As we hit week four of the new season of Community Interviews, it’s the turn of Radient Star! Her bio here at TA gives us a good bit of background information, along with a mug shot. That's right! Where possible, from now on we'll be asking for snaps of our community! So in her own words:
“I'm a 19 year-old girl from Florida who is addicted to Xbox, but I have to share it with my brother. When he's playing, I'm drawing, painting, reading, or watching Netflix on my Iphone. When I can obtain the system, I'm a total achievement whore, and an obscene Left 4 Dead addict.
Also, I’m awesome. (Kinda!)”
Davie: Hi Radient Star, thanks for taking part in the Community Interview feature. This would prove that I do read people who are nominating themselves I guess!
Radient Star: Thanks for picking me! I like to think it's my politeness and girlish charm that made me stand out.
D: So, do you enjoy living in Florida? It sounds great to say, regardless!
R: Haha. Every time I tell someone I live in Florida they are in awe. The truth is, all we have is a lot of palm trees, warm weather, and tons of old people. That's pretty much it.
D: In your TA profile you say you have to share your Xbox with your brother (tough break!). Is he your older or younger brother?
R: He's my younger brother, aged 16, though in a couple months he's turning 17.
D: Do you get involved in any local co-op gaming together? The best days of gaming I've ever had was me and my brother working together on co-op games on the PS2, and even into the days of the Xbox 360 when we worked on Guitar Hero 3 together.
R: We do, but rarely. We worked on the http://www.trueachievements.com/Gears-of-War-2-xbox-360.htm campaign together, and he also helped me with the last campaign I needed for Left 4 Dead 2, Dark Carnival. But for the most part, he's ditched me for his Call of Duty: Black Ops clan.
D: Seeing as you're both vying for time on the console, is your gaming time at something of a premium?
R: Uh… kind of. Unlike most people I don't have a "formal" job or school at the moment, so I have less chores and responsibilities on my mind. Still, the pair of us are both avid gamers and there has been some bickering over time management of the Xbox. I think that we both get our fair share of air time, though.
D: I guess with the Xbox being shared between you both you don't get much chance to delve into the other features of Xbox LIVE, such as Netflix?
R: It's funny you ask that. My family actually has both a Netflix and a Hulu Plus account, but most of the time I watch both on my iPad or on the Wii. My family has a lot of gadgets hanging around the house, and considering that the Xbox is used primarily as a gaming console, we don't use it much for watching shows, unless I'm specifically seeing a show with my family up north.
D: Can we get a peak at your game zone where the magic happens?
Here's the gaming station, which is basically a bowl chair squished up against a wall-mounted TV with a shelf under it. But it's cozy.
D: You say you spend time drawing, painting, and reading. A nice set of hobbies there. Let's start with the artistic side of things. When did you start drawing and painting? Did someone inspire you to start, or perhaps a particular piece of art?
R: I've been drawing since I was about 10 years old. I only started painting about 6 months ago though. In my opinion, painting is much harder, as I've been used to using only black and white; color palettes tend to scare me.
As for what got me started, well, like many I was inspired by the manga and anime I was watching and reading. I instantly knew I wanted to create a graphic novel like them, and started doodling. My dad bought me a sketchbook.
But I do remember a specific person that got my competitive edge going, so that I wasn't just doodling, but practicing every day. Her name was Tiffany Richards, and she sat beside me during lunch. She drew dragons and Sonic the Hedgehog, and at the time she was much better than me. I credit her for inspiring me to truly start drawing.
D: And what kind of drawing and painting do you do? Can you give us examples of the pieces of work you're most proud of?
R: I am heavily manga inspired. I'm trying to lean more towards the Marvel/DC Comics style, but I do feel like years of copying Yu Watase and Pokemon graphic novels has dredged my style in soy sauce, if you know what I mean.
