TA Community Interview - Ham sanwitch

By Jonathan Barnes, 6 years ago
It’s been a crazy few weeks in the TrueAchievements’ secret International offices, between currency speculation and watching the state of the Nikkei, we’ve hardly had time to polish the new cappuccino machine and lovingly stroke the fur of Wendell, the office Honey Badger.

…aww, who am I kidding? We’ve been grinding away on that tasty http://www.trueachievements.com/Mass-Effect-3-xbox-360.htm multiplayer demo.

We did manage, despite all odds… much like a certain Commander… to be somewhat productive, however. I managed to rip myself away to bring in our latest subject in the Gamish Inquisition, Ham Sanwitch, a transplanted Brit in the heart of SEC country; a place where men are men, women are women, and pigs are tasty.

So ease off of your level 19 Vanguard, grab yourself a cup of Joe, sit back, relax and enjoy this week’s Community Interview.

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obj – What’s the story behind your gamertag? As someone who raised pigs while growing up in Northwest Ohio, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it has nothing to do with pork products or carbohydrates.

Hs - Surprisingly no, lol. The creation of my gamertag kind of falls into another question, “the first game I ever played.” It was back in the days of Halo CE, pizza, Dew, and system link parties. I wanted something that looked funny every time I’d get a kill, and for some reason “You’ve been splattered by a Ham Sandwich” looked funny to me, so that stuck. Years later, I finally shell out for the 360 and enter in “a ham sandwich”, but for some reason I couldn’t use it. I’m pretty sure it was tied to another account, so with my background in English, and linguistics, I decided on a phonetic pronunciation, dropped the article “a” and ended up with Ham Sanwitch.

obj – For the record, Ham Sandwiches are NOT as innocuous as you make them out to be… just ask Mama Cass.

If Microsoft, in true “Evil Empire” fashion were to force you to change your gamertag, that had to include something from your favorite TV show and favorite book, to what would you change it and why?

Hs - Man, what a loaded questions. I have a lot of favourite T.V. shows and books. Hmmm…. Some of my favourite T.V. shows include Dexter, Sherlock, and Game of Thrones so I’m sure I’d choose a character from one of the aforementioned.

As far as books go, I read everything. *pulls hair out*I guess I’d go with “Sherlock Stark” (Sherlock from the show, and Stark from Eddard Stark, protagonist from The Game of Thrones book).

obj – What pays the bills in the Ham Home and does your job come with sweet perks like free sodas, a yoga room, and/or Alpaca rides?

Hs - I am a High School English teacher. I’ve been correcting “who” and “whom” for several years now, and absolutely love it. I have MAJOR “street cred” because, not only am I somebody from England living in America (the accent gets ALL of their attention), they know that I’m a gamer. However, that only pays half of the bills. My other half, Mrs. Sanwitch (yes, that’s her real gamertag. I’ll touch on that later) is a band director at the same school.

No free sodas, but free lunch is always nice. And I have unlimited access to our school’s fancy gym which saves me money. Happy Ham!!!

obj – Your initial message to me said that you occasionally game with your students and give them extra credit. Are you, in fact, the coolest teacher ever, or do you relentlessly pwn the little knowledge sponges?

Hs - According to my kids, yes. I am the coolest teacher ever. I use the first day of school for introductions and for them to ask me any questions that they may have. Of course, they ask me if I play video games, to which I respond “yes”. Everybody’s face lights up, and, as suspected, all of the guys start puffing their chests in an attempt to show off their virtual machismo. “Well, I bet I could take you in Halo, Mr. Currie.” …Okay. Sure.

A few months later, I notice that my students aren’t doing so well in my class. So I come up with a chance to redeem their grades with extra credit work. …That didn’t work, because they wouldn’t turn it in. So I get an idea. We’ll play 1 vs. 1 Halo: Reach, and for every kill they get, I’ll give a tenth of a point as bonus credit. It was then that “REACHing for Points” started. I don’t do it often, but it’s a chance for them to flex their 360 muscles – back up all that trash they talk. However, things weren’t going so well for my kids. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t land any kills. They eventually decided that studying the work was easier than trying to sharpen their skills to play me, so win-win for me. wink

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

Hs - Well, I was born and raised in Colchester, Essex, but moved shortly thereafter to London, England. Lived there til I was 16, and my family and I moved and finally settled in Arkansas. Now that I’m older and out of school, I live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. LOVE it! There is LOTS to do here. If you visited, I’d show you Mt. Petit Jean, Mt. Magazine, hike some trails and all that jazz. Then, we’d top the day off with some GREAT food in downtown Ft. Smith. We have ALL kinds of food, beer, and live music in which I’m sure we could find something for you to do and like.

obj – How’s the home life or, rather, is there a special Ham Wife, Ham Husband, Ham Child, Ham Dog, Ham Pig, or Rum Ham in your life and, if so, how do they feel about gaming?

