Let's Talk with Default

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
Hello all and welcome to another Community Interview! This week, my guest is Default, a gamer who has a huge love for Halo and isn't afraid to show it. He's happy with me going with his real name so let's give a great big TA welcome to Cody!

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

I get asked about my Gamertag constantly, whether it is on Xbox Live or here on TA. The truth is, I got extremely lucky when I snagged this one. Back in 2010, Microsoft began to “purge” the Gamertags from the original Xbox that had not been transferred over to the 360. I was able to come across this one.

I could not be happier and there is a couple reasons why I feel it perfectly fits me as the owner. First, “Default” is a term of art in the legal profession. I just recently completed law school so it has significance in that respect. Second, it brings back fond memories of LANing Halo 2 at friend’s houses. We often did not take the time to create new profiles so I just played as the “Default” character that Bungie gave players without a profile.

Marc: How long have you been gaming?

I have been gaming almost all my life. I got into it in the early 90’s with my first Nintendo. I don’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I got it for Christmas one year.

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

I am an only child so I do not have any siblings that game. When I was extremely young my dad would play the original Contra with me. He does not really play anything anymore though. My step dad still plays a lot of the military games and flight simulators. Other than that, I have some cousins and an uncle who play a good bit of Call of Duty, but I am the only “hardcore” gamer of the family.

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

My family and friends do not really say much about it anymore. In high school, people would sometimes comment on how much I would play, but I would just tell them there are plenty of worse things I could be doing to occupy my time. For a while I would travel a few states over to play competitive Halo in the MLG scene so that seems to get some questions when people find out.

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

At one time I had aspirations to be, but school took over that dream. I just recently graduated law school so I am currently spending any time I have studying for the dreaded bar exam. One day I hope to be an estate planner helping people set up wills and trusts to make sure their property ultimately gets to where they want it after they pass away.

Marc: That sounds like a good goal to get to. Good luck to you! One thing, though; "Aspirations to be..."what?

Cody: Aspirations to become a professional Halo player. Traveling the country to play a game was always something that appealed to me.

Marc: I think travelling the world as a professional player of a game you love is every gamer's dream job. laugh

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

Cody: Other than gaming, I enjoy watching movies. I also enjoy going to MLB games, but sadly I am a Cleveland Indians fan (I wish I would have picked a better team to be a fan of, but some things you cannot change). I have recently started venturing into making Youtube videos and streaming on Twitch, but that might fall into the gaming realm.

Marc: I had to Google what MLB stood for... As I'm British, seeing that it is Major League Baseball makes sense. :-P

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

Cody: I currently live by myself in an apartment. I am not married and do not have any children. My mother works in my county’s map department where they plot the county’s land ownership while both my dad and my step dad are corrections officers for the state’s department of corrections and rehabilitation. I do have one cat, Milo, who lives with my mom. He is a big goofball.
Community Interview 1

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

Cody: No problem. After reading quite a few of these community spotlights, it seems like a common answer is the birth of a child. I cannot follow that trend so I would have to say being selected for publication in my law school’s law review journal. Law school is unlike any other experience I have ever done in my life. There the professors literally teach you a new language (the so-called “legalese”) and you have to truly learn to read all over again. It was such a great achievement based on the sheer magnitude of the work I would have to do. It was not uncommon for me to be in class 5 hours a day and have to come home and do another 6 hours of homework. During my final year, I was a staff member of law review, which is a peer reviewed journal. Our tasks included reviewing other articles before they were published as well as writing our own. My 80-page paper pertaining to oil and gas rights was selected for publication once it was finished.

Marc: Wow, I can't even imagine how rewarding that all must have been. And 80 pages!? I wouldn't be able to cope. laugh

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

Definitely Halo 2. The post-patch version of the game was about as close to perfect as a game could be. There were so many things to do on it. You could get a custom game lobby going where you and some friends would play Zombies, Cat and Mouse, Tower of Power, Troy, or Hide and Seek. You could do any of the glitches in the game including getting out of maps or superjumps. Or you could try and get the unobtainable rank 50. A close second, however, would be BioShock (Xbox 360). BioShock was so immersive that I could not put it down. From it came one of my favorite quotes, as seen in my signature.