Here's an example picture. It first was inspired by Alan Wake, which I recently started playing. It's scaring the pants off of me, and so fear is really the emotion I was trying to portray. Anyway, as I said before recently I've been trying to go for a more Marvel/DC style as opposed to the manga I usually draw, thus all of the mood lighting and hatching.
D: That looks brilliant! I'm not much up on styles of drawing and such, but I do know when something looks good! So, do you hope to follow art as an involvement in a future career perhaps?
R: I don't hope to become an artist, I have to. For me there is no other option. I'm going to become a sequential artist, which is basically fancy terms for a graphic novelist or comic book artist.
D: And turning to reading, what was your best read of 2010?
R: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It was amazing.
D: What genre do you tend to read most often? Crime thrillers? Gritty war torn action packed dramas? Or, like my girlfriend, those soppy ones where everyone lives happily ever after?
R: I usually have a distinct fantasy bias. I remember when I was in grade school I would specifically seek out books that had the little blue unicorn sticker on the side. But you are right, soppy happy endings where everyone lives happily ever after is a bonus…
D: You've mentioned drawing, painting, reading and movies in your bio. Are you into music at all?
R: Not really. I took flute lessons and violin lessons while I was in school, but neither of them stuck on me. My brother, on the other hand, is an excellent guitarist, and my sister recently took up piano, and my Dad is a songwriter.
So you could say the music gene is in the family, but it's passed over me.
D: If you had to pick a song which either summed you up, or was your favorite track that you've heard so far, what would it be?
R: Well, I think I'd have to pick Stars from Les Miserables. It's the song that I picked to create my Gamertag. I don't know why, but it really resonated with me.
D: When did you begin gaming? You're fairly young at nineteen, so you probably just missed out on the 'SNES Mario generation' many of us seem to hail from I think?
R: Like many growing up in the late nineties, everything I lived and breathed was Pokemon. I distinctly remember Pokemon sheets, Pokemon cards, Pokemon key chains… and of course one of those chunky green Game Boys with Yellow and Blue version. For some reason, I don't think we had Red. Or maybe we did, but we lost it…
D: Can you remember the first game you played that marked the beginning of gamers journey?
R: Obviously the first game I played was a hand held Pokemon. I honestly think that's where it started. From there we got a N64, and the PS2, and a Gamecube…
D: And as for the games you play now, you say you're a Left 4 Dead addict. Is that the 'best' game you've yet played on your 360? If not what would take that title for you?
R: Tough question. Left 4 Dead and http://www.trueachievements.com/Left-4-Dead-2-xbox-360.htm are both amazing games, but both of them are based on their multiplayer. While I think they are certainly contenders for some of the best games on my shelf, it can't compete with single player games like Mass Effect. They are just in different categories.
D: How about the worst game you've played on the 360? I know many 'achievement whores' (her words not mine!) have bittersweet memories of that one game which was a nearly unbearable grind.
R: Ugh. Darksiders. I have yet to grind that bastard, and I'm not looking forward to it. I gave up halfway in when I realized it wasn't getting any more fun.
D: Do you play more or less anything, or are there some titles which you'd never touch at all? I used to be a play anything kind of guy, and then Kinect made dance games on the Xbox a reality. No way is my 6"2 of mass wriggling in time to Lady Gaga…
R: 6'2"!? You're tall! I'm only 4'11". But um, anyway, back on topic…
I'm kind of a mainstream gamer. I usually go for the blockbuster hits that everyone is raving about. I've occasionally gone shopping looking for "oldie but goodie" titles, but rarely do I actually come back with something. I guess I just trust public opinion too much. (The exception to this being Call of Duty: Black Ops, which in my opinion is overrated.)
D: So the 'achievement whore' in you we mentioned. Is this by nature, or a product of TA's stat tracking?
R: A little bit of both. I remember before I signed on to TA I used to like collecting achievements, but by getting on this site I've become much more ruthless about it. In one session, I actually taped my controller and started reading a manga. Now if that's not whoring, I don't know what is.
