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Community Interviews's blog

10:52 AM on 03.04.2014

State Of The Union: The Posting

Salida guys,
OpiumHerz here. So you might be wondering: "Oi, why don't you suckers post interviews? I'll smack you in the gabber. Swear on me mum!". So I talked a bit with Everyday Legend and to put it bluntly: right now we're out of people to interview! 

That's right. We burned through our candidates. I still have some bloggers who are in the process of being interviewed. So we will post interviews again once we have anything. Until then, however, we'll have to take a break. If you can think of anybody who is worth interviewing and we might have missed so far: shoot a comment in our general direction. 

Until then: good night and happy Halloween.   read

9:27 PM on 01.29.2014

Community Interviews: How The F**k Do You Say Marche100?

Back with a vengeance, back from break.  Overloaded with work, barely able to cobble shit together, and you know what, fuck the haters, I'm here for you beautiful motherfuckers.

Tonight, we're kicking it (back) off with our very own Marche100.  I have no cutesy shit to write about his name, I'm just stumped on how the fuck to say it.  But he's a really cool guy, and now, you can get to know him a little bit better.


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How old are you?

I'm probably one of the younger ones in the Destructoid community. I'm eighteen. I'll be nineteen in March. 

What do you do for a living?

I'm a college student at Penn State. To be more precise, the York campus. I'm a freshman, so I just finished out my first semester there this past December. After my second year, I'll be moving up to the main campus for my final two years. Going after a bachelor's degree in Software Engineering. Fun stuff!

I also work part time at a television station as a Master Controller. The job sounds more difficult than it is, although that might be due in part to the fact that I work at a smaller station. I basically put television shows on the air at their scheduled times and cut to whatever commercial breaks are scheduled. It might sound kind of cool (I've had people say "Oh, so you get to watch TV all day" to me), but on my shifts I only ever put up local religious programming and infomercials. Not the kinds of shows you would want to sit down and watch voluntarily.

Most workers at the station like to bring books in to read and things to do, because watching informercials gets old fast. I just tend to browse Destructoid and listen to music. Things like that. As long as you're good at keeping an eye on the things to make sure that nothing goes wrong (and fix things when they do go wrong), you can pretty well do what you want.

What do you think is the coolest thing about yourself?

I suppose I would have to say my hand-eye coordination/attention to detail.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me personally that I love to draw. My walls are lined with drawings. But I don't enjoy making original drawings as much as copying others' drawings. This might sound insane, but I'll go on. For example, I'm sitting about a foot away from a drawing of Amaterasu I drew back in 2011. I found some concept art online, took a blank piece of paper, and tried to draw that concept art free-hand, getting it as close to the original as possible.

I love drawing like this. It requires a keen eye for detail and good hand-eye coordination to pull off well. Like, say there's a line in someone else's drawing (that I'm copying) that looks vertical, but is actually ever so slightly curved in a certain direction. I notice that and curve my line in the same fashion. It's a bit hard to explain, but I think it's cool, having that sort of attention to detail and being able to copy that detail.

I know I must sound like some sort of professional art forger, but it's my idea of fun when it comes to drawing. I would never try to sell my drawings or anything stupid like that. I don't think just anyone could replicate art like I do, so it's cool. 

What makes you mad? Like shaking livid?

I can think of two situations that can make me pretty mad, at the moment, both of which have happened recently.

The first is if you betray my trust. Those of you who have seen the venting anger thread on the forums know that my trust was recently betrayed by someone I've known since Elementary school. In betraying my trust, he put my grade in my rhetoric course in jeopardy. I was livid. The last day we had class in that course, I didn't even open my mouth, for fear that I would just go off on him. The entire time, all I could think about was how I would bring the truth to light and make him pay. Thankfully, I was able to explain the situation to the professor and everything turned out fine. For me, that is. Hopefully not the guy who betrayed my trust.

The other situation that makes me mad is when I can't sleep. Not because of any procrastination on my part. I realize that's my fault and I have to deal with it. I'm talking, like, Christmas Eve "I'm so hyped I can't fall asleep" can't sleep, where I can't really help it. God, I'm eighteen years old and you would think it'd get easier, but it just gets harder. For the past three nights I've had so much trouble sleeping (I'm writing this answer on Christmas Eve, just so you readers know). I guess that's part of still being young and retaining part of my childishness, but what I wouldn't give for my brain to just shut up and let me sleep. 

I'm exhausted right now, so hopefully I'll be able to sleep a bit easier, tonight. But it still makes me mad that I'm even exhausted, in the first place. I could really use my sleep, just like anyone else.

How long have you been around at Dtoid?

I've been around since the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of High School, so that would be...2010. Around that summer, I decided that I needed to start going somewhere frequently to keep up on video game news. I starting perusing articles on Kotaku that summer. I also viewed articles on Destructoid, although less frequently. It must have been a year or so later that I decided that I would never again go to Kotaku and shifted my focus to Destructoid for all of my video game news-related needs.

From there I gradually began to sink deeper and deeper into the pit of quicksand that is Destructoid. (I'm going to pretend that calling Destructoid a pit of quicksand is a compliment.)

Totally stealing from Lipton here: What's your favorite word? Your least favorite word? Why?

Love for Persona games aside, I'd have to say my favorite word is "persona". As in, "the image or personality that a person presents to other people" (totally stealing that from Merriam Webster because I'm too lazy to paraphrase). It just rolls off the tongue, and I got to use the word a lot in my rhetoric course this past semester. It made me happy every time I put it into one of my papers.

Least favorite word is easy. I'd say it's "cannot". That looks so wrong to me. I've been saying "can not" for as long as I can remember, and I just found out a while ago that it should all be one word. I understand why it should be one word, now that someone explained it to me, but it still just looks and feels wrong, to me. 

What drew you to videogames as a hobby, and more importantly, what has kept you there?

In order to establish what drew me in to video games, I have to first say that I realized my love for reading and watching movies/TV shows before I ever touched a video game. This was all when I was about three or four years old, so it was nothing complicated. Mostly picture books and Veggietales. But, still, video games have always had one element that other forms of entertainment do not have, and that is interactivity. That idea of interactivity drew me in. The idea that I could be the one that decides whether the hero succeeds or fails. And out of this interactivity comes immersion. In a way, I become the hero. The hero's victories become my victories. It's not just a story I'm seeing on the screen, anymore. It's my story. And to me, that makes video games much more fun than anything that mere books or movies can produce.

I would have never been able to describe it like that when I was younger, of course. I would have just said "I play it because it's fun". But I think that is essentially what drew me to video games and what has kept me there. It transcends the boundaries of other forms of entertainment.

Is it involvement in the plot or involvement in the action that triggers that feeling for you?

That's a tough question. I would say it really depends on the game. Take a horror game like Amnesia, for instance. I really feel like I'm a part of the game when I'm in the action, hiding from some hideous monster. Then you've got a story-heavy game like Persona 4 where I feel like I'm a part of the game when I'm talking to the characters. And then the Ace Attorney games are a bit of both, thanks to its great characters and the sheer fun of shouting "Objection." It really depends.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a videogame?

My personal preference puts a game's story and characters first. I have played many games, such as the Ace Attorney games, Zero Escape games and Persona games, where the story/characters alone make the game one of the most fantastic games I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Heck, I'll likely overlook some of a game's faults if I feel that it has a decent story. Take Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, for example. I really enjoyed the story, and because of that, I didn't even care that the puzzles were nowhere near the caliber of the original Amnesia or that interaction with the environment was practically nonexistent. The story alone made the game worth every penny. But even though I hold story and characters in such high regard, that's not to say that they are make or break. I've played plenty of games lacking in those areas that I've enjoyed because they excel in other areas. 

Have you played The Stanley Parable? What do you think of that? It's purely a sense. What does an experience like that make you feel? It's not a hand-holding style of story progression, but more like a Choose Your Own Adventure, except the fourth wall doesn't exist...or does it? Considering you dig story and characters, and considering how minimalist and expansive that game's story is in a simultaneous fashion, I just want to hear your thoughts on what you took from it and what you think it illustrated.

Yes, I bought The Stanley Parable late last year, and this is going to be my first time trying to talk about it. I honestly didn't know what I was feeling when I finished it (by that I mean getting every ending). Even now, it's sort of a jumble of emotions, like I don't quite know how to react to it. 

I think The Stanley Parable largely dealt with the idea of control. The player, knowing that this is a Choose Your Own Adventure game, wants control over where the story goes. Likewise, the narrarator does his best to have control over Stanley and his actions. But there is no such thing as absolute control. In some endings, the narrator completely loses his control over Stanley. In other endings, the player (who had control up until the ending) is forced to follow a set path. And yet, in another, the player is given the illusion of control, when in reality, he has none.

Everybody wants control, to some extent. Control over their lives and where it will take them. But you don't always have control. And when you do have control, are you really the one in control, or is that just an illusion, and is someone else pulling the strings? I suppose that's what The Stanley Parable is really getting at.

Do you think that controversy (sexism, violence, etc.) helps or hurts the medium?

I honestly don't know. I don't really like to read into all the controversies and whatnot surrounding video games and the industry. I'm not an argumentative person, so it's not like you'll ever see me making a blog sharing my views on one of these issues. I'd fall flat on my face and make a fool of myself before anything else (in fact, I think I'm like to do that in answering this question, alone). But that aside, I really hope that it will help the medium in the long run. I think that it's good that these issues are being discussed and debated, as it certainly wouldn't help anything to just pretend that these issues don't exist and that everything is fine and dandy. In addressing these issues, we might be able to elicit some changes through the attention it draws that would benefit the medium.

Yeah, you can tell that this isn't my area of expertise with how vague I'm being. Ha! That's just who I am, though.

Do you think there's better ways of going about the discussion(s)? Or much better points to raise?

Yeah, there are definitely better ways of going about the discussions. Take the Anita Sarkeesian mess, for example. I don't see discussion. I see a mini war. There were threats thrown at her. She shut down the comments on her videos. People find a video "proving" that she doesn't like video games. It's just back and forth, back and forth. It's noise.

There are some people on YouTube who seem to present their arguments respectfully and bring up some good points, but I haven't seen any willingness from anyone on the other side of the argument to listen to what they have to say. It's ridiculous. For any kind of meaningful discussion to be had, people on both sides need to respect each other and listen. That's it. It sounds so simple. But it's just not happening. And it needs to happen if we're going to get anywhere.

Will we ever get anywhere? I feel inclined to say no, but that's just me being cynical. Prove me wrong, anonymous internet masses.

I always follow Ghandi's advice - "be the change you wish to see." Following that line of thought, how would you take the discussion somewhere civil?

I think I would try to take the debate out of the virtual realm and organize an actual, physical debate of some sort; with some ground rules and involvement from key players in the discussion (using the previous example, Anita Sarkeesian would be the obvious choice). I don't see a feasible way to take the discussion somewhere civil if I would try to keep it confined to the Internet.

On the Internet, it's very easy to get riled up, to refuse to listen to the opposing side of the argument, and to hide behind a shield of anonymity. I think breaking down that wall of anonymity, having a face-to-face discussion, and laying down some basic rules (in order to ensure that both sides would respect the other and allow them to say their piece) would make the discussion much easier to coordinate and control.

Let's go outside of videogames for a moment - what's the most important thing in the world to you as a person?

My friends and family. Such a generic response. I bet I'm like the twentieth person who's answered that. But, it's true. Without friends on communities like Destructoid, I'd have gone insane, by now. And family is always wonderful to be around. Even if the rest of the world seems like it's full of idiots, there's always friends and family.

