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
(The Memory Card has since been resurrected. - EL
One last question: Who do you think you are?
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LOOK WHO CAME: