Well, its two days late, but better late than never. I have to be honest, I was kind of mean to this week's candidate. I sent him a message and said I want to herd you, if you're interested respond in five minutes to accept. This was the night I had an "off night". So, almost as soon as I sent the message, I went to bed, got up the next day and went to work, and then didn't get to check my messages or respond until much later. Needless to say, when I read his response, he seemed a little perturbed with my little "5 minute response time" joke. I'd wager there are only a handful of you that get my sense of humor, heh heh.

Anyway, this week's candidate was selected because he is a dedicated blogger who is usually quiet but consistent. It's funny because if you look at his profile, it says he only has 2 blogs when in actuality he has 4 pages worth. He's a great blogger and a big contributor to the community...a perfect candidate for the Member Herding blog.

He's none other than...

GIO Name: Shootist2600

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 12

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 34 years (give or take, based on Atari 2600 release, though prior to that I might have played some games on my dad's PC)

Last Game Completed: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Currently Playing: Two Worlds II, Dead Space, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Little Big Planet 2, Killzone 3 beta

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Shootist is a reference to the John Wayne movie of the same name where he plays an aging gunslinger fighting off wannabes trying to make a name for themselves. 2600 refers to the Atari 2600 gaming console, which I cut my teeth on as a child. So both trade off my age and experience, if not my skill.

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 3 Bonus questions

1. A few days ago, the Guinness Book of World Records released their top 50 video game characters of "all time". The top five were Mario, Link, Master Chief, Solid Snake and Cloud Strife. Do you agree with Mario holding the number one spot? What about the rest of the list? Who is your personal favorite character of all time and why?

Well, anytime there's a list it will be controversial. Even when the result of a survey, as in this case, it can't possibly resonate with everyone. After all, what is the criteria? I come from a literary background having studied literature in college. So when I think character, I'm concerned with depth, complexity and growth. That's why I have a hard time supporting the choice of characters who don't speak such as Master Chief or Gordon Freeman, whether in Game Informer's own list or Guinness's.

When I think of great characters the following come to mind: Uncharted's Nathan Drake, a seeming greedy treasure hunting rogue whose conscience dictates otherwise; Cold Winter's Andrew Sterling, a former SAS soldier turned mercenary whose commitment is tested; The Getaway's Mark Hammond, a former tough guy forced back into a life of crime to save his son; Kane & Lynch's Adam "Kane" Marcus and James Seth, two hardened criminals trying to save the former's family and each other; and Mass Effect's Commander Shepard, a legendary soldier whose battle against the odds tests his ability to lead.

Of course, all that is moot if the criteria is based on one's iconic stature. In either event, I don't think Mario is tops. If icons, I'd probably go with Pac-Man, Mario, Donkey-Kong, Sonic, Pikachu, etc. If character in the literary sense, I'd go with Cmdr. Shepard, Max Payne, Nathan Drake, Andrew Ryan, Mark Hammond, etc. (People should know,  I haven't finished many games so don't have a lot to draw on, LOL.)

[SAINT: I am going to have to break down and get a PS3. So many people have talked about Uncharted and I am unable to play it, but I want to so bad! I see why people question Masterchief and Gordon Freeman, which ironically, they are some of my favorite characters. I guess since I'm the strong silent type I can relate to them.]

2. You're an obvious old school (or just old) gamer like myself who proudly claims the Atari 2600 as one of your systems. What was your favorite Atari 2600 game? Tell the new "controller" generation what it was like to play games with a one button "joystick" and a console that didn't have the ability to "save" games.

You're really taxing my memory! Of course there are classic games like Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Breakout, etc. But likely the one I enjoyed the most was Pitfall. The sense of adventure that it cultivated tapped into that junior explorer in all kids, and the side scrolling platforming elements offered enough gameplay variety to keep us returning, whether jumping to avoid dreaded jungle scorpions or crocodiles, swinging on vines to span tropical potholes, or climbing up and down ladders to explore underground caverns in search of treasure. And all that with the iconic "joystick."

Really, that did all you needed a controller to do: Control character or vehicle movement with the stick and perform any action with the button. In some ways I miss its simplicity. Maybe it's one reason (besides just being so old) that I hate fighting games or many modern action games with attack combos. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Why I like hack and slash games, with their button mashing bliss. It's like I'm a kid all over again.

