TA Community Interview - Beanpotter

By Jonathan Barnes, 7 years ago
In the possible, yet highly unlikely event that you didn’t notice, we didn’t have our regularly scheduled Community Interview last week, opting instead for a smashing Op-Ed piece by one of the up-and-coming writers in video game journalism. While I’m sure this caused a good bit of ire, with some community members saying that their Sundays just aren’t complete without a fresh dose of The Gamish Inquisition, it was for the best! In the coming weeks and months you’ll see our Sunday features get a good bit of polish and variety as we aim to bring you more Op-Eds, reviews, Community Interviews, and MORE!

Fortunately for you CI lovers out there, this week’s subject for The Gamish Inquisition has been in VERY high demand since the feature started. After many, MANY nominations, on top of countless forum posts by community members, demanding that the light of the Inquisition be burned upon the darkened corners of this subject’s mind, he finally acquiesced. With that in mind, I give you The Gamish Inquisition of the one, the only, Beanpotter!


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obj – What’s the story behind your gamertag? Having some Boston ties, I would think that it has to be related to the Boston University/Boston College/Harvard/Northeastern Hockey Tournament, but, as usual, am probably way wrong.

Bp – That’s a great guess, obj, but way off ‘as usual’. I had a part-time cleaning job when I was 15 (26 years ago!) and I used to do an impression of a woman I worked with. Her name was Jean Potter. The name got changed for my version of her and then kinda stuck. She was great, had a very broad Norfolk accent and loved her mixed metaphors. ‘Blow the crows’ was her favourite.

obj – You were highly nominated to be a subject for The Gamish Inquisition. A small part of this has to be because of your work as one of our site Moderators. Just what does your job entail?

Bp – It’s very flattering to be nominated, and thank you to everyone that did, but you know it’s just because they’re intrinsically nosey!

First off, I want to thank all the ‘staff’ on the site, they are truly an amazing bunch. There’s a huge amount of dedication and hard work that goes on behind the scenes and I’m proud to be one of the team. Moderation mostly involves keeping an eye on as much of the input from all the users as possible. Steering people in the right direction, where possible, so they stay within the site’s precept, solving any issues users may have and removing anything that falls outside. Oh, and making cups of tea for CJ.

obj – Aside from serving CJ his tea and providing cheeky commentary, you’re also pretty well known as the namesake of “The Bean Dive”. Tell us about it and what spawned the idea.

Bp – What = Get 1 achievement in every unplayed game you own.

Why = Madness and a desire to stick it to the man! This news story, which was posted a few days before the last Bean Dive, explains most of it. A few people have managed to claw back the damage done to their poor completion percentage but most of us, myself included, are still battling through all their Dived games and will be for several months to come. Bring on the next one!

obj – Given that TA Staffers enjoy a ridiculously luxurious salary and benefits package, you probably quit whatever occupation you held before this. Would you indulge us by telling us a bit about “the old job” and if it had any special perks like milk baths, ritual animal worship and/or casual Fridays?

Bp – I work for a specialist print finishing company as a factory manager. It’s interesting stuff, no two days are alike and there’s usually time to spare to invest on TA. What more could you ask? Oh, and every Friday is casual Friday. That’s when I like to worship my ritual animals in a bath of milk.

obj – Where is home for you and, if I were to visit, what kind of exotic entertainments would I be most likely to enjoy?

Bp – I live near Norwich, which is in sunny Norfolk, in the east of England. Norwich was once famous for having a pub for every day of the year, so we should start by visiting each one in turn. I don’t think we’d care what happened after that!

obj – So long as they have Smithwick’s, Strongbow, a tasty, small batch brew or two, healthy doses of Jameson, and some proper fish and chips, I’ll be a very happy boy.

How’s the home life or, rather, is there a special woman, man, hermaphrodite, child, dog, cat, mouse, and/or pot-bellied pig and, if so, how do they feel about gaming?

Bp – 1 wife, 3 dogs. The animals are dwindling at the moment. We did have 4 dogs and 3 cats but lost a few on the way. I suppose the wife deserves an honourable mention as we’ve been together since 1985 and married since 2001. She’s had a 10 year hiatus from gaming but I’m delighted to say her iPhone has given her a taste for it again and I recently bought her an Xbox of her own (with Kinect) after she saw an advert for Dance Central 2. We’ve only played a bit of Kinect Adventures so far but we’re loving it.

obj – The external site in your bio (http://www.deanandnigel.co.uk/) is quite an interesting and cheeky experience. Care to tell us about your website away from this website?

