TA Community Interview - rayner2814

By DavieMarshall, 5 years ago
My selection for the Community Interview this week is the numerical rayner2814. A gamer of thirty years who celebrated their thirtieth anniversary in January of this year, rayner2814 is no slacker when it comes to picking up the controller and getting the game on. He also writes some of the most entertaining blog posts I’ve seen on TA with some stories that just need to be shared with a wider audience. Let’s explore a little further!
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Davie: Hi rayner2814 and welcome to the Community Interview! How hopeful were you to be seeing your name on the front page when you PM’d me?

rayner2814: Hi Davie, I really never expected I be selected, but here I am. I love these interviews and I've read them all so far, some really unique characters here on TA.

D: So the gamertag, are the numbers meaningful at all? Is that the year all life on earth, the universe and alternate realities will cease to exist perhaps?

R: This is going to come off really geeky, but my bio is the Green Lantern Oath, and my name is in reference to Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern of Earth. 2814 is the sector for Earth in the DC Universe. So yeah I'm a comic-book collecting geek-burger!

D: I’ve been reading your blog and you say your first gaming experience was when you were five on an Defender arcade unit, and apparently you were a ‘natural’ at it. Does that still apply now? Can you slip into a new game with ease or are you rustier now in your ‘old’ age? wink

R: Since when is 35 "old age"? I actually have a problem with easy games, they bore me. I need some form of challenge or I lose interest. I say in time I've become better at games, I know what to expect... I'm rarely caught off-guard these days.

D: I strongly encourage people to read the blog post on your introduction to gaming, it’s really a very entertaining read with a lot of nostalgia. Do you think in the years to come you’ll have the same kind of nostalgic fancy for some games of the current generation?

R: I already have that nostalgia this generation, I remember playing http://www.trueachievements.com/Phantasy-Star-Universe-....htm for the 1st time online and Moatoob was closed, creating the "perfect" character in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, or when I told my friend "maybe you should equip that rocket launcher, BUG" in Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360). I think what I'll remember most from this gen is the co-op.

D: As you spent so much time on arcade machines as a youngster did you ever try Game Room on Xbox Live? It was a potential treasure trove of retro games which never really achieved what it promised for many.

R: As much as I love retro-titles the OCD in me does not like game compilation series. I love the Genesis, but won't buy the Genesis collection, I will buy separate games for the Achievements on XBLA like Centipede & Millipede, Galaga, Dig Dug, ect, and I was also disappointed that I wouldn't get a DL code for those games I've already downloaded. I own all 4 Pac-Man games too. Game Room was a real let-down.

D: Now, today is the thirteenth of February which means tomorrow is Valentines Day. When we spoke previously you told me you were married in June of last year. Very belated congratulations! Did the day go without a hitch?

R: Thank You, it was the greatest day of my life, I couldn't ask for a better wife or a better day, everything came together so perfectly. There were many surprises and my friends and family still talk about the day all the time. It was an inter-faith ceremony, I'm Catholic and she is Jewish, we were married in the church. Here is one of my favorite pictures, I'm the guy in the tux.

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There were so many little personal touches that made the day even more memorable. My brother and Best Man referred to marriage as "Unlocking an Achievement" He even described the Xbox 360 Achievement system to all the guests.

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Prior to the big day, my wife and I took dancing lessons, I've never danced in my life. After 10 months of dedication we had a choreographed first dance, our song Keep Holding On by Avril Lavagne. Then to the surprise of everyone we danced the Tango from the movie True Lies.

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ARNOLD would be proud!

D: Now you also told me that your groom’s cake was in the shape of an Xbox 360! This bit of information was worth a Community Interview alone! I have to know where that idea came from, and as they say, pics or it didn’t happen!

P: My wife totally came up with the idea and surprised the hell out of me, she basically took a picture of the Xbox 360 and went to Carvel and told them this is what she needs. What else can anyone ask for? Video-games & Ice Cream!