Regarding saving games, I forgot all about the lack of that option until you mentioned it. What did we do? Haha. These days I get frustrated with a game if it doesn't have a save anywhere feature. We're truly spoiled! In fact, there's a couple good Playstation games that I hardly play because they have no save option (except to save your character): Einhander and Gekido. But of course we didn't know any different back then so it really didn't matter all that much, though it was just as frustrating to progress very far in a game like Pitfall only to have to turn it off for the night and start all over the next time.

[SAINT: Yeah, those were some good games. I was never much on Pitfall. I remember hearing those pesky kids at school trying to outdo each other and talking about how they beat it. As far as I know it was unbeatable. One of my favorite games was Raiders of the Lost Ark. It actually required you to perform various functions leading up to the recreated "map room" scene. Good times!]

3. Your occupation caught my attention - Editor. Without revealing too much personal information about what you do and where you work (unless of course you want to), how does being an editor affect how you guage other published work? Do you find yourself analyzing magazines like Game Informer, our user created blogs (oh dear!) or in game text? Or are you able to separate work from play? From an editor's perspective, what is one game that you think "gets it right"?

I've been in publishing for over 20 years and, yes, there's always an internal dialog about proper grammar regardless of where I am or what I'm doing. And it does include our beloved industry. Just today I played a little bit of Two Worlds II and there was a loading screen introduction to a new online adventure mode chapter and it was worded incorrectly (I think it repeated two words, if I remember). I almost took a picture for my colleagues LOL.

It's no different when I read the magazine; grammatical errors leap off the page. However, I can say that I encounter fewer errors in Game Informer than other industry mags. The quality of writing simply is of a much higher quality in terms of content and grammar. As far as blogs or forums go, I honestly don't pay as much attention. I laugh when others correct the wording of blogs, as I generally don't notice it or concern myself with it, I think because the context is much more informal and everyone is at a different level in terms of their language skills. That doesn't mean I don't want the content of GIO to be the best it can be, but I guess I'm just not interested in enforcing such standards on members.

Where playing is concerned, the one game that's top of mind for me when considering the application of quality writing is Mass Effect. BioWare of course has a well earned reputation for complex and interesting dialog trees whether this game or Dragon Age: Origins, as examples. In Mass Effect, its taken steps further with detailed descriptions of alien races and interstellar politics. However, what seals the deal is the degree of care paid to every celestial body encountered along the journey, which has its own description that includes a historical and technical analysis of its significance as a strategic or material resource. No stone is left unturned, and such loving care is paid that every detail is a revelation.

[SAINT: That is pretty neat and thanks for sharing. I wondered what game I was going to say that "gets it right" - I was thinking either Mass Effect or Knights of the Old Republic.]

4.  Team Fortress 2 is one of my favorite games. I'm not sure if you are familiar with it, but the classes are Heavy, Demoman, Soldier, Scout, Medic, Sniper, Engineer and Pyro. Assign individuals from Game Informer Online to these classes and explain why you chose them.

I know its part of The Orange Box but that's about the extent of my familiarity LOL. However, I love when classes are implemented in online gameplay such as in the Battlefield series or Killzone franchise. So I'll give it a shot.

Heavy: Demon Ragnarok Have you seen his Hero Image? LOL. Plus he was an MP so I want him in front.

Demoman(?): I assume this is a demolitions expert? Fever Ray. All I can say is he demolishes the competition in the Guess The Movie Picture Game, so he's a natural.

Soldier: Saint. I think he typifies a good soldier: loyal, reliable, dependable and committed to the cause. No one defends, supports or steers GIO better.

Scout: Hist. He knows the lay of the land and helps others, especially newcomers, recognize it.

Medic: Emily. She's got my back whether here or in online co-op, keeping me patched up and back in the fight.

Sniper: drubacca117. Currently deployed, his comments are typically on target and sometimes lethal.

Engineer: nick holk. I think he's actually been a truck driver, never mind sharing a tank in bad company 2, so I'd rely on him to keep us up and running.

Pyro: Warbuff. His name says it all, plus he blazes a trail with his keen insights.

[SAINT: Hah! Brilliant. I couldn't have picked better choices myself. I love the description of each and how it relates to the person. For the record though, I play a Medic in TF2. And thanks for the kind words!]

5. You mention in your bio how completing games is a challenge for you, which is not an uncommon problem among gamers. Is it still possible to enjoy a game without finishing it? Are you the kind of gamer who once you start a game you have to finish it or can you walk away from a game? What game do you have right now that you really want to finish? What game do you have right now that you know in the back of your mind you'll never finish?

