most part the cinema is built for spectacle.

Consoles and PC accessories are built the same way: For blockbuster entertainment. But every so often, a Stardew Valley comes along and captures the minds of people beset on all sides by the Halos and Gears and Forzas.

I fucking love indie games. Always have. I own about 150 XBLIGs on the 360 – they don't even come with achievements or anything, just little passion projects that won me over enough to support them. If you feel the same way, consider joining my Xbox Club: Fanatical About Indies.

Back to TA, do you have any interest in climbing the ranks? Or do you have other goals in mind?

Not really! I'm number 1 in Xbox One Pinball Games in England, and I haven't even played Pinball Arcade or Zaccaria Pinball, so I suppose that's an accomplishment. My only goals are to write reviews, walkthroughs and guides to the best of my ability.

Share your biggest accomplishments on the site! Do you hold any impressive leaderboard positions? Any difficult completions?

Apart from the aforementioned #1 leaderboard placement, the completions I'm most pleased with are N+, Trials HD, Elex, Bike Mayhem 2, Nine Parchments, Sacred 2 and American Fugitive. Not particularly difficult, just one's I was happy with completing.

What's something that irks you about gaming? It can be a game mechanic, developers, industry news, anything.

Obviously loot boxes, disguised gambling, etc etc. Let's take them as red. Apart from that, one thing that really bugs me a lot is timed events. They don't have to be achievement related, I'm just a big believer in owning what you buy, so when developers decide that one weekend they're going to do some sort of special event in a game that's lost forever afterwards, well they can fuck right off with that shit.

You've recently written some really amazing walkthroughs. Care to talk about the experience or the games?

Thank you for your kind words! A few years ago, on the XBLIG marketplace on the 360, a really great RPG Maker game cropped up called Doom & Destiny. I loved the humour, the world, the setting, and played it through to it's completion. When the devs released it on Steam and then made a sequel, I dived straight in. So when they announced it was going to be released for Xbox One, I knew I had to be the first to complete it and write the walkthrough for it. I contacted the developers, they gave me a key, and I went to work, completing the game three more times: Once for my initial playthrough, then again when writing the walkthrough and again when testing it. I wrote the walkthrough in Open Office, and it came to 53 pages of A4 without the TA specific bits added in, or the post-edits I made based on user feedback. It took me bloody ages! I had to stitch maps together in MS Paint, create spreadsheets and tables and all kinds of stuff. When I'd scoured the world for every bit of data – I wanted to do a full strategy guide, and not just an achievement run through – I had to decide the most efficient order to do things in.

I didn't get everything right first time, and there's still one issue with it: There's a spell available (the game calls them 'powers') right at the start which I forgot to count, and there's an achievement for obtaining 180 of them. So throughout the game, every time I point out where you pick up a new power and add it to the “x collected out of 180” list, you'll always have one more. Luckily this isn't detrimental; in fact it means you'll pop the achievement one power before I say you will in the guide. I could go back and change it, but it would mean re-ordering AND renumbering the powers across all 53 pages of content and the checklist at the end. Because it's in no way detrimental to the player, I'll probably never go back and do it.

The second walkthrough I did was for American Fugitive, which included hundreds of collectibles across three large maps. Again I was the first person to complete the game, and I played through twice to write the walkthrough.

In both cases, the developers were very happy with my work. The genuinely appreciated the time and effort, and even promoted it through their various channels. With Doom & Destiny, I'm going to be given ready-made maps and item lists etc in advance of the sequel releasing on Xbox to avoid the hours spent stitching together screenshots and removing characters from them in Paint. So expect a first completion / walkthrough combo when that arrives, too ;-)

Nice! And on top of walkthroughs, you also write quite a few reviews, correct? Any that stand out?

Writing reviews is a serious passion of mine, but they don't all get written on TA. Some have been done for website one-offs, some on Steam and other platforms. I was also one of the unfortunate victims of the whole Brash Games implosion – it's difficult to come back when your name gets dragged through the mud purely due to association, but with how public that ended up being – Both Jim Sterling and Kirioth TV made episodes about how despicable it all was – us Brash writers managed to turn things around for ourselves.