Bp – The site has been up for about 10 years but we’ve not taken any new photos or updated the site for a long time. A lot of people find it funny but it’s even more of a laugh actually taking the photos. You should try it. Everyone always asks if we’ve ever been attacked while doing it but I can honestly say it’s never happened. I don’t think most of our subjects know what day of the week it is! The best thing to come out of it is the TV work we got to do. We did some content for an E4 launch show called Show Me The Funny (which also launched Jimmy Carr and Leigh Francis) and an advertising campaign for UK Gold, a satellite station on Sky, here in the UK. The financial rewards were handsome and there is no sweeter money to be made than getting paid to take the piss out of people!

obj – What is your biggest “real life” achievement?

Bp – Well, with there not being any Beansprouts running around, I can’t say my kids. When I was 20ish I swapped my Mega Drive for a full sized arcade cabinet and a load of games. Man, I thought it was the mutt’s nuts! I loved that thing. I had R-type, Tetris, Vulcan Venture, Willow (my all-time favourite), Jackal and about 10 others. It was huge, weighed a ton but I eventually sold it for pennies. More recently (2007) I’d have to say taking my car around the Nürburgring. What a fantastic experience that was, I cannot recommend it enough if you’re, in any way, a petrol-head. I did about 12 laps the first time and then went back 6 months later and did about the same again. It was absolutely, freaking awesome. The best bit was I didn’t crash and die as, apart from being dead, your insurance doesn’t cover you. shock My best ‘lap’ was 9 minutes 6 seconds, which I was pleased with. A lot of people don’t like the track when it appears in racing games but it has a special place in my heart.

obj - As part of The Gamish Inquisition, is there any question that you want me to ask, that I might not. As always, answers are helpful, because you seem to be wearing that Magneto helmet that prevents my powers as Professor Xavier from working.

Bp - The question is this: Given that God is infinite, and that the universe is also infinite... would you like a toasted teacake? My answer would have to be ‘No, I’m fine, thanks.’

obj – Let’s kick off the gaming portion of The Inquisition with a picture of your setup and a quick description of its features.

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Bp – Ok, my main gaming area is ‘the office’ where I have a shared, 22” monitor for my desktop PC/Xbox, there’s also a fairly bog-standard 17” laptop so I can have TA open at the same time. I say my monitor is 22” but I measured it (especially, to keep those doubters at bay) and it’s more like 21” + 7/8ths. The other equipment you can see includes a few plastic guitars, an RB3 keyboard, drumsticks, controllers and (you’ll never make it out) an Admiral Ackbar figure sitting atop of the Xbox. I’m a bit disappointed I don’t have more toys or memorabilia dotted about like previous interviewees but I’ve got a loft full of accumulated tat already!
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The second setup is in my lounge where my new Xbox sits on my new 1TB Sky+ box (which the wife worships and fills with all sorts of shite). This, in turn, sits on my DVD player with surround sound which is great for playing Rock Band etc at high volume. In front of the 42” TV (honest!) is the Kinect and a controller.

obj – What was the first game you remember playing and your biggest memory of it?

Bp – Space Invaders in the arcade in about 1978. I was hardly tall enough to see the screen but I could reach the coin slot and that was all that mattered. I was totally hooked and feel privileged to have grown up during the ‘Golden Age Of Video Games’ (supposedly 1978 – 1986). It was a fantastic time and I couldn’t wait to cram all my money in to the latest game.

obj – Much like lovers, everyone remembers their first achievement. What was your first achievement and was it special? Was there candle light, sparkling wine, roses, perhaps a bit of Luther Vandross?

Bp – Hmmm, like quite a few people seem to say, I didn’t even know what an achievement was until I’d got a few so, I’m sad to say, it passed without recognition. My first one was Flawless Lap in Forza Motorsport 2 and I still haven’t got that last ach for all the credits!

obj – Your country affiliation currently says Nepal, but I have the suspicion that, like previous interviewee Sashamorning, you might be a bit disingenuous. So, why Nepal and why the ruse?

Bp – I liked the flag; it’s pointy.

obj - What is your “console history” i.e. What gaming platforms have you owned?

Bp – Just about every mainstream console has passed through my sweaty little mitts at some point but my favs would have to be my C64, PS2, SNES and Xbox 360.

obj – In my expert opinion, you have one of the most eclectic “Best Games” lists out of all of our previous interviewees with games like http://www.trueachievements.com/Youre-in-the-Movies-xbo....htm, http://www.trueachievements.com/de-Blob-2-xbox-360.htm, and http://www.trueachievements.com/Family-Game-Night-xbox-....htm in your case. Do you have eclectic tastes or is it just a summation of randomness?