Let me put it this way. Say you're my friend (which I probably consider you to be to some degree, if you're reading this), and you're the President of the United States or something. Aliens are invading, things are going downhill, mistakes were made... I'm the guy who would jump in front of you and take a bullet (or laser, since they're aliens). Now, I might misjudge the trajectory of the bullet, so you might get hit, anyways, but I tried, and it's the thought that counts. Right?

Seriously? You'd take a bullet? Them's some big intentions.

Yeah, believe it or not, I'd like to think that I would. What makes me so important that I would let one of my friends or relatives get shot? Nothing. I'd rather see one of my friends or relatives live to see another day than me.

Assuming my body obeys my command, of course. Don't want to act like the possibility of me freezing up doesn't exist. But hopefully, it will never even come to the bullet thing.

That's very noble, yet extremely reckless. What part of your personality do you think that comes from?

I think it comes from my protective side, mainly. I really care for and value my friends and family more than anything, so naturally I want to protect them in any way that I can, when they're in harms way.

But I also want to mention that I think part of it is that I've come to terms with my own mortality. I've brooded over enough near-death experiences that I've long since gotten over any fear of death that I once had. If I die tomorrow walking to class, so be it. If I die taking a bullet for a friend, so be it. It is what it is. 

One final thing to mention. Say I don't take the bullet. My friend dies. I'm filled with regret every day for the rest of my life. I'd rather take the bullet than live with that kind of regret.

I find that music is a fairly accurate baromter of an individual's personality. What music makes your day?

I'm going to answer this question in two parts. One, in terms of video game music, and two, thinking outside of video game music.

In the realm of video game music, I have to go with RPG OSTs, primarily. Nothing like a little Persona 4 music to get you pumped up and ready to face the day's challenges. Or perhaps some Chrono Trigger world map themes to calm you down after a long day. I particularly like battle themes, because I love the energy rush you can get from listening to them, but it's all good.

Outside of video games, I'll just list a few bands/singers I find myself listening to frequently. Red Hot Chili Peppers have some wonderful singles. Same goes for The Killers. One of my favorite bands (I've been a big fan for years) is Gorillaz. I've only ever bought one physical copy of an album, before, and it's a Gorillaz album. Plastic Beach. To this day, it's my favorite album of theirs.

One last singer I want to mention is Marvin Gaye. He had a fantastic voice. Great vocal range. I love songs of his like "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "What's Going On?" I wish he were still alive, today. I would have loved to hear him sing in a concert.

Silly side note: I had to call LogMeIn support once (I work in IT), and their hold music was - I shit you not - the 600 A.D. overworld music from Chrono Trigger. That's a company for you.

Anyway, that's a large stretch. Gorillaz to Motown. Anything else in between that strikes you? James Brown? Damon Albarn's original music vehicle, Blur? Huey Lewis and the motherfucking News?

I wasn't even aware that Motown existed until I entered High School. I took a class on the History of Rock, and we had a unit dedicated to Motown artists. That's where I was first exposed to it.

But, yeah, how could I not like a legend like James Brown? I don't often listen to him, but it'd be a crime to deny that he's fantastic. I'd say that I listen to other legends, like Chuck Berry more than him. And sure, I like Blur. They have a great "best of" album. Still, if I had to choose between Blur and Gorillaz, I'd pick Gorillaz any day.

Now I'm curious as to why you would choose one over the other. What about Gorillaz makes it more accessible to your ears?

Well, I would be lying if I didn't say that part of it is nostalgia. I was introduced to Gorillaz right around when I entered my teens, so I have been listening to them for years. It was only a year or so ago that I started listening to Blur. So, Gorillaz always has that nostalgia going for it.

But beyond that, I would say it's the fictional side of Gorillaz that has made it more appealing than Blur. It's a band made of cartoons, and the universe surrounding the band is amazing. Each band member has their own extensive, interesting backstory, and if you look at Gorillaz music videos, you'll see that they form an overarching narrative. "Feel Good Inc". leads into "El Mañana", which in turn leads into Plastic Beach videos like "Stylo" and Up "On Melancholy Hill". It's incredible.

I've spent hours delving into Gorillaz lore. Heck I did a project on the band in High School, using information from the fictional Gorillaz universe. I remember thinking back then "Wow, I've never come across a band that has had me spending as much time looking into the backstory of the band itself as I spend listening to their music!" That's one advantage Gorillaz has that Blur doesn't. It's not just a band that's produced music. It's a band that's produced another world. One that I happily delve into at a moment's notice.

Do you feel that the videogame medium is evolving, and if so, is it going in a positive direction?

Yeah, I think the medium is evolving and going in a positive direction. In saying that, I'd like to focus on the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift looks as if it can change the way we play games. I have always dreamed of something like the Oculus Rift existing, where the immersion level gets knocked up another notch (BAM!) and rather than looking at a TV screen, you're actually seeing at the game as if you were actually in it. It's certainly a step towards the vast potential that virtual reality holds for video games, and I'm very eager to see how the Oculus Rift performs. I think it really has to the potential to propel the medium to new heights.

Whether or not that potential will be fully tapped, only time will tell.

Nintendo tried both motion control and virtual reality headset gear in the past with minimal success, and now here we are, with motion control and virtual reality forming the tip of the spear for new control methodologies, or at least old ideas finally done the right way. Do you think we're ready for that definitive next step forward?

Yeah, I think we could be ready, now. Nintendo's Virtual Boy (their virtual reality headset) had a lot of issues that we're not facing with the Oculus Rift. The Virtual Boy hardly had any really "good" games for it. At best, it had Wario Land. It feels like games are getting Oculus Rift support left and right, now. And good games, like Metro 2033 and Far Cry 3. To list some other issues that aren't applicable to the Oculus Rift, the Virtual Boy's games were all in an ugly red and black color, it had poor marketing, and the VR technology was still pretty young, nowhere near as advanced and convincing as it is today.

The only real issues I see with the Oculus Rift are the pricetag and the issues with giving people headaches. We'll have to see what happens on those fronts, but now that we've hit the ground running with the Oculus Rift and avoided many of the faults of the Virtual Boy, I think we could be ready.

Are we? I mean, approaching that line between true reality and manufactured reality means we're only going to move closer and closer to it, so do you think we're actually ready to blur that line further in ways that no other entertainment medium before it ever could? We've watched the technology get better, but the same distance has been the norm - you looking at a screen, using a control apparatus. Once you step into attempted immersion, the rules change, and once we start down that path, we're not going to stop. Do you think we as a people are truly ready to straddle those lines?

I honestly don't know if we as a people are ready to straddle those lines. Hence my use of the phrase "we could be ready". There would certainly be people who would embrace that path and others who would be against it, but as a whole, I don't know what the people would choose. I would certainly hope it would be embraced, but that's just my own choice talking. 

I guess we'll see, when the time comes. And I believe that time will come, sooner or later. If not with the Oculus Rift, then later down the line.

If you said that someone just had to play a particular game before they died, what game would that be?

Will I feel bad for going for the obvious answer? Nah. Bearsona-I mean-Persona 4.

It's got a fantastic story with plenty of unexpected twists and a satisfying ending (if you go for the true ending), and I've never played a game with such incredible characters that I've cared for so much (well, Lee and Clem of The Walking Dead, but still). The game's not overly difficult, either. It's the perfect gateway into the massive, ever-expanding Megami Tensei franchise. And I can't help but mention the soundtrack. Catchiest soundtrack I've ever heard, too, although some of the songs may take some warming up to.

Oh, plus you get to play as Yu Swagukami. Bringing Swagukami into the world was like Atlus' gift to mankind.

It's the greatest RPG I've ever played. What can I say that hasn't already been said?

See, I haven't had any interest in playing this game series at all (true story). Why should I pick it up?

Well, if you have no interest at all, I doubt I'll be able to convince you, but I'll give it a shot. I think one of the greatest things about it is that it manages to avoid many of the clichés that seem to befall many other RPGs, today, both when it comes to story and gameplay. The story is original, with twists that are truly unexpected. The main characters that you spend much of the game with all have unique personalities, are likable (in their own ways), and best of all, are non-stereotypical. Given that Persona 4 is a hefty game, they all get plenty of character development over the course of the game, and by the time you've finished the game, you feel like you know them as well as actual friends.

The gameplay feels somewhat fresh, being like a mixture of two tried and true formulas. Not to get too much into it, but it's like a traditional RPG mixed with Pokemon. You can fuse your Personas (which act like Pokemon) together to create new Personas, adding a new element to the mix. And it's not like these personas come out of nowhere. They're fairly vital to the story and are well explained. The dungeons all have a unique design, and while they can take some time to get through, none of them outstay their welcome. They can be fairly challenging, depending on the difficulty, and bosses take careful strategy to defeat. 

There's a lot to do in Persona 4 outside of dungeons. Despite its length, you never run out of things to do in-game between dungeons. Most notably, you can spend time with the other main characters, gaining more insight on their character and reaping even more benefits in-battle. And finally, the soundtrack is pretty awesome. Even if you're not an immediate fan of the pop songs, there are plenty of instrumental songs scattered throughout the game that are hard to dislike.

You ever play a game where you go "This is a once-in-a-lifetime game. How is someone going to top this?" Persona 4 is a once-in-a-lifetime RPG. It's like the Earthbound of 3D RPGs. Aaand I've already said far too much on this subject. Moving on!

With so many sites in existence, and the internet having no shortage of places to hang one's virtual hat, why Destructoid?

Destructoid actually has a cool community. Imagine that. The community isn't dead or nonexistant. It's alive. It's not full of a bunch of jerks or people who like to start heated arguments for the sake of arguing. It's full of awesome people who all share a love for video games. There's always plenty to do, in the community, too. Things to read (Cblogs), things to listen to (Podcasts), people to play with (Friday Night Fights/Weekend Warriors). It's fantastic. I love it, and I think this may be a once-in-a-lifetime community.

That, and where else will you see a community manager in a pink bathrobe? I mean, come on. You can't beat that.

What the hell are you talking about? This place is packed to the walls with people who will start heated arguments just for the sake of arguing. It's what we do best. It's our Big Mac. It's our Bloomin' Onion. Our special sauce.

Never mind that last bit.

What's your favorite part, if you had to choose one?

I suppose I chose some really poor wording, there. I meant to say that people don't start idiotic arguments here at Destructoid. Hateful arguments. That sort of thing. Yeah, I know we have some heated arguments, here. I've heard more than enough argument over DmC to know that. Sorry for the confusion. 

I may not have been a part of it for more than a little while, but I'd say Friday Night Fights and Weekend Warriors is now my favorite part of Destructoid. We're all here because we share a love for games. We can talk about games all we want in podcasts, cblogs, or in the forums, but nothing beats actually playing games. And with Friday Night Fights and Weekend Warriors, you get to do it with some really great people. It's pure fun.

I'm going to resurrect an old question that I've never asked before, starting now: If you could punch anyone here at Dtoid, who would it be?

Well, I'm going to bend the rules of the question and answer with two people. First of all with someone who used to be here at Destructoid. I'd punch Chad Concelmo for leaving us. I'd immediately apologize afterwards, though, because who wouldn't feel bad about punching an always-smiling face like his?

If I could punch anyone currently here at Destructoid, I would punch Brightside for not being able to handle the incredible amount of Space Jam remixes Firion and I played during his stream on Some people just can't handle the slam. I'd hug Firion for playing the first one of those remixes, if I could. That was a great night.

