GIO Member Herding Part 44 of XX... - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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GIO Member Herding Part 44 of XX...

Member Herding makes a triumphant return in 2012 with the first entry and newest member to join the ranks, and only the second girl gamer to ever be featured in Member Herding. If that wasn't an obvious give away, then certainly revealing the fact that she is one of the most prolific and fan favorite bloggers at Game Informer Online will.

(WARNING: Getting two verbose bloggers together in one blog will result in an 8 page blog)

Her induction into the Member Herding was never a question of if, only a matter of when...and when is today. Of course the "who" is obvious, it's none other than...

GIO Name: Oni no Tenshi

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 11

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 19 years

Last Game Completed: Finally completed Etna Mode on my PSP version of Disgaea

Currently Playing: Spirit Tracks for DS (I stopped playing in 2009ish, so I really wanted to go back and finish it), Adventures to Go! for PSP, Skyward Sword for Wii and Pushmo Park for DSi Ware.

Origin of GIO Profile Name: It speaks to the dualistic nature of my personality. Oni means demon, Tenshi means Angel. The "no" in the middle actually means "of" in Japanese. So technically, my name means Demon of Angels.

And now for everybody's favorite element of Member Herding...the questions.

*NOTE* Thanks to TOGNick for providing the first ever "Random Question Received Via Twitter" - a feature I hope to continue in future editions of Member Herding.

Five Randomly Generated Questions + Five Bonus questions + One "Ask Saint" question

1. Your video game choices coupled with your interest in anime would suggest creativity and freedom of expression are important characteristics to you. Are video games art or not, and if so, what video games do you think are the finest examples of "art"? Where do you see video games in the next five years and how will you fit into the future of gaming?

Honestly, I don't think that video games *are* art nearly as much as art is *integrated* into video games to add to their appeal and style. The art in many of the video games that I play is amazing, though, and I own several "art books" from my favorite games. My very favorite sort of "art" styles integrated into video games is one that reminds me of a semi-painted style. For example, I really enjoy the art style of Bastion, Ilo Milo, and Disgaea and I actually own several wall scrolls of Disgaea character groups. I think that for me, the most important part of artistic direction in a game is when they use a variety of vibrant colors in an attractive, tasteful way. Rather than realism, I prefer a more cartoon/2D style that harkens back to a more retro gaming experience. Of course, art is really only one facet of a good game. In order for a game to be truly worth it, the game mechanics must be fun and easy to use. Without the whole package, a pretty "face" just isn't enough.

I do, however think that in the next five years, motion controls are going to get better, and we're eventually going to start going through a touch-screen-less revolution. We've already got the technology that can basically create projections that can be interfaced with - so my general thoughts are that we will eventually go to non-screen based computing and gaming, with virtual pretty much everything. First, though, we're going to see more gyroscope gaming on the 3DS and I definitely think that the touch screen is going to be given a lot more press once WiiU comes out.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to wait and watch when it comes to new stuff - you have to be careful to see how well something is implemented before putting down a month's salary for a new piece of technology, and it is good to be cautious about new stuff in general as it seems to be company policy nowadays to release "beta" versions of technology at full price as though it is an acceptable process.

[SAINT: You know, you don't get a lot of predictions suggesting motion controllers are the way of the future, but I tend to agree with you. From a PC perspective, keyboard + mouse is antiquated...yes, I realize there are fancy gaming mice (have one) and fancy gaming keyboards (have one), but the overall configuration hasn't changed in...decades? Even consoles and game pads have used the same basic controller for a few iterations now. I think we'll see some advances in this area and can certainly see motion controllers leading the way. The Kinect is about to release for Windows based PCs, so who knows how that will work out. I see your point on the art debate, and I don't think every video game is necessarily art, but when I look at games like Portal 2 - and not just some of the murals you see in the game, but the level design, character elements, story line and overall, I can't help but think they are art.]

2. You're hosting a social gathering of gamers at a location of your choice - the only catch is all of the people attending have to be in costume and have to be members of the GIO community. Where will the social gathering be held and what costume will you be wearing? Now the real challenge - of course I will be attending, but pick at least 10 other GIO users and tell us what our costumes will be. (So, to summarize - where, what you're dressed up as, what I'm dressed up as, and what 10 other GIO users are dressed up as).

Hehe, what a fun question.

