Unfortunately this week has absolutely flown by, and with work commitments and the often infuriating day to day minutia of my life I’ve been unable to complete a nominated gamer's interview this week. The short of it? PAT testing is an exceptionally long winded job, and eleventh hour software crashes only exacerbate your problems!
However, not to despair, for such occasions I come prepared with backup interviews held on file for emergencies!
This week we’ll be running Newshound osubluejacket
and his interview!
____________________________________D: Hi osubluejacket! Is your gamertag something sports related? I’m not at all great with sports, but I seem to recall there’s a hockey team who go by this name? Am I in the right area or making a complete fool of myself?
O: Astute observation! Yes, my gamertag is sports related. I began attending The Ohio State University
(osu) in the fall of 2000, the same year that Columbus got its pro hockey team, the Blue Jackets. Everyone at OSU used AOL Instant Messenger and needed user names, I was amazed that osubluejacket hadn't been taken yet and jumped right on it. The name kind of stuck as far as gaming/chatting went from then on.D: Odd question time. What if you were forced to change your Gamertag to your favourite food and name of your most loved song? My new tag would end up being PizzaAfterglow. Not too bad!
O: *laughing* I am a total pizza junkie. I love to talk about it, innovate it, create it, and eat it, so pizza would be the food portion. As far as music goes, my favorite types of music are 90’s Seattle grunge and 80’s rock with Pearl Jam and Journey being my favorites. With that in mind, my new Gamertag would have to be something like: PizzaDoTheEvolutionAnyWayYouWantItD: How long have you lived in Ohio, and what’s life like out there?
O: I've lived in Ohio all of my life and find it to be quite boring. I often times say that Ohio has about six good weeks of weather a year and then it's either too hot or too snowy/cold. On the flip side, Ohio has a good mix of cities, small towns, and farms. I'm glad I grew up here, but would leave it in a second for the right opportunity.D: If I was to visit you and your hometown, what things would you show me as the ‘best bits’ of where you live?
O: *laughing* The "town" I grew up in had one blinking red stop light and between two and four bars (depending on the state of the economy). So I'd probably have to show you the primary school I attended (now closed, but built in the 1880's), one of the bars, then our family farm. If you’re talking Columbus, on the other hand, I’d take you to Thurman’s (the best burgers in the world), the museum where I work (voted best in the States), the Arena District (where the Blue Jackets and our baseball team have their stadiums), and the OSU Campus (which is sprawling, gorgeous, historic, and full of beautiful people in the Spring).Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
would also be a "must see/taste". I'm convinced Jeni is an apostate of the circle of Ice Cream Witches, because she finds ways to make the most amazing ice creams that are completely off the wall, like: Young Gouda with Vodka Plumped Cranberries, Salty Carmel, Corn Syrup Custard with Whiskey & Pecans, and Queen City Cayenne (a spicy chocolate). In short, if you visit Columbus, you have to go.D: Do you have a lot of interests beyond your Xbox?
O: I do. I love to read and write, argue about sports, cook, perform theatre, karaoke, and enjoy fine alcoholic beverages.D: And what’s a ‘perfect night in’ for you? I’ve never been one for films so some booze and Xbox is perfect for me, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!
O: Here's the tragic part of this question. A perfect night in would have to include my lovely wife... who is not a gamer. So a perfect night in for me/us would include a really good pizza, a fine bottle of wine, and a few great movies on streamed on Netflix. Gaming probably wouldn’t enter into the equation for fear of angering the wife and, as any married man knows: If the wife ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.D: OK, we’ve got some background on Mr. Bluejacket, let’s talk gaming! On your Xbox.com profile you say you’re of the 8-bit Nintendo generation. What do you miss most of all about that generation of gaming? The cartridges? The 8-bit sounds?
O: Oh wow... I think the thing I miss most was the universality of that era. Everyone seemed to have the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, so trading games and talking about gaming was easy because everyone had the same system. While the games themselves weren't of the universal quality that we have today, there were a lot of them and trading with friends was easy. D: And which game defines your introduction to gaming? I’m a Mario man myself.