Is there anything you would change about Destructoid? Anything you'd preserve at all costs?

There are some clear rifts in Destructoid's community, mainly between the front page, the forums, and the Destructoid stream. There are clearly people who seem to prefer to stick to certain sides of Destructoid or stay away from certain parts. Especially in regards to the stream. I understand that most people don't care for the stream (especially when it's plastered all over the front page) or have the time for it, but I can't help but wish that the rifts between sections of Dtoid didn't exist. This is me just fantasizing about a perfect world, though.

Somewhat contradicting what I just said, the one thing I would never change is the community. By that, I mean the people in the community. The community is a big part of what makes Destructoid to so fun to come to, and I know that if everyone up and left, I wouldn't come here nearly as often as I do. No running off to leave gaps for douchebags to come in and fill. Otherwise, Destructoid could begin morphing into the fearsome beast of legend...Destructaku. And when it does, the apocalypse is sure to follow.

Is there anything the community could to to strengthen the fiber that makes up Destructoid? Anything the staff could do? Just wanting to see your ideas on the matter. Are we strong enough as it is, and we need to change nothing?

Yeah, definitely. For the community, I would say just get involved. And not just once or twice. Regularly, if possible. Dive into the forums. Meet some great people. Stick around. Try hosting some games on Friday Night Fights or Weekend Warriors every week. Fap to blogs and comment on them. Listen to podcasts and give some feedback. Watch the stream every once in a while. I know I'm working on these things, myself.

As for the staff, I say, why can't they do some of the same? Why can't a staff member fap to blogs and comment on them? Why shouldn't a staff member venture into the forums and get to know members of the community, there? Surely, there's no rule against a staff member hosting a game on Friday Night Fights every once in a while.

Community member or staff member, we're all members of Destructoid. We can all get more involved. Appreciate the content that others put out. Make some friends in the community. Play some dang games together. All of this will knit us closer together not just as members of Destructoid, but as a family.

One last question: who do you think you are?

Apparently, I'm the guy with the name that no one knows how to pronounce. I have heard so many variations of how to say "Marche" over Twitch streams and whatnot that I don't even care, anymore. Anyways, this is all thanks to Squeenix. The name comes from the protagonist's default name in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I must have thought the character was cool or something when I was younger, because I picked out that name like 8 or 9 years ago.

But I'm not that Marche. Oh, no. I just recently re-investigated who that character is and discovered something horrifying. Besides the fact that his design makes me cringe, nowadays.

The entire premise of the game is that he, his brother who's stuck in a wheelchair, and his other friend get pulled into a fantasy world. His handicapped brother can suddenly walk! But, no. The first thing Marche does is vow to drag them back to the real world. What a douche-bag!

No, I am not that Marche. I'm the Marche who steps all over that Marche. I'm the ace attorney who defends the innocent in court. I'm the college student who escaped certain death by going through the door with a "q" painted on it. I'm the wild card who reached out to the truth and saw through the fog of doubt. I'm the nephilim who kicked Vergil's ass from here to Hell. I'm the snake who fought the ocelot and came out triumphant. I'm the amnesiac who faced hordes of nighmarish swine to find his children.

I'm Marche-friggin-100, and I am not a scumbag.

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9:28 PM on 01.22.2014

Community Interviews: In Meowmoriam

Today, I was supposed to publish the interview with Marche100.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to, as I have not been able to finish his (or other) people's interviews over the past few weeks, as the hits in my personal life just won't stop coming.

Last week, it was taking care of my two-year-old daughter, who had to visit the hospital due to her being sick with the flu.  After nursing her back to health and working my normal job for five days straight (because my pregnant wife was forbidden from taking care of her - weakened immune system carried extreme risk to her and the baby), I was able to get back to some semblance of even keel.  I just wanted to get back to my life, catch up on work that had started to pile up, and get back to publishing interviews.

Well, my Wednesday just consisted of having to say goodbye to my wife's cat of fourteen years.  She predated yours truly in my wife's life.  She was a sweet, affable cat...who had started to develop health problems of a very, very unsanitary nature (again, the kind of shit [literally] that would pose extreme health risks to my wife and both of my kids).  It's been something we've been fighting against for years, and took a turn for the worst-beyond-worst last weekend.  It came to a head early yesterday afternoon, and as such, my day has involved being the strong one in the family in the wake of the aftermath of what I had the duty to fulfill this morning.

Well, my daughter didn't really need the parental strength, but that's another story for another time.  It was pretty funny, and definitely provided relief to our day, comic and otherwise.

However, my wife is taking it hard.  Really hard.  She just lost her best animal friend, a companion she's had since college, and a truly irreplaceable family member.  As such, I haven't been able to finish the interviews that have been planned.  I'm hoping to get this back on track for next week, and I'm really sorry about not keeping my (admittedly self-imposed) promise of getting these things out on time.  

I will try to get this ball rolling ASAP, but in the meantime, I'll just ask that if you have pets you love - snuggle up with them tonight.  Give them an extra treat.  Let them sleep in the bed.  And enjoy the company, the quiet camaraderie and the unconditional love your animal has for you, because that one day you dread will eventually arrive, and the feeling of loss can be profoundly overwhelming.

Sorry for ending on such a serious down note.  I'll see you next week.  - EL


9:39 AM on 01.15.2014

C-Blog Interviews: StriderHoang

Sallida DToid, OpiumHerz here. I hope you had some nice holidays and all came good into the new year. If not, Mr. T will most likely pity you. But you know who pities Mr. T? Someone who is even cooler. Entering: StriderHoang! This bad boy isn't afraid to have Digimon as his blog banner and Domo-kun as his avatar. And if you want to know the secrets behind that (partly) and other fascinating tales, you'll have to read on for the interviews. 
As an addition: we're working on new interviews as we speak. However, it's gotten a bit time consuming. So if me might start to cut down a bit on this, don't hate. Don't bodyshame. Don't be that kind of guy. Instead answer the questions when I sent them to you. Volunteer if you want to be asked questions. WRITE ME YOU ANIMALS!

How did you end up Destructoid and why did you stay?

I ended up at Destruction sometime after graduating from university. As many college graduates in my generation may feel (especially the naive ones who graduated in journalism), I felt pretty aimless and didn't know what to do with my time. I was mainly attempting to get my work out there and build a portfolio, more to have a body of work rather than how most people in the community assume they just get cherry picked out of the community for some godlike writing skills.
I was mostly blogging on Bitmob (now VentureBeat) and browsing other sites when my sister referred me to Dtoid. I don't even know how she came across it. Probably knew a friend who browsed it because she doesn't play many games. But I did come to Dtoid for the cblogs and to build a repertoire. But I did stay because I ended up noticing the regular commenters and cbloggers and getting a hang of their voice and character. Elsa is the older, female gamer. RenegadePanda's humor infused musings. Occams displays of 90s retro kitsch. Or something. 
After just one or two blogs I stopped blogging for blogging's sake and started blogging to be a part of the community with my own unique voice. Time skip a couple years and now I recap while working at Disneyland and barely have any time or motivation to blog at all! HUZZAH.

How did you end up with being a Recapper then? Also for portfolio reasons?

I wouldn't have become a recapper if I wasn't interested in the community. In fact, I don't see how being a recapper furthers a career. It was all community interest there and I mistakenly contacted Conrad Zimmer, who must've been involved with it once upon a time. 
No sir, Beyamor contacted me at one point and asked if I was interested. He called me a cream of a crop or something. It was gross really.

Tell us the story behind your avatar and your nickname. 

My username is just a handle I use consistently to make things easier. I just liked Strider. I saw him in the MvC1 and MvC2 and since we all know these characters are from someplace, I looked up Strider Hiryu's history and absolutely loved the gameplay from his sequel, Strider 2. The first Strider has not aged well in my opinion though but the first boss fight is always good since it's always that stupid dragon your ride/fight on.
My avatar on the other hand, is just an image I cropped from Slurpee's summer of fun promotion from somewhere in 2009 I believe. When I was selecting an avatar, I didn't want to use something too serious, too pretentious, or too deep a reference. I figured Domo was a safe bet because he's a silly mascot everyone likes. He's not some shadow ninja avatar or a Goku or a Mario or some other established character.
Plus he's drinking a Slurpee. Does your fucking Domo do that? Funk's just wears glasses, the hipster.

If you could take one member of the DToid staff for dinner wherever you want, who would you take where?

I'd take Niero to a taco truck like Kogi. Hell, he even accepted my Facebook friend request so maybe one day he would take my offer of free Korean fusion tacos.

If you could punch anyone on Destructoid, who would it be?

Jim but I'm convinced that is not an original answer. How about I put my fists on his temples and give him a double noogie?

While you’re imaginening things, imagine you are able to take over one videogame IP. Complete control. Which one do you take and what will you do with it?

I loved Spider-Man 2 but for some reason, it never seems to come back. You know what? What if Rockstar was just invited to do some sandbox Marvel hero game? Spider-Man? Sure. Hulk? Ok. Iron Man? Wow, let me take a second here. Hey, there's an Avengers comic that involves intergalactic growth of the team. How about an Avengers game from Rockstar centered around NYC?

The one standard question: favorite game – favorite character – favorite quote – favorite scene – favorite dialogue. You mad add other favorites as you see please.
My favorite game is Shadow of the Colossus. I've never owned a PS2 as I decided to commit to the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube but I managed to play through all of SotC while I worked at a video game rental store.
My favorite character has to be Strider Hiryu. Sometimes I even forget he exists due to how long I've used this handle. Though Wrex gets a close second.
Speaking of Mass Effect, my favorite moment would have to go to the Krogan mission in ME3. They'd been building on the cultural plight of the krogans for the past two games and finally I am handed the decision to see whether or not an entire race deserves a second chance at redemption. And of course I gave it to them because I knew Wrex would steer them in the right direction, that alien, bushido bastard. Legion is third place.
I'm not one for dialogue but to choose one, I'd have to go back to my good old well, Mass Effect, and go with the dialogue in romancing Tali in general. I mean, I was genuinely interested in her back in ME1 and now I finally get the chance and it only now hits me that I'm hitting on a female alien who can barely leave her skin to exposure, let alone have intimate contact.
While we're at it, let me say that the Jetgun has got to be one of my favorite weapons. A call back to Monday Night Combat on the 360, why have a flamethrower when you can have a jet engine pump out a jetstream of super hot fire? Not to mention the deathblossom. Oh man, the deathblossom, take Link's signature spin move and put the Master Sword on fire and you got the deathblossom.

Talking about things you love: what was the last game that has really touched you?

It's hard to say since I'm an unfeeling robot with little remorse, but looking back on my history, I guess I'd say Red Dead Redemption's ending. It wasn't some pull out all the stops sort of ending. You kill the last man of your gang and your past then go back to farm life for about a half hour or so. Then the feds show up, double crossing your promise and at last, you make one last stand.  They even bother giving you control of your bullet time despite there being more men then what you can tag. Being in control of John Marston right up to the (canonical) end was really powerful.

In the last stand scene from RDR, I just shot all the horses instead of any  of the police men, because I thought “Well, I’ll die any second, so they could at least have to WALK home”. Comment on that.

When I walked out and went into deadeye mode, I just shot whoever. It didn't occur to me that this little cinematic set-piece would be my end. I was still buys trying to process everything, like Marston sending his loved ones away and staying behind to face his past, along with the fed who decided that Marston was a loose end that needed tying.
It's moments like that which stick out in the history of this medium.