My anxiety chip was running overclocked when Jim read out (I'd chosen to remain anonymous at the time) the email I'd received from Paul Ryan, but the exposé needed to be done.

To bring things back on topic, if I had to pick an example of both a terrible and a great game that I've reviewed, I'd recommend these:

Review of Zombie Pinball

Review of American Fugitive

Based on the previous questions, it seems like you really enjoy writing. Is there a specific reason why? Do you like to write some content more than others?

Dunno really. I just enjoy the process of articulating my thoughts into something which I can share with other people. In no way am I the type of person who shoves my opinions as 'fact', nor do I care about being right / wrong in a debate. I just like to make people think, make people laugh and possibly look at things through an alternative lens. I adore listening to others, and absorb differing points of view with gusto, whether I subscribe to them or not.

As a review writer, what do you think a game must have to be considered a success?

It's subjective to the individual, but again, it's got to be the developer's vision and not someone else's. For example, most people never hear any of the music I create. It'll never make me rich, famous, revered or reviled, but if I create a piece of music which touches one person, somewhere, and creates an emotion within them, that for me is success.

I feel the same about games. Being successful for a developer could be creating a game which keeps them in business, which allows them to create something else, to build a career – I'm sure every game developer who loves what they do wants that.

Speaking on a personal level as a consumer, a successful game is one that gets released when it's finished, when it's goals have been attained. Again, it all comes down to sticking to your guns and doing what you believe in.

With all the games you've reviewed so far, would you say there are more good games than bad ones? Or vice-versa?

From my experience, yes. I love games and have played thousands across the last thirty-one years, so I find it difficult to believe the bad would outnumber the good or I'd have left the hobby behind a lifetime ago!

Do you intend to take your review writing and walkthroughs even further? Any plans to work for a gaming website, or start your own?

Yes and yes.

If you had to name your favourite thing about the community here on TA, what would it be?

The selflessness of its members. People spend countless hours figuring out games and their secrets, tactics, achievements, glitches and everything. They then take those findings and make them public in walkthroughs and achievement solutions, regardless of how it affects their personal goals of leaderboard positions or TA score. I joined TA not for the competition, but for the cooperation. It's incredible.

Finally, do you have anyone on TA that you'd like to give a shout-out to as we end the interview?

Too many to mention them all, but yeah:


Clad master

Punk Nine

Chad Wilburn


Finally, two people who I've been friends with for a long time and mean a great deal to me:


Nod Nolan

Posted by NicoleRenee00 on 23 July 19 at 21:56 | There are 10 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkCommunity Interview - ManicMetalhead
Please note that these interviews are unofficial, and therefore do not reflect the staff or site in any way. The opinions stated belong only to the interviewee.
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Current Interviewee: ManicMetalhead
Previous Interview: Dwaggienite
To Apply for an Interview: See here

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Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours. Does your gamerpic mean anything to you as well?

ManicMetalhead has been my tag for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure I was hunting for a unique tag when I first started gaming online and went along with my other big love at the time, which was (perhaps unsurprisingly) metal music. Then 'Manic' just came from looking for a unique name where I didn't have to add any numbers to the name. Also, it's Manic, not Maniac, which is what I sometimes get called.

Usually, whenever you see ManicMetalhead on any site (with the exception of Twitter, where someone beat me to it), it's me.

My GamerPic is just a screenshot of my avatar, after the most recent Xbox Avatar update, nothing all that special. laugh

Describe yourself in just a few words. How do you think the rest of TA knows you?

I'll be honest, I'm never particularly good at describing myself, I feel as though it'd be too much like trying to sound cool, when I'm pretty sure I'm not. I love all types of animals, exploring new worlds (real and virtual) and am overly fond of being sarcastic.

I don't know how much the rest of TA knows me, but hopefully it's for all the walkthroughs I've poured my time into, rather than anything else. laugh

How long have you been gaming? What’s the first game you remember playing and do you have any fond early memories of the hobby?

I've been gaming since I was pretty young. The first I really remember is playing Pokémon Crystal on my GameBoy (I wasn't old enough for Red, Blue and Yellow when they were released, I was only 4) and playing with my brother and cousins through a physical link cable. I remember using the family PC on a dial-up to play Runescape, and then getting my first PC that could actually play proper games.

