Leap Frog Interview With Emerald Axer

By Dave Horobin, 2 years ago
It's time for our second Leap Frog interview and this time around it is the turn of Emerald Axer who finished in second place after croaking on day 99 of the contest.

During the competition he earned 5,006 achievements for a total of 93,818 Gamerscore and 147,660 TA score.

Leap Frog 2015 2nd Place - Emerald AxerLeap Frog 2015 2nd Place - Emerald Axer

DK: I think a lot of people have the misconception that the only way you that could get as far as you did in Leap Frog is if you’re single, have no kids and have minimal work commitments. Can you give us some insight into your personal life?

Emerald Axer: I work a regular full time job (40 hours a week) as a machinist. I was divorced a couple of years ago and have 50/50 custody of my 2 beautiful little girls (10 and 7). And I have a wonderful girlfriend that I have been dating now for 4 months, and we are already pretty serious. She was very supportive and even though she is not into video games she could see how much it meant to me and did her best to understand. (Although she is grateful that its over now)

Emerald Family

DK: How long did you normally spend gaming per day prior to Leap Frog? How did this change throughout Leap Frog, especially in the final weeks?

Emerald Axer: I spent about 2-4 hours a day gaming pre-Leap Frog. Sometimes more. During Leap Frog that number changed significantly. From day 80 onward it was easily 8 hours a day, sometimes more. I kinda figured out during Leap Frog that if you were going at a good pace it was about 10 achievements an hour, any faster then that and it was because of a really really easy game.

DK: When you entered Leap Frog, how long were you anticipating it to last and, if you’d have known it would have gone on as long as it did, would you still have entered?

Emerald Axer: I figured it would last until about day 75. Then at around day 40 I realized this thing was going to go to at least 90. Since it was the first Leap Frog and one of only a few actual TA run events, I was going to enter no matter what.

DK: Did you have to spend much time on planning which achievements you could earn a few days ahead?

Emerald Axer: It was more about setting games aside that I knew I could unlock easy achievements quickly in, and saving those for the hard days than planning ahead. I really went no more then 2 days ahead at a time, but had several "plan B's" so to speak.

DK: Did you take advantage of Windows Phone, Windows 8, Xbox 360 and Xbox One or were you limited to what you had available?

Emerald Axer: I played everything. I used my phone a lot during breaks at work and my lunch hour to finish off at least 50 days. Without my windows phone games I would have been out around day 50.

Emerald Screenshot 1

Emerald Screenshot 2

DK: Did you suffer burn out at any point during the competition and, if so, what kept you going?

Emerald Axer: It was a roller coaster, there were so many days where I felt like packing it in, and so many days where I felt unstoppable. So yea, burnout a lot, but sheer will and determination kept me going.

DK: Are there any games that you started purely for Leap Frog that you would have never started otherwise? If so, which ones?

Emerald Axer: I actually used Leap Frog to start games that I had been putting off (like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II). I play a lot of multiplayer and leave a lot of single player games alone because I am worried about server closures and deadlines. So it was kind of nice to play some single player only games for a change.

DK: You already had a pretty high achievement count when the competition began, do you feel that this disadvantaged you?

Emerald Axer: Yes it was a disadvantage for sure. I have half a million GS now, so my library to chose from has far less games in it, plus I have done a lot of the easier titles already. But that just fueled me more. I am proud to have gotten 2nd place without using Fallout 3 (PC), Disney Fairies Hidden Treasures (Win 8) and a couple of other super easy "Day Savers" type games. It just made it a bit harder for me, but I knew what I was signing up for :)

DK: You started a lot of games throughout the competition, did your wallet/purse take a hit or were you able to use a combination of your backlog, rental services, and friends to keep your game stack fresh?

Emerald Axer: My wallet has taken a hit over the past 7 years LOL. I am a gamer through and through, and I have been collecting and completing games for a long time now. I buy a lot of games used and look for deals but I currently have over 400 titles I haven't even started yet sitting on my shelf or in my virtual library. So the short answer is "no" because I have an insane amount of games just sitting there waiting to be played that I bought a long time ago during some sale.

Emerald Screenshot 4

Emerald Screenshot 3

DK: With the competition now over, are you missing the daily challenge and do you think that your gaming habits will change in the immediate future?