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The game on top is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it kinda melted off, it was the end of June and 90 degrees outside.

D: How did the cake go down with your guests?

R: Mmmm Crunchies! We had a Viennese Hour so I'd imagine people were stuffed at that point, we were busy taking pictures with the deserts.

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The wedding hall was really good at saving food for us and had everything nicely laid-out at our table.

D: I love these Community Interviews; artists, people building houses, Xbox cakes - each week is a surprise! Something else you mentioned to me was your Trophy Case, which contains twenty eight completed games all of which with an average TA ratio of greater than 2.0. Can you walk us through some of the games that appear there? It can’t have been an entirely stress free road!

R: Some of the highlights: Rumble Roses XX, my first Xbox 360 Achievement was winning the Championship belt with Reiko. After 4 years I finally completed it this past December. You can read my blog "The Moment of Truth" for more about it. Another is Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. The last Achievement was to survive 1 million points with 1 life. I got to 999,965 and died, I pressed on and completed it the next day.Record of Agarest War, playing through 1st time on Hard, the perfect path and completing it in 1 playthrough, they said it wasn't possible. Lastly and most recent, Boom Boom Rocket. Who would have thought that it has an overall TA Ratio of 3.77? After almost 4 years I finally did the Hard Endurance run with the DLC song, Sting of the Bumblebee.

D: Speaking of stress induced by difficult achievements I’m reminded of another blog post of yours which details your first experience of gaming rage all the way back in 1995. I’m going to reproduce it here as it’s a fantastic tale! Readers, picture the scene, it’s November in 1995 at the University of Stony Brook...

My friend and I just got back from Toys R' Us with a Treasure Trove of NES games on clearance earlier that month... we're talking massive High Quality Sealed Games, Final Fantasy, MegaMan, The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior III & IV. I really wish I had saved some of those games sealed. My friend was playing Final Fantasy and got up to the Ice Cave... everyone knows this is where the cheap difficulty ramps up unexpectedly.

He's mowing down enemies with little trouble until he gets ambushed by 4 Sorcerers. He has the message speed set to 8 which is the highest and they had Preemptive Strike... all you saw was 7-hits... slain, 6-hits... slain, 7-hits... slain. He gets his turn with his last character and tries to run... slain! He had the Top-loading NES and he ripped the cart right out and threw it on the floor... then Axe-Kicked it and it smashed to pieces, then he took the chip inside and started biteing it... all while his team was slain on the frozen screen!
I’ve had my moments where a controller or game has gone flying across the room and the urge to smash something, anything, into small pieces has almost consumed me, but I’ve never gnawed on a NES cartridges chip! Can you recall some times that have triggered the red mist for you? You say in the same blog post you’ve bust a NES controller or two in your time!

R: In my gaming rage I've snapped a Tactics Ogre disc in two, I destroyed an original Xbox controller on Forza, and the arm-rest on my computer chair was severed when I signed onto battle.net to give all my Diablo 2 items to my friend Fat Punisher to see that all my characters were deleted before the stated 3 months. It was more like 10 weeks of inactivity.

D: Why do you think it is that so many of us keep coming back time and again to a game or a particular level which is so badly designed it channels the violent axe murderer within all of us?

R: For me it's because in 30 years I've never failed at completing a game. We're talking some brutal games on the NES too, like TMNT and Battletoads. Even when I saved at the wrong time in 7th Saga on the SNES, I played through a "Second time" just so I wouldn't be defeated.

D: Trying to move away now from smashing things to pieces, which games do you consider to be a fantastic gaming experience? My examples would be Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360), or the first BioShock (Xbox 360). Two of the best titles I’ve played on the Xbox 360.

R: My Favorite game on the Xbox 360 at the moment is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but more recently I really enjoyed Darksiders, my favorite game of 2010. It's everything I wanted from a Zelda game, challenging, innovative with a character that speaks. I'm also a BIG Castlevania fan and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was an excellent title, more so when you 100% the game, you can really appreciate it at that level.

