TA Community Interview – ZNMS

By Sam Quirke, 5 months ago
Welcome to this week's Community Interview! Last time we heard from Walkthrough wunderkind SpiralGamerpro. This time we're passing the torch on to ZNMS. Any good protagonist needs an interesting back story, and we're certainly not lacking for one with this guy. Whether he's writing songs, producing movies, schmoozing with video game industry vets or sleeping under gunfire, ZNMS has certainly had an interesting life so far. Read on to find out a little more about him, and say hello in the comments!

ZNMS


Let's start as always with your gamertag. Why ZNMS?

There's nothing truly amazing behind my GamerTag. It's just my initials.
From your gamerpic, avatar clothing, trophy case and a whole bunch else on your homepage, I'm guessing you like Halo?

I was a big fan of the series and Halo: Combat Evolved was the reason I ditched other forms of gaming and jumped into the world of Xbox. Yet in recent years, not as much. It's a shame to see the mark 343 Industries has left.
How long have you been gaming? What's your earliest memory of a game?

I've been gaming since the Nintendo Entertainment System era and like many before me, the joy of picking up that rectangle controller and playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time was magic.
Soon to be available in adorably tiny format!Soon to be available in adorably tiny format!


Tell us about your home/family life. What do they have to say about your gaming habits?

Since I'm single, there's really nothing much to talk about regarding family life. It's just me, myself and I. My current place of residence doesn't allow pets of any kind. So whenever I get home from work and I want to relax, I'm free to play games when I want, Netflix and chill, turn up the music and enjoy myself.

Then, there's the pool. I like my pool.
The Pool


What are you doing when you're not gaming? What pays the bills, and what are your hobbies?

I currently work for the largest electronic and home appliances retailer in Australia and New Zealand. Like any job you have to take the good with the bad. The nicest thing is the characters you meet. Not just the standard customers that come to shop, but the people that work along side you. Oh, the stories I could tell.

I have been a long standing employee and have definitely reaped the rewards. The amount of rare and cool gaming merchandise I have collected over the years is quite vast.
Gaming Merchandise


On the side, I'm actually getting back into my writing after striking up a conversation at a friend's birthday party with cool guy who has his own music studio. I mentioned I wrote a handful of songs and before you know it, there's talk of doing a demo, collaborating and so on.
Tell us a little more about the music you write. Is that something you're hoping to make a career out of?

Like any other songwriter, I get my ideas, my thoughts and inspirations from everything around me. But unlike most musicians, my only instrument is a pen and a piece of paper. Due to this, I personally believe that I am more creatively talented rather than musically based on some of the other aspects in my life. I can't sing and I'll admit to that. Being so, it's not something I could successfully pursue due to that limitation, but that's not going to stop me from trying.

As for my songs, it would be a dream to get at least three songs recorded: One for a friend, one for a girl and the one about me.

That's all I want.
What real life achievement would you like to give yourself some Gamerscore for? Tell us about it.

Where to start? I have had so many different and memorable events that have occurred over my thirty years. I think I better just list them.

10. According to the Halotracker web site, I'm number one in the world for Laser kills in the Anniversary BTB playlist in Halo: Reach.
9. Being an executive producer on a short film.
8. Being cast as an extra in the World War II movie, The Great Raid.
7. Saving a housemate from suicide.
6. Purchasing my own apartment.
5. Purchasing my own Jeep.
4. Visiting New York for my thirtieth birthday.
3. Surviving three lung operations.
2. Being completely independent.
1. Winning the longest nine inning grand final club baseball match in my career.
Is this short film you executive-produced something we can go and watch? Tell us a little about it.

The short film was an university film project entitled, Good Knight Reverie telling the tale of a half-man, half-demon bounty hunter, tasked with the retrieval of the escaped daughter of a Yakuza crime lord. The live-action short film was crafted a few years back and is available for viewing on YouTube.

Being such a low budget film a lot of ideas had to be altered or scrapped. Scenes were cut, certain takes could have been re-shot. But, what was created was something different when compared to the other film entries. Something that could grow on to something more. One can only dream of what it could of become if time wasn't such a factor.

The filming schedule was gruelling and due to all of these limitations, it was still worth it.
Three lung operations? Can I ask what they were for?

When I was on the movie set as an extra in the film, The Great Raid, I started to experience pain while breathing. Since the film set I was currently stationed at was a POW camp there were plenty of make-shift bamboo beds. I shrugged it off at the time and just rested.