Aside from RDR, what would you define as THE moment where you played a game and thought: „Yup, [u]THAT’S IT[/u]! This is where it’s at! This is what game can be and I wish there would be more like it!”?

Really I think that harkens back to Shadow of the Colossus for me. Sure, the gameplay mechanics felt a bit floaty and the fundamental core was a 3D spatial/monster puzzle game. But what really makes me like SotC is the scale. Back then, I wished every game could wow me with scale like that. Such massive creatures in relation to my tiny, little human dude bro. And how they continued to move and react, however rudimentary, while I continued controlling my guy.

Did on the other hand any game make you so angry that you literally smashed the controller or anything else in rage?

That's not how I roll son. I concentrate pretty quietly and don't really emote much. I pretty much focus on getting in the game.

So games don’t even make you rage a bit? Like the infamous Mortal Komat bossfights, for example?

I'm more of a quiet rager. Like, simmering, bubbling rage. It'd take a lot of make me rage at all though. Cause, you know, it's a video game. I would take a break from something difficult though but I don't have the sense to do some physical anger. "This $60 game is infuriating! I should break it in half! That'll solve my problems!"
My stuff is nearly immaculate on that note. I do not understamnd people who have scratched discs or don't even put the, away back in their cases. I've worked at a rental store and the damage I've seen is mind boggling to my sensibilities.

Any specific rental story you might wanna share? Working with humans can be absolutely mind baffling, but also entertaining (mostly to those who don’t have to do it).

I wasn't afraid to speak my mind even if it meant losing a sale. I remember someone bringing to me Ride Or Die 187. That vague GTA clone that was horribly panned around 10 years ago for PS2? I told them I heard nothing but bad things about it and they took my advice and took it back.
I also had a regular guy. Let's call him B. I wasn't particularly interested in talking to B but he seemed like the desperate type. I don't want to call him a nerd because, let's face it, we're all somehow a nerd. But for a person who considers himself a nerd to think someone else is, try thinking about that kind of person. He'd always try to force start a conversation and whenever he came, he'd spend a couple hours just bumming around uncomfortably. Everyone who works retail probably has a Mr. B and I had to be nice to mine because he'd always spend big at our store.

What is your gaming guilty pleasure?

I like watching Dead Or Alive gameplay.

Is there any game you are really fired up for at the moment? The one game you would instantly drop everything for if it released today?
Seriously. I was looking forward to it a few months ago. But one of my leads at work has been pumping everyone up about October 12 for awhile now. It's gotten to the point where I might consider going to a midnight launch of it. The 3DS' long awaited Pokemon entry, finally arriving. And I'm still in a position where I can play with a lot of nearby people in addition to using the internet.

Allright then, this would conclude the interview. The last words are yours.

I am nothing if not an optimist. I'm 25 but I still live with my parents, still work part-time at Disneyland, and am in a long distance relationship as my girlfriend continues school, but I'm not bitching about it. Things go up eventually. 
Hey: VIDEO GAMES.   read

5:51 PM on 01.08.2014

Community Interviews Returns Next Week!

So now you know! We'll see you next Wednesday!

- EL   read

8:11 AM on 12.24.2013

Community Interviews Is Going On Vacation!

Hey, folks! I'm taking two weeks off for Christmas, so I'm gong to be spending time with my family as much as possible (I work nights, so I don't get to see my wife and daughter for pretty much five days out of the week - gotta make up for lost time while I can). With that said, I'm sending out a call to get signed up for the next wave of interviews!

Please feel free to shoot me a private message on the cblogs or, if you're feeling brave, you could even give me a shout via the forums. We will need material to keep this up, so we will need people to interview, and the more people we have lined up, the longer this feature will continue to exist.

From OpiumHertz and myself, we wish you a Happy Christmahanukkwanzaa.
Go enjoy your holiday!

- Everyday Legend (love you motherfuckers)


7:34 PM on 12.18.2013

Community Interviews: Bow Down To King Süshi!

Welcome to the sixteenth entry in the revived Community Interviews series!

You'll notice a slight tinge of formulaic formatting throughout these interviews as you read through them, and that is that there are repeated questions that every person must answer.  The reason for this is simple: those questions are what form the foundation of the interview.  Once those questions have been answered, other questions are asked that are tailored to respond to the answers given.  What you will be reading is the end result, conversationally compiled.

You'll also notice that there are some new questions in the mix, and completely new to the interview process as compared to the previous entries.  I am starting to throw a few new things into the recipe, please let me know if these are welcome additions.  Honest feedback is very welcome.

Without further ado, let's get started.

I sent him a questionnaire, he said some stuff, I said some stuff, you know how a conversation works.

Tonight, we're bowing in the presence of King Süshi!

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How old are you?

Twenty-seven. And a half.

What do you do for a living?

I am an assistant at an animal hospital. I take care of the boarding animals and help the doctors and techs while they do the more technical stuff (blood draws, surgeries, ultrasounds, etc)

How long have you been around at Dtoid?

I have been present since '09, but only really active in the past year or so.

In your opinion, what is the coolest thing about yourself?

Once upon a time I used to draw. I have an adorable little portfolio filled with beasts and robots hiding around here somewhere. I had a short-lived stint as an apprentice tattooist, but things fell apart and I have had no ambition to re-attempt. I've been trying to get myself sketching again, but I'm suffering from serious brain constipation at the moment. 

What do you think of Huge? Is it possible for Destructoid to become a fully self-sustaining thing? What do you hope to see come from it?

I'm not sure yet. I'm liking the perks, but I haven't seen much of a content change yet. I'm optimistic though. They seem sincere in their efforts to improve, but I'm not sure if it will level out into true independence, though. Good things never last, but maybe there will be another golden age or two before it gets swallowed up into something bigger.

Totally stealing from Lipton here: What's your favorite word? Your least favorite word? Why?

Defenestrate. It's so silly to me that we need a word so specific.  My least favorite would be whatever the latest catchphrase/slang is; chillax, amazeballs, YOLO, swag, it changes every few months. My little brothers invariably adopt them into their shallow vocabularies. It's awful.

What drew you to videogames as a hobby, and more importantly, what has kept you there?

It must have been in '89 or '90 that my dad came home with an NES. He and my older brother had played to their game over screens and they handed me the controller. They instructed me to go right so I did. I ran right into the first Goomba and threw a fit. They calmed me down and encouraged me to try again; they told me how to jump and to jump on the Goomba this time. I took the controller back, held in B and made a running jump - right into that bastard. 

I tried again through several game over screens, each time they encouraged me to keep trying and told me how to make it to the next obstacle, but I wasn't having fun and gave up. I thought it was stupid. They played a bit longer and got me to play again. I made it past the first set of pipes and my brother showed me the hidden 1-up. Now THAT was cool. I made it the rest of the level without dying and kept on playing, despite the many deaths that followed. It would be a long time before I beat the game, but I was already hooked. 

So it was a subtle life lesson about rising to meet the challenge, then?

No, I still haven't learned that one. It did help me learn to be open minded about trying new things, and when trying them, to get more than just a quick taste.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a videogame?

I don't think any one thing is the most important. If the pieces serve the whole, everything works out for the better. 

If you're making a frantic action game, you want tight controls and a compelling aesthetic. Graphics (beyond framerate) aren't that important here. You don't need the most intuitive interface in a horror game. Graphics, sound, and in some ways story are usually the most important in this case.  There's many parts to every machine, but there's something that powers it - what do you believe is the most central part to the experience, and do you believe that part is interchangeable depending on the type of game being made?

In that case, I would say the engine/code. Your talented art team and your brilliant game design don't count for much if they aren't built on a solid foundation.  It's certainly the least glamorous part of making games, but it is easily the most vital. 

Do you think that controversy (sexism, violence, etc.) helps or hurts the medium?

Neither. A game has to stand on its own merits regardless of its subject matter. It may gain some extra press or lose a few potential players, but I think it's negligible on both counts. 

Compare a successful game filled with cop-killing, drugs, theft, and tons of other terrible things to an unsuccessful game with the same elements. GTA games sell because they are good. 25 to Life sold poorly because it was awful. 

The people who complain about these games seem to think that the designers of said games are out to get their rocks off or corrupt others with them. They see through tons of meticulously crafted artwork, see a pair of breasts, and claim that that's all the artist cares about.

What do you think is more harmful and potentially dangerous: the ability to gloss over these aspects in proper context in order to make demons out of mere shadows, or the fact that the people who do so are incredibly gifted at getting their skewed message out there?

The latter. I am always astounded at how easily someone who knows nothing (or just not enough to be offering any valuable insight) about something can get large amounts of media attention. This is prevalent everywhere, too; not just gaming. 

If you can say enough big words with as much self-righteous indignation as you can muster then you can argue your case with people who are immensely qualified and get a lot of people who don't have the facts to side with you. 

Let's go outside of videogames for a moment - what's the most important thing in the world to you as a person?

I guess that would be to cause the least amount of misery/unnecessary difficulty in my own life and the lives of others. If I can get through the day without ruining anyone's life, I have done well.

Are you a believer in some form of karmic retribution?

Not in any mystical sense. Actions have consequences; good, bad, and plenty of things in between. What you do tells people who you are and informs how they act towards you. Things don't always turn out with good causing good and bad causing bad. 

Good intentions can get you in plenty of trouble and bad intentions can be justified to make you come out looking like a hero. 

Do you feel that the videogame medium is evolving, and if so, is it going in a positive direction?

Evolving horizontally with quite a few branches going forwards and backwards. 

I feel that a lot of the sideways and downwards (but some of the upwards)stuff has to do with how immense of an industry gaming has become.  I love the way genres are dissolving, how indie games are popping up everywhere, how fighting games are back, how user created content is getting into console games. 

I am less pleased with half-assed DLC, the giant budgets requiring games to sell multiple millions in order to be considered a success (or the potential to exploit the franchise), and pre-orders that affect gameplay (especially in multiplayer).

Do you think some of those publisher practices are threatening a systemic collapse of the industry itself, or merely eroding their own place within it?

I am hoping for a second crash in gaming to get all of the big money out, so we can have games made by people who give a shit as the norm again.

It seems more likely that they will slowly withdraw from the things people get fed up with, and find new ways to abuse their customers and buy up studios that gamers love, just to run them into the ground like they have been for the last eight years.

Even if the big money remains it can still be good, as long as everyone quits searching for the quick buck and starts thinking how to get the most long-term. You know, the method that involves not alienating their customers.

If you said that someone just had to play a particular game before they died, what game would that be?

Don't Shit Your Pants.

Google it, and don't stop playing until you have all of the achievements.

Will do. Why does it carry such a high-bar of esteem for you? I mean, this is the ONE game you're going to recommend.

It's short and it embodies how just a few elements put together the right way can make something so much better than the parts that form it. 

You could paint a picture of, make a film about, sing a song where, or tell a joke involving a guy shitting his pants, but putting you in control of the guy trying not to shit his pants makes it so much better. 

If there is one thing I could share with someone that doesn't 'get' games is how the "show, don't tell" philosophy used in other mediums gets taken to another level with games.

With so many sites in existence, and the internet having no shortage of places to hang one's virtual hat, why Destructoid?

I come to Destructoid for the irreverent attitude towards everything and the great community. I probably never would have ventured into the forums if my old internet hangout hadn't collapsed, though.