Hs - The Ham life is great! I have a lovely wife, Jessica, a.k.a. Mrs. Sanwitch. A couple that slays together, stays together, right? So, we play Halo together, and she’s pretty beast. It’s a great stress reliever too. We school the kids during the day, then come home and school them at night too. wink We also have two Ham dogs. Yorkies, to be more specific. Dexter and Henry. They are the loves of our life. Our lives don’t revolve around games, but we do love to play them when we have the time.

Here’s a picture of Dexter and Henry. Vicious, eh?

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obj – Positively ferocious, I tell you. It’s always the tiny ones that leave the worst ankle scars.

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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Hs – This is my temporary set up. My Mancave is currently under construction, but there’s nothing wrong with this setup for the time being. This is my living room. My PS3 and 360 are hooked up to a 55 inch Samsung LED, with a Sony Soundbar for optimal sound. The sectional couch makes gaming pretty comfortable. (And for bonus points, name the movie that I’m currently watching).

obj – I won’t spoil the movie for anyone, but I’m quite certain I spy “Bossypants” by Tina Fey on the ottoman.

What was the first game you remember playing and your favorite memory of said game?

Hs - Though it wasn’t the first, it probably has more “happy memories” than any other. Super Mario Bros. 3. Flying around, finding those secret whistles that would warp you to whichever world you wanted to…LOVED it!

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

Hs - Growing up in England, I was a big Sega fan. It started with the Mega Drive. I remember playing Sonic and Streets of Rage for countless hours. From then on, I was hooked. Sega CD, Saturn, Nintendo, SNES, Virtual Boy (remember that?), then later the Playstation, Dreamcast, and every console since then…I’ve owned them all and had a blast with them all, though I’ve made more friends and memories on my 360 than any of the others.

obj – Oh god… Virtual Boy… don’t remind me of that thing.

Unlike lovers, not many people remember their first achievement. Do you have any particular memories about yours?

Hs - Nabbing that 2 for 1 cheevo on http://www.trueachievements.com/Halo-3-xbox-360.htm. My second to last achievement in Halo 3. I thought the day would never come when I would get this. You can’t boost in Halo games, without fear of the Banhammer. Bungie sees all, and will issue resets, bans, and perma bans if one is caught boosting. So, this HAD to be done legit.

The game was Lone Wolves. I don’t spend much time in the ranked playlists, let alone Lone Wolves. Needless to say, I was getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter. After about 5 or 6 minutes, I manage to get my grubby hands on the laser. I died several times trying to line up a “twofer”. It was pretty frustrating. Well, there’s one minute left in the game, and I have no hope of winning (not the objective at this point). I get the laser one last time and see a Ghost heading towards me. Well, to my surprise, Invisible Joe jumps on in an attempt to jack it. Well, I squeeze off my last shot and nailed both of them. *bleep bloop* Man…what a feeling.

obj – What are your favorite and least favorite types of achievements?

Hs - I love single player cheevos. I don’t mind the grind on my own time. I HATE MP cheevos though. There is always that rush to get them before the servers shut down, and trying to find like-minded players that are willing to help. Thank god for this site!

obj – Judging by your trophy case, you seem to be quite the Halo completionist. What drives you in your Bungie-loving?

Hs - Bungie simply knows how to make great games. The Halo series is a testament to that. Playing those games provides just the right amount of challenge for me, and the reward always feels so sweet. The story, gameplay, replayability, and evolution of the series are what keep me coming back for more, and I appreciate any company that can do that. For me, that’s Bungie.

obj – Like myself, you also complete (and seem to be proud of) http://www.trueachievements.com/1-vs-100-xbox-360.htm. What was your favorite part about the game and did you ever get to be “The One”?

Hs - Unfortunately, I was never “The One.” That honour was bestowed to Neo…loser. I’m a big nerd, so game shows like “Jeopardy!” and 1 vs. 100 appeal to me. I really loved the format of that game. It was something new, and something fun for my wife and I to play.

obj – Your best achievement is a real ratio whopper. Tell us about getting Factory Driver in Forza Motorsport 4?

Hs - It was a grind to say the least. Once I found the car I liked, I just stuck with it. For me, it was the Mercedes Benz Black. I started with that maker in Season 2, and just kept driving it for the rest of the game. After Season 10, there’s the *sigh* …Events List. I’ve been taking a little break from it as of late, but after spending about 2 months of solid grinding, I hit about 40% completion rate on the Events List and that’s when my achievement popped.

obj – In your pre-interview message, you also mentioned that you’re upset that every new release is almost “expected” to have some DLC. Care to explain why?

