TA Community Interview - Leo Ascendent

By Jonathan Barnes, 7 years ago
From the frozen wastes of the sub-arctic north comes our latest subject for the Gamish Inquisition, Leo Ascendent. His bribe offer of chipotle smoked moose jerky and a signed picture of his state’s former governor were more than sufficient… that, and I felt sorry for the whole Brett Favre thing.


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obj - With a gamertag like Leo Ascendant, I’m assuming that you must have no interest in the zodiac and were not born between July 23rd and August 22nd. Confirm, deny or elaborate?

LA - Well, Leo Ascendent wasn't my first choice for a Gamertag, it was originally AndyMN (a small number of TA'ers may remember me by that name), but grew tired of the constant messages asking if I was from Minnesota. If they took the time to check my Gamercard, they would have received their answer. -_-''

But I will admit, I am a Leo (surprise right?) but have very little interest in the actual Zodiac. I don't believe that a persons DoB determines who they are, I just love lions (or any critter in the feline family).

obj - I have a good bit of family in Minnesota, but would love to hear your impressions of “South Canada”.

LA - South Canada 'eh? Well, 'ere in Minnesooootaaa, we, or as you Yankee doo-daaas might saay, South canada, we.... oh wait, I don't think that's what you meant by impressions....

Well, Minnesota is a very odd state, it gets very, VERY cold in the winter (low 20's are typical) and in the summer, like right now as I'm writing this, it can get to the upper 80's (mid 90's this coming weekend), I don't mind the cold as I can simply wear a sweater, but the heat.... UGH, it's a humid, muggy heat, horrible....

obj – I’m right there with you… Ohio is very similar in its extremes.

Aside from a warm Xbox, do you have anything else to keep you warm during a cold, Minnesota winter? Perhaps a spouse, lover, dog, cat or domesticated badger?

LA - Well, I do have a ladyfriend, although a domesticated badger is basically the same :p But kidding aside, yes I do have a significant other whom I do love. No pets, but I am planning on getting a German Shepard done the road, perfect guard dog.... my girl, she wants a Chihuahua, because you know, yippy dogs are great.... -_-

obj – As a married man, I will not comment on the badger thing for fear of violent, badger-like attacks from my lovely wife. On the other hand, I grew up with a German Shepard… awesome dogs who never attack the meat and two veg... well... almost never. However, I digress.

Who will win a championship first, the T-Wolves (with GM David KAHN!), the Twins, the Wild or the Vikings?

LA - I would like KAHHHHHHN to win, for the simple reason of yelling his name, but I would place my money on the Twins (Mauer, Morneau and Liriano are some excellent players). They come close every year, but get nudged out at the end. The Vikings.... don't even get me started on them, they suck, that's all I'm gonna say. The Wild, I honestly haven't heard much on them recently, they tend to do pretty well, if I remember correctly, and it's possible I don't.

obj – As a big Detroit Tigers fan, I’ll try not to hold that against you and will gloat mightily if/when the day comes when my team vanquishes yours.

What pays the bills in the Ascendent home and does your job afford you any sweet job perks that would make your average John Q. Public jealous of your employment?

LA - Well, I work Asset Protection for the Bestbuy Corporate Headquarters. It's a pretty sweet gig full of great people (we have ex-military, an Aussie and a Monster Energy Drink junky). As for perks, yes, we get the traditional employee discount, which helps me save a bit of cash to put towards new games.

obj - Aside from video games, what is your favorite entertainment medium and your favorite artist within that medium?

LA - Well, I do highly enjoy music, Rock, Alternative, Metal and SOME Country. As for favs.... hmm, I guess I'd have to say Metallica, Hinder, Seether Breaking Benjamin, Buckcherry, Johnny Cash, Nickleback, The Used.... I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.

obj - Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s get gaming grilling with gas! Start us off with a picture of your setup. Also, tell us a little about it.

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This is my Insignia 46' HD Tv that I bought about 6 months ago from Bestbuy. I love this Tv, looks so pertty (southern accent). Also, you can see my RE5 CE X360 on the bottom of the stand, as you can probably guess, I got that when http://www.trueachievements.com/RESIDENT-EVIL-5-xbox-360.htm was released, and I love it. Also have a rather large collection of The Simpsons seasons and a few Two and a Half Men seasons in there as well for my viewing pleasure. Oh, and yeah, a Kinect on top of my Tv stand.

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This is the most comfortable thing I've sat on, the second being Santa's lap. :0 It's a Love-Sac and cost about $400. While expensive, it's worth the price, it's like sitting on a cloud. It's almost impossible to get out once you sit in it. Not sure what it's made of, I think it's that Serta bed stuff, just thrown into a wood chipper.