Well to start off, I think that any great party would have to be held at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (it's within a few miles of my apartment, lol). There are some awesome rides, laser tag, a GIANT video game arcade, as well as the beach and ocean right there! If there was ever an epic place to take all my friends, that would be it! Plus, my very favorite restaurant is on the nearby wharf - they make a fresh and wonderful clam chowder in a bread bowl that ROCKS! Since this is just a hypothetical, let's just imagine that we've rented out the park for GIO members ONLY, so it's even more awesome. Now, of course, I'd invite all my GIO friends on my friends list, but since that would be like a hundred people and I don't want to be here all day, I'm going to keep the list to 10.

(Hey Oni, I went with the conservative picture. -Saint)

I would want to dress up as Major Kusunagi from Ghost in the Shell. Why? Because I'm actually kinda hoping to dress up as her at an upcoming anime convention. :D

1) Saint - I'd want you to dress up as C3PO. That would be awesome.

2) Mray901 - You get to be Rainbow Dash, because I know you want to! :D

3) SuperKingC77 - You're Scootaloo, but you have to ride a scooter everywhere too. XD

4) Doctor Apozem - I would love to see you dressed up as Dr. Zoidberg, mainly just because I think you could pull it off with aplomb. You also have to imitate his voice.

5) mojomonkey12 - You get to be Sora from Kingdom Hearts. You can choose what sort of keyblade you wanted to carry around.

6) Serene Breeze DreamRunner - You get to be Cheerilee, but you also have to talk in a "teacher voice" all day long...

7) killjoy115 -You are dressed up as Laharl, complete with random WAHAHAHA! outbursts.

8) Hist - I think you should dress up as a Wastelander from Fallout 3.

9) Drym Shyuan - I know you haven't been active very lately, but you should totally be dressed up as Boba Fett (with backpack jets).

10) DeadManWalking - You get to be Master Chief. :)

[SAINT: Doh! Speechless! I literally laughed out loud with this answer. And while C3PO isn't as awesome as Drym Shyuan being Boba Fett, I'll take it! I'll walk around our little party saying things like, "It's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable."]

3. As a big and often vocal fan of the Disgaea series, summarize the game as if you were explaining it to your non-gaming co-workers, and don't forget to tell us about Prinnies. Have you played all the games in the series and if so, which is your favorite? I've read that Disgaea 4 has a "political theme" more so than others in the series - including a spoof of President Obama's "Yes we can" slogan. Do you think this is okay and what are your thoughts on politics in Disgaea, or in any video games in general?

This is a multi-faceted question, so I'll try and answer it in several parts.

a) As far as Disgaea is concerned, it's an SRPG, which basically means you have a grid layout and you bring out characters (up to 9) and you can do two things - move and either attack or do a special move. You can pick characters up and throw them, and you can turn the map itself so you can see it from all angles. In the first couple of Disgaea games, there was only a couple of extra things, such as blocks that would have certain "status changers" (like Attack +1 or Damage 20%), of course, with each subsequent game, everything changes slightly, and there are new additions/puzzle elements. You of course have staples, such as the Dark Assembly, which is full of corrupt "senator" monsters who you have to convince (or persuade by force) to pass certain measures or make certain high-powered allies. The stories are all different, but most have plenty of parody elements that make fun of popular games, shows and anime. Then, of course, you have the item world, which basically allows you to "level up" your items to make them very powerful, but in doing so, you have to go into many different sorts of maps, some of which involve dead ends or super high-powered enemies. Prinnies, of course, are the souls of sinners who have to work off their sins from their lives so that they can be reincarnated. In Celestia (heaven), they work for free but are able to work off their sins slowly. In the Netherworld (hells) they work for very crappy wages and work 20 hour days but their money eventually allows them to pay off their sins so they can be reincarnated. They also use the word "dood" at the end of each of their sentences and look like peg-legged penguins. They explode when thrown which is both sad and useful.

b) I have played through Disgaea 1 and 2 but still haven't finished all of the bonus maps. I also played a bit of Disgaea 4, but not having a PS3 of my own makes it tough to keep playing. I wanted to play Disgaea 3, and they say they're releasing it for the Vita, so I'm hoping to play it then. I was told that Disgaea 3 wasn't all that great, though. Still, SRPGs that actually don't suck are hard to come by, so I'd rather play a "less than stellar" Disgaea game than none at all.

c) Disgaea 4, as much as I've played, involves more complicated "Political" elements, but most of the time, that consists basically of getting allies and then bribing/killing off senators so they'll go along with what you want. Basically, it's just like real-world politics only with more dragons.

d) Politics, just like pretty much every other element in our real world, is reflected in all of our media, including games. I don't have a problem with that, as long as it's not an attempt to try and brainwash people into making decisions that they don't agree with. I'm a rational empiricist, so I don't like the corruption and BS that tends to go along with politics. We need to figure out how to make our society thrive and work well, not just look out for one group's interests and hope that the rest of us don't all die of starvation or poverty.