I have a lot of fond memories of games I played back then (I still have most of them now). Star Wars Battlefront I & II, Star Wars Republic Commando, Star Wars: Empire at War, you can probably see a bit of a theme developing here. laugh I spent hundreds of hours on both Rome Total War and Medieval Total War II though, and those games are what started my interest in ancient civilisations.

My current setup is a bit more up to date, but nothing special, mostly just neatly tucked away:
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Tell us about your home life! The real-life job, spouse, kids, anything.

I'm a pharmaceutical scientist in real life, which is as thrilling as it sounds really, but I enjoy it. My girlfriend and I have been together 3-4 years now and we live in the UK. We're both childfree as well, so never any kids. There's a question a couple down to show what we spend our time looking after instead.

A pharmaceutical scientist sounds pretty impressive. Is it your dream job? Did you plan for the career?

Thank you! It's not my dream job, I don't know what would be but I can guarantee it would involve working with animals. Probably running an animal sanctuary, if money wasn't an issue.
I just went with what I was good at while at school, which turned out to be chemistry and biology, then studied chemistry at uni, and then was lucky enough to find an interesting job in my field that actually uses my degree (well, maybe 20% of it, the rest hasn't been needed so far!)

Do you have hobbies outside of gaming? Anything that you're well known for?

I do indeed! My main hobby is caring for my pets, but that's covered in the next question. I also enjoy baking a fair bit. Cakes, bread, pastries, you name it. I volunteer for a local greyhound rescue as well, and we walk some of the rescues whenever we have some spare time. My girlfriend and I like exploring the world as well, and usually visit somewhere far-flung and exotic. Our favourite so far is Costa Rica!

Not sure I'm well known for anything, although I do have a claim to fame. I used to be a film extra (when I had the time). I've been in a few films, but the only one that anyone can actually see me in very briefly is the Muppets: Most Wanted. I filmed for about 14 hours one day in London, and I'm in the film for a total of about 10 seconds, split over a few scenes

A movie star and also a world traveler; sounds like a lot of fun! Any other locations to share besides Costa Rica? Any locations that you're dying to visit?

It really is! My other half had a head-start on me and has been travelling the world with her parents for years. We've been all over since we became a couple and have many more places planned.
Only a handful to share: while Costa Rica has been my favourite so far, Mexico is also absolutely amazing. I mentioned before that I have a love of ancient civilisations and the Mayans are one of those. Seeing some of the ruins there, and finding out that the Mayan people still exist today was incredible.

We want to do a few more: Caribbean islands, Thailand, Bali and I'd love to take my other half to Norway (one of the few places that I've been that she hasn't yet). I'm sure we'll find all sorts of interesting places to visit over the years, especially with our lifestyle choices.

You mentioned your taste in music when talking about your gamertag. Do you have a favorite genre? Any particular bands in mind?

Hopefully that's obvious! When I created the tag, I listened to purely rock and metal, from classic rock to black metal. I've mellowed out a bit as I've grown up and while I still love some of the heaviest music I can find, I also enjoy pop-punk, some of the more rock groups you find in the charts, and I have a bit of a soft spot for the classical themes from movies and games. All-time personal favourites are Amon Amarth, Rush, Devin Townsend and Ghost.

Everyone who knows you likely knew this question was coming. Tell us about your pets.

Haha! Thought there might a question like this. I have some slightly different pets. As of this moment I have 15 pets, although that will surely grow when my other half and I move into a new place. We rehome all of our animals and once they're with us, they'll stay with us for the rest of their life, as long as we are able to adequately care for them and give them everything they need.

I have 9 snakes (5 corn snakes, a royal python, an albino Nelson's milk snake, a Californian king snake and a western hognose snake), 2 tarantulas (a Honduran Curly Hair and a Mexican Red Knee), a scorpion and 3 red-eyed tree frogs.

I know there are a fair number of people who aren't snake/arachnid fans, but I love them all as does my other half. We end up inviting people over to meet the snakes, as each has their own little personality, of sorts.

