Leap Frog Interview With ORIGENxGarboMan

By Dave Horobin, 1 year ago
We're back for day two of this year's Leap Frog interviews. Today it is the turn of our second joint runner-up, ORIGENxGarboMan.

Leap Frog

I think a lot of people have the misconception that the only way that you 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?

I am a PhD student in applied math and as part of this I work as a graduate research assistant (and occasionally a graduate teaching assistant). I have a ton of work to do and I'm expected to make significant progress on my dissertation, but I do have a bit more flexibility than I would with a typical industry job. I mean, I know people who are up at 5:30 AM to go to their engineering jobs each day. I have the flexibility to work when I want. During leap frog I could stay up late and wait for ratios to recalculate to get one extra day out of SMITE and then just work 10 AM – 7 PM or work a few hours from home while I was waiting for a SMITE achievement to recalculate.

I also help out in the local ultimate frisbee league by captaining. It's not a huge time commitment, but I was at the league each Wednesday night this summer from about 5 PM to 11 PM playing in the league, helping to coach newer players, and just helping to make the community a fun and welcoming place for people to go spend time.

I'm a loser without many friends or a girlfriend or wife to spend time with, but I do try to spend time with the few people I care about. I'm actually living with my parents for a bit while I finish my doctorate (I have lived on my own) and I try to spend some time with them. I would often take a break from gaming on Friday night to watch some TV with them or watch at least a few innings of my Detroit Tigers here and there.

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?

Again, I’m a loser without anything else to really do with my time. Outside of work and ultimate league I spend almost all of my time playing games and that didn’t change. I watched less of my Detroit Tigers this summer, but part of that was a result of me being incredibly frustrated with the team and borderline rage quitting the season. They have actually turned their season around, but it’s still disappointing to watch after they were one of the best teams in baseball from 2011-2013. I think I watched less of the League of Legends Championship Series this summer, but I still had it up in the background each day while I played games, I just didn’t actively watch as much. Anyways, no I don’t think my gaming really changed.
When you entered Leap Frog how long were you anticipating it to last and, if you’d have known it would have gone as long as it did, would you still have entered?

laugh I actually had a pretty good estimate on how long this would go. I remember last year people told me "There's no way it can go past 50 days. 50 achievements in a day is insane!" All it takes is two insane people to keep the contest going and what you find insane might be normal to other people. When you’re dealing with the tail end of a distribution you have to take your initial estimate and increase it significantly. I thought from the beginning that the contest would break into the 20 ratios and I actually said back in May that I thought it could go to a ratio of 25.

The funny thing is I never planned to be in the contest that long. At first it was kind of just for fun. I was about to intentionally go out on something like day 10, but then my good friend Trecool linked me this clip and I decided to go a few more days as a joke for him. Then I decided I would go until bean dive and then drop out there since I love bean dive. Once it hit the later stages my competitive spirit came out and I was all in. I certainly had dreams of making the top 3 and getting a badge on my profile, but I never actually planned on it or thought I was going to pull it off. I'm glad I stuck it out, though. If I had known known the competition would drag on that long and you told me I wasn't even going to finish with a badge then I definitely wouldn't have entered, but I'm glad I got my badge.
Did you have to spend much time on planning ahead for which achievements you could earn?

It didn’t really require much time to plan. I made a list of all the achievements that would be smart time investments. I kept a note of their current ratio and also kept a note of what their new ratio would be if they were recalculated. As long as you thought about it the game theory wasn’t hard. I mean, there was one point later on in the contest when I had 2 achievements ready to pop. I don't remember what day it was, but let's say they both had a ratio of 15.05 and the ratio for that day was 14.8. I noticed both achievements would decay to the [14.8,15.0) range if they recalculated that night, so I just waited until after recalc and if either one decayed I would have popped that one and then saved the other one for the 15.0 period. You have to use your brain, but for the most part none of the logic behind planning was too hard. I never lost a day due to decay.