[SAINT: Hah Hah...most blog herding questions ARE multi-faceted. Gives me the opportunity to ask a whole bunch of questions about a topic but call it one question. I cheat, I know. Great summary of Disgaea.Oh, those poor prinnies. I have played one of them, a little, on my PSP...although I didn't get through very much of it; mostly because of the time requirements. Your thoughts on politics and how it compares between Disgaea and real life was good for a chuckle and while I don't know what a rational empiricist believes, I think most would agree with your philosophy on making society thrive and work well. Great response!]

4. If you could have a Pokémon as a pet, which would you pick and why? Cross breeding dogs to create hybrids is becoming a popular trend resulting in Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix) and Puggles (Pug and Beagle mix). Some people have done this with Pokémon as well. Are you for or against hybrid Pokémon, and if you're for it, create your ideal hybrid Pokémon including name and brief description of the new species.

I'd totally want a Charmander, but only if the tail fire didn't burn everything down. Other than that, I really like Vulpix and Minun/Plusle are pretty dang cute.

I'd be cool with an ideal hybrid Pokemon, but I'd want it to be psychic/flying/fire. Basically, something really cute, colorful, with pretty feathered wings but a cute soft mammalian body, preferably with long bunny ears. ZOMG, cute. I'd call it a Pyroxicene.

[SAINT: ZOMG that was the perfect question for you I see. I know very little about Pokémon with the exception being the foil cards are worth more than the regular cards. I actually had to cheat and look up what those Pokémon were, but something tells me a Pyroxicene would go over very well with the Pokémon community, and you'll get to take credit for its creation / discovery!]

5. You're easily one of the most popular and favorite bloggers at Game Informer. Does this ever affect how you blog (frequency or topic)? Does being a girl gamer help or hinder being a blogger? Many of your blogs have a certain *ahem* suggestive theme - but without doubt there is far more to you than that. Share something about yourself that we don't know but should. What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers?

a) I spent most of my childhood and teenage years not being "cool" (I was very athletic but I also enjoyed geeky stuff and was huge into cute things while also not being very into "girlie" stuff like make up or shoes), but still having many friends from all different backgrounds. As far as I'm concerned, the most important thing is to be true to myself and be open to new ideas and thoughts from others. I like offering my opinion (OH BOY DO I), but generally, I like to think that the best moments of my life have been through discourse-sharing and building upon ideas with others around me. To some extent, I have regained a lot of that through GIO, as many of my friends have moved away and others are busy building lives and are far too preoccupied to spend much time with me. My frequency with blogging has somewhat decreased since I started here, but it's largely due to other crazy stuff going on in my life. I make jewelry and sell it locally, as well as selling custom keychains on ebay. I've been coming up with different ways to help supplement my income because I am a fairly fiscally responsible person and in this terrible economy, it pays to save.

b) I believe I wrote a blog awhile back about being female and a gamer, and generally mentioning that I identify more as a gamer first and then female second when it comes to my choices in games. Most critically acclaimed games are generally targeted towards male audiences, mainly just because males are the ones who tend to play the "hard core" titles. While I still count "casual" gamers as gamers, there is a huge difference between games like Peggle or Bejeweled (which women are more likely to play than men), and games like Bioshock or Skyward Sword. While I understand that generally, when games are targeted for female audiences they tend to be about things like doing hair, dressing up, or generally being "girly," this is a problem when I blog about games that I find personally interesting because a lot of the time there is this assumption that because I'm blogging about "guy" games, I must somehow be "trying to be a guy" or even lying about my gender. Of course, I have always been very vocal about my personal dislike for shooting games. I just don't personally find them enjoyable-they stress me out and make me feel like a shell-shocked person-but that is fairly likely due to the fact that my dad instilled a very heavy respect for guns at a very young age, and I have extensively fired and used them in real life on ranges and such, so I take guns in general very seriously. I know that most people have the ability to divorce their fantasy shooting from real shooting, but still, I find it very stressful, hence I tend to avoid those games. HOWEVER, I am still VERY vocal about the rights of others to play violent war games because I understand how useful they can be to individuals to blow off steam and give a cathartic release to pent up aggression and stress! So, while you may end up seeing less about shooters on my blogs, there is quite a lot of representation from other members, so I hope that I don't come across as "insensitive" to the FPS-enthusiast. I generally think that I'm able to "get away" with enjoying the cute games (that are generally marketed towards everyone), so that's kind of nice, but I still firmly believe that anyone and everyone (such as my male brony friends) should be allowed to be vocal about cute things without having it be seen as a dark mark on their masculinity.