O: It's hard to pick just one but it's a very close tie between Dragon Warrior
(now known as the Dragon Quest
series on the DS), Final Fantasy
, and Mega Man
.D: So, what if the first game you ever played actually had achievements. What might the first achievement of your gaming history be?
O: That is an excellent question. The first video game I probably ever played was the original Super Mario Brothers
, so a good achievement would have to be something like “Shrooms, man… shrooms” for getting your first mushroom or “Squish, Squish, Squish” for stomping your first goomba.D: Is there any ‘modern’ game which you can imagine being re-invented as an 8-bit title?
O: Wow... that's a tricky one... I would have to say that a franchise like Fable
would do pretty well in a transition back. At its core, the mechanics of the Fable
franchise are pretty much a classic hack-and-slash with character advancements and morality choices. I think that type of game would translate pretty well into an 8-bit Zelda
-style adventure.D: So we’ve moved from cartridges to CDs to DVDs and now games services such as Steam and Xbox LIVE provide digital content. Do you think the logical progression is for all games to be delivered in this way in the years to come?
O: I'm not going to go all Michael Pachter and say that my word is the way the truth and the light, but I do think that today's consumer base is always going to want the security of having a tangible disc/thing that they can hang on to… some security to their game ownership. The PC community keeps having problems getting DRM right, so I think the industry still has a bit of technical work to go before everything could go 100% digital distribution. With that in mind, I think that online distribution is the way that a lot of developers can break in to the field and get their games/work shown without having publishers shell out tens of millions of dollars. Kind of a test balloon for talent if you will.D: If you had to pick a best title of this generation what would that be? That can include titles from other consoles too.
O: That's a tough one because I strongly feel games have entered a period of amazing advancement, not just in graphics and gameplay, but in storytelling as well. My personal favorite of this gen-cycle would probably be a toss up between BioShock (Xbox 360)
, Assassin's Creed II
, and Mass Effect 2
. All of which have amazing stories with great gameplay.D: How has TA affected your approach to gaming, if at all? Do you chase other stats as well as Gamerscore? Maybe you feel stats are nothing more than just numbers to you. The game comes first?
O: I have a complete and total Pavlovian response to the Achievement "ding" so I always want to get as many as possible. I'm also pretty anal retentive, so if I have just a handful of achievements left to go in a game, I'll FORCE myself to play until I have them. TA has definitely made this better and worse. Better in that I don't have to force myself to play a title that (for all intents and purposes) I'm done with for long, but worse in the fact that now I think I can get ALL of the Achievements in almost all of my games.D: Looking in your trophy case I note some of your proudest moments include completing Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. I bet you’re fairly anxious to get your hands on Mass Effect 3 and make that a full house?
O: Absolutely. The Newshounds were all in the Newshound chat room watching the VGAs together so that we could stay on top of the announcements. When I finally saw the trailer for ME3 I had a gigantic girly freak out. When the game drops next holiday, I may turn into a recluse for about a week or three. As far as I’m concerned, ME3 is the most anticipated title of my gaming life.D: Completing Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 is no easy accomplishment. How many hours did you sink into the titles to achieve this?
O: Too many... *laughing*. I think I beat Mass Effect
about six or seven times, just so that I would have a lot of different Shepards to choose from when starting Mass Effect 2
. I beat Mass Effect 2
about four times and will probably go for two or three more so that I have the same variety to start Mass Effect 3
. As far as total hours go, it’s probably into the hundreds between the two of them.D: And how many hours do you manage to give lovingly to your Xbox on a weekly basis?
O: Probably between 10-20 depending on the week and my work schedule.D: And your set-up. Care to share?
O: That's a 42" Westinghouse LCD - I also put in the floating shelf and ran all of the cords and cables through the duct work behind the wall, so it's nice and clean-looking.D: You have a fair few game completions on your Gamercard. Which one caused you the most aggravation?
O: That’s easy for me because it’s recent: Fable III
. I feel bad for my fellow Newshounds here at TA, because I would come in to the chat room and spew the most vile things about Peter Molyneux. Don't get me wrong, I love(d) Fable
, but “We Need Guns, Lots Of Guns” made me want to shoot him in both knees, douse him in gasoline, light him on fire, and laugh over his writhing body. Just kidding... sort of...D: How helpful has TA been to you in completing these titles? I’m forever relying on solutions to crack many of the more difficult achievements.