Pictures incoming (hopefully they aren't too blurry!):

Inca - our first snake. She's a normal-type corn snake, and she loves being out of her vivarium, such a chill snake:

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Voodoo - He's an amelanistic (or amel) corn snake, and was the second snake we got:

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Indy - She's also a corn snake, we think she's a ghost pinstripe morph:

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Vandal - Our snake-y hermit. Not a big fan of people, and feeding her is akin to the scene in Jurassic Park with the goat. She wasn't well looked after before we rehomed her, and is a bit under-sized and stroppy. She's an anerythristic (or anery) corn snake:

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Felix - Our longest snake, and our oldest. Felix is a snow corn snake, is around 6ft long and is around 10 years old.

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Bandit - He's a bit of a special one. Our Californian king snake, He's the one who's bitten me the worst, when he managed to get himself stuck in a decoration and panicked when we got him out, but we love him all the same!

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Houdini - She's earned her name a couple of times over. She's particularly good at finding the smallest gaps to escape from. Similar to the corn snakes, but she's a lot more flightly. She's an albino Nelson' milk snake.

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Fergus - Out pet rock. Fergus spends most of his time sat in one of his hides, just chilling until we go to bed and he come out to explore. He's our thickest snake, and is a normal-morph royal python.

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Bertie - The smallest of our snakes, Bertie is a our western hognose. He's actually venomous, but he's more likely to hiss at you than bite, and even if he did get you, the venom wouldn't kill or even maim anyone. It's deadly to frogs and mice, but that's about it.

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Toast - The Honduran curly hair tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum. He was our first tarantula. He's fascinating to see and he's built himself a nice little nest in his vivarium, all webbed up. He's actually quite fluffy, and both he and Mariachi are have urticating hairs that they flick at you if you get too close, rather than bite you.

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Mariachi - the Mexican Red Knee (Brachypelma hamorii). She's quite similar to Toast, and is generally quite a chill spider as well.

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Blueberry - He's a Laos forest scorpion. He gets his name from the fact that he glows blue under a UV light. He's absolutely tiny at the moment, and probably will be for a little while yet. We only have a couple of photos as he spends most of the day hiding, only coming out at night.

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Tico, Papaya, Límon - Our red-eyed tree frogs. These guys are absolutely mesmerising to watch at night. They are beautiful, colourful and spend a lot of their time jumping around their viv, hunting for crickets. Tico, the male, spend a lot of his time reeting as well, which is quite cute.

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They're surprisingly cute! Is there a reason why you and your partner specifically chose to adopt snakes?

We were both fascinated by snakes when we were younger, and apparently, it just needed us to become an item to convince each other to actually get one! After getting the first one, Inca, we found out how many snakes there are in need of rehoming, whether its because their current owners have had a change in circumstances, or whether they've been overbred and dumped, so we decided to rehome as many as we could properly look after.

Do you intend to add to your collection of dangerous animals? Is there any animal that you can't own, but you still want?

Absolutely! We're not sure how dangerous we'll go, it'll all depend on what needs a home. We're big supporters of a place called the National Centre for Reptile Welfare, here in the UK, and once we have more space, will happily help rehome more from them. All it comes down to is what animals are in need of home and if we know enough to look after and care for them as best as possible. At the end of the day, it's all about what the animals themselves want.

Again, with more space, comes more animals, as long as we can still look after everyone properly. I'd love to have both cats and dogs. I'd also quite like to own a beehive at some point. My other half and I have a list of snakes we'd like to get if one is put up for rehoming and we've said we'll get a boa constrictor as a moving-in present when we get our new place.

Do you feel that, as a snake/arachnid owner, that these animals generally get a bad rap? Do you worry that they might hurt someone, or are they just like any other pet?

They do. We've had numerous friends come over and visit who were scared of snakes and, as long as they agreed to it, the started by looking in the vivariums, then we got out the friendliest snakes for them to meet and even hold if they fancied it. After that, they're usually completely fine with the snakes.