As for suggestive elements, I am a fairly sexually open person (not to be confused with a sexually promiscuous person, though). While I am in a committed monogamous relationship with my husband, sex is one of those fascinating things that makes the world go round, and so does all of the innuendo and boobs and such. Having had boobs since I was in elementary school and fairly large boobs all my life, I find myself semi-desensitized to a lot of what others may see as more overt sexualization. And since I have them on my own body, sometimes I forget exactly how much others see them as titilating (no pun intended, lol).

c) A thing that most of you probably don't know about me but should- I have been writing regularly since I was 13 years old. When I was in the 8th grade, I fell off a bunkbed when the railing failed and snapped my right arm in half, severing my Ulnar nerve. I had to have two surgeries and still have 2 plates and 13 screws holding my bones together. I was lucky that, as a left-handed person, I still had the ability to write, and generally had to learn to do all sorts of stuff with only one hand (like dressing myself and typing, which is harder than you might think). After a few years of intense physical therapy and plenty of time in a cast, I finally got back to about 98% feeling and movement in my hand area, but I still get pain in my arm when the weather changes quickly, and I set off metal detectors when I go on airplanes. One of the ways that I dealt with a lot of the stress and depressive feelings that I went through after the accident (as well as the general stresses of being a teenaged girl who was hopelessly boy crazy but felt like no one would ever ever notice her), I wrote in a journal every day, creating poetry, general "how was my day" entries and short stories- even a short comic or two! When I finally left high school, I had gone through about 12 different journals, filled to the brim, and have also written many short stories and poems outside of the journals themselves. So to sum it up, I have been writing for a long time, and I have been writing a lot.

d) As for advice to new bloggers-I would say that I have two pieces of advice you should consider when writing. Advice #1 is to give yourself time to write every day, even if it's just a paragraph or something you've been thinking about. The more that you express yourself through the written word, the better you will get, and eventually you will be able to communicate your thoughts clearly in whatever you may do. Advice #2 is to follow your passions- don't write a blog entry because you feel obligated to do so, write something that you find funny or interesting and run with it. If you're chuckling or feeling excited while you're writing, you know you are doing something right, and chances are, others will appreciate it too!

[SAINT: Okay everybody...you knew we couldn't make it through an entire blog featuring Oni no Tenshi and not mention boobs...she said it...now move along...move along...these aren't the boobs you're looking for. Get back to work! LOL. There was a lot of emotion and passion in that response...I know I appreciate that and am sure your fans do too! I think it's fairly easy to read a blog and see whether the author's heart is in it or not. AH...so that's your blogging secret...maybe that's what I've been doing wrong! I kid of course. I do enjoy blogging alongside you here at Game Informer.]

Bonus Question #1: Samurai Zero asks, "If you could create your own kind of video game and had any and all at your disposal (money, character licenses, etc.) what would it be? What kind of game? Why this game?"

I would probably create a very Zelda-like game. I have had an idea in the works for many years to create a game in which you can choose a male or female character and the stories and items you would use to go through the same dungeons would be slightly different. You could either choose to play through as an individual character, or you could choose to play the opposite sex characters with a friend and then unlock a secret story where you can play together. There would be a total of 4 beginning dungeons, 12 "big" dungeons, and a plethora of side quests. The battle mechanics would be very similar to what you see in a Zelda game, only it would use a controller instead. There would be other mini-type games, such as musical-quests and such, but generally, it would involve a sweeping and complicated story that is full of heart and deep characterization, with a possible twist ending. Why would I like to create this game? Well, mainly because I like the Legend of Zelda series, but I feel that I could tell a slightly better story and give the experience of two games in one with possible co-op elements. For game music, I would want Imogen Heap and Koji Kondo to work on the musical parts, as I enjoy their work and feel it would be very appropriate.

[SAINT: Sounds like you might have thought about this a time or two. Well, as far as my own creation, you asked me a similar question so I won't respond in that context (see my below response for that). I do think your idea of co-op elements impacting the overall story, especially from a male and female perspective, is a great idea and the kind of innovation we need and will see more of in the future. I think games will continue to evolve and become more life-like with their cinematic story telling capability.]

Bonus Question #2: Samurai Zero asks, "The video game industry has evolved much over the past several decades. However, is there anything about video games that you feel they have lost over the years that they need to bring back?"