As the contest approached the end it was a little tougher to plan and decide whether a game was going to be a good time investment. I mean, Kingdom: New Lands was only valid for a couple days, but there was only a handful of people starting it and I knew it was risky to invest a lot of time into it when I didn’t know if I would get any return on that investment. I might have finally progressed to the valid achievements just to have them decay that day. However, almost every game was a risky investment. In retrospect I could have played the last couple weeks a little better, but for the most part the planning was not hard. I spent too much time on Lies of Astaroth for the number of days I got from it. I could have gotten more days of leap frog per hour played out of another game.

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

laugh For some reason I tend to be really tired all the time. What many people consider to be a good night’s rest will result in me feeling exhausted. I don’t know why this happens. One year during undergrad I was sleeping about 8 hours every night and a friend was telling me that I had dark circles under my eyes and I looked awful. I started sleeping on a different schedule during leap frog, but I know I need to be in my office working extremely hard this year so that I can finish my dissertation. During the last few weeks of the contest I was shifting my sleep schedule from 4 AM – 12 PM back to 11 PM – 7 AM so that I can go to work for the day and focus. I don’t adjust well and many days I woke up feeling even more tired than normal. There was one day late in the contest where I could have let Happy Dungeons idle for 10 hours to get an extra day and I just didn’t even want to do that. The last Saturday of the contest I woke up and felt exhausted and I knew I needed to binge Deus Ex all day to keep pace, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore.

Additionally, I love many of the games that I was playing during leap frog, like Chariot, BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition, Kyub, Elite: Dangerous, and many of the other games I played. There were a few that I didn’t enjoy much, but for the most part I was playing games I like. However, I greatly prefer a deep game with an intriguing story. My favorite games are games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and binging the same niche games with little to no story just got tiring. By the end of the contest I felt so incredibly burnt out on playing Leap Frog games and I wanted to play for fun again.

I have no idea how I kept going through all of this. I had a lot of people encouraging me, which helped a lot. As tired as I am I am also very competitive. When I’m on the ultimate field I am the most emotional and competitive person out there. I want everyone to feel welcome and have a good time, so if someone else makes a mistake I will always encourage them, but as soon as I make a mistake I get angry at myself and start yelling at myself for playing poorly. I have a strong desire to be the best in anything that I enjoy and feel passionate about. As another example I spent a couple years playing League of Legends seriously and I took it very seriously. I wanted to be the best and I was completely obsessed with the game for a while.
Are there any games that you started purely for Leap Frog that you would have never started otherwise? If so, which ones?

I am usually willing to try anything. I barely pay attention to reviews and just give everything a fair chance. I remember when Remember Me was released it didn’t have amazing reviews and I didn’t pick it up. I finally played it last year and loved it. This has happened with several games so now I’m really willing to try nearly anything. You can look at my game collection and my most recent bean dive as an example. I know there are a lot of people with WAY more games started than me, but I didn’t play much when I was in undergrad and as of 2 years ago I was still only at about 200 games started. Even if I start something and just end up horrified by how bad it is I can usually get a good laugh out of it with my good friend Mr Rodster. We’ve both played some really bad games and have fun laughing at them sometimes.

That said, I did not enjoy my time with Happy Dungeons and Lies of Astaroth one bit. I probably would not have started these if I had known how little I was going to enjoy them and I had not been motivated by leap frog. Everything else that I started for leap frog was something that I would have played anyways.
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?

I do not miss the challenge at all. Like I said, I was so incredibly burnt out. I also have more important obligations right now. I have a doctoral dissertation to finish and I’m REALLY far behind on it and I’m stressed about that. Don’t worry, I didn’t sacrifice progress on my dissertation for leap frog. I was already this far behind before leap frog started. Regardless, my dissertation is far more important to me than a gaming competition. I also would hate to miss the opportunity to have some girl tell me I’m socially awkward and run away from me when I try to talk to her. I feel so much more relaxed now and I don’t miss it at all.