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

The first game I ever played was Duck Hunt on the Nintendo. It’s funny to remember how bad I was at the game. I was too young to properly aim at the ducks so I just pressed the Light Gun on the screen to shoot them. It is honestly surprising I never broke the television.

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

As long as it is considered a “single game,” I would have to choose Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There is so much to do in all of the Halos that I never seem to get bored. I have been a Halo fan for well over ten years and still have not gotten close to finishing everything. It makes me sad that I still have never obtained the Scarab Gun!

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

I live in the Midwest of America. Ohio to be exact. We are not particularly that exciting but there are a few gems. We are obviously known for Ohio State, so if you visit my area, you would get to see the best college football team in the United States. You would also be able to see Cedar Point, which is an amusement park known for housing some of the fastest roller coasters in the world. Otherwise, there are some really interesting Hall of Fames in Ohio. For instance, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of fame are both located here.

Marc: Once again I say that sounds FAR more interesting than where I live. Saying that you don't live somewhere exciting and then going on to tell us that you have some of the fastest roller coasters in the world makes that statement redundant. laugh

Any games you regret putting on your gamertag?

Definitely. As I said before, my step dad likes to play a lot of the military games as they come out. I mistakenly started Ghost Recon Advance Warfare when I did not have another other games to play at the time. At this time I only have one achievement on that game. I also regret starting a few games that I failed to finish before the severs shut down. My old roommates and I used to play 1 vs 100 and I missed one achievement.

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

Ooh gosh. I have had the same Gamerpic for years now. I used to watch quite a bit of Red vs. Blue at the time and bought a pack of Gamerpics to support that. I just thought the “Dancing Time” was funny and never changed it.

Marc: Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

I get really annoyed when people start up a game and then do not play. Either the person just stands in one place giving the other team free points, or they quit leaving me to play man-down. It is extremely annoying because they could have just not started a game in the first place.

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

I am most looking forward to Halo 5: Guardians. The beta seemed promising. Even though it was a bit different than all of the other Halos, and it might not have been the changes I would have made, it still seems like a step in the right direction. (At least from where Halo: The Master Chief Collection started out at.) Halo: 5 Guardians still had a Halo “feel,” combined with faster matchmaking times, and a working ranking system. I am interested to see how it turns out.

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

I am currently playing Minecraft: Xbox One Edition and going back and getting some of the new achievements on Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. It is such a great experience. I could never get bored of Minecraft. Not only do I own both Xbox versions, I also own the P.C. version.

I am also going back and playing Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) with https://www.trueachievements.com/NateRN3.htm , Evil Genie, and Frizbog. The game is pretty easy but I never took the time complete it. Finally getting back to it.

Marc: While I've seen it and played a tiny bit of it, I've always been puzzled by the community's obsession with Minecraft. Its popularity is pretty crazy!

What game are you most proud of completing? Why?

After taking a quick glance at my completed games, I would have to say #IDARB. By far the most challenging game I have ever played. facepalm Erm, sorry. I mean Titanfall. Titanfall was not a challenging completion by any means. It just took forever. I am proud to say that I am one less than 2% of people who took the time to finish the long grind to Gen 10.

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

I would have to say:
Happy Wars (Xbox 360)ArchangelThe Archangel achievement in Happy Wars (Xbox 360) worth 132 pointsComplete the 'Archangel' Quest

This was also one of those super grindy achievements that I wasn’t sure whether I would ever get. My friends and I would play Happy Wars, and I would just stay behind them spamming “A” over and over to heal them. I am really surprised that I never broke any controllers while going for this achievement.

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

That is a tough question. Probably:
Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360)Secret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360) worth 13 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

I normally at least look at the achievement list before I start a game but I did not this time. I just decided to play with a friend. When we got to the spot for the achievement, I heard the guy yelling which cracked me up. This game always made me laugh and this is just one particular moment that sticks out in my mind.