You get plenty of people online making statements like "if I ever saw a snake, I'd have to kill it" and that they'd never even visit someone who kept snakes, when really they're some of the most chill pets you can have (at least some of the more common species are, you obviously get snakes that are either massive, venomous or both, which can be complete dicks). Just treat them with respect.
I've been bitten a couple of times, but each time has been for an obvious reason either I still smell of mouse after feeding another snake, or the snake is stressed and bites defensively, etc. As long the snake has a place to escape to, it is far more likely that it will run away from you, rather than bite.

As far as I know, there's one species that will actively chase you away (and are pretty venomous) and that's the Fer-de-lance (we went looking for snakes in the wild in Costa Rica, luckily no fer-de-lance, but saw a handful of common boa constrictors and an eyelash pit viper).

Arachnids/invertebrates are the same really, as long as you treat them with respect, you'll generally be fine (we did a load of research on proper care, conditions and safety before getting any new type of pet, that always helps).

Back to gaming! Why did you join the site? What piqued your interest in achievement hunting?

I've always enjoyed popping achievements and finishing games, but when I was younger I wasn't particularly good at entirely finishing games. After properly finding TA, I found a lot more resources to help, with solutions and walkthrough providing the most help, and later on, joining gaming sessions whenever I could. After a while on-site, I wanted to help give back to the community and applied to become a staff member.

We work together on the walkthrough team. Care to talk about the job? Anything special to share?

I quite enjoyed writing my own walkthroughs, after taking the plunge with Slime Rancher in 2018. As you know, we do a fair amount of work behind the scenes to make sure all the walkthrough on site are up to standard, and it's fun to see both sides of the walkthrough writing process, both writing and checking/publishing. As both the writing and checking are all voluntary, it's also nice to see so many in the community come forward and want to write a walkthrough in their spare time.

As you just mentioned, you write your own walkthroughs too. Are there any that particularly stand out?

Short answer, Quantum Break. I think it's probably one of my best walkthroughs, but as well as it being a walkthrough that many wanted, it's also one of the more detailed that I've written. I'm also quite proud of the walkthroughs for Slime Rancher, as my first one and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. I also gutted and rewrote the Viva Piñata and Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise walkthroughs and I like the detail I put into them. Hopefully everyone else does too!

You recently posted in the walkthrough forums (seen here) about your goal to improve published walkthroughs here on the site. Tell us more about the goal, and why you chose to improve walkthroughs that are already published.

It always seems like a large number of walkthroughs need to be updated after DLC comes out, links are broken, or that they're too old and simply not up to the standard that we now hold walkthroughs to. I wanted to go through as much of that list as possible and bring them up to scratch, as they generally seemed to be ignored. I've made a shortlist in my blog of all those I have in my sights and once those are completed, I'll be targeting the others. Hopefully I can whittle the list down quicker than it grows.

If anyone has a specific walkthrough that they'd like me to take a look at, I'm happy to give anything a look. Not only do I get to pick up some fantastic games that I may have otherwise missed, hopefully my rewritten walkthroughs encourage others to do the same!

You're also on the mod team here on TA. Care to share some details about what you do behind the scene?

Quite a lot! The mods deal with all the requests to do with the site, whether it's helping reset password (we don't actually see any password details, just to reassure everyone, everything stays private even from us), or to help with broken achievement streaks or removal requests. Basically any time someone uses the "Contact Us" feature, it comes through to us.

As well as that, we moderate the forums and work hard as a team to try to keep them as fun and as helpful as possible for our ever-growing community. We're all volunteers and started off as just standard site users the same as everyone else, and in most cases, all mod actions are decided on by the whole team.

As a mod, do you interact with the community differently? Do you think people are careful with their words around you?

I don't think I interact much differently from my usual interactions. I generally try to be helpful in any case. I'm not sure if some people are always aware that I'm a mod in some forums, but that's fine by me as everything is usually civil.

Do you have any interesting stories to share while being a mod?

There aren't really any specific ones I can share, but we get a surprising number of contact requests from users who have been directed to us from Xbox Support, usually for achievement issues that we have absolutely no control over.

Does volunteering on two different teams eat up a lot of your time? Do you ever think about throwing in the towel?

Not as much as you may think. Moderating takes up more time than being a walkthrough overseer. The walkthroughs usually come through every now and then, and don't often take too long to check and send for publishing, and they are entirely reliant on when the writer has finished with them, which can be months after they are first assigned, depending on the walkthrough.