Like I said, I’m also trying to return to just having fun playing games for a bit. I just dropped out of GTASC intentionally so that I can focus on my dissertation and also having fun in my free time. I am having a bit of trouble playing for fun, though. Spending the past couple years being dedicated to achievement hunting has sort of warped my gaming mind. I looked at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and started worrying that it won’t let me hit my goal of 3000 achievements in a year or I looked at Far Cry Primal and Fallout 4 and almost chose not to play these just because they would hurt my ratio. Leap frog and the other site competitions have changed my gaming habits and I want to go back to playing for fun for a while.
What sacrifices did you have to make and do you feel it was worth it now that the competition is over?

I don’t really feel like I made any significant sacrifices during the competition. I think there were small sacrifices, but nothing that I can really think of. I think the sleep schedule I mentioned was partly due to leap frog, but my sleep schedule often gets offset from normal anyways. If I had committed to sleeping better throughout the competition maybe I could have played better in the last few weeks of our ultimate season. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t pull the upset over one of the top seeds in the tournament and I think I could have played a little better if I had just slept better. We were leading 8-7 near the end and then we lost 9-8. If I felt like I wasn’t doing my job or neglecting a girlfriend or wife to do well in the competition then I would not have kept going, but I did not make any major sacrifices.

Did you prefer this year’s format over last year?

Absolutely. I thought this contest was great. There were a lot of people making statements about why the contest wasn’t interesting, but I disagreed with most of the comments people were making. For example, I saw people complaining that the contest was way easier. I don’t understand that analysis. There were about 1800 people each year and you had to beat a lot of really competitive people to place high. It was certainly easier to make to any fixed day this year due to there being so many easy high ratio achievements, but that just meant there were more people in the contest at each point this year.

On that note, there were also a lot of comments about how this wasn’t even hard because we were just using easy SMITE achievements each day. I understand where this was coming from. If you looked at the leaderboard some days we all used an incredibly easy SMITE achievement that happened to have a ratio of 30 for one day, but was going to decay really quickly. However, if you only used easy achievements then you were going to lose to people who utilized those same easy achievements and also did the harder things. The top several people all used easy achievements, but we set ourselves apart from others in the contest by earning the harder achievements in games like BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition, Chariot, Trackmania Turbo (I couldn’t do this, congrats to people like Spiral who pulled it off), Kyub, and others. They weren’t all as difficult as you would think a 20 ratio achievement would be, but I think people aren’t realizing that we actually did set ourselves apart from everyone else with hard achievements.

I will also say that the complaints saying we were just paying to win and it was just a contest to see who would buy the most games were completely false. I know at least most of us spent very little on this contest. Even if you include the games like Kyub that I would have purchased anyways, I still spent somewhere around $100 on leap frog. If I hadn’t owned any of the games I played during leap frog then purchasing all of them still would have been fairly inexpensive.

Anyways, I highly disagree with all the comments about this contest being easy or pay to win. I think there were certainly a ton of really easy days, but the people who made it to the end set themselves apart by earning difficult achievements and they all deserved to be there. Without new releases maybe the top 5 standings change a bit, but I definitely think the top 5 all deserved to place high.

I could never seriously compete in last year’s format. I mean, I’m sure I COULD, but I wouldn’t be willing to spend the time needed on games I didn’t enjoy at all to do well in last year’s contest. I’ve only earned more than 50 achievements in a day three times, but two of those days were from bean dive this year and the other day was just a silly preload day. This contest suited my playstyle much better. I don’t typically earn a ton of achievements each day, but I can do one high ratio achievement a day.
If you could choose the rules for next year’s Leap Frog event, what would they be?