Bp – I’ll play anything and don’t really have a favourite genre. I’ve got no time for bad programming though and get very frustrated with stupid or unfair AI. Luck based achievements can go and die in a corner.

obj – With (at the time of writing) 146 completed games on your card, which one are you most proud of and, conversely, which one brings you the greatest shame?

Bp – Only 141 by my count (I include all DLC) and I just lost 1 completion, because of the new Keflings DLC, but I’ll soon rectify that. Most proud? http://www.trueachievements.com/Burnout-Paradise-xbox-3....htm I think. I thought it was a good game until I decided to go back to it to clean up all the MP achievements. Then it became an awesome game, plus I got to play with some fantastic people and make several new friends. I’ll have to give a shout out to Spilner here, as the guy’s a BP legend!

obj – You also have almost 200 solutions to your credit with an amazing solution vote ratio of .96. With that in mind, what is the key to writing a good solution?

Bp – Try to be as clear as possible with your instructions and imagine the person has never played the game before. No one’s going to complain of too much detail. I don’t get the chance to write many solutions anymore as I only do it if there’s not one already written or what is there is not very good. Some of the solutions I’ve been reading lately have been excellent. I’m using a collectables guide for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 at the moment, written by RadiantViper and it’s superb (thanks RV).

obj – Let’s imagine that you’re Commander Shepard and have been tasked with assembling an elite unit of four video game characters to defend humanity from an oncoming threat. Which four characters do you put on your squad and why?

Bp – 1. Klungo from http://www.trueachievements.com/BanjoKazooie-Nuts--Bolt....htm because he sssaves teh world!
2. Dante from Dante's Inferno cos it’s always handy to have a guy on hand that’s been through hell and back.
3. An Elephanilla for the cuteness factor.
4. The little green guy from Beautiful Katamari as his dad’s king of the cosmos and will roll your ass up!

obj – You can keep your little green guy... I'm opting for the full-blown GREENMAN.

On the flip side of the last question, which four characters would you doom to a violent, gory, hellacious death via Reapers?

Bp – 1. Inky
2. Blinky
3. Pinky
4. Clyde

They’re just responsible for far too many of my virtual deaths.

obj – Let’s imagine that you could do a series cross-over between games. Which two games would you like to see cross over into each other’s worlds?

Bp – Mario Kart and Forza. It would have made getting the Solid Gold achievement so much more fun.

obj – And now are you ready for the SHOCK of The Lightning Round?

Bp – It sounds a little bit frightening…

obj – It’s not just frightening… it’s electrifying!

Favorite 360 Game (Retail)

http://www.trueachievements.com/Crackdown-xbox-360.htm One of the first games I played and just had so much fun with it.

Favorite 360 Game (Arcade)

Braid So much more to it than just a beautifully crafted game.

Least-Favorite 360 Game

Ecco the Dolphin Why did they bother to re-release this turd?

Favorite Developer

I don’t tend to take a lot of notice of who’s developed a game, perhaps I should. Rare springs to mind and Harmonix have entertained me for lots of hours.

Least-Favorite Developer

Err, whoever was responsible for squeezing Ecco out. I don’t want to blame Sega as they’re too faceless. Someone needs to ‘fess up!

Favorite Game Protagonist

Blob Great character.

Favorite Game Villain

Tyrannosatan, the Demonic Imperitor from http://www.trueachievements.com/DEATHSMILES-PAL-xbox-360.htm What a great name!

Favorite Game Site (aside from TA, of course)

http://www.xbox360achievements.org/ is the only other site I use really. Good roadmaps and sometimes a different view on how to get an achievement.

If you could spend a “night of passion” with one character from the gaming world, who would it be?

Sheva from RE5. Has anyone said her yet?

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

Jeff Minter.

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

Bp - A quote from Arnold Bennett (English novelist, 1867-1931) if I may: - ‘A true friend is someone who likes you despite your achievements.’


A big thanks goes out to Beanpotter for finally giving his millions… and MILLIONS of nominators the interview they requested.

As always:

As always, we're always looking for interesting, funny, well-written community members to be featured in our weekly Community Interview column. If you'd like to be considered, have a question you'd like to see asked at some point or can find a way to fire every single member of the Blue Jackets’ organization, please write me (osubluejacket) a message with a few paragraphs explaining why you think you'd be a good interview (spelling and grammar count!).
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.