The problem was, the pain kept on coming back. Sometimes it was just here and there. Sometimes it was daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. So like any smart person, I visited my local doctor, got some tests done and due to my very tall, thin body structure, I was diagnosed with being prone to a spontaneous pneumothorax. In this condition, my lungs could collapse or tear with to little to no stress or trauma to the given region of my body. Basically, my lungs were a ticking time bomb.

It was scary.

I must thank my parents for the support during each and every operation that helped improve my lungs, lung capacity and reduce the number of occurrences of a pneumothorax.

But, the wonderful virtual video game worlds that I have ventured through have also been something worth noting. The amount of immersion that games such as Fallout 3 and Dead Space created, helped immensely during my final recovery period.
What’s your favorite game of all time on any console, and why?

Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. What a brilliant first entry for such a long running franchise containing a great selection of characters and tracks, and no blue shell.
If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Quake III: Arena. It's the way multiplayer should be.
What part of the world do you live in? What would you recommend to a visitor, and what kind of game would you set there?

I live on the Gold Coast which is located in the Australian state of Queensland, but in Forza Horizon 3 it is called Surfers Paradise. This personally excites me, as so many people are able to drive past my home within this game.
Forza Horizon 3 Map


Being the second major city in the state of Queensland, Australia and the largest non-capital city in the country, this city is known for being one of the best places to visit in Australia. If you enjoy any form of water activities or leisure, this place has got you covered. If you want to shop, this place has two of the largest shopping centers in Australia.

These places are huge.

Anyway, being one of the best tourist destinations in Australia, I could go on and on about the Gold Coast and mention the beaches, the theme parks, the Supercars Castrol Gold Coast 600 and the rainforest hinterland. But, personally all I ask is. If you do come here, is that you go and explore what this place can offer.
Any games you regret putting on your GamerTag?

What is your proudest Xbox achievement, and why?

As previously mentioned in an earlier question, I'm number one in the world for Laser kills in the Anniversary BTB playlist in Halo: Reach. This may not be an actual achievement with the Halo: Reach title and to the average user it may not sound like much, but the time and the dedication to reach that milestone is a personal true achievement and that can never be taken away from me.
Do you have a favorite – one you found particularly enjoyable?

When it comes to playing games. Playing online can be daunting to many. It really can. Again, this is not an actual achievement within any particular game. But, an achievement that I am apart of in this big Xbox Live community. There are millions of users who connect via matchmaking, a looking for group web site, a TrueAchievements boosting session and so forth from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, and it just goes to show how we, as a community can connect, play along side one another and have fun. It's amazing how we, can all come together.
Which 100% completion are you most proud of, and why?

Looking back at the number of games I have completed over the years, F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon is that one game that strikes the most memories. From the high TrueAchievements score since a number of achievements required the user to play through the campaign in a variety of ways, to joining up with a good friend, KEOLIVEatHOME and getting through all of those multiplayer achievements. Then, finally unlocking the last achievement on my birthday making the celebration that little bit better with my fellow housemates at the time.

The very next day, the beta for Halo: Reach began. It was a good week.
Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Throughout my years of playing video games, I have come across many annoying factors. Many that I am happy to list and many that fellow TrueAchievements members will agree with me. Lag, discontinued achievements, long loading screens are all noteworthy but having witnessed a growing trend of sheer laziness by multiple companies to release products to market that are clearly unfinished in the last few years. That's what really grinds my gears.
What is your favorite aspect of gaming, or being a gamer? What keeps you playing?

It's all about the achievements. Let it be, hitting that milestone, ticking off another game on my bucket list or completing a goal.
What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

What game(s) are you currently playing?

I'm currently playing the new Rise of Iron expansion in Destiny and on the side I'm trying to finish Joy Ride Turbo in a casual sort of way.
How are you finding it?

Destiny, is well Destiny. You either love it or hate it. There's nothing more that needs to be said about that. I know a lot of people have shown their distaste, but I stuck with it and found what brings a smile to face when I play. On a completely different side of the spectrum, Joy Ride Turbo is just a fun arcade kart racer. If it wasn't for Runner eGirl and her generosity I wouldn't have had the chance to play it.
Now, let's put you in a game. What would your character build be? What skills would you have?

A Fireborn, Flame Shield Warlock from Destiny focusing on Energy Drain with the Stormtrance super ability.
You can bring along one weapon and one character from another game to help you out. What are your choices and why?