I’m not entirely sure. I think a lot of people give ideas for the contest without fully thinking the implications through. I mean, everyone said there was no way this contest was going to go past a ratio of 16, but it certainly did. It’s not that the logic behind that isn’t reasonable, but people tend to miss some factor when they think about new rules. One proposal I saw was to increase the amount the ratio is increased each period. I think even a change like this is extremely dangerous. Suppose we raise it to half a point per period. This means you could go from a ratio of 15 to 25 with only 20 achievements and you could see a few people making it far without earning achievements from a wide variety of games.

I don’t think new content really decided the contest. At least I don’t think it decided the contest outside of who made the top 5. Like I said, we all set ourselves apart on achievements that I didn’t see other people doing. However, the contest would have been shorter as a result and for the most part I don’t think new content added anything to the contest. There were some games like Kyub that were new, but also far from trivial.

I think there are a couple interesting solutions. First, you could start off with bigger jumps and make the ratio increase per period larger. Increase the ratio by half a point per period until you hit a ratio of 10. If you can do half a point per period I think you’ve proven yourself. After that raise the by only a quarter of a point per period until you hit 20. Then raise the ratio by a fifth a point for the remainder of the contest. This means you still need to master a wide variety of games. This would speed up the contest while also making it competitive in the last few weeks.

I also really like the idea of setting each person’s required ratio individually to min([.8 + .2n, x]), where n is the period number and x is the person’s first qualifying achievement from the previous period. This could be really interesting in my opinion. It means Rich doesn’t have to work something out where the system doesn’t have to do an individual check on the release date for each achievement to see if it should qualify. It essentially removes new content.
You decided along with K4rn4ge to retire from the contest during scoring period 117. What was the reason behind this? How much longer do you think you could have carried on if you had continued?

As I’ve already mentioned, I was burnt out on playing leap frog games, I was tired every day when I woke up, I felt stressed about my dissertation, I knew I wasn’t going to win, and I just wanted it to be over. Karnage is a great guy and I have a ton of respect for him and I thought he deserved to be second place with me. If I thought I had a chance to win I would have kept going, but when I realized how much of a pain the Madden NFL 17 Draft Champions 83 overall rating achievement was going to be and I also realized I just didn’t want to binge Deus Ex all day (believe me I want to play Deus Ex, I just want to play it on my own time) I knew there was no way I was keeping up with Infamous. I talked a bit with Karnage and we agreed that we had both played the competition really well and neither of us deserved second over the other person. I’m not even going to talk about how much further I could have gone. I know we both still had some left in the tank and could have kept going, but we respect each other and this competition doesn’t really matter in the end as we both have more important things to do and neither one of us wanted to sacrifice real life priorities. Discussing who could have gone further would only introduce speculation as to which person deserved second more than the other person. We are sharing second place.
Will you be taking part next year?

I highly doubt it. I never want to do this again. I already talked about the reasons why I felt so burnt out and by the end of the contest I simply was not having fun. It was fun for a really long time, but I’m extremely competitive and once I start something like this I will see it through to the end. Unfortunately, it also changes my gaming habits in a way that I don’t like, like I said above. I’m borderline ready to never do another competition again.

Additionally, it’s no secret that the discussion thread was a clown fiesta at times. I’m not trying to say I had no part in some of the toxicity, but regardless, it made the contest less enjoyable. I won’t go in depth on the clown fiesta that happened there, but I prefer friendly competition over people being rude to each other. I simply enjoyed the competition less when people were rude to others.
Did you rely on any friends or family members to help you stay in the competition? If so, how did they help?

Oh goodness. I got so much help from so many people. Let's see:

Thank you to the people who helped me boost a couple SMITE achievements. I think I COULD have done them normally, but I didn't want to risk screwing up and the achievements taking longer than I expected. Big thank you to ParticleDuality, https://www.trueachievements.com/DJ+Drty+Chapstk.htm, Mr Rodster, PuckJunkie, K4rn4ge, KBop a doo, and a few other people who I had never even met before for helping with SMITE.

Thank you Mr Rodster and Trecool for help with that one Prominence Poker achievement that would have taken a while on my own. I got 10 busts in ring games on my own, but I just didn't feel like I had the free time to sit through 90 more.

