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Destructoid community interviews: GajKnight

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[Note: If you haven't heard the news, the Community Interviews blog has been handed over to community member OrochiLeona, so here's Destructoid Community Interviews IV Shipuuden: the OrochiLeona arc. Also, don't forget about this month's bloggers wanted prompt, special little places! As a note, the opinions published here do not reflect the Destructoid staff. ~Strider]

Hi Destructoid! It's OrochiLeona, FGC punchbag and notorious fetishist (but y'all can call me Chris) bringing you the first in a worryingly long list of Destructoid Community Interviews! Shining the spotlight on our beloved community members, baring their souls for all. This task was handed to me by StriderHoang, as it was handed to him before, and I hope to get lots of you slaphappy guys n' gals up here on stage. My interviews are longer than you might be used to *shrugs* So let's get right into it...

The first victim of my reign of terror; Destructoid A-lister, Kingdom Hearts fan, nacho lover and all round cutie-pie; it's yer boy GajKnight!

OL: No interview on Destructoid could possibly begin without asking: 'Who the fuck is GajKnight?'

Gaj: I'm just a 23-year-old dude from the UK who likes video games too much!

OL: I can relate, I was once a 23-year-old dude from the UK, so we have a lot in common.

Gaj: Sounds like we do have stuff in common! We should totes go for scones and tea sometime and complain about the price of Freddos. That sounds fun.

OL: I consider you to be one of the communities most well-known characters. How long have you been around, and, more importantly, why do you stay?

Gaj: I've been around for, I think, three years now? Feels like forever, that's how much Dtoid has become a part of my day. I stay because the community is fantastic, genuinely the best of the interwebs and people know how to keep it fresh and funny.

OL: It's one of the few VG communities where people are quite daring with their personalities, without fear of open prejudice.

Gaj: Yeah exactly, you can say what you want on Dtoid and people will respect it and engage you. Well, they'll come back just as hard if they disagree but that's just life innit?

OL: Life, the internets, and everything.

OL: How do you think people see you on Dtoid? Do you feel like you have a 'role' of sorts?

Gaj: That's interesting, as it's something I think of sometimes when I comment. I think I'm seen as a kind of 'joker,' someone who always comes out with the jokes, sarcasm, etc. And also as a bit of an optimist. I like to see video games as a positive hobby and focus on the good, while everyone else cries on about DLC or something equally trite. I dunno, I want to say I'm just GajKnight. I definitely see other people in specific roles though so maybe they see me the same?

OL: Interested in divulging some of those names/roles? I'm intrigued.

Gaj: Sure!
Occams - Brood mother and peacekeeper, the voice of reason.
ShadeofLight - Undercover Nintendo agent, community engager, the positive force of energy.
Torchman - A little bitch, the guy we shit on for fun, The Mech Guy.
There are others, but yeah, I can see them in certain roles. It's not forced either, it's just how we organically fit and gel together.

OL: I think there's a Piston-punching GIF coming your way for that Torchman comment.

Gaj: I wouldn't have it any other way!

OL: A great question from previous interviews is: Who would you like to meet up with from the community, and what frolics would you have with them?

Gaj: Oh gosh, so, so many people, man.

Top of the list would be Occams. We both like games for similar reasons (stunning visuals, exploration) so there's easy talk right there. Occams seems super chilled as well, I could totally see us in a bar somewhere laughing at how white everyone is, with their Coors Light and shit.

ShadeofLight is another one. I feel like we're quite similar (asking girls out is hard!) so we could bond over our shared ineptitude. But really, I've talked with him so much over the years that he feels like a brother. We'd totes bond over a bowl of nachos and a night of wild fun (well, as wild as the Dutch can get anyway).

OL: Take photos.

Gaj: Of course!

OL: Speaking of HOT SEX ACTION. The Dtoid community is not shy on the subject, and occasionally it kinda oversteps the NSFW line. This isn't to everyone's taste, do you think it's damaging to the community?