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

The Master Chief. Chief would be an amazing partner. He’s basically superhuman. (If you haven’t read Halo: The Fall of Reach I highly recommend it.) Plus, he’d always have your back. If Chief was able to protect me half as well as he did Cortana, nothing would ever hurt me.

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

I put a lot of thought into this question and I kept coming back to one answer:Dark Souls' Hydra fight at Ash Lake would be the worst thing imaginable for me. First, I have an irrational fear of snakes. I know that the Hydra’s heads are not technically “snakes,” but close enough that it makes me uncomfortable. Second, that fight took me an absurdly long time to complete. I have no idea what it was about that area, but I died so many times. I know this is Dark Souls we're talking about, but I died more than usual there.

Marc: Urgh, I remember that Hydra. It scared the living daylights out of me when it flew out of the water. I remember just running for my life as I got really scared.

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

Not a character in particular, but I’d probably throw Trials HD in video game hell. I got that game a few years ago and I regret it. I am horrid and cannot even beat the game, let alone complete it.

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

I am sure everyone has had some bad experiences online. Since I play a lot of FPS games, I get messages from kids saying they want to have a sleepover with my mother take my mother out for a nice dinner. Usually, I just ignore them. If it gets too pervasive, I just use the block button. It’s there for a reason!

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

Honestly, it depends what kind of game I am playing. If it is a story driven game, like BioShock, I like playing alone. If it is an online game, it is much better to play with people who I know around my age. I am a very competitive person so I like winning. It is more likely when I play with people I know, opposed to randoms.

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

I do! I have a small group of friends that I play with from here on TA. First, I met NateRN3 a few years ago in a gaming session he had set up for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (if you are reading this, Nate, we need to get back on that!). Through him, I met quite a few other people who I play with every time I am on. I have another friend, Decypherrr, who I play a lot of FPS games with as well. Decypherrr and I went to undergrad together and met one evening when I had a Halo LAN in my apartment.

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

I believe that I would choose Dave Grohl. I am a HUGE Foo Fighters fan and Dave is such an inspiration to me. Even though I have no musical ability myself, his story of how he became such a great musician is amazing. I would love to chat with him and ask him about his experiences as the drummer for Nirvana back in the heyday of grunge music. Furthermore, I would love to know how he knew that Foo Fighters would be such a success. After the death of Kurt Cobain, Dave was offered the drumming position for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Yet he refused, knowing that somehow the Foo Fighters would take off.

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

Currently, in my apartment I have a Super Nintendo. My absolute favorite game on that console is Zombies Ate my Neighbor. I wish that game would be ported to the Xbox 360 or One. Back home with my parents, I also have a SEGA Genesis. I have not played that console in years, however. Back when I did, I loved Toejam and Earl.

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.

Sadly, yes. I think I am the only person in the world that cannot get into the first Assassin's Creed. I purchased this game on launch, yet I have probably only put three or so hours into it. It is an interesting concept, but the beginning of the game is so slow to me. I was so put off by the game that, even though Assassin's Creed II was given out free for Games with Gold, I have refused to start it. Maybe I will give it another go sometime.

Marc: Only three hours? Maybe you should give it a little more time. You never know, you may end up liking it! It's a lot more different to the rest, though. The second game plays differently so don't let the first put you off trying it.

Tell us about your gaming set-up.


Since I used to play competitive Halo a few years ago, most of my gaming setup is geared toward that. I really dislike wireless things so I tend to purchase wired everything. I have a pair of Astro A40 headsets. I play on a 23” Acer monitor instead of a larger television.

I have another larger television that I have a 360 hooked up to, but I never play games on it. It is more for DVDs and Netflix. And my games are not arranged in any particular order. I just put all of the Halo's together, all of the Call of Duty's together, Gears of War games, etc. Most of the other parts of my setup can be seen in the pictures I am sending.