Thank you to my local friends Athelasa and Urendkit (they're not on Xbox) for helping me with some Badland coop and some Chariot coop. Also, big thank you to my father for helping me with a little bit of Unbreakable on Chariot. Urendkit helped me preload Unbreakable, and then the day I needed it I got to the final stretch on my own and my dad helped me. He never plays games so he really struggled with the game. I got to the final part where the final climb gets narrow and you zig-zag up to the top and that final section took us about 30 minutes, but he didn't give up, even though it's not what he's interested in.

Thank you to planting42 for the Elite Dangerous help. Every week or two I would shoot Planting a message asking a small question in Elite Dangerous and he would always respond promptly. Since I understood most of the game it was usually only a couple minutes of his time, but it saved me so much frustration when I didn't know one game mechanic.

Thank you ParticleDuality for all the other help you gave throughout the competition. Particle was always willing to help and he answered so many questions like whether a Battleborn achievement was a good time investment.

Thank you Mr Granstaff for giving me pointers on things like Motionsports. I was trying to plan my endgame strategy a bit and he was always there. I had never played Motionsports and didn't know if it was even a good time investment, but he was there to help me out and give me pointers.

Thank you to my parents for not being TOO critical of my gaming habits and for always being so kind and supportive. Thank you for letting me live for cheap instead of paying for the very expensive housing out here. Thank you for the great meals every night. The food my mother cooks is so much better than the crap I ate when I lived on my own. Thank you for being my friends even though I’m a loser. I would be extremely lonely without you. Thank you for everything.

Thank you to everyone else who encouraged me. There were many people who encouraged me and I don’t want to try to list everyone and then forget some people, but thank you all.
Any shout-outs that you would like to make before you go?

Shout out to all my good friends on Xbox. Like I said, I’m a loser. I don’t really have any friends. Thank you Mr Rodster, Trecool, PuckJunkie, j1ggs4w, Sol Invictus XI, and AC1DGro0ve 3o3 for including me in games and hanging out with me on a regular basis. Seriously, I would be extremely lonely without these guys.

Thank you to all the staff members who make this event possible. Special thanks to Rich for making this site possible. I absolutely love Xbox and I love achievements and I love the achievement tracking, stats, solutions, and everything that this site offers.

I mentioned the toxicity that showed up in the discussion thread. I just want to publicly apologize to Rich and the rest of the staff for being part of that. I certainly want this to be a fun and welcoming community. I get a little defensive sometimes and I know I wasn’t always the best community member in the discussion thread. I’m sorry for bringing the community down.

I think I mostly listed everyone when I talked about all the people who helped me. Hmmmm…. I guess this is time for me to be the goofball that most people know me for.

Thank you Caroline Wozniacki for being amazing and motivating me. No, seriously, I actually really admire Caroline as a person. If you read interviews with her she’s actually incredibly kind and smart. Thank you http://lol.gamepedia.com/XPeke for being amazing and inspiring me to be more like you. I respect so many players, but xPeke will always be my favorite. I wish I could be amazing like Caroline and Peke, but sadly I will always be a Garbage.

Top die. Go Cloud 9! Faker Faker Playmaker! Go SKT!

Sorry, I’m Garbage. Although maybe now that I did well in leap frog I’m not a garbage tier gamer anymore. I suppose I did boost achievements for the first time during leap frog. Maybe I should change my Gamertag to “A Boosted Animal” or something equally goofy.

Be amazing like xPeke, not garbage like xGarboMan. I’ll leave you all with these great highlights to inspire you to be like Peke!

Feel free to ask me just about anything in the comments!
Thanks to ORIGENxGarboMan for taking the time to answer our questions, and for helping to make the second year of Leap Frog a huge success.

Don't forget you can check out yesterday's interview with K4rn4ge here. If you've enjoyed the interviews so far, you can check back again tomorrow when we interview our overall winner, Infamous.
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.