What pushed you to the seedy underbelly of the forums, exactly?

I needed a new forum to lurk around in and the people here seemed pretty cool. I posted sporadically since late '09, but only recently got more involved. 

There are plenty of places that I visit online, but Destructoid is definitely home base for me.

Is there anything you would change about Destructoid? Anything you'd preserve at all costs?

If I could I would fund it myself and get rid of all of the little things you can't do because advertisers. Outside of pie-in-the-sky stuff? Bring back RetroForce GO! and The Memory Card maybe?

(The Memory Card has since been resurrected. - EL)

One last question: Who do you think you are?

I dunno.

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8:29 AM on 12.11.2013

C-Blog Interviews: ShadeOfLight

You know what's SHIT?! - 50 Shades Of Grey.
You know what's AWESOME? - ShadeOfLight

So give him a high five and a "Fuck yeah" when you see him. Or a high yeah and a fuck five, if you please. 

How did you end up on Destructoid? Why did you stay?

My go-to video game site used to be IGN. They had some great Nintendo editors, who seemed to have a ton of connections and were fun to listen to on podcasts. One by one they left, and I got stuck with crappy replacements. The final nail in the coffin was that at one point I could no longer access IGN US without a proxy, as it linked me straight to IGN UK which updated once a week at best. So I left and after some shopping around I found Destructoid. I stayed mostly because of its way of bringing news. Our editors are very open and personal; they're not afraid to give their own opinion on the news, or to crack jokes. For example, while a new Dynasty Warriors game would go unnoticed everywhere else Destructoid reports it because Jim loves the series to death, and he often makes fun of his own devotion. I got more embedded in the community after a while, and you guys and gals have become a very important reason for sticking around too.

And how did you end up with the scallywags that are the Recappers?

I used to be mostly a front-page commenter, and I would only post Cblogs occasionally. I wanted to get more involved in the community aspect of Dtoid, and ultimately decided that doing the Recaps would be a fun way to do exactly that. I first sent an e-mail to Conrad (then community manager) asking for a spot on the list of Reserves, but he never got back to me. Only a couple of weeks after that Manchild announced his hiatus, so I decided to jump in right away. PMed Strider, and before I knew it I was part of this ragtag bunch of misfits!

If you could, would you punch Conrad for not answering? Or for that matter, if you could punch anyone in the DToid community, would you use the chance?
Nah, probably not. I imagine he's a busy man, and the Recaps FAQ was out of date when I send that e-mail; should've written the Dixon instead. I don't think I'd punch anyone here, but given the chance I'd hand out a bunch of attack hugs to the lot of you. That's about as violent as you're ever going to get me.

While we're at violence: did any game ever make you so angry that you smashed your controller or something like that? 

I don't get frustrated by video games easily. In fact, as long as the challenge is fair I love notoriously hard games. I beat games like Super Meat Boy, Ninja Gaiden (NES), I Wanna Be the Guy, The Binding of Isaac, They Bleed Pixels, Dustforce, Dungeons of Dredmor on Hard mode with permadeath, and I'm playing through Dark Souls now. Even though I died over and over again in these games, I didn't get mad. The only times I get frustrated is when I feel the game doesn't give you sufficient tools to overcome its challenges. That doesn't happen often, but I remember feeling like that during some parts of Earthbound and during the final fight in Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Those are the times I catch myself getting to a controller-smashing state, but they are few and far between.   

You can go to dinner with any member of the DToid staff. Who would take where?

Well I probably couldn't afford to properly feed Jim (harhar), so he's out. Seriously though, I'd love to take Holmes. We've got similar tastes in video games, and he's one of the nicest and sponaneous dudes I've ever seen. I'd pay good money to hang out with him sometime. As for where we're going, I'm not a sophisticated eater, not to mention a total carnivore, so unless he has better ideas I'd take him to a good barbecue joint or steakhouse. Or at least any place that has good satay in peanut sauce.
(Holmes: if you're reading this, call me.) 

While we’re at your tastes in games: favorite game – favorite game character – favorite scene from a videogame – favorite dialogue from a game? You may add other favorites to the list as you please.

Oh dear, these are always difficult questions. I'm very bad at naming my favorite X: I never know which one stands above all the others. What I can do is give you my biggest contenders, and I'll narrow it down as much as possible.
Favorite game: Xenoblade Chronicles, Portal 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime Trilogy
Favorite game character: Luigi, Soren (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance), Guillo (Baten Kaitos Origins)
Favorite scene: Portal 2 Ending
Favorite dialogue: The entirety of Portal 2 and Thomas Was Alone
Favorite boss: Goht (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask), Henry (No More Heroes)
Favorite soundtrack: NieR, Xenoblade Chronicles, Trine 2
Favorite art direction: Okami, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Trine 2, Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Then let's get to something easier: tell us the story behind your nickname and your avatar. 

My current username still stems from the one I took as a kid. My very first username, at age 13 or so, was "Shadowner"....You know, because it's "shadow" and "owner" andSHUTUPIWAS13!
I outgrew that nick very quickly, within years if not months. So I needed a new one, and preferably one I wouldn't be ashamed of using 10 years down the line. I wanted to keep the shadow theme, but I didn't want to come across as all dark and brooding, so it needed some spicing up with something a little happier. Lighter, if you will. Thus, ShadeOfLight was born.

I found my avatar through google image search. I needed something that fit with my new and incredibly improved username. Ultimately, I'm pretty sure I literally just entered "ShadeOfLight" in google just to see what it would come up with. Among other things (lampshades, mostly) google gave me some fantasy wallpapers of spirits and "shades". I cropped the head from one of those spirit things, and that became the avatar I've used to this day. I remember liking this one because while it was a shade or spirit it was wearing a bright, almost shining, cloak. I thought it was cool and fitting. The funny thing is that by now I've lost the original, but still use its avatar. I just can't find that wallpaper anywhere anymore. I guess that means it really has become mine now. 

Imagine you could also make any game IP yours, completely. You have total control over it from now an. Which IP do you choose and what would you do with it? 

The simplest answer would be Monolith Soft's Baten Kaitos. That series is my baby. They've only made two of them though (one unreleased in Europe) and I don't think they'll revive it anytime soon. So I'd simply make more of them. Then again, with Monolith having done Xenoblade and currently working on X, I can easily forgive no Baten Kaitos. And come to think of it, maybe it doesn't need reviving after all.

More to the point then, I'd want Darksiders. I loved the first and the second, but it doesn't look like we'll be getting more. I'd make a third game with Strife as the main character, and a fourth with Fury. Strife's gameplay would focus more on gunplay, and he would be getting much more powerful guns than the peashooters his brothers got (ironically, those guns ARE Strife's, but you could always handwave it away; War and Death can't unleash their full potential). I wouldn't turn it into a shooter though. He may be getting the ability to snipe people, but otherwise the combat system would be similar to what we've already seen, just with more guns involved. Maybe a reload mechanic for special moves? Fury's combat would be much faster and more aggressive than the others: no holds barred dirty fighting. 
As for the setting, I'd put the focus back on the angels and demons. Darksiders II basically put them on hold in favor of the Makers and the Dead, who are nowhere near as interesting. Other races are fine, as long as the angels and demon get center stage. They, along with the Riders themselves, are far and away the best thing about this IP. OH, and bring back Mark Hamill as the Watcher! 
Gameplay-wise, I'd try to strike a balance between Darksiders 1 and 2. Basically, I'd take Darksiders II and sneak just a little bit closer back to Zelda. The original may have been too much like Link's games, but it had a lot of cool items for level progression, more so than 2. The second had a very well realised overworld and good dungeon design, but relied more on Prince of Persia platforming than puzzle-solving with your items. Put the strenghts of both together, and you'd have a fantastic game. 

And after all that, who's to say? Maybe a four player co-op game to end the series with a bang?   

Death himself is coming to get you and allows to play for your life. What game will you choose? 

Probably a board game, actually. I'm one of those assholes who always wins at board games. You know the ones. 
Otherwise, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I'm not that good at the game, but my Luigi and Zero Suit Samus are decent enough. Besides, I only have one gamecube controller left, and since Death is the guest ancient gaming law holds that he gets the crappy Wiimote control scheme. Between those, I've got this match in the bag. 

What was the last game that has really touched you? 

Thomas Was Alone. The game takes care to build up a set of great characters out of colored rectangles, and while it plays it mostly for humor it gets more serious towards the end. 
The rectangles are all AIs inside a computer system, and at one point Thomas comes to realise this fact. Him and his friends already know that they themselves are doomed to be deleted, but they want to give everything to ensure that all the other AIs can become free. Each character has his or her own motivation for wanting the AIs to attain freedom, which the game captures very well. For example, one (over)confident rectangle wants to make the AIs feel just as powerful as he had, and a square who imagines herself a superhero wants to rescue them it is her ultimate calling as a hero. 

It's very well done, and it's particularly effective because the game has been taking great pains to ensure that you truly care about the fate of colored rectangles of all things. The game also employs humor very well up until the very end, which for some reason cause the story to hit even closer to home. In short, Thomas Was Alone managed to make me feel sad for the little red rectangle who would never be able to "meet a Transformer" but was hellbent on making sure that "everyone else would have the chance to". That's a massive achievement

Allright then, I think we’re done. The last words are yours.

I hope everyone enjoyed learning a thing or two about little old me. If nothing else at least I had fun sharing. I also look forward to reading your other interviews somewhere down the line. We've got plenty of interesting folks in our Destructoid posse, so it's going to be a treat! Good luck!   read

8:53 PM on 12.04.2013

Community Interviews: Looking On The Brightside!

Welcome to the fourteenth entry in the revived Community Interviews series!

You'll notice a slight tinge of formulaic formatting throughout these interviews as you read through them, and that is that there are repeated questions that every person must answer.  The reason for this is simple: those questions are what form the foundation of the interview.  Once those questions have been answered, other questions are asked that are tailored to respond to the answers given.  What you will be reading is the end result, conversationally compiled.

You'll also notice that there are some new questions in the mix, and completely new to the interview process as compared to the previous entries.  I am starting to throw a few new things into the recipe, please let me know if these are welcome additions.  Honest feedback is very welcome.

Without further ado, let's get started.

I sent him a questionnaire, he said some stuff, I said some stuff, you know how a conversation works.

Tonight, we're looking on the Brightside!

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What drew you to videogames as a hobby, and more importantly, what has kept you there?

Initially it was the Pokémon anime that got me into videogames; it was the reason for me begging my parents for a Game Boy Colour to play Gold and Silver. I can still remember it: the golden Pikachu edition. The red ‘on’ light was Pikachu’s cheek. Aaaah. That was 2001, and I was 7 (also the year that the Game Boy Advance was released—I was already outdated).

As for what’s kept me there … I don’t really know. I can’t put my finger on it. I’d like to say ‘because I love them,’ but that’d make for a terribly boring answer. Videogames have been a constant in my life for the longest time: while at school I’d talk about them, while at home I’d play them. They’ve been a common ground for me, my friends, and most others I’ve met; always an easy topic of conversation. I suppose videogames have never been irrelevant to me. It feels as if that’s changing now, though. Friends and their tastes are ‘growing up’, and so are mine, I suppose. Over the last couple of years my interests have broadened: I’m much more interested in films, books, music … people. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being interested in videogames, but that fanatical interest I’ve had for many years may just soften with time. Whatever it is that’s kept me here will probably continue to do so, however.