Gaj: I think that we're all adults and can deal with a bit of the ol' HOT SEX ACTION. I've certainly never seen anything that made me think 'Hey now, this ain't kosher'. It definitely doesn't damage the community.

OL: To love something is to know its faults. What's wrong with Destructoid?

Gaj: I've always been straight up about what is wrong with Dtoid, loud and clear, for a long time. Jed and Holmes are shit, their writing is mediocre at best, deplorable at worst. They bring nothing but strife and controversy to the site.

The blogs are hidden away and need more exposure. They used to be so busy and just aren't the same as they were even last year.

I'd like to see more opinion pieces/long form analysis/anything that isn't a regurgitated news story on the front page. What happened to the Memory Card series?

And this final one is a community thing, but really, chill with the doom and gloom pessimism. It's so dull. Everything now has to have an edge of cynicism and 'How dare you enjoy this, look at the flaws and problems, it's ruining gaming blah blah' There's a reason I hang out in the Qposts most of the time now. I should say; I only say this because I care so much. I want Dtoid to be as good as it can be.

OL: Modern cynicism is a populace-wide problem for sure. I think people are ashamed to be impressed. Like it's become a sign of weakness to have enjoyed something as if you've lowered your standards.

Gaj: Exactly. There's no shame in saying you love the new CoD. Or you're happy with Battlefield 1 just being more Battlefield. I think people just need to get laid more or something.

OL: 'Press F to lighten up'?

Gaj: lol yeah.

OL: On a more positive note, You've been here some time, more than qualifying as a regular. What do you love about the old girl?

Gaj: I've said it already but I love the community and how open and friendly we are with each other. It feels really nice to just log on and shoot the shit with some cool people. I also like lots of the writers here; Chris, Jordan, Hansen, Makedooodleski. The community writers like Ray, CJ, etc are a great addition to the quality roster. Qposts are just super fun too. A fantastic and unique part of Dtoid.

OL: Let's talk about games, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Or, more accurately, just games.

Gaj: But I wanted to talk about us. :(

OL: Do we 'need to talk'?

Gaj: I think I have to tell you.
I kept it secret too long
The baby...
IT'S YOURS!!!

OL: ...Yeah 'Bye *runs*
But, before I leave you to single parenthood. Maybe you could tell me how long you've been gaming and what you wuv about gamez?

Gaj: Orochi, why must you be so cruel?
I've been gaming since I was four I believe. My dad just randomly brought home a Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis for da yanks) with Streets of Rage and Sonic. I've been hooked ever since.

I just love how versatile gaming can be. I can enjoy high art like Shadow of the Colossus, Journey, etc, then chainsawing monster's faces off in Gears of War, or running off a collapsing building in Uncharted. Really, I just love being absorbed into fictional worlds. If a game can suspend reality for me and take me into its world, it's a winner in my book.

OL: I agree. It's considered that escaping into fiction too frequently is a sign that you have serious life issues. Video games are escapism, yes, but we are allowed escapism as much as we choose.

OL: If there's one fictional world that's massively absorbing, it's the expansive universe of Kingdom Hearts. Tell us a bit about your relationship with that series and your boy Roxas.

Gaj: So, I was just in GAME and my mum said just one game, less than £10. I couldn't find one I wanted. Until I saw Kingdom Hearts. But it was £15. So I begged & pleaded and my mum relented. I took it home, was completely enthralled with all these Disney characters and RPG goodness.

I just consider the series to be something incredibly special. It has this perfect combination of child-like wonder, nostalgia, gorgeous visuals and fun gameplay. It's just the best. The reason I run a Roxas avatar is because I just like the character's hair the most in the series. That and he's a Nobody, so we share that in common.

OL: Aww, dude. If you were a nobody you wouldn't have been first on my interview list of about 3000 people (and growing).

I loved the first Kingdom Hearts, the second one, I was a bit 'meh' on. But I think the majority of the KH community prefers KHII, what about you?

Gaj: I think Kingdom Hearts II is the better game. I actually replayed them relatively recently via the HD remasters and II definitely holds up better. The gameplay is less clunky and has more options and it's visually superior. KH1 does have the most succinct story, though. I've heard Birth by Sleep is better than either but I need to get around to playing it.