D: You're a 'Delta' member of the site (registered in Sep. 2010). How did you find out about TA?
R: I was looking up an achievement for Left 4 Dead 2. I think it was Wedding Crasher. I got a link to TA and I guess from there I just got hooked.
D: In one of your recent blog posts you wrote about a handful of achievements you managed to unlock, with some help from the 'ever-awesome Malagizmo'. Is he your partner in crime when it comes to multiplayer achievements?
R: I have lots of partners in crime. Malagizmo just happens to be one of the ever-awesome ones.
D: To quote the end of that particular blog post, 'Nom nom nom. Achievements." Very well put, I have to say! Which achievement that you've unlocked so far are you most proud of?
R: I'm quite happy that I've unlocked all of the Expert campaigns on both http://www.trueachievements.com/Left-4-Dead-xbox-360.htm and http://www.trueachievements.com/Left-4-Dead-2-xbox-360.htm. I've put countless hours into learning the strategies (and yes, learning the glitches) and I'm happy both Something to Prove and Still Something to Prove are finally in my trophy case where they belong.
D: In a recent Community Interview some users were discussing in the attached thread the prospect of buying games based on their achievement lists. How important are achievements to you? Will a poorly designed achievement list discourage you from buying or trying a game?
R: It really depends. Again, I'm a mainstream gamer and I'll usually buy the hottest most popular games, but when I do go looking for older ones I am going to see if the achievements are insanely difficult, or insanely easy. Then again, I also look at the gameplay and replay value as well. I guess it would influence by opinion, but not necessarily dictate it.
D: You're approaching the ten thousand Gamerscore barrier which is the first truly huge milestone on, what is potentially, the long road ahead for your Gamerscore. How far do you think that road can or will go? How high do you think you can get that Gamerscore before the end of the current-gen Xbox 360 as we know it? It's a good five years or so yet if we believe what Microsoft say.
R: I don't know. But I'm hoping that it will get a lot bigger.
D: Looking at your Gamercard, I notice there's no Kinect titles there. Have you tried Kinect at all, or have any views on Microsoft's latest slice of hardware? And, is it something you'll pick up in the future?
R: No, I don't have a Kinect, and I've never tried it before. I'm curious about it, but I'm not foaming at the mouth to try it. I'm certainly not opposed to getting one, I suppose, if my parents buy it for me, but I'm not bugging them about it.
D: How do you feel about the whole 'girl gamer' tag? Does it bother you that there are 'gamers' and then 'girl gamers'? Personally, I'm not sure I agree with Microsoft's official 'Gamerchix' club, which although it is helping unite girl gamers together, could be seen to be awarding them special 'status' and further divide the sexes on Xbox LIVE.
R: It's a sticky subject. The truth is I'm not sure. On one hand I am proud to be a gamer, and unashamed of being a girl who likes video games, but on the other hand I agree that both genders should be treated equally and not divided.
Those I game with have been very kind to me and treated me like they would any other gamer, and that's all I can hope for.
D: I came over almost political all of a sudden there! To finish this interview, is there anything you'd like to say or pass on to the community. Here's your chance to have your say on the front page of TA for the world to see!
R: Uh… Damn it, I can't think of anything. How about another drawing? Sadly, it doesn't relate too much to gaming:
Thank you to Radient Star for taking time out to complete this interview for us! No doubt her brother made ample use of the time and hogged the Xbox whilst he could! An interesting read from a self nominated member of our community, and one which hopefully eases a newer member of TA into the minds of the community.
We’ve had a variety of people on the front page thus far, and we’re not done yet. I want to speak to more people and find out what makes them tick! Contact details for applications and question submissions are given below as always!
If you’d like to be featured in a future Community Interview, or would like to nominate a gamer on this site to be featured themselves, please send a PM to DavieMarshall
If you have any questions you’d like to be put to future interviewees, send me your Questions From The Community too!