Do you feel like your hobby is refusing to grow up? Are you afraid of it having less and less relevance to your interests, or do you think that the industry will mature right alongside of us, the generation who grew up with them as a staple?

I don’t think that the industry is refusing to grow up; quite the opposite: at the moment it’s trying very, very hard to be mature. I mean, compare the amount of animal protagonists in AAA games in this gen to last. Nary a furry face to be found. It’s not just grim-dark unshaven protagonists, either. Games are tackling some very interesting themes and taking some surprisingly good routes in their plots. I mean, most videogame plots are still pretty shitty in comparison to established media, but we’re getting there.

But can we have both? Can there be furry maturity? Will we ever get that gritty version of StarFox?

The last time that was tried we ended up with Shadow the Edgehog. Please, no more. Seriously, though, the juxtaposition of ‘kid’s mascot’ and ‘dark and violent themes’ always creates far too ridiculous of a result to be taken as seriously as it so very desperately wants to be. 

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a videogame?

If you’d asked me that a couple years ago, I’d have probably said story. I was absolutely enamoured with RPGs and single-player games. So much so that I’d have placed story on a pedestal far above gameplay, aesthetics, etc.. Now I realise that prioritising story does the medium a disservice. Doing so ignores all that’s unique about videogames—the interactivity, the immersion. You just don’t find those two things in any other media.

But to answer the question: I think that how enjoyable a game is is its most important aspect. It’s the one facet that feeds into all of the others, and it’s also the hardest for me to explain. If I find a game’s gameplay is good, I’ll play it. If it looks gorgeous, I’ll probably enjoy exploring its environment. If I enjoy its story, I’ll stick around to its end. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, games that objectively tick all those boxes, but I just don’t enjoy that much for whatever reason, and there are the complete opposites—games that are terrible, but I just love (Deadly Premonition and X-Men Arcade come to mind). If it’s not fun, then I won’t play it. I suppose that that’s the most important aspect for me, then.

What qualities does the gameplay need to have in order to be considered fun? How does one break the rules and succeed, and yet, some hit all the notes and become boring as a result? What causes the differential shift?

See, that’s kind of hard for me to explain because I’m not really sure what’s in common with all of the games that I find fun. I mean, just thinking about what I’ve played recently, I can’t find a pattern. ZoE, Nocturne, Dragon’s Dogma, AoE 2, Animal Crossing, Worms? That’s some eclectic shit right there. I think that it’s not just the gameplay that makes a game fun—although it certainly can—but the overall package.

As for the so-bad-they’re-good games, I think that’s wholly down to the writing. ‘Welcome to die!’—who doesn’t love that?

But there's got to be SOMETHING that can act as a universal tie, some sort of guaranteed charm trigger that makes you say, "man, Imma play the shit out of this." What would you suspect that trigger to be?

Hmm. At one point, that would have just been ‘RPG’, or anything with a decent storyline. But now I think I’m leaning towards ‘Japanese dev’. Generally, the games I’ve most enjoyed, and the games I’m most looking forward to, have been from Japanese devs. I think—despite what Fish says, God rest his soul—that Japan is definitely leading the way with quality game development and ideas. I’m finding that Japan’s producing games with the best gameplay/mechanics, storylines, and characters. To distil that, I will buy the fuck out of anything with ‘Atlus’ on the box.

Do you think that controversy (sexism, violence, etc.) helps or hurts the medium?

Right now I think it’s hurting the medium. Only time will tell if all this controversy is good for the medium, but right now I think we’re all going through some growing pains. Lots of new people are coming into the medium, and lots of old people are feeling dissatisfied with its current state—be it sexism, violence, whatever. A lot of the press that the medium has been getting has damaged many people’s perceptions of videogames. I’m gonna be honest: both sides of these debates have come across as incredibly juvenile and militant. They’re both out for blood, and that can only harm videogames as a whole.

Maybe the industry will grow more progressive and include more options, or maybe the industry will grow stagnant in its desperation to pander to all parties. Or the people perpetuating these controversies will get bored.

That's a very astute observation. Do you feel that we need more moderate, measured voices taking the lead stances? Is that even possible considering the human race's collective penchant for preferring controversy to sanity?

In an ideal world, yes, calmer voices would be very beneficial to these arguments, but I don’t see that happening. The debates—especially the gender ones—are incredibly close to peoples’ hearts, raising the heat of these conflicts considerably. This, of course, is inflamed by the rampant demagoguing certain parties just love to do.

Let's go outside of videogames for a moment - what's the most important thing in the world to you as a person?

I’d feel like a terrible person if I didn’t say the people around me. My friends, family. I’ve just had to think of what I’d never give up, and that’d be my answer; all the rest comes and goes, but I hope they always stick around. My cat too, probably. He’s alright.

What about your friends' and family's relationship to you keeps you going?

It must be whatever it is that keeps everyone going. Having someone to talk to, listen to, depend on. I don’t believe people can live without others. Survive, maybe.

I find that music is a fairly accurate barometer of an individual's personality. What music makes your day?

I like a lot of music, really. I’d say that I’m really into Pop Punk right now (older Fall Out Boy, Blink, The Story So Far), some Post-Hardcore (Polar Bear Club, La Dispute), and Electronic stuff as well (Crystal Castles, Daft Punk—of course). I’ve been really getting into Hip-Hop recently, too, mainly ‘90s stuff like Wu-Tang, Tribe, Biggie, but also some more modern artists like Childish Gambino, Death Grips, and Scroobius Pip. My all-time favourite band would have to be The Killers, though.

You're rattling off a lot of my favorite hip-hop artists / groups. Do you feel that there is a marked difference in the current state of hip-hop and rap when compared to the past? Some people believe that the overall landscape is not as lush as it used to be, would you agree with that assessment?

No, I believe that the landscape is just as verdant, if not more so. I mean, there’s so much variety now in the lyrics as well as the beats. Seems like there are so many more topics being broached in today’s Hip-Hop, rather than just the—now, unfortunately, trite—‘started from the bottom now we here’ theme (I am so sorry for quoting Drake), though that is certainly still present. This is probably due in no small part to the accessibility that the music industry has now, it’s so much more open—anyone with a computer and YouTube can do what a studio took twenty years ago. I mean, Scroobious Pip—one of my favourite artists—made his first album in his bedroom (and you can tell). Unfortunately, this also opens the floodgates for a lot of shit to saturate the scene. MC Chris and MC Lars, for example, leading the scenes in ‘nerdcore’ and ‘post-punk laptop rap’ (Jesus Christ), can go fuck themselves. Though, I suppose that some people enjoy that stuff, and it can only stand testament to the variety that's on offer in today's Hip-Hop scene.

Don't feel sorry for quoting it, it's true - it's the most overused rap trope in the whole fucking book. On a completely different side note, do you feel that most people who find success with their music tend to lose a bit of that bite once they become successful? This isn't an all-or-nothing question, but I think being hungrier gives a sense of immediacy and genuine feeling to their performances. Is this dulled, diminished or lost after successes?

I think that yes, it is generally true. I think it’s a combination of the success and the money creating a security for the artist—meaning that there’s no risk any more—and the themes of the lyrics changing with their lifestyle. Their lyrics are no longer street-level, no longer dangerous, genuine, and anecdotal, but masturbatory—‘now we here’. Listening to ‘brag-rap’ isn’t engaging for me. And, on the other side of the coin, if an artist becomes hugely successful and continues to rap about the street and his everyday struggle (in present-tense), then that comes across as incredibly manufactured. 

But, inversely, I think that staying hungry for too long can break an artist. Take Hopsin, for example. I liked his first album, it was fun enough. He bigs himself up a lot, though, talks of how this record deal will make him. Come the second album—on an independent label—and he’s completely obsessed with the failure of his first album. He goes from personal attacks on his manager from his previous label, to blaming the Illuminati for keeping him down. Too much hunger ruined the album. Ruined him, too.

Do you feel that the videogame medium is evolving, and if so, is it going in a positive direction?

I think that next-gen we’re going to see a lot more of the Free to Play, social, and cinematic buzzwords. I’m not particularly fond of any of these (cinematic has its moments, though), so I wouldn’t say that it’s going in a positive direction. I’m not sure it’s going in any direction at all, actually. I imagine that most things will probably remain the same: there’ll be a balance of those three buzzwords and more ‘traditional’ games, much like the end of this generation.

Do you think that these models exist solely to make more money off of unsuspecting casual audiences, or do you think that more serious and hardcore devotees are starting to flock toward the same watering holes?

I think that in the mobile market the latter is certainly the case. Such a saturation of in-app purchases there. The ‘hardcore’ market is a weird beast, though. Glance over any message board and you’ll see a definite hatred of these models, and yet F2P games still continue to be made, as well as continue to top the charts. I don’t think a week goes by without TF2 and DOTA2 hovering around the most played games on Steam. I’d attribute this to the amount of effort that goes into F2P games now (surely because of the predicted returns); it’s no longer ‘casual’ flash games (for all intents and purposes), but pretty finely crafted titles such as the two aforementioned. I would say the two biggest draws of ‘hardcore gamers’ to F2P models is, quite simply the facts that they’re free and that that normally ensures a large player-base.

But these "predicted returns" relies on players of a game that hit three main criteria: one, it's fun, two, it's addictive, and three, there's a real sense of progress. Games that don't offer these three things in perfect unions are the ones that usually cost more to maintain than they make, and therefore sputter out of existence shortly after inception. Do you think that studios get this, or are they blinded by the potential of profits?

I wouldn't be surprised if the studios understood this, but the publishers certainly don’t—or, at least, don’t care. There must be some awareness that this is the case. But, maybe the studios genuinely think that their game will be the next TF2, that it does have the above three main criteria, and the publishers are willing to let them go along on the off-chance that it does become a hit.

If you said that someone just had to play a particular game before they died, what game would that be?

I’d have to say Persona 4. It’s a great gateway into Shin Megami Tensei, as well as JRPGs as a whole. It’s also a very fine game; one of my favourites. Leaves me with very warm and fuzzy feelings when I think about it.

What about it leaves you feeling that way? What causes it to take such a high seat in your preferences?

It stems from two things, I’d say: it was my first JRPG (apart from Pokémon, but I’ve never felt like that counted), and it is so inescapably charming. The world, the art-style, the soundtrack, the characters, the ending (the train station ;_;)—everything about it just exudes a warmth that fills my chest when I think about it.

Go on, elaborate. Don't worry about spoilers, just tell your story.

I can distill that feeling into one song, that warmth in my chest I mentioned before. It plays right at the end; the final dungeon of the True Ending. When I listen to it, I can’t help but feel a rush of what I felt when everything was coming to a close: the sense of accomplishment, the sense of endearment, the twinge of sadness.

It’s a big game. It lasts a very long while, and I enjoyed every second of it. I think I managed to stretch it out over a few months. When you spend that amount of time in an incredibly character-driven game, you’re bound to get a few attachments. I think that’s what stung the most. When it ended. Bitter-sweet, though. The best of endings.

You can imagine my excitement at the possibility of a Persona 5 announcement soon. And just when I was developing a life…

With so many sites in existence, and the internet having no shortage of places to hang one's virtual hat, why Destructoid?

The community is why I’ve stuck to Destructoid (the forum’s, specifically). I haven’t found anywhere with such a close-knit cast of characters, that’s so active, and as special as the Dtoid forums (not that I’ve been looking). Something about Dtoid just seems to attract the best people—I’ve got no idea why. If it weren’t for this community, I don’t think I’d be visiting Destructoid.