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Why include my (messy) bed? Well I do quite a bit of gaming from it. It's kiddy corner from the Tv, so I have a nice view of it, and my bed is also very comfortable. I rarely ever want to get out of it. And if you're observant, you may notice the Pikachu "doll" in the bottom corner, not sure why that was there, but hey, Pikachu is pretty damn epic.

obj - Let’s get into a car crash to time travel with Chuck Palahniuk’s Buster “Rant” Casey for a few questions:

What was the first game you ever purchased and (in hindsight) was it a good investment of your childhood dollars?

LA - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That was the very first game I bought. I did chores for months to get that, and I can honestly say, I do not regret the purchase, great game.

obj - If that first game had achievements, what would have your first achievement been?

LA - "Get stuck in your house for 10 minutes". I couldn't find the damn door, it was very sad to witness. I ended up just running around hysterically and managed to run through it.

obj - Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you wanted to change your gamertag and had to (in some way) incorporate something from either: your favorite movie, favorite band, and/or favorite television program. Mine, for instance, could be something like DonDraperDurdenDissident. What would your “new” tag be?

LA - TheUsedAdamSandlerCherryFiles, it sounds very wrong, sick even. But I would just laugh hearing peoples reactions. I'm sure people can decipher that tag, but if not....

Music: The Used, Buckcherry
Movie (actor): Adam Sandler
Show: X-Files

obj - Do you own any other gaming systems and, if so, what is your favorite game NOT on the 360?

LA - Well, a PC, but that's a given. Used to own a Wii, but never played it, sold that to get a 3DS. I also have a Gamecube, Xbox and a N64 hidden away.

My favorite non 360 title would be.... hmm.... Ocarina of Time 3D or Pokemon HeartGold (yes, I play Pokemonz what of it!?!?!) Bulbasaur ftw!!!!

obj - How do you procure most of your games? Do you buy them new, used or rent/borrow them?

LA - I tend to buy new, I don't trust used games. The only way I buy used is if I have no other choice. I used to use Gamefly, but there's no distribution center near me, so it takes up to 2 weeks to get a game, not efficient in my eyes. I've also traded on XboxAmerica a few times.

obj - While the price of games has remained pretty stagnant over the past generation or two, the cost of making them has risen greatly. With that in mind, what are your feelings on developers/publishers making/selling DLC?

LA - Well, I'm all for DLC, as long as it is worth the money we have to pay. An example of worthy DLC: The Shivering Isles, very large and many quests, new monsters, new armor and weapons, I felt $20 was a very good deal (now you get that and The Knights of the Nine and the original game for the same price, great deal).

A less then desired example: The rank stuff in BioShock 2 (Xbox 360). I felt that that should have been a simple update, it was nothing major, 10 ranks a few new skills and the ability to reset your level. That's just me though, I like to feel like I haven't been violated as I click the "Download" button, maybe that's just me....

Also, no day 1 DLC, I hate getting a new game only to find out that there's DLC for it already. Unless they package it with the new copies, then I'm all for it.

obj - What are your feelings on Kinect? Do you see Microsoft ever making a hardcore game that is a “must-have” peripheral seller or do you think that hardcore integration will remain on the optional fringes of games?

LA - Well, I JUST got a Kinect last week. It's fun and has GREAT potential, but I feel the technology is not being used to its maximum potential. There is a game coming out that I'd like to get, can't remember the name, but I believe it's from the maker of the House of the Dead series (Editorial Note: it’s titled Rise of Nightmares), looks fun.

obj - Your trophy case features the completion of http://www.trueachievements.com/Dead-Rising-xbox-360.htm, a game that almost made me smash a controller while achievement hunting. How long did it take you to knock out and, in the end, was it worth it for you?

LA - Well, I played that game when it first came out, and I just completed it a few months ago, so that gives you a peek at how long it took me, mainly due to the 7 Day Survivor achievement, wasn't looking forward to it. Once I did it though, I was very surprised as to how easy it was, I always tried to fight, which is a big no-no, plenty of food around the mall (I actually almost died because I had to wait for extended periods of time to eat my food, almost 2 to 3 real hours....). In the end, yeah, it was worth it. Once you get past the first day, you know the drillm the guides here helped out a lot.

obj - Another interesting completion in your case is http://www.trueachievements.com/FEAR-2-xbox-360.htm which features the mega-ratio’d Five Star General achievement (of which you also have the top solution). What was it like hauling in that white whale?