D: Do you have any thoughts on the inclusion of Gamerscore enabled games on the new Windows Phone 7 mobile devices? Mobile gaming is something that is on the increase but has ultimately never appealed to me.

R: I don't do much portable gaming, I've played Phantasy Star Portable 1 & 2 on the PSP and I have some RPG's downloaded on my iphone, trying to get through Phantasy Star II without a guide is brutal, but my goal is to complete it like I did back in 1990. Games are games... it they give you score, more power to ya!

D: Referring to your blog once more, you say you’re hoping for a game to ‘blow you away’ in 2011. Do you think it’ll happen?

R: I think the best contender is Dark Souls, I've always wanted to play Demon Souls for the PS3, but I'm not spending all that $$$ just to play one game. Dark Souls looks to be better in many ways, and I'm putting myself on media-blackout so that the experience is as fresh and exciting as it can be.

D: Where do you think games are heading in the next ten to twenty years. Will we move to an On Demand style of digital service, or do you think Peter Molyneux will achieve his dream of having a game world adapt to the players free will and offer endless choices and possibilities. He’s slightly crazy, but as we saw in Dog of Thunder’s interview, appearing a little crazy isn’t always a bad thing!

R: In 20 years I hope I'll be celebrating 50 years of gaming! I have no doubt that it will be an all digital service, this industry is a business and publishers make no $$$ off used games. EA is already starting this and Nintendo has no problems selling you the same games for decades. Although I'd rather have physical discs I feel that by 2031 it will be a thing of the past.

D: It’s almost a given that in it’s current form, as much as gaming is in a single player environment, it can be so much better with friends. You were telling me of a gaming friend you played Phantasy Star Online with in the day of the Gamecube who is actually on TA now, AYU X360. How did that friendship start, and more importantly continue across multiple platforms?

R: Phantasy Star Online... oh the memories. I always find it funny that I met one of my close gaming friends on the Gamecube of all places. That actually came about when I was trading a GOD/BATTLE with a friend of his Mia through the website PSO World. The 3 of us would play Endless Nightmare & Toward the Future almost every night. They used me for my exceptional luck, we even found TWO Spread Needles in 1 run!

In June 2006 I sold my entire video-game collection on ebay and made about six grand, and bought an Xbox 360. It wasn't until Phantasy Star Universe released that I contacted both Mia & Ayu on PSO World to see if they had purchased the game. Only Ayu responded and from there we played PSU religiously. Then it expanded into so many other games like Chromehounds & Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360), we both share almost the exact same taste in games.

D: Do you tend to play online strictly with friends or with the masses on Xbox Live?

R: Mostly with friends unless an Achievement forces me to play competitive multiplayer, they should really stop with that crap, that's what leaderboards are for. I also like making sessions here on TA and meeting new people.

D: Do you feel some games are taking the ‘better with friends’ thing too far and employing multiplayer where it was never needed? BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) is my first example.

R: It's funny you use this example, BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) multiplayer was shockingly good when I first played it. I was very skeptical, but the first 3 hours when I was paired with lv 1 players was a blast, we just kept the same group and played for hours. Then when I played the next day and was paired with a lv 21 player and I was lv 9... well that's when it turned to crap. It almost succeeded, but the Achievements... get to lv 50 was a pain in the ass.

D: Do you have any other consoles on the go, or does the Xbox cater for everything you need in gaming and such at the minute?

R: I own a Wii, and use Wii Fit as a scale, tried Monster Hunter Tri... gets boring fast. I have a PSP with a few games, and my iphone. But yeah, 95% of my gaming takes place on the Xbox 360 in my living room.

D: And how much time do you manage to get to spend there in a week?

R: Not enough, or as my wife would say "every minute of every waking hour"

D: With a Gaming Sessions score of 30.50 it doesn’t take a detective to deduce that boosting over Xbox Live is something you actively seek out and participate in. Has TA made it easier for you to organise with Gaming Sessions? Maybe you didn’t tend to bother with boosting before joining TA?