O: TA is the best gaming resource on the internet. Our community here is so amazing when it comes to finding ways to get around problems as well as giving when it comes to advice and help. The thing that really turned me on to TA was Halo 3: ODST
. The lack of matchmaking in Firefight led me to TA to get some game sessions set up with coordinated players.D: Are your friends gamers themselves? It can help with multiplayer achievements!
O: I have a few friends from college who are on Xbox LIVE and we'll occasionally get together to knock a few things out, but I'm more of a solo gamer most of the time. A one man wolf pack, if you will.D: How do you feel about multiplayer achievements in general? I know some people can’t abide by them.
O: I'm ambivalent. I think they can help extend the life of a game, but some developers (*cough* Lionhead and Epic *cough*) can be downright sadistic when it comes to the things they demand of their multiplayer community. The biggest downside comes when multiplayer achievements are thrown into XBLA games that seem to have a very short shelf life when it comes to their multiplayer communities. D: Have you played any games recently which have taken you by surprise? I was underwhelmed by Splosion Man myself.
O: Red Dead Redemption
hands down. I am not a fan of Rockstar. I played Grand Theft Auto 3
on my old PS2 and just couldn't get into it, so I tended to stay away from their games. I have a gaming friend who's birthday is in June and, as we all know, June is typically a wasteland for good games. I had read some of the reviews for Red Dead Redemption
and knew my buddy liked Grand Theft Auto IV
, so I picked it up for him. A few months ago, I needed a game to tide me over until Halo: Reach
, so I borrowed RDR from him and fell in love with it. I like it so much that it’s challenging Mass Effect 2
for my personal Game of the Year.D: Coming back to Mass Effect, when we spoke about your completions of ME1 and ME2 earlier, these include the DLC achievements. Are you a big buyer of DLC for titles you enjoy or has it got to be something special to get you to part with your cash?
O: A little bit of both. I weigh quite a few things in when buying DLC, usually the track record of the developer, the quality of the game, the content/length of the DLC, and the price. I bought almost all of the Fallout 3
DLCs as well as every Mass Effect
and Mass Effect 2
DLC. On the flip side, I usually don't go after map expansions or costume packs.D: And do you buy many of your games outright or rent the majority to keep the cost down?
O: I buy almost all of my games outright. I travel extensively for my job-job and get a lot of reward points from hotels and such. I usually cash those in for gift cards to retailers like Amazon.com and purchase all of my games through them. It's kind of nice because I don't think I've paid out-of-pocket for a game in a few years.D: Do you think the price for a new title is justified?
O: With developer and publisher costs rising every year, I think it is. The gaming business if full of huge risks and, to take those risks, companies need to make profit. Nobody really likes Bobby Kotick, but you have to hand it to him when it comes to the business end of gaming. His draconian tactics have allowed Activision to make money, and that money allows his developers to keep making new games. In short, I’m perfectly willing to pay full price for a game so long as I know that some of the profits made off of those games gets reinvested into creating new IPs and quality sequels. D: And how do you feel about Microsoft promising the Xbox 360 and Kinect will be around for a long time to come. Would you prefer a new console or are you quite happy with what there is on offer at the moment?
O: I'm very happy with what the 360 is delivering now and agree with the general sentiment that we won't really be needing another console for at least 3-5 years.D: I think it’s time to let you go and get back to work writing news for the site, but is there any final statement you’d like to get across to the community here? Anything goes!
O: Oh man… an open forum for my soapbox. I originally was going to say something about how games are the emerging art form of the 21st century, Roger Ebert can suck it, blah, blah, blah, but I’d rather keep this short and acerbic. Kids, check your spelling and grammar and, ease up on the hate a bit.
And there we have osubluejacket’s Community Interview. A gamer with a penchant for the completed game and a mouthful of a Gamertag. I thank him for his time and hope it’s been an interesting read!
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