Being the player that I am, I'm looking for a weapon with unlimited ammunition, range and effectiveness. That being said, the only true option is the fire flower power up from Super Mario Bros. In combination with this amazing offense weapon, is Elika from Prince of Persia to defend or save me from near death all the time.
What enemy or boss would you really hope to avoid?

Every single enemy from the Dark Souls series.
Any characters you would like seen thrown into video game hell?

Every single enemy from the Dark Souls series.
Apart from infinite lives, what gameplay feature do you wish you could make use of in real life?

Invulnerability. I just need to figure out how to type "IDDQD" into my own command prompt.
Do you prefer single player or multi-player?

Multiplayer.
Do you have a favorite group of friends you like to play with in multiplayer? If so, how did you meet?

I used to have a good group of friends on Xbox Live which was all thanks to Halo: Reach. This awesome group of fellow Halo players from Australia would team up, night after night in the Anniversary BTB playlist in Halo: Reach and just played. We were never that great and we never had a full squad of eight players. But, that didn't stop us. We just played.

But, those days are long gone as many members of that group have moved on to play other games on different platforms, others have just drift apart.

It's sad when you lose a friend like that. But, it's okay. As you can always make new ones.
Any particularly memorable online experiences – good or bad?

Receiving a friend request from a user with the GamerTag of SirDrPooFingers after a Halo: Reach match was surprisingly funny, yet a bit uncomfortable at the same time considering the Halo: Reach emblem, Gamer Pic and bio of the user in question.

Seriously, where do people come up with these names?

Then, there was the time I naturalized a user with the GamerTag of LeaveBritAlone with a sweet sniper shot while playing Halo 3. Britney didn't play very well that game. It was probably around the time when she shaved her head.
If you could have a gaming session with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Barney from How I met your Mother. It would be Legen - Wait for it - Dary.
Outside of games, what are your other media habits? Do you have favorite books, TV series, movies or podcasts?

Since I'll probably be recording a music demo by the time this interview is published, combined with my daily occupation and the odd DJ session on Twitch. It's sad to say that other forms of media namely the awesome TV show, Rick and Morty are actually not a high priority, personally. But when the next season is released, I'll be getting schwifty.
Is there a book, movie or TV show that you'd really like to see adapted into a game? I'll accept ones that have tried and failed, but only if you tell me how you'd fix it!

Rick and Morty.
Do you own other consoles? What are your favorites on those platforms?

I'm sorry, but I don't own any other consoles other than my Xbox 360 E and Xbox One.
Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to, but let you down when you played it? Equally, have you had any pleasant surprises from games you took a gamble on?

Too Human is the main game that comes to mind regarding this subject. Years ago, I got a chance to play the game a few months ahead of release at a private convention and was surprised by the different premise and themes present. I took a gamble, purchased a copy and after the first level I know I had made a terrible mistake.

These days, I don't take a chance on such things. I read reviews, watch gameplay trailers, view Twitch streams, participate in beta tests so I can get the best possible and personal perspective on the game in question.
Tell us about your gaming set-up.

It's very minimalistic. A standard Sony 40" HDTV sitting on top of a wood and glass cabinet that's open and well ventilated for an Xbox 360 E and Xbox One. It's nothing amazing, but it's tidy and that's how I like it.
Setup


How do you primarily use TrueAchievements? (Tracking, walkthroughs, solutions, sessions?)

I mainly use the TrueAchievements web site for solutions, sessions, giving away Xbox related codes and the weekly sales. ChewieOnIce does a great job.

You've been a site member since 2009. How has your gaming changed or evolved since coming to TrueAchievements?

It has changed quite a bit. I'm more cautious and I don't take the risk of starting a new game unless it's a title I'm fully interested in. I do my research. I look at the number of achievements, the completion ratio, the average completion time, whether or not there is a season pass or extra DLC with the game in question.

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

Since I've been a member for seven years, I actually can't remember how I discovered this web site. It's been so long.

Have you made friends here?

Yes, I have.

What kind of achievements do you like to see in a new list? Any common achievement types that you find especially irritating?

The standard achievements awarded upon completing a level or mission within a game. I don't mind unlocking these type of achievements since this gives me the freedom to approach the particular level or mission in my own way.

This cannot be said for achievements that focus on a particular skill or an area of luck.