OL: Do you have a favorite game of all time? or at least one you don't ever tire of?

Gaj: Picking a favorite is real hard. I usually bounce between Kingdom Hearts II or Final Fantasy XII as my favorite game. Shadow of the Colossus, ICO, Bloodborne and Demon's Souls also rank very, very highly. I could play these games for the rest of my life and be happy.

OL: XII is a very underrated FF. I'm glad it's getting a re-release.

Gaj: Oh dude, same. Can't wait to spend another 100 hours in it. It looks so good too! Cleaned up very well in HD.

OL: You talked about fictional universes. How emotionally involved do you get in stories/characters etc?

Gaj: Quite a bit. I've been known to get quite teary or straight up cry at times. The end of Breaking Bad...shit man. Me and my mate watched it together and after that scene, he looked at me like 'Gaj, you look how I feel.'

I still remember when I finished a little game called rain on the PS3. Seriously, I sat there for a good 10 minutes with tears down my face. Such a powerful ending and wonderful game. Journey, The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, they all got to me hard.

Let's not even get into Evangelion. Yo, that anime got me good.

OL: I'm the same. It's actually a bit of an issue. It's a sign that the storytellers are doing a great job I suppose. But there's a stigma attached to it. I wouldn't explain the issue to my therapist, because they wouldn't understand, say, "Mass Effect 3, a video game, made me cry."

Gaj: There definitely is a stigma. I think in general saying something made you cry has a bit of a stigma, at least I've found. But games especially. Weird.

OL: You brought up Evangelion, I know you're also a big fan of anime, like many Dtoiders. Do you have any recommended viewing for your fellow weebs?

Gaj: Gosh, I haven't had a chance to watch any new animu for a while. But I can recommend some of my all time favs. Monogatari, Evangelion, Gurren Lagaan, Serial Experiments Lain, Katanagatari, Ergo Proxy, Texhnolyse. I'm more into experimental, weird anime myself.

OL: I don't know what most of them are because I'm old.

Gaj: We all get old eventually. :P

OL: We can just hope to be distinguishingly handsome with it. And rich.

Gaj: Well you're doing good so far!

OL: You don't know what I look like! Unless.. You're behind me, aren't you?

Gaj: I've seen your hands, which were very nice, and you can tell the handsomeness of a man by his hands. Trust me, I'm a Psychologist.

OL: Thank you *blush* I'm flattered.

OL: Speaking of occupation. Let's talk about your reel lyfe. Tell the good folk what you do when not sat in front of the Black Mirror.

Gaj: Away from Dtoid, I work as a Mental Health Assistant in a Psychiatric hospital. Generally, I help patients do day-to-day things, take them out for a couple of hours and lend them my ears to vent. It's alright but I can't wait it leave and start my Clinical Psychology degree.

Other than that, I have my routine of Gym and swimming. I've started a weight gain routine (basically, eat everything in sight and drink lots of milk) and I spend the rest of my downtime gaming and listening to music.

OL: I'm on a seafood diet
Y'know? plenty of oily fish, crab, lobster, that kind of thing?

Gaj: I'm real glad you didn't make the obvious joke.

OL: When are you hoping to complete your degree? I'm really glad you're doing it, as it was something I was interested in when I was younger. I made the obvious transition to Pro-Wrestling instead.

Gaj: I'm planning on starting next September if I get in of course. It'll be a three-year degree plus one-year training, so after 2020. I'll be 28(!) when I'm done, which sounds like a hell of a long time. Also, it's never too late man. Though pro-wrestling sounds fun!

OL: Surely by 2020 we'll have robot brains. I wish you the best of luck, and it's great you have a goal and a relative timeframe. I know you'll hit it too, mang.

Gaj: Thank you very much.


OL: Taxi Driver.

Gaj: What a great film.

OL: The best. I worry that I find too much relation to Travis Bickle's bleak worldview, his desperation to "be" within it. It's a fantastic film, I must have seen it 50 times.