What do you think that universal attractor is? Why is it that so many cool people choose Destructoid?

Hmm, I’d say that overall it’s the exploits of the front page and the Destructoid Show. They both seem to give off a relaxed, informed, and, more often than not, quite sarcastic vibe. If people like all these things and can stomach the gate-keeper of Jim’s satire (and understand that it is actually staire), then they’ll probably stick around and eventually slot into the community somewhere. More often than not, these are really cool people.

(There have been multiple shakeups since this interview was conducted. - EL)

Is there anything you would change about Destructoid? Anything you'd preserve at all costs?

I can’t think of anything I’d change, though I rarely venture out of the forums. As for preservation, I’d love to see the forums stay just the way they are. Last time they were messed with in the big site overhaul it was terrible. Change is bad.

One last question: Who do you think you are?

I really don’t know and it’s very frightening.

Alright, here's a bonus question: Really? You don't even have an idea of what you believe yourself to be? No self-actualization whatsoever as far as this is concerned? You must have something. Anything, really.

Haha, my response before was half-joking, half-cop-out. Some truth to it, though: I’m finding it hard to think of who I am past the literal sense (‘Hey guys, I’m a 19 year-old male that’s studying English Literature at Newcastle University. I just love videogames, books, music, hanging out with my friends, and swimming! Boy, what a life!’). I don’t think it’s something I’m like to find out soon, either. Still feels like I’m on the cusp of being an adult, being my own person. 

But not quite yet.

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7:25 AM on 11.28.2013

Interview Special: What are you thankful for?

Allright you suckers. It's Thanksgiving! Well... in the USA at least. I really don't get this holiday. It's celebrated in like for regions, all celebrate it on a different day. So I guess I could eat turkey four times a month when I travel enough.
So, there will be no C-Blog or Community interview today. I bet you are all as busy getting drunk and annoyed by your relatives as I am playing some Black Flag before I'll head off to empty my apartment later. But for all you miserable little DToiders that hang around on Thanksgiving anyway, here is our special Thanksgiving episode. Brought to you by Everyday Legend's Lovesauce - it makes every Turkey HOT!

So fellas: what are you thankful for?

Andy Dixon: 
I'm thankful for the two best kids a dad could ask for, a wife who supports my gaming habits (or at least doesn't stand in the way of them), and for each and every person who takes the time to comment, blog, or otherwise take part in this community. We've got the greatest fucking site on the 'net here, and I am so blessed to be a part of it.

Also, cocks.

Caitlin Cookie:
I am thankful that my dad was a (kind of) gamer enough to own an Atari 2600 when I was but a tiny babby, which started me off on this path in the first place. Also, shout outs to the Game Gear, Sega Saturn, and N64, the misfits of gaming that shaped my adolescence. I am thankful for finding a home at Dtoid, a community with mild judgement and big hearts. Lastly, I'm thankful for Neiro who gave me this opportunity to share my thoughts with the world. <3

Christ Carter:
I'm thankful for my friend Alex, who convinced me to give up my fanboy ways in Middle School, and enjoy things from all walks of life and platforms.

Dale North:
Thankful for corgis, music, people that appreciate music, our readers...

Darren Nakamura:
It's cheesy, I know, but I'm thankful to Destructoid for giving me the opportunity to talk about games with millions of people, and to the community members who make Destructoid such a cool place to be.

Well, outside of the usual friends, family and loved ones (which, of course, I am very thankful for), I would have to say that I am thankful that my wife and I were able to find and purchase our very first house earlier this year. I'm also thankful that we are still employed and are able to make the payments. I know that it may seem a bit... materialistic or something, but sometimes I look around my house and just can't help but think that there were any number of things that could have happened, or not happened, that would have prevented it from happening.

I don't know it's not ending very well at all...but the people that have stuck by me and currently give me the only real reason not to just...stop being. TOO DEEP AND DARK BUT LIKE HONEST's a small amount of people but that's all you need. 

Last Scion Of The House Of Blue Lions:
There are many things I'm thankful for. I have a job, I can go to school, I have a stable home and a family that cares about me.... but those are all things that I've had for longer than this year.

So. Something I'm thankful for this year would probably have to be.... You guys.
This community of great folks, right here. The people who'll share jokes and funny pictures, give advice on whatever, and just listen to you go on about how your day was. Playing games together, writing blogs, supporting one another. I'm thankful that, here on the internet where there can be so much vitriol, that this is a very welcoming place, and that I was fortunate enough to find it, and hang out on here with all of you guys. I want to thank all of you for that. Yes, even you.
The site may change and the staff may change, but I hope the community doesn't. Because, and I've said it before;
You guys are all Fantastic, with a capital F

Johnny Luchador:
I'm thankful for the movie Mighty Joe Young, Golden Girls re-runs, Contras' 30 man code, Bayou Billy, el Generico, and the notion that one day I will be able to challenge Randy Savage in a steel cage match when i become a spooky ghost. Really like a spooky spooky ghost who could haunt E3 or the set of a Nic Cage movie.

Jonathan Holmes:
I am thankful for the time and energy that so many people choose to offer to the Destructoid community -- all of the fan art, all of the post comments (positive of otherwise), all of the community blogs, all of the time spent listening to or reading the words that Destructoid content creators provide. It's a huge privileged to be a part of it all. 

Even if you only come here for the review scores and the opportunity to announced that Space Jam is the best movie ever, you have my gratitude.

I am thankful my children, my friends here and my job. I am thankful for my father and how he raised me. I am thankful for my brother and his family and the relationship we share.

I'm not going to lie, it's been a pretty good year for us. The past few years have been pretty bad for my family and it started to get us down for various reasons. This year I'm, more than anything, thankful for my wife for getting through everything with me. We were able to buy a house to give my son a stable home, paid of a lot of bills we had and now we're at a point where we can finally enjoy our lives together since a lot of outside issues that were out of our control have been dealt with.

And of course, it wouldn't be complete without Destructoid. You always have to add that in there.

What am I thankful for? Hm.
Most of all I'm thankful for the general sappy bullshit. I'm thankful for the family and friends who made me who I am, I'm thankful for being able to live a comfortable life, you know the drill. Clichéd, I know, but still true. Other than that I'm thankful for being a gamer, because I never have to be bored when there's worlds to save, goombas to jump on, dungeons to explore and party members to recruit (and/or cram into tiny balls). I'm thankful for the people who shaped the industry, and the ones who keep making the games I get to enjoy.

Strider Hoang:
I'm thankful for the people and friends I've made here on Destructoid. If it weren't for you guys, I'd have gone crazy from all the industry buzz slash fiction, left Dtoid, and gone on a murderous rampage quoting Gabe Newell and blaming it all on feminist issues.

It's people like Wrench, Smurf, Phil, Andy, Monk, and countless others who make Destructoid worth visiting even with haters dropping deuces and scribing Linkin Park lyrics on the cblogs.

Also, cocks.

My family. Sure, a cliche cop-out shit answer, but sometimes the truth is not but cliche cop-out shit.

Avoiding an obvious answer, like friends or family, I would definitely be most thankful for this great opportunity I landed writing on music for a magazine, which comes with complimentary PR. - Turbokill

My friends and family for being as supportive and caring as they are (even though I'm usually the butt of the joke). Especially my fiance. She's been very patient with me in getting a bunch of crap together and we just bought a house that we'll be moving into the first few weeks of the new year. I can't imagine things any other way right now.

And last but not least, what are we, the sexiest members of DToid right after Andy Dixon, thankful for?

Everyday Legend:
I'm thankful for a fantastic job, a wonderful wife who takes care of me (even on my most dickish of days), a brilliant and beautiful daughter, and family who loves and cares for us all. At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, I wish each and every one of you my level of success, because a solid foundation is the only thing that can truly support dreams.

To all the readers outside the US, I'd wish you a happy Thanksgiving, but you probably know nothing of hallowed and silly American holidays. Still, eat a big meal, skip out on work, and don't give a fuck about anything tomorrow. If you are in the US, enjoy your day, and try to resist the urge to go shopping tomorrow night or early in the morning. Spend every moment possible with people who mean the most to you, pursuing something other than a deal on electronics. Don't forget what's truly important about days like today - because freezing your asses off in solidarity outside of Best Buy or Walmart just simply ain't it. 

When you think about it, there is just so much. I'm thankful for those few people that are my friends. Thankful for coming to terms with myself a bit more. Thankful for fucking Assasin's Creed 4 which is my most beloved game of the decade. Thankful for my job which I choose out of need and it became something I really have fun doing. Thankful for great music. Thankful for Destructoid, of course, which seems to be a kinda rad place, even if it's changing.
Shit... kinda thankful for all the things that count, you know? There are so few and they make so much difference. 

You're thankful for something and weren't asked? Tell us in the comments.
And if you were asked and couldn't be fucked to answer the mail: tell us anyway. We forgive you. Because we are great like that.   read

8:30 PM on 11.20.2013

Community Interviews: pk fire Brought Juice Boxes For Everyone!

Welcome to the thirteenth entry in the revived Community Interviews series!

You'll notice a slight tinge of formulaic formatting throughout these interviews as you read through them, and that is that there are repeated questions that every person must answer.  The reason for this is simple: those questions are what form the foundation of the interview.  Once those questions have been answered, other questions are asked that are tailored to respond to the answers given.  What you will be reading is the end result, conversationally compiled.

You'll also notice that there are some new questions in the mix, and completely new to the interview process as compared to the previous entries.  I am starting to throw a few new things into the recipe, please let me know if these are welcome additions.  Honest feedback is very welcome.

Without further ado, let's get started.

I sent him a questionnaire, he said some stuff, I said some stuff, you know how a conversation works.

Tonight, we're sucking down juice boxes with pk fire!

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How old are you?

23! I actually just had a birthday on October 28th.

What do you do for a living?

Right now, I'm going to graduate school for a master's in molecular biology. You know, Resident Evil type shit. Seriously though, I study MRSA and also help teach at a local middle school science as part of my graduate school package. Dey pay me.

How long have you been around at Dtoid?

Ummm... I've been around since the summer of 2010, but only recently this year got active in the forums. That place is my home away from home. I was always a FP guy, and even poked my head into Outer Heaven was it was around (R.I.P.). Probably around 2011 is when I started looking at the C-blogs and the rest is history.

In your opinion, what is the coolest thing about yourself?

Oh man, well I guess I would say that I can officially say that I'm a scientist. I infect cells and animals, manipulate DNA and other cell constitutes, frequently freezer-burn my hand by touching things at -80C, and other junk. I actually wrote a C-blog a few years ago about how Resident Evil inspired me to pursue this career path. Long story short, I haven't been able to replicate the T-virus yet.

What do you think of Huge? Is it possible for Destructoid to become a fully self-sustaining thing? What do you hope to see come from it?

I think Huge is a neat idea, but most of the people I've spoken to feel kind of burned during the initial running of this strategy. Three bucks a month isn't much at all, and I almost feel guilty for not taking part yet, but the way I see it is: why would I throw money at something hoping it'll work, rather than sit back to see what unfolds before I dive in? To me, it's kind of like pre-ordering a game that has built up a lot of hype, but doesn't ever show anyone actually playing the game in real life. For a while it seemed as though Dtoid was going towards all video content all of the time, and quite frankly, I just don't give a shit about that stuff.

Totally stealing from Lipton here: What's your favorite word? Your least favorite word? Why?

Favorite: I'm not really sure. Quack, I guess. I like ducks.