Goat Simulator (Xbox 360)The FlapmasterThe The Flapmaster achievement in Goat Simulator (Xbox 360) worth 54 pointsScore 10 points in Flappy Goat


The Flapmaster achievement is a fine example of this.

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

Well, according to the Halotracker web site, I'm number one in the world for Laser kills in the Anniversary BTB playlist in Halo: Reach.

Maybe, I should try and put a few film clip together in Upload Studio and release my work on Twitter or YouTube. If anyone would like to see that, just let me know.

Lightning Round

Favorite Xbox game?

Halo 3

Favorite non-Xbox game?

Quake III: Arena.

Least favorite game?

Dirt Racer.

Favorite game developer?

Nintendo.

Favorite game weapon?

Model 6 Grindell/Galilean Nonlinear Rifle.

Best boss battle?

Oryx.

Worst boss battle?

Asylum Demon.

Favorite game character?

Me. Well, all the cool create-a-player characters I've created.

Favorite game ending?

Minerva's Den from BioShock 2 (Xbox 360).

Most hated game ending?

Jurassic Park.

Favorite game world?

Fallout: New Vegas.

Favorite game music?

SSX Tricky.

Most emotional video game moment?

Elizabeth being tortured in that scene in BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360): Burial at Sea - Episode 2.

Game that shouldn’t have had a sequel?

Deus Ex.

Game you wish you'd never played?

Quake 4

Guilty pleasure game?

Lumines Live!

End of Lightning Round

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

I've met Lars Gustavsson, Design Director of the Battlefield series and Curtis Creamer, the Production Lead of Halo 3: ODST as well as played a few games with Josh Holmes, Creative Director of Halo 4 and Studio Head for Halo 5: Guardians.

At the start of the twenty-first century, I wrote a number of articles for the PlanetQuake web site and I've slept under gun fire.

Those are some impressive names. How did you meet those guys?

Private meetings, conventions and conferences through my retail employee company and general connections, so to speak. I was truly overjoyed having the chance to met Lars Gustavsson. Even though fellow colleagues and himself were on a strict time schedule, the gentleman still took the time to talk to fans, pose for photos and sign Battlefield related merchandise. He was such a nice guy.

Battlefield


Curtis Creamer, was just as friendly. The humble, down-to-earth Bungie employee was happy to listen us give feedback on the FireFight game mode in Halo 3: ODST, pose for photos and generally chat to fellow fans such as myself for the duration of the training meeting.

I didn't get to hang out with Josh Holmes that much, just two games of Halo due to time restraints. While playing, questions flowed thick and fast from myself and others. And each and every time, Josh Holmes didn't shy away from anything. Each and every question got an answer. There wasn't any chances of photos or drinks afterwards. Though as a saving grace, I was able to save to the two Halo games I played with Josh Holmes on my FileShare.

And... slept under gunfire? How did that happen?

That particular event occurred during one of the many night shoots while on the movie set of The Great Raid. Being an extra on a movie set there's a lot of standing around doing pretty much nothing. So instead of continuously drinking coffee during the long night shoots, I found a some-what quiet area, laid down and got a few hours of sleep while M1A1 Thompson gun fire rattled off less than twenty meters away.

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

Based on my personal achievements, there's still plenty to talk about. Such as suicide prevention, my Halo: Reach milestone, working at PlanetQuake and the best thirtieth birthday present of finally visiting one of the best cities in the world, New York.

I'm happy to come back if the TrueAchievements community would like.

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

Hello to everyone who I have joined up with in the many different TrueAchievements sessions, KEOLIVEatHOME for being awesome, the two best Halo buddies, Max and Lax, MashedPeas11, BreakinTraction for the Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights and Call of Duty sessions, Runner eGirl for being so sweet and giving me a code for Joy Ride Turbo and of course, mom and dad.

Well, that's all for now, but as ZNMS mentions above there's still plenty to talk about and I'm sure he'll be happy to answer your questions below. Thanks to ZNMS for his time. Please drive carefully when speeding past his house in Forza.

The TA Community Interview will be posted every two weeks if we have enough nominations! If you have a friend you'd like to nominate to be interviewed, or if you'd like to nominate yourself, please send a PM to kintaris. You’re more likely to be picked if you’re well-written, interesting, funny or have a pool, because British people go crazy for that sort of thing.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been gaming long enough to know the pain of a failed DOS install on the fifth floppy disc. As well as writing news, he also looks after our Community Interviews. Send him a PM if you are interested!