Let's Talk with ChewieOnIce

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
Hello everyone and welcome back to another Community Interview! Apologies for the slight delay in getting this one out, but as always, we hope it's worth the wait. This week, our guest is ChewieOnIce, a Newshound, Stats master and resident TA Wookiee. Let's all give a huge welcome to ChewieOnIce!

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

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Chew: During my time on the ice planet Hoth I took up ice-skating as a hobby in the down time (there's a surprising amount of sitting around doing nothing during a rebellion) . After helping the Rebel Alliance defeat the Empire I took a break from co-piloting and joined a touring ice-skating troupe, telling our story through the medium of dance. Ice dance. The fine folks over at Robot Chicken even made a sketch about our ice-capades.

Marc: I was always curious what the "OnIce" bit meant. Thanks for clearing that up!

How long have you been gaming?

Chew: Apart from Battle Chess, my first experiences with gaming were with the Acorn Archimedes back in the early '90s and the likes of Lemmings and Cannon Fodder. I then got an Amiga 600 with the Wild, Weird & Wicked bundle, which included classic crisp-based puzzler Pushover and blobby platformer Putty. After that, it was Game Gear (Sonic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) and a rip-off NES in a SNES body (one of those "99 games in one" things that was actually just different levels of Mario and Duck Hunt).

Gaming really became a big part of my life with the PS1 though. I had loads of PS1 titles and great memories with titles such as Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Silent Hill, Resident Evil 1&2, ShadowMan, Dino Crisis and Tomb Raiders 1-4.

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

Chew: My sister had a GameBoy but didn't stick with it much. We also shared the NES and the PS1 but I spent a lot more time with the Spice Girls game than she did. I'd say I'm the first and only real gamer in the family.

Marc: How did I miss this Spice Girls game!? Did anyone ever tell you "stop right now, thank you very much" in regards to it? laugh

Chew: No, but they probably should have done. It's my (now, not so) secret shame.

Marc: Don't feel shameful about it. I'm probably a lot worse!

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

Chew: My parents were always very accepting of it as a youngster. Mrs Chewie "tolerates" it. Solo just lets me win all the time so it sucks the fun out of it. He does get to keep his arms though.

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

Chew: Well, after doing my ankle in I had to pack in the ice-skating and settled down into a regular 9-5 working in the IT department at a University. Recently though I've been busy with...other things.

Marc: From world-saving Wookiee to IT guy. That's quite a radical change of pace!

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

Chew: Aside from gaming, film is a major love of mine. I'll watch anything and everything, but I have a particular fondness for Horror (and Sci-Fi, naturally). I also fill my free time hanging around here on TA, working with the Newshounds to populate the front page and the Game Info team to make pretty game pages.

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

Chew: I live at home with Mrs Chewie and, although we have no mini-Wookiees of our own, I do have my endless horde of Ewoks who help me with my Stats articles here on the site, the Statisticles. Do they count as animal companions? I'm always having to clean up their corpses poop, so I guess so.

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Marc: The Statisticles have their own TA page? Time to do what Facebook is great for and stalk...

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

Chew: Well I did help blow up a Death Star. Twice. Aint no small thing. But in more recent years I'm happy that I'm a homeowner after years of renting, which in today's economic climate is pretty tough to do. Yes, I'm comparing buying a house to blowing up two planet-destroying space stations.

Marc: Saving the world twice probably trumps everything else here, but getting your own house is pretty awesome too!

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

Chew: Oh jeez, that's a tough one. The ones I've mentioned already hold special places in my heart (even Spice Girls), but I'd have to say the game that I immediately think of when asked that question is the original Silent Hill. I loved the atmosphere, the story and the music, and I think it's the one game that I've replayed the most, not just to see the different endings but because I wanted to be absorbed into that world again. Even the atrocious voice acting has a special quirky quality of it that adds to the "not quite right" atmosphere.

Marc: There's no denying that Silent Hill is a classic. Those siren sounds give me chills.