Least: Cucumber. I don't like cucumbers.

What drew you to videogames as a hobby, and more importantly, what has kept you there?

The earliest memory I have of videogames would probably be when I was at my grandmother's house when I was 3-4, and her boyfriend at the time was playing Punch-Out on the NES. I fell in love with the game, the sounds, the art, the mechanics, and the media as a whole. From that point on, I've probably owned most game systems, and even had a virtual boy when they were popular. What a piece of shit that was. Anyway, I think that videogames simply outclass any other kind of media that we have today because to make a great game, you really need to include so many other things that movies and books don't need think about. I have very high admiration for anyone that could combine these things to make a great experience, and even more so for anyone who's made a great game by themselves.

Also, videogames are just you know, fucking fun to play.

In film, you can render a scene in CG or frame it with actual camera work and props, but in games, you have to not only craft the world, but cause it to have life - whether by action of the developers or the action of the player, everything must be scripted at some level to maintain that illusion of reality. Do you think that it takes more work to bring that world to life in this way?

Most definitely. Since there is a user input element, that means that there is a whole other beast to wrangle when trying to create an illusion of reality. Take Skyrim: It has some of the most impression world visual to date (at least on PC), but the immersion instantly falls apart for weird reasons. One being that you can basically jump up any mountain in the game, if you try hard enough. Movie makers might have to worry about actors staying in character, but game develops have to worry about technical glitches on top of character immersion.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a videogame?

It's hard to pinpoint one aspect, but if I had to, I would want say straight up mechanics would be the most important part. Even if you have a solid idea, it means jack shit if you can't express it in a way that's enjoyable for others. For instance, take MegaMan 2. It's probably one of the most polished pieces of work to this day in every way possible. Take away the gameplay and mechanics though, and you just have a game where the sound is cool and the art is cool. It would literally dismantle the entire piece.

You're speaking my language - that's the game that defined my personal creed, but this interview ain't about me. What constitutes good mechanics to you?  Bad mechanics? I know it's easy to say "well, if shit doesn't work," but I am looking for precisely what you think makes a good-playing game and what makes its polar opposite.

Obviously the mechanics have to work first and foremost, but I think something that is greater overlooked is that the mechanics have to fit the environment. For instance, jumping heights / animations have always been a weird thing for me. If a character can jump three times his height while you're trying to sell me on a realistic setting, it just doesn't make sense. Also, Zelda II comes to mind as the stabbing animation / hitbox works fine, but a lot of the enemies come at you at weird angles and a lot of the game is just knowing when to take hits. I've beaten that game and I can safely say there are instances when you just need to rush through segments praying that you'll have enough health left over to fight the boss. Weird inconsistencies don't make games fun.

Do you think that controversy (sexism, violence, etc.) helps or hurts the medium?

To be honest, I'm just flat out sick of it. It might have helped some at the beginning before it became a click-bait fest, but honestly, if someone doesn't have the brain capacity to already understand whether it's right or wrong to discriminate another gender/race, then chances are they aren't going to read your article on how Super Mario Sunshine might reinforce racist cultural stereotypes or be sexist against women. It's up to our community as a whole to chew out assholes, and I've said we do a pretty good job of it. I mean, we have assholes here definitely, but not in a way that makes them any more assholish to a certain race or gender. A lot of us will actually speak out against that stuff.

So, do you think that everyone needs to shut the fuck up about it, or are there actual conversations that need to be had, only without the hubris and blindfolded whiteknighting? Or is it something more?

I think small conversions among friends and acquaintances are fine, but good luck trying to have an all-out discussion on the front page of a gaming website. Personally, I think that a lot of writers and designers tend to stick with what they know about certain archetypes and races / sexes, and it's probably more a familiarity thing than an active repression of a certain group of sex. I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying that I don't feel a lot of developers step up to the plate when they have a chance. Also, I was sure to check my privilege before saying all of that, so it's okay.

Let's go outside of videogames for a moment - what's the most important thing in the world to you as a person?

It might sound weird, but it would probably be the ability for us to critically think. I don't mean it in a problem-solving way exclusively as a species, but rather our (humans) ability to think about everything in life. You can think about how you love your family in a variety of ways, and you can think about how the Developer of Cave Story made the entire game from scratch by himself. We can feel and think about things that no other species can (That we know of), and it's something that is so innate in all of us that we take for granted. I try not to.

That's not an answer I've had thus far. That's refreshing to hear. Do think that there are ways in which this ability is abused? Or is it incapable of being abused if it's being used correctly?

I think it's abused in the sense that we use our creativity to hurt each other. What other species spends even half of the energy we do into creating things to destroy and kills others? It's a catch-22, but that's the price we pay for intellectual superiority. We create great things for both good and evil purposes.

I find that music is a fairly accurate barometer of an individual's personality. What music makes your day?

Anything from chiptunes to hardcore. If it's complicated, I'll probably like it. If it's simple but unique, I'll probably like it. I've been playing drums since I was 12, and guitar since I was 18, and I feel it's shaped how I look at music immensely. One reason I feel in love with videogames is because of the music. Some of the stuff people composed on the NES hardware is some of the most complicated and intricate shit I've ever heard in my life, and I love all of it. The MegaMan 2 soundtrack is probably my favorite of all time, and I really admire those composers who had to work with such a limited system. It's truly mind blowing.

My favorites are from Mega Man 5, actually. I think it's a testament to their craft to be able to come up with such iconic tunes with such a limited bank of available technology, but this feeds into a theory I have about true artistry in general: if an artist wants to truly succeed, they have to be given limitations to overcome, or else their talent - no matter how massive - is aimless, and the final product will invariably show that aimlessness. Do you think that this is true? If so / not, why?

Oh fuck, five is soooooo good too. I gotta remember to put that on my iTunes. Anyway, in some cases, yes. I do believe that limitations give birth to innovation. On the other hand, we have more people than ever participating in the arts because they are so widespread and available. I had a cracker version of FL Studio 7 when I was in high school, and spent a lot of time making shitty tunes. The problem is though, I could manipulate the sounds in so many ways that I felt overwhelmed and only stuck with what I knew. I've been trying to break out of that shell over the last few years, but it's a slow process.

Do you feel that the videogame medium is evolving, and if so, is it going in a positive direction?

I think so. With the rise of the indie community in the last five years or so, we're seeing a much bigger range of games that are almost all easily accessible to anyone who wishes to try them out. I can't say much has changed for the console side of things besides recent improvements in Sony's systems, but the PC has been my new place of gaming. All in all, games are still fun so I would say that things are going okay.

What do you consider successes in the industry today? If things are going okay, what is it that the industry is doing right, and what could they be doing better with? Is there anything that the industry as a whole is flat-out doing wrong?

I consider Steam / PC gaming the biggest success for the industry at this point, but maybe that's the only part I've really been connected to these last four years. In college, all I had to game on was my laptop. It was pretty good when I got it, and could play games like Borderlands and such at lower settings. The thing about PC gaming is though, is that it's cheap as hell. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a game brand new besides Animal Crossing last summer. Hell, I swear that I haven't paid more than $40 for a game in the last five years. Valve and others have really stepped up to bring quality games at ridiculously low prices, and still walk away with a pretty penny.

As for the bad, I would say that DRM / subscription fees / DLC / Seasons passes are straight up stupid. There's no incentive for the publisher to give you "dat quality" of an awesome game if they already have your money. Sure, they'll churn out content that's fun enough, but it really limits creativity, in my opinion.   DLC is no longer an afterthought, but in on the initial plans.

If you said that someone just had to play a particular game before they died, what game would that be?

I would probably suggest that they play VVVVV, as it is a great representation of what videogames are all about. Even if it doesn't have a strong story, it nails the necessary fundamentals in that its atmosphere and gameplay are solid. It has an appropriate level of challenge in that it'll make you want to throw your controller once in a while, but the feeling of getting past a part you were stuck on is pure ecstasy, and you want to share that joy with others. It's all about havin' fun.

Interesting choice...why? Please, elaborate. What about it earns it such high personal marks?

Fuck! I changed my mind. Play Cave Story. The dude worked on and off for ten years doing everything HIMSELF. The graphics are cute and memorable, the music is catchy as hell, and the gameplay is solid. It's one of those games I play every year and fall in love with all over again. There are tons of secrets to keep your interest level high even through many playthroughs, and the difficulty is enough to punish you more than a few times. All in all, I think it's the most brilliant thing one guy could ever do.

With so many sites in existence, and the internet having no shortage of places to hang one's virtual hat, why Destructoid?

Destructoid has always been a place where I could hang out, throw a few comments around, and have a few people comment back. It's always been a small enough place where a lot of us recognize each other, even if we hadn't had direct contact. It was a place that never took itself too seriously, and always seemed like a place to have fun. That being said, the community was the biggest draw.

And how is the community? If you were to take a look at the state of the community in its current state, what would be your diagnosis?

I would say on the rise, but slowly. I mean, everyone's always been more or less content I would think, despite the recent blow-ups. Otherwise, why would we all be here? More blogs are getting promoted, NARP sessions are in the works, and more community based things are sprouting.  It's weird, though…it's all being put on by the members and community members, rather than the salary guys. Maybe they're too busy, but if they want to seriously gain the "community" identity Dtoid had a few years ago, they need to step up their game as well.

Is there anything you would change about Destructoid? Anything you'd preserve at all costs?

The Front Page has gotten a bit boring. I wish they had more personal stories like Chad's stuff way back when. They were always fun and positive reads. I think most people are sick of that click-bait shit that seemed to be up every day a few months ago. I would also preserve the forums, because it's really cool down there. More people should stick around too even if they feel like they don't fit in right away, it just takes time to get to know you, that's all. We do a pretty good job of including and welcoming newcomers, but they need to be willing to put themselves out a bit.

In a sexual way, of course.

If you could fix or strengthen one part of the Destructoid ecosystem, what would it be?

I guess I would just ask more people to participate. You usually see the same people post every week for FNF, and I know that there are more members out there playing similar games. Don't be afraid to start up a small group for a niche game you think no one else has interest in. Take a chance on something new with others. I hosted a musicians wanted thing, and only Alpha and I made stuff. It's not a big deal, I'll try again. You know? Maybe some members are afraid to reach out to others, but it's not a big deal. It's actually pretty fun.

One last question: Who do you think you are?

I'm still trying to figure that out. I know I love videogames, my family, and my friends, and you know what? I'm fine with that for now. Thanks for the interview.

Also, cocks.

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7:28 PM on 11.13.2013

Community Interviews: Way Too Damn Tired Edition

I'm moving from a second floor condo into a house all the way across town.  I'm staying in my inlaws' house with a laundry basket full of clean work clothes and basic toiletries.  I'm still working all night, and unpacking / getting carpets cleaned / switching over power, water, cable / buying a shitload of new furniture and having it delivered during the day.

And as much as I love her - my wife is VERY pregnant with our second daughter. This means I need to help extra-much, due to her not being physically able to handle the move like she normally would.

As such, I'm taking this week off.  Sorry, folks.  I just don't have the time.

Community Interviews will return next week, followed by a special holiday surprise the week after that.  Then, we'll be back on our regular schedule.

But for now, I have to finish my work day, go home and wake up for more moving madness.  This shit sucks, and it never gets easier, no matter how many times you do it.  I recommend it to NO ONE.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some of my favorite music of the moment. Take care of yourselves, and we'll see you next week.

- Everyday Legend

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