That's a multipart question extraordinaire! Yes, I think you can enjoy a game without finishing it. I love The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Red Dead Redemption, God of War, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Half-Life 2, etc., but haven't finished them. Frankly, I enjoy most of the hundreds I've played. So, yes, I can and do walk away, usually because I get distracted by a newer release.

However, there have been a few I've been compelled to play through to the end. Whether it's because there wasn't a new release that really caught my attention or the game was that fun is hard to say. Some like Mass Effect  are obviously a masterful game, whereas others like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West are good but just had some hook for me that drew me in.

Right now, I'm anxious to finish Dead Space, mainly so I can play Dead Space 2, which I recently was gifted. Others like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow are so good I'm very interested in seeing what comes next. Then there are games like Oblivion that I know I will never get around to finishing. At 200 plus hours, it's just an impossibility. Then again, truth be told, I'd be hard pressed to finish any of the games I currently own. If I don't finish it upon release, it's that much more difficult to return to it later and see it through to completion.

[SAINT: I agree with you completely. I still haven't finished RDR, and may never. I've seen the ending and watched some of the final scenes because my daughter beat it, but I haven't done it personally. Which is odd because I'm usually the opposite. I usually HAVE to finish the game before I move on to something else. I'm trying to get through Dead Space myself. About half way through it.]

BONUS Questions x 3:

Iceman (DStubbs) asks, "What is your favorite video game trailer? Something that really hypes you up after you see it. Two that come to mind for me would be the GTA: San Andreas trailer that features Guns n Roses Welcome to the Jungle and Gears of War 2's Rendezvous trailer. To this day I'll flip through them once in a while."

I remember the San Andreas one, so that's a good one. I really enjoyed the BioShock one; it was mysterious, haunting and mesmerizing all at once with its weird ambience and threatening context. But the one that stands out is Silent Hill's. Its unique music, clever editing and disturbing images conjured classic horror motifs in a stunning kind of music video.

And while we're at it, I have to make note of an opening cutscene that is among the most impressive sequences whether live action or not: Resident Evil: Outbreak's lead in scene is a stunning cinematic sequence from a rodent's perspective that cleverly transitions between ominous action and seemingly benign cellular imagery to an epic score. Like the Silent Hill trailer, I've watched this over and over again.

[SAINT: I watch a ton of trailers. I'm a huge fan of trailers. It would be hard for me to pick a single trailer that stands above the rest. I will say that the Dead Space 2 trailer and demo pretty much sucked me right into the Dead Space universe. It made me go and out buy the game.]

Iceman (DStubbs) asks, "Recently the staff at GI were given a Shake Weight from the guys behind Crysis 2 which got me thinking. If you had to choose one video game character as a personal trainer who would it be and why? Also, do you own a Shake Weight yourself?"

Great question! I prefer shooting from the hip so the first character I thought of is Bayonetta LOL. First of all, she kicks butt, whether roundhouse kicks, Olympian leaps, brutal melee attacks or superior gunslinging skills, she's got the moves. Plus she's in tip top shape and sports a kind of dominatrix attitude. I think she'd be a tough coach, nevermind that as a guy I'd want to show off so it would be a good motivator to try to earn her respect. That said, I suspect my wife would nix that idea. Haha.

[SAINT: Oh dear. You're a brave man. I think I'm going to say Homer Simpson for the obvious reason and I do NOT own one of those crazy contraptions. I feel dirty just watching the infomercial with the "models" demonstrating its use.]

Saint asks, "Imagine yourself playing a video game (should be easy enough to do) and your path leads you to an elevator. There is a button for a floor above you and a button for a floor below you. Assuming you have no mission objective or guidance directing you to a particular floor, which would you choose to investigate first and why?

I would head down. First off, if you haven't been on the floor below, chances are it's a basement, and nothing good can come of exploring a basement, so of course I'd go there first. Think Silence of the Lambs. Plus, everyone knows that in video games when you explore a building you work your way to the top toward your ultimate objective. After all, evildoers always stay in the penthouse.

[SAINT: I have different theories, heh heh...but honestly I would probably clear the top floor first and work my way down. The basement probably has all of the bad guys or scary monsters, so I'll deal with them last.]

A special thanks to Shootist2600 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about Shootist2600, view his GIO profile here.