Moderation takes up a little more, but also goes through cycles, some days are quieter but some days we got loads of contact requests as well have some popular forum threads at the same time.

I enjoy both roles though and don't see myself stopping for a while yet.

Do you have a favourite game? A least favourite? What genres do you prefer?

One of my all-time favourites is BioShock, nothing quite like that first view of Rapture as you descend in the bathysphere, and the rest of the game continues at the same level. There are many other games that hold a special place in my gaming heart, some I mentioned above, like Rome: Total War, and others I play a lot more and enjoy now, such as SMITE, and both Guacamelee games.

I'm not fussy about genres either, I play almost everything, perhaps with the exception of sports games, minus the odd NHL game or two. I love a good puzzler, platformers are generally quite fun, RPGs are exciting. I'll give pretty much anything a go if it looks well designed and entertaining. I enjoy fighting games as well, but I'm not all that great at them.

I don't really have a least favourite game. Like many, I dislike broken achievements, especially ones that never worked and never get fixed, so games like that are way down my list, unless the game itself is well recommended or looks fun.

Share your biggest accomplishments on TA! Do you hold any impressive leaderboard positions? Any difficult completions?

I think I'm decidedly average. My best TA accomplishments are probably my walkthroughs, as I love pouring as much details as possible into them. Even if only one person uses a walkthrough of mine and finds it useful, it's worth it. In term of achievements, SMITE is probably one of my better games.

Hopefully by the time this interview goes out, I'd have finished Snake Pass as well, which I absolutely loved. I'm one level away from finishing the no-death run.

What's something that irks you about gaming? It can be good or bad, about game mechanics, developers, or even a specific game.

I'm generally not a fan of anything exploitative or anti-fun. I generally play games to enjoy them and experience them. Granted, I have plenty of short, quick (Ratalaika) games on my tag, but as long as I have fun playing a game, that's what makes it a good purchase.

Another irksome matter is that there are too many good games . There are so many I want to experience to the fullest, that I will inevitably have to miss some, although I'll be finishing off as many as possible, even some of the really old 360 games that I have hanging around in the back of the shelf.

Do you have any opinions to share on industry news? Loot boxes, micro-transactions, developers? Feel free to be as opinionated as you like.

Lootboxes that affect the course of the game are part of the anti-fun mechanics that I mentioned above. I'm generally fine with loot boxes that only give out cosmetic changes, as I can choose to buy them or not, but it's a massive turn off. I know this is something a vast majority of the people here and gamers, in general, would agree with.

In positive industry news though, I love seeing games, both indy and AAA, that are absolutely beautiful and engaging to play. When I was younger, I didn't pay enough attention to indy developers and I really missed out because of it. I have a great many on my list of games to go back and play, and I'm always looking for more.

What do you enjoy most about video games? What do you enjoy most about TA?

Video games are my go-to choice of entertainment. I enjoy a good film as much as the next person, board games are always a good laugh, I love reading (if anyone hasn't read Ready Player One, I highly recommend it) and listening to music, but gaming just takes it up another level. Plus, there aren't many other mediums where I can switch from such vastly different environments simply by pushing a couple of buttons.

TA provides a platform to find others to play with, helps me find new games and help pop some more achievements. I most enjoy the walkthroughs (obviously) and the events (like GTASC and the Bean Dive, for example), as even if I don't do all that well in them, I end up going back and finding old games that I had otherwise forgotten about.

Do you have any future gaming goals? Anything that you're working towards as you play?

Mainly trying to finish off those games that only have a handful of achievements remaining before a completion, just hanging there in a limbo until I find the time or gain the skill required to finish them off.

As we wrap up the interview, are there any shout-outs you want to give to the community?

In real life, my girlfriend without a doubt. Some of the games she's had to put up with me playing. Luckily she enjoys gaming as well!

On-site, anyone who writes or has written both walkthroughs and solutions. This site wouldn't be where it is without you all, and many of you are often unsung heroes. Also, my thanks to Nici, for setting up these interviews!

Posted by NicoleRenee00 on 13 July 19 at 06:14 | There are 12 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.