I honestly like the vibrant colors and story/adventure options that are often featured in point-and-click games. I also feel that while there are a couple of titles that play into that "oh wow, I am playing a game and this is SO fun" feeling, that are pretty much a plethora of titles that fall into that "argh, now I have to deal with this crappy control mechanism just to play the game," category. What we need to do is work on ways to increase the joy and excitement of gaming while minimizing the frustrations, and unfortunately with a lot of the technology that is currently being used or highlighted as "new" is not fully implemented in an intuitive "fun" way, so it ends up falling short of expectations. Bottom line, we need characters that move in sync with the controller scheme. And in general, we need gaming to be more about skill than enduring cut-scenes or wrangling with faulty control-schemes.

[SAINT: A great question (blog worthy, I'd say) and an interesting perspective in your response. I certainly can't argue it, but I think a lot of that depends on the kind of games you play as I think some games have improved their control schemes. I do agree with you on missing the point and click games - those used to dominate the market and with today's capabilities, it would be amazing to see what they could achieve. I suppose I would have to say I miss the commitment that used to come with old games; maybe not so much the games, as much the development strategy behind releasing new games. I know it's not profitable to take years to develop a game, but I hate how some publishers release games in their series so frequently - Call of Duty I'm looking at you. It's hard to devote any amount of time to a game for the long haul because you know its sequel is due out if it's not already out. The days of playing a game for years has gone by the wayside. This is one of many reasons I love Valve so much and appreciate they don't rush their games. They allow you time to really get attached to a game and each new release is a major event. The release of a new Call of Duty is always a major event, especially in terms of sales and profitability...but come on - nobody is ever surprised or overjoyed when this is announced. There is no magical moment like there will be when Half Life 3 is finally announced. Sorry my answer was longer than yours...but in my defense...I did say I thought it was blog worthy.]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Can you parallel park, and if so, how well? Ever bump into anything?"

I avoid parallel parking if at all possible, but if I do, I tend to do a serviceable job at it. I don't think I've ever bumped into anything, but I tend to park kinda far from the curb and maybe a bit crooked. >_>;;

[SAINT: Um, a "serviceable" job does not sound all that convincing. Remind me not to park near you, lol. And we all park too close or too far away from the curb and a bit crooked. I've never seen or heard of anyone doing exceptionally well at parallel parking during their driver test. It's an acquired skill.]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "What color is your dragon?"

If I had a dragon, it would probably be an iridescent white with black claws and horns, and golden eyes.

[SAINT: Hah! Without even skipping a beat or asking, "What kind of question is that?!?" Somehow I "knew" you would find a creative way to reply and the fact you responded as pithily as the question was asked makes it even more brilliant. In case you or anyone else was wondering, the inspiration was from the book, "What Color Is Your Parachute"...but dragons are obviously much cooler than parachutes.]

Twitter Question: TOGNick asks, "What game helped cement you as a gamer?"

Well, I would have to say that Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time really helped me become a gamer (because after I played through the first time, all I wanted to do was play it again and again and again), but beyond that, it was Super Mario Land for the Game Boy that taught me never to give up and to keep looking for all the secrets in a game even if the battery is about to die!

[SAINT: Those are certainly two great games and classic titles that will always be special to the video game industry, no doubt about it. I will say Ocarina of Time was one of the first games I ever played where I had more fun playing some of the side activities instead of focusing on the primary mission. I'd be embarrassed to admit how much time I actually spent fishing.]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It

Oni no Tenshi asks Saint, "I was wondering - what exactly would be your perfect game, and why?"

 [SAINT: Hah! Define perfect? I am a firm believer in nothing is perfect, certainly not video games. That being said, there are a few games that I think are near perfect, and my grievances with them have been very minor. These games include the likes of Dead Space, Uncharted, and Donkey Kong Country Returns. For me to be compelled to give a game a perfect mark, it would honestly have to demonstrate all of the qualities that make the mentioned games great AND come from an intellectual property (IP) that is near and dear to my heart. Honestly, there are only a few IPs I think that could pull this off...Halo, maybe? Star Wars, definitely!

So, to answer your question of what would be my perfect game - it would be somewhat similar to The Old Republic, but would be more of a mashup of Eve Online and what I envision Dust 514 will be like, but it would occur in the Star Wars universe - an MMORPG + MMOFPS +MMO Space Combat Sim of sorts, if you will. That's not asking for much, is it? The perfect game would let me live (virtually) in the Star Wars universe.


Or...Angry Birds. That's a great game, dood.]



 A special thanks to Oni no Tenshi for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about her gaming personality. To read more about Oni no Tenshi, view her GIO profile here.

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