R: I love joining gaming session, you get to meet many different people of the community. It also helps when there is little to no online community for a game, it makes it easy to get people together to tackle some of these multi-player Achievements.

D: Do multiplayer achievements bug you, or are you fine with them?

R: I enjoy co-op Achievements, nothing like playing online with friends when they are all over the world. Competitive multiplayer Achievements can go to hell.

D: Of course the real issue arises when developers include multiplayer achievements, but then close the servers rendering the games impossible to complete. As we all know this is something of a hobby for EA when it comes to their older titles. I hear you helped out the community with The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and helped a few members to unlock The Hobbit & the Troll before the servers went down.

R: When I saw that the servers were going down in the TA news article, I didn't realize that the ranking system was broken, I remember playing and completing the multi-player back in 2007, and checked my rank. I was able to let 12 members defeat me in ranked matches. I wanted nothing in return, I mean really it took less less than 30 mins and I gave them all 1 last chance before those Achievements became what all of us on TA fear "Unobtainable"

D: Another issue which often comes up on the forums at TA is that of DLC and it’s impact upon ratios. One example you cite in your blog is that of Red Dead Redemption. I’ve never liked how on the Xbox Dashboard a game will show as incomplete for me because I didn’t buy the DLC. How do you feel the current system for DLC works on the Xbox Dashboard and here on TA. Are you happy with it?

R: There is something wrong with the system when Choose the Impossible: Reach Rank 40 in BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) has a TA Ratio of 3.12 & Reincarnation: Use Rebirth to start again Which can't be done until you reach lv 50 is only TA Ratio 1.13. Also in regards to "Game of the Year" editions of games. I just completed Borderlands which I received the GOTY edition for Christmas, to me it's a complete game at 1750, I didn't have to pay to download anything. All the DLC TA Ratios are pretty low because of how the system includes DLC. I want a TA Ratio of 2.0!

D: It’s difficult to strike a balance to suit all it would seem. Who knows what the future holds for Gamerscore when eventually the Xbox 360 is retired. Would you like to carry your score with you or start afresh?

R: Definitely, Microsoft would be stupid not to let the score carry over, or at the least keep the score separate on your Gamercard. Gamerscore sells games and DLC, how many people have rented Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth for an easy 1000? Not me, I'm just sayin'

D: So, as we begin to wrap things up here, I’d like to say this has been such a great interview to write, so thanks for the stories and information to make it a very entertaining read!

R: It''s been a pleasure, Trueachievements is an awesome site and a great way to meet new people. These community interviews are always an interesting read and lets us get behind the mind of the gamer and see what makes them tick.

D: And finally, as always is there anything you’d like to share with the community?

R: I love my wife more than anything in the world, and can't wait to celebrate our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. This still means I get something right? I'd like to thank DavieMarshall for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with the rest of the TA Community. I'd also like to give a few shout-outs:

AYU X360 - Thanks for always keeping it "old fashioned"
Fat Punisher - For saving the cheese for the needy! Beotch!
A Man in Flames - You got NOOOOO Shot!
ismart3 - For doing long division in his head
Jayour & Das Kuhnen - for bean diving, Good Luck!
EndlessAzureSky - For beating Alan Wake before me... I'll get you!
Big Ell - Keep on bloggin'
Avata - Congrats on reaching 100% Completion!
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Again a big thanks to rayner2814 for taking the time to complete the interview, and for having so many great stories to tell and expand upon! Make sure to keep an eye out for the Gamertag in the forums and friend feeds now we know quite a bit more about them!

There’s plenty to chat about in this Community Interview until next week, any stories of gaming rage or Xbox themed events are welcome in the comments. Alternatively, if you’d like to PM me as rayner2814 did with some interesting snippets about yourself that you think would make for a great read on the front page, then see the information below!

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!