Hs - Yes. First of all, I should have phrased that a little better. There are two types of DLC that I can’t stand: Day 1 DLC, and overpriced DLC. It seems that most games these days drop news of DLC being released before the game is even released. Is there some reason, some good reason,…some reason other than money that developers CAN’T include that extra content on the disc??? No, seriously. I’ll wait for an answer….

Thought so.

As for the overpriced DLC, that seems to include most games out today. Map packs for COD costing 1200 MSP, when most of the time they are just maps from previous installments with a few touch ups? That irks me. “Oh, but Ham. You can save money by buying COD Elite.” *sigh* Whatever. You want to do DLC right? Take a cue from Ubisoft and Gearbox. Their content is ALWAYS packed with TONS of extra content for a fair price. And if it’s not, they won’t charge you much for it.

obj – I didn’t want to jump in and ruin your answer with this, but it bears insertion here. The reason that developers usually can’t include Day 1 DLC on the disc is that the games are usually finished between two-to-three months before the release date so that they can be certified, and the discs manufactured and distributed. Most Day 1 DLC gets developed and announced in that two-to-three month window. DLC also doesn’t have to go through as strenuous of a certification process, and is electronically distributed, both of which save time over trying to squeeze them onto a disc.

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?

Hs - Master Chief (Halo)– He has a pretty impressive resume, with that whole “saving-the-Earth” thing….

Ezio Auditore (Assassin’s Creed) –Excellent strategist, badass extraordinaire, lover extraordinaire, and there isn’t a building he can’t climb.

Nathan Drake (Uncharted)– If there are any riddles, or puzzles that need to be solved, I wouldn’t want anybody else solving them but him.

Mordecai (Borderlands) – Everybody needs a bad ass sniper, right?

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

Hs - The Flood (Halo)

The Flood

…The Flood

Flying turtles (Super Mario Bros. 3)

obj – Speaking of BioWare, they recently launched copies of Mass Effect 3 into space. If you could launch one game franchise into the black void of the cosmos, never to return, what would it be and why?

Hs - This is a difficult question to answ…CALL OF DUTY!!! I am beyond tired of repackaged multiplayer maps, having to re-prestige, blah blah blah. Every year, a new one is released. And the SECOND it drops, it’s as if all the hard work gamers do on the previous installment doesn’t matter anymore. I could rant on this for hours, but…I won’t.

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?

Hs - I’ve always been interested in a Mass Effect/Halo crossover. Master Chief and Shepard…heads would asplode.

obj – And now, potentially-smoked hind quarters of pig placed between two slices of bread, are you ready for the SHOCK of The Lightning Round?

Hs - I’m shaking in my piggy boots, but I’ll give it my all.

Most Anticipated Game


Favorite Game of 2011


Favorite Gaming Universe

Reach …you know, before it was glassed.

Favorite Achievement

Two for One in Halo 3 (Upon completion of this cheevo, the wife and I celebrated with a beer).

Most-Hated Achievement

Assassin’s Creed – finding all of the flags!!! I’ve cleared cache 3 times, and this achievement still glitches on me. *sigh* One day,….

Favorite Game Weapon

Hook Blade from http://www.trueachievements.com/AC-Revelations-xbox-360.htm.

Favorite Game Developer


Favorite Game Site (aside from TA, of course)

Spartan1project.com (For anybody that needs professional help getting Vidmasters quick, this is THE place to go. GREAT community too. For ALL your gaming needs).

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

Miranda Lawson (http://www.trueachievements.com/Mass-Effect-2-xbox-360.htm)

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

Marty O’Donnell

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

Hs - I’ve had a blast doing this interview. Thanks for choosing me to do it. I’d like to thank my friend APOCALIPSE REN for introducing me to the site, working on http://www.trueachievements.com/Borderlands-xbox-360.htm with me, and still being cool to kick it with. SlashingArbiter, R0ck5auce, RebehTheDrafter,ShadowKing0777, litepink, and everybody else I play with/chat with. I’ve made some really good friends on this site, and plan on making many more.

And, (shameless plug) again, if anybody is looking help for those hard-to-get multiplayer achievements in Halo, Gears, CoD, etc., please check out spartan1project.com. We’d love to help you guys out.

Thanks again for the interview! Feel free to add me as a friend. I’m a pretty cool guy to game with.

A big thanks goes out to Ham sanwitch for giving his time to be this week’s interviewee.

As always:
If you’d like to featured in The Gamish Inquisition, please read these helpful Tips & Suggestions and send a message to me, osubluejacket, saying why you should be featured!
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.