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

I use TA for a few different things. I love the homepage with all of the news articles. Most of the articles (especially the notices of server closures) are invaluable. I also use gaming sessions, but not as frequently anymore since I have a group of guys I usually play games with. However, my favorite feature is the solutions. Some people on TA are geniuses and I would not have been able to complete some games without their expertise.

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

My gaming has evolved significantly. I used to be the type of gamer who wanted to just get as much Gamerscore as possible. Now, however, I see myself more as a completionist. Not in the sense of completion percentage, but more along the lines of completing as many games as I can without caring about total percentage. TA has helped me get better at this. Plus, my skills have just got better since I first came here. Another game I bought on launch was N+. I had written this game off as a game I would never complete. Six years later, I recently went back and finished it. It really was not all that bad.

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

The thing I love most is the functionality of the site and how easy it is to use. I am a member of a couple other achievement sites, but TA definitely is the easiest to use with the most features. The mobile version that TA Premium members get, bolsters this even further.
The one thing that I wish would change most about TA is some of the negativity in some of the forums. For instance, whenever a newshound posts an article about next month’s Games with Gold titles being offered, people ALWAYS complain. I have never understood how people can complain about getting free games no matter how bad the title is.

Marc: I guess that isn't really TA's fault, though. The entire internet is full of negativity unfortunately and it can be hard to control. The mods here do a great job of monitoring the community, though!

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

I first heard about TA through an “achievement whoring” thread on the MLG forums years ago. mattBLiTZ was there chatting about a session and I got intrigued. The rest is history.
I have referred a couple people. Most of the people I referred are not that active anymore though.

Marc: Have you made friends here?

Definitely. As I mentioned above, I have some friends I have met on TA that I have continued to play with for years.

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

My perfect game would combine elements from three of my favorite games. I am not sure how each would be incorporated, however. First, it would incorporate the multiplayer of Halo 2. Halo 2 had such great gameplay as well as customization to make it have nearly infinite replay value. That game seriously never got old. Second, it would have a single player campaign with the visuals and storytelling of BioShock. Something that gets you interested in the development of the story that grips you and will not let go. Finally, it would have to incorporate some aspects of Portal 2. Puzzle games are also within my wheelhouse. The Portal games incorporate puzzle elements with humor and storytelling.

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

TA has so many features, I can use it however I want. I am still learning new things every day. With new features being added constantly, I do not see this changing. I have been a member since December of 2011 and just found out about gamer goals a couple months ago.
Plus, TA can accomplish all of this without feeling too cluttered. Some gaming websites have so much going on and I cannot tell which text is an ad and which is what I was looking for.

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

Other than people adding me solely to be friends with “Default,” I do not think so.

Marc: *Quickly goes to cancel friend request to Default*

*Lightning Round*

Favorite 360 game?


Favorite non-360 game?

Halo 2.

Least favorite game?

Rogue Warrior.

Favorite game developer?


Favorite game weapon?

Beam Rifle.

Most hated game enemy?

Ornstein and Smough.

Favorite game character?


Favorite game sidekick?

Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360).

Favorite game ending?

I cannot choose between BioShock and Portal 2.

Most hated game ending?

Halo: Reach.

Favorite game environment?


Favorite game music?

Games like Burnout Revenge always have decent soundtracks.

Most emotional video game moment?

Halo 4 spoiler maybe?
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***
Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?

Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark Zero was atrocious.

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

I cannot choose between Zombies Ate my Neighbor or Zelda: A Link to the Past.

*End of Lightning Round*

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

I am usually a pretty friendly guy! If anyone checks my list and sees I have a game that I have not finished, send me a message. We can probably boost it.

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

I think you just about covered everything! There is a lot more questions than you originally think when you read the interviews. Thanks for conducting such a great interview.

Marc: Oh, stop. You're making me blush! redface

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

At the risk of forgetting someone, I would just like to give a shout-out to all my gaming friends, whether on TA or not.

And there you have it, folks. Let's give a great big thank you to Cody, a.k.a Default for sharing his own story with us. Join me next time where I'll be with my next guest, MC0REBE.

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.