Gaj: Travis Bickle, as a character, is very relatable to a lot of people. I know I've thought many times that maybe we just need something to wash the scum off the streets. His inner rage coupled with his impotence is something we all feel, at one point or another. I just find it a gorgeously shot film, timeless in so many ways. The scene where Travis is trying to get Betsy back and the camera just slowly sweeps to the empty corridor while we hear Travis' pathetic pleas is genius. One of the best shots in cinema history. Also, dat soundtrack is divine.

OL: It's a masterpiece. Incredible performance. The film is the epitome of frustration, loneliness and the crushing weight of societies 'social norms'
'What are you writing?.. DON'T WRITE!'

Gaj: 'I realize now how much she's just like the others, cold and distant, and many people are like that, women for sure, they're like a union.' Some real truth, fo sho.

OL: Any other favourite films you wish to mention?

Gaj: I loved The Godfather, been meaning to watch Part IIDistrict 9 is probably my favorite sci-fi film. Just so good looking with lots of cool themes. Funny too! John Wick, Drive, any of the Kubricks (Barry Lyndon especially), Pulp Fiction, Evil Dead (2013).

OL: Wanna play a game with me?

Gaj: Why not? What could possibly go wrong?!

OL: I'm gonna send you a couple of pictures, and I just want you to make a statement on them... MISTER PSYCHOLOGIST.

Gaj: Ohhh, sounds like fun. Lets do it!



Gaj: I'd like to think that this guy was halfway through a ritualistic sacrifice to the pagan gods but forgot whether he had to slice the goat's head or belly first. Hence he's on Wikipedia looking for tips. And probably porn. Real kinky porn.



Gaj: This is a shot of White People in their natural habitat (the backroom at Whole Foods). This is a reaction to finding a non-organic product in the cheese section. They believe doing this will purge the evil cheese. Also weird socks.



Gaj: The KKK are in financial trouble and getting desperate for recruits.



Gaj: I see that Nobody/Heartless relations have taken a strange, yet quite sexy, turn.

OL: 2016 has been a pretty rocky year. How has it been for you? What are hoping for in 2017, in any context?

Gaj: 2016 has been a pretty good year for me honestly. I've gotten the work experience I wanted and met some friends for life. The games this year have been excellent, as have the movies and music. I'm healthier than ever. The wider world is going to shit, what with Brexit, the US elections, every famous person ever dying and the rising price of nachos (My favorite place raised the price 50p this year!) But in my little bubble, it's been a solid year.

OL: Final Five: Handy or Blowy?
Gaj: Blowy. I like it wet and messy

OL: Any phobias?
Gaj: None really. I dislike big spiders but the little ones don't bother me.

OL: Fun drunk, Angry Drunk or Sad Drunk?
Gaj: Fun drunk. I hug a lot hehe.
OL: Naked hugs?
Gaj: Only on Tuesdays!
OL: See you next Tuesday.

OL: You like sexy nurses. Is there a Best Nursu?
Gaj: Oh dude, I can't really think of a sexy nurse in media besides the ones in porn and Silent Hill. I'll just say the one I'm crushing on at work.

OL: Top Nep 2017?
Gaj: Gundy was my candidate but he's out I think. So, therefore, I go with my second choice, King Kaiser. He is the candidate that will make Dtoid the website it was destined to be and give freedom to the Nep Neps. Also, Torchman is da shits.

OL: Gaj, it's been cool to chat with you. When I first started interacting with the community you really stood out to me. I think you have a good sense of humor and a fun attitude, but I also appreciate your candor when something isn't working for you. You're pretty invaluable to the community.

Gaj: Thanks for taking time out of your day to speak to me man, I really appreciate it. And also thank you for taking up the Community Interviews, all the luck in your endeavors.

OL: The final words are yours, so grasp my mic:

Gaj: It's been an honor to be part of the Dtoid community and I thank you all for welcoming me over the years. I consider you guys true friends (with benefits) and hope for many more years of fun banter and dick jokes. Be cool and awesome with each other!

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