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

Chew: One of my earliest gaming memories (and addictions) was Lemmings on the Amiga. I loved figuring out how to guide those little guys safely to their destination. And if I couldn't figure it out, it was just as fun watching them fall to their deaths with a sickening smoosh or all explode into pixel confetti. The genocide of tiny brainless little animals? Reminds me of my dear old Statisticles. The music was also all kinds of awesome.

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

Chew: I honestly don't think I could do that. Part of what I love about gaming is trying lots of different genres and franchises to broaden my experiences and, though I have my favourites, it would sadden me to be stuck playing the same thing forever more.

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

Chew: I currently live in the south of England. It's quite a picturesque part of the country with lots of green fields, thatch roof cottages and suicidal pheasants that run right into the front of your car. If you came to visit me right now you could help me play whack-a-mole in my garden but with real moles. The buggers are ruining my garden.

Marc: Any games you regret putting on your gamertag?

Chew: I'm pretty open minded, willing to try anything and live with little regrets. Having said all that, AMY. Almost unbearable amounts of suckage.

Marc: I've heard that one is rather awful. I'll be sure to keep that one from my plaguing my collection.

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

Chew: I'm sure I don't need to explain it, but it's me busting a few ice-skating moves. It wasn't easy capturing the avatar in quite the right pose, but I think I've captured the elegance, grace and chilly nipples of the activity.

Marc: Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Chew: From an achievement perspective I'm not too fond of interminable grinds where the requirements are so over-inflated as to be ludicrous. Sure, encourage people to play your game and get the most out of it, but do so in a way that could still be loosely considered "fun". Don't make me get 100,000 kills in a game with 10 enemies in it or play your 5 minute game for 500 hours. Windows Phone titles seem to be particularly bad at this practise.

Marc: What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

Chew: Well, despite not being a PlayStation owner, it was Silent Hills. As mentioned, I'm a massive fan of the early entries in the franchise. Now that's all been lost in the fog, it's probably Quantum Break, but mostly because I'm intrigued to try the game that stopped Remedy from making the next Alan Wake to see if it was worth it...

Oh and I suppose I should give Star Wars Battlefront a mention. The originals were brilliant and I really hope DICE doesn't mess it up.

Marc: It's a shame that Silent Hills is no more, but I am very intrigued by Quantum Break as well. If it's anything like Alan Wake, it'll be a goodun'!

What game(s) are you currently playing? How are you finding it?

Chew: I'm currently engaged in a personal campaign to work through my massive backlog of games one letter at a time. I'm currently on "B", which at the moment includes Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which is unique and fun but frustrating (because I suck at making decent vehicles), and Beyond Good & Evil HD, which is also unique and fun. I wasn't so sure about it when I started it, but now I'm pretty involved with the story and the world.

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

Chew: I'm not known as much of a completionist (of difficult games, anyway), but I'm glad to have finished Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Dead Space, not least because they are great games that were worth seeing through to the end. In pre-360 days I had finished all the Silent Hills from 1-4, getting all the different endings and special items and stuff. Strangely enough, I haven't started Silent Hill HD Collection to redo 2 and 3, maybe because I don't want to tarnish my nostalgia too much as I suspect they are rather dated now.

Marc: Can't argue with Enslaved and Deadspace, both are great games. I actually have the HD collection as well but I've been pretty useless. Maybe one day I'll actually give it some focus...

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

Chew: Right now it's probably

Black Knight SwordSunny side upThe Sunny side up achievement in Black Knight Sword worth 103 pointsFinish the game without ever entering the shop

As you can probably gather from my tag, I'm not the most skilled when it comes to gaming and rarely go for the really tough achievements. I picked Black Knight Sword as a fan of Suda 51's other games. This one's a fairly meh platformer but it has its moments. Getting through the whole game without dying or upgrading wasn't actually too bad until the end boss. I probably tried like 100 times before finally nailing the patterns down.

Marc: In a slightly different vein, do you have a favorite achievement? One perhaps that you just really enjoyed attaining?