Emerald Axer: There was a period of "what the heck do I do now???", but I am over it. I spent the weekend with my girlfriend and enjoyed a birthday celebration for my 7 year old. Now I am just gonna game like I always did until the GTASC heats up :)

DK: Speaking of the GTASC, how have your teammates handled you dropping all of this Gamerscore in a relatively short period of time?

Emerald Axer: My teammates seemed like they handled it just fine. The truth is I didn't play a lot of "high scoring" games, I played for easy achievements which are generally low TA scoring. So I saved a lot of games that will score better for the GTASC for later this fall. In the end, my teammates should be pumped that when push comes to shove they have seen just what I am capable of and know that I can do it again for the GTASC. :)

DK: What sacrifices did you have to make, and do you feel it was worth it now the competition is over?

Emerald Axer: Sacrifices... Mostly sleep. Some things kind of fell into place for me to stay in as long as I did. My ex wife took the girls to Disneyworld for 2 weeks right around day 80. That gave me a lot more free time. My work got slow and had no problem letting me cut my hours if need be, and my boss understood and supported my quest for number 1. Overall the closer this got to the end the more I was willing to sacrifice. I probably lost about 30 hours in wages in the last two weeks, and I didn't sleep for more then 3 hours at a time, but at the time you do not even think they are sacrifices because you are pushing yourself so hard.

DK: For the people that haven't seen your blog post detailing why you decided to call it a day when you did, can you share the reasons with us, and was it a hard decision? If you had decided to carry on, how much longer do you think you could have lasted?

Emerald Axer: I can't speak for IrishWarrior022 but I know how far I could have gone. I knew that my deadline was Aug 3rd. That would have been day 112. I have tickets to Toronto and Niagara Falls and have planned this family vacation for months. I also knew that with just the two of us left and no one else to beat, the "day" didn't really matter. The question was "can Irish make it to day 113?". Irish pretty much showed me his plan of attack and convinced me that day 112 was not going to be enough to beat him. With no one else to beat and nothing else to prove, I decided to do "both of us" a favor and concede. A lot of people might think that Irish couldn't have made it that far, I am here to tell you that I believe he would have.

It takes a lot of preparation for a family holiday, and the thought of playing day 110,111,112 then boarding a plane with very little sleep and preparation. That wouldn't be doing my family right... So rather then "kill myself" right until I had no choice, I took the calculated approach.

It was a very difficult decision... In the end I thought 99 was the perfect number for me, if I couldn't beat Irish.

DK: Will you be taking part next year?

Emerald Axer: I am sure I will be in it next year, unless my girlfriend bribes me not too.

DK: Did you rely on any friends or family members to help you stay in the competition and, if so, how did they help?

Emerald Axer: One of the best days was around day 40ish, I was tired and burning out and I played Happy Feet Two: The Video Game co-op with my 10 year old daughter. That was a fun day :) Also, the co-op help in Halo: The Master Chief Collection every now and then from Bill 13 and YODA12320 was very much appreciated.

DK: Are there any shout-outs that you would like to make before you go?

Emerald Axer: I actually run a boosting group (small group of friends) We boost multiplayer games every weekend and have been for about 3 years now. Big shout out to them (Bill, NEO CRIMS0N, DRUNKZ 27, Spartan2491, flyingmario5404, Yoda, fronkdegronk and nfgmusicPaul), we have not been boosting because of Leap Frog and I really appreciate their support and patience.

Shout out to my GTASC teammates, Korrupted Kloud and Mr Granstaff, don't worry I still got game! HAHA

Huge congrats to Irish and Mephisto4thewin, they are beasts!!!

Thank you Emerald for taking the time to answer our questions, and helping to make the first year of Leap Frog such a success.

Don't forget you can check out yesterday's interview with 3rd place finisher Mephisto4thewin here. If you've enjoyed the interviews so far, you can check back again tomorrow when we interview IrishWarrior022.
Dave Horobin
Written by Dave Horobin
Dave is the TrueAchievements Social Manager and has been a Newshound since 2010. When he's not chasing developers and publishers for early review copies, he can usually be found on the TrueAchievements social pages discussing all things TA related.