LA - GOD.... I can't even describe that horrendous grind.... Imagine sitting in your room or wherever your set-up is and moving your thumb back and forth for 2-4 hours at a time, because that's basically what it's like. I would have quit at the 314,000 exp achievement, but the group I was with was very amusing. They are the only reason I made it.

Anyone going for this, I wish you luck and gods speed, because you'll need it.

obj - An interesting counterpoint in your catalog is that you’ve completed both http://www.trueachievements.com/Dragon-Age-Origins-xbox....htm and http://www.trueachievements.com/Dragon-Age-II-xbox-360.htm. Many gamers weren’t happy with how BioWare handled the sequel. What are your thoughts and, if you could be the project lead, how would you handle the inevitable Dragon Age III?

LA - Well, I loved DA:O, I liked DA2. The fighting style on 2 was great, a welcome improvement. The downside was the inability to customize your party, the constant reuse of environments (Hey, I've seen that rock before....) and the limited places to visit. I thought we'd be able to visit dozens of places, instead we got 2 or 3 caves a camp and a few mountain tops. I'm glad Bio is releasing more DLC to expand, but this is one of those rare times where I wait to get the GotY editions instead of shelling out $30 for all the DLC.

obj - Do you have a favorite beverage (alcoholic or non) to accompany your gaming?

LA - Yes, I drink Sprite, love it. Sometimes some type of cranberry blend, something sweet and sour, not to sweet though or my face'll cave into itself, which would be a bad thing.

obj – I love me some cranberry juice, too… just remember, it’s a natural diarrheic, so don’t make fun of it.

Everyone has at least one “shameful” game on their gamercard; mine is http://www.trueachievements.com/Forza-Motorsport-2-xbox....htm, a game which came with my system that I barely played and only got two achievements in before I sold it. What is the most “shameful” game that you have on your gamercard and what makes it so bad?

LA - http://www.trueachievements.com/Avatar-The-Burning-Eart....htm, 'nuff said, move on. cry

obj - Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you’ve been unjustly convicted of a crime which you did not commit and were sentenced to death. You’ve been allowed a last meal and a last evening of gaming. What is your meal and what is your game?

LA - Well, as Dale Gribble once said, "If it were my last meal I’d choose the world’s rarest truffle. Then while they were searching for it, I’d tunnel my way to freedom! ‘Course then I’d miss eating the world’s rarest truffle…. Quite the quandary." laugh

And, while they search, I'd be playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I can't wait for this game, my personal choice for GotY. Am I right? Of course I am. roll

obj - Now that we’ve covered your execution, are you ready to take a seat in the electric chair for the Lightning Round?

LA - You bet your sweet cheeks I am.

obj - Favorite single player game

LA - http://www.trueachievements.com/Oblivion-xbox-360.htm

obj - Favorite multiplayer game

LA - http://www.trueachievements.com/Modern-Warfare-2-xbox-3....htm (haven't played BO yet)

obj - Favorite XBLA game

LA - http://www.trueachievements.com/The-Dishwasher-xbox-360.htm

obj - Least favorite game

LA - For Suckiness: Avatar: TBE
For Difficulty: Modern Warfare (I can't do Veteran for some reason....)

obj - Most anticipated 360 game

LA – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I told you this on the last question didn't I? Stop staring at the barking cat video Osu. laugh

obj - Favorite game character

LA - X360: Gordon Freeman
Of all time: Link

obj - Favorite developer

LA - Bethsada, love all their games.

obj - Gaming franchise you wish would die

LA - (prepare for hatemail) Halo, it was fun for the first few games, now it's being milked....

obj - Gaming franchise you want resurrected

LA - Gex, I played this so much when I was little, of course it'd probably be on the PS3....

obj - If you could have lunch/a drink with one person from “the gaming world” who would it be?

LA - The fellows I boosted FEAR 2 with, they seem like a awesome group of guys. I think I owe them a few drinks for all that hard work they put in. toast

obj - Any final thoughts, shout outs or soap box statements?

LA - Somebody set up us the bomb.
Main screen turn on.
All your base are belong to us.
You have no chance to survive make your time.
For great justice.

And so on....

My thanks go out to Leo for taking time away from the Twins’ second half surge to do an interview. Rest assured, Justin Morneau probably read it and gave himself another concussion due to its awesomeness.

As always:

If you’d like to be featured in a Community Interview, or want to be a solid citizen and nominate someone more awesome than yourself, send a PM to me, osubluejacket. FYI – You’re MUCH more likely to be picked if you’re well-written, interesting, funny and/or can deliver a pennant for the Detroit Tigers.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.