Chew: There's really only one I can seriously choose for obvious reasons:

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete SagaLet the Wookiee winThe Let the Wookiee win achievement in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga worth 27 pointsPull 25 arms off other characters.

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

Chew: Would it be weird to say myself? Everyone needs a Wookiee sidekick. Even Wookiees. If I had to stick purely with the gaming world then it would have to be Solid Snake. I envy his ability to fit inside cardboard boxes.

Marc: A Wookiee and a legendary gaming figure makes for a deadly combination.

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

Chew: I would not want to cross paths with Vader again. Not after this genocide.

Marc: I hate to break it to you, Chewie, but I killed a fair few Wookiees at that point too (even for other achievements in that game) and, dare I say it, I had fun while doing it...redface

Chew: Have you ever wondered what the inside of a Rancor looks like, Marc?

Marc: I'm guessing parts of my body would be missing if I ever did get the chance... Good incentive to quit the murderous rampage on Wookiees then...

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

Chew: Sheva from Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) really needed to be more than just the random lady who tags along, burns through ammo, stands in the way, walks straight up to enemies to get attacked and constantly shouts demands at you. At least give her a backstory or personality to balance out all those niggles.

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

Chew: Being a staffer here you inevitably open yourself up to the occasional trolling or message from unsavoury types, but I tend to laugh them off because the vast majority of the community are lovely folks. I don't tend to play that much multiplayer apart from the occassional sessions, mostly with friends. They tend to be the most abusive ones anyway.

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

Chew: Single player all the way. I do like a good co-op experience but I'm not a big fan of competitive multi-player.

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

Chew: I used to have a few friends that I played with occasionally, but they all jumped onto the Sony ship with the new generation, so now I'm a co-pilot with no pilot, flying solo with no Solo. Oh, the irony.

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

Chew: I'd love to play a spot of Pod Racer on the N64 with Lucas. He can be the brat and I'll deliberately fly my pod into the back of him.

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

Chew: I still have my Amiga,Game Gear, PS1 and PS2 but they're in boxes in my parents attic somewhere. I'm only on the 360 at the moment, though I do have two Windows Phones (WP7 & WP8) for a spot of mobile gaming too. I used to have a three hour round trip work commute on a train so the WP games really helped pass the time. I'm still yet to make the jump to the One but that's more to do with the backlog than anything.

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

Chew: I rarely buy new so although there are often games that don't live up to expectations, I usually discover that from reviews and friends before playing them myself. It might be cliché but I was quite disappointed with Assassin's Creed III. I tend to agree with the popular opinion that Connor is quite a weak protagonist compared to Ezio, and I think there were missed opportunities and strange decisions with the story. However, I also find quite a few of the extra stuff just feels tacked on and not fun at all, such as the Homestead missions and the underground mazes.

A key example is the extra "Assassination" contracts where you just walk up to a guy who's standing in the middle of the street and stab him in the face. Where's the challenge or fun in that? At least in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag those missions required some strategy and planning to pull them off well.

Marc: Tell us about your gaming set-up.

Chew: It's pretty standard fare with a sofa in front of the TV in the living room. Mrs Chewie is very house proud as I'm sure you can see.

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I also don't have shelves of boxes with ugly green cases, instead they go in the attic and the discs go in these handy binder doo-dads.

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Marc: Ooh, that's some efficient storage! I can't help but love my game cases, though.

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

Chew: I have used almost every aspect of TA at one point or another, but I mostly spend my time on the news, my friend feed, solutions and walkthroughs.

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

Chew: Achievements very quickly switched from the "oh cool, what's that?" approach to the "right, let's look at the list and plan my strategy for getting as much as possible in one playthrough" approach. I've also tried games I probably wouldn't have even considered playing before, simply at the prospect of getting more gamerscore. Sometimes that's a good thing because I experience something new and great. And sometimes that's Disney's Bolt.

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

Chew: I love how it's constantly growing and evolving. Rich and co. do a great job of adding new features all the time. A lot of the community generated content is really excellent. If I had to change one thing it's that I want this as a smiley.

Marc: A dancing Wookiee smiley. I can think of a million uses for that already. Get on it, Rich!

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

Chew: I stumbled on it for some solutions early on in my 360 days and I basically never left. I've signed a few friends up, but those were the ones who abandoned ship (and onto True Trophies).

Marc: Have you made friends here?

Chew: Absolutely, there are some great people here. I'm tight with a few of the Hounds and other staffers. I also hang around in Chat fairly regularly and I've even met a few people in *gulp* the real world, including drabik and Spilner.

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

Chew: Chewbacca: The Game. The perfect blend of space combat, bow-casting, Ewok crushing and arm-tearing. Oh, and winning. Always winning.

Marc: You know that "too much of a good thing" saying? Would you always just want to win? I mean...oh who am I kidding.

Why do you choose TA over other gaming sites?

Chew: What other gaming sites? laugh

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

Chew: I'm Chewie. Need I say more? Even after three years and over 850 articles, it's still a thrill seeing my stuff on the front page of TA.

Marc: Got to agree with you there. Being a Newshound is an exciting role!

*Lightning Round*

Favorite 360 game?

There are a lot of good ones but I think my favourite overall experience was Red Dead Redemption. I loved almost everything about it from the story and protagonist, to the world and gameplay. Galloping through the desert on horseback and pulling out my pistol to dead-eye a buffalo was totally baller. I also enjoyed the multiplayer, which is unusual for me, as it provided a nice mix of different activities so you could do whatever took your fancy, including shooting your friend's horse when they were in mid gallop, just for the lols.

Favorite non-360 game?

Silent Hill

Least favorite game?


Favorite game developer?

Double Fine. I haven't talked about them at all somehow but I love everything they've done.

Favorite game weapon?


Most hated game enemy?

Basically anything that flies tends to be bloomin annoying.

Favorite game character?

Me. But John Marston was a pretty great protagonist too.

Favorite game sidekick?

Me again! Barry Wheeler's a close second though. That man's a legend. A great friend, a fantastic agent and an awesome jacket.

Favorite game ending?

Difficult question but I felt like the Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons ending was very affecting, effective and a strange mix of very depressing and super uplifting.

Most hated game ending?

I don't recall too many that I've absolutely loathed but cliffhangers in games that don't ever get sequels are darned frustrating. Step up Half Life Two: Episode Two.

Favorite game environment?

I love a game that takes you to somewhere a little bit different and really builds a world, so the deserts of Red Dead Redemption, the underwater city of BioShock (Xbox 360) and Renaissance Italy of Assassin's Creed II are some of my favourites.

Favorite game music?

Anything by Akira Yamaoka, but particularly the Silent Hill soundtracks.

Most emotional video game moment?

I already mentioned Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons but the ending of The Walking Dead also saw me with a lump in my throat. Though I was eating jerky at the time.

Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?

Whilst I enjoyed BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) I did find it extremely derivative of the first game.

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

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a game I'd love to see remade or ported for the current generation.

*End of Lightning Round*

Marc: Not sure if you fully understood what the "Lightning" part of that round meant laugh. Nevertheless I like your in-depth approach!

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

Chew: I think I've covered most of the bases, but I suppose it's worth mentioning that I'm a fairly regular blogger here about life and gaming, and I like to collect followers like I collect Ewok fur slippers so feel free to have a read.

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

Chew: It doesn't matter if Greedo shot first or not. Solo shot better.

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

Chew: Shout-out to all the other staffers here on TA, past and present. You've all contributed to making this site my favourite place to be. It's a privilege to work with you all. Also, big love to the Chat Heroes. No, Statisticles, go away. You don't get a shout-out. And now you've ruined it.

There you have it, folks. Thanks a bunch to ChewieOnIce for travelling all the way from Kashyyyk to tell his story. Join me next time where I'll be with my next guest, stoketom1986.

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

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