From time to time I have to remind people that Member Herding is an equal opportunity feature - anybody and everybody have the chance of being featured. Take for example the latest community member to be spotlighted, a person who is very active in some areas of Game Informer, but not so much in the blogging forum (although this person has had a few blogs selected for Blog Herding). You can find this person routinely chatting with the GI editors over Twitter or hanging out in nearly every live stream event just as easy as you could find them commenting on news posts and yes, as previously mentioned, posting blogs. Some of you know this person already, and some of you may not - so hopefully this edition of Member Herding will help you learn even more about the newest member of the herd and only the third female community member to be featured. It's none other than...

GIO Name: Silvershine08 (aka @_thrash on Twitter)

GIO Rank: Power Member - Level 8

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 16 years

Last Game Completed: Prison Break: The Conspiracy. Don't judge me.

Currently Playing: Radiant Historia

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Silvershine came about as the name for my first character in World of Warcraft. I was 14 when I created the toon and recall being upset that a character limit prevented me from naming myself "Silvershining". I've used the name with some variation for most of my gaming outlets ever since, and my ears always perk up whenever I hear "silver" in any context. This is especially confusing when GoldvsSilver and I are in the same vicinity and we both answer. And 08 is simply short for 2008 - the year I graduated from High School.

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

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 4 Bonus questions + 1 Special question

1. You were pretty excited about the recent post by Andy McNamara announcing a job opening at Game Informer, so much so you commented via Twitter that you applied. How will you respond if you get the position? Are you concerned that working in this environment could affect your love of video games and/or writing? If the Editor in Chief asked you, "Why should I hire you?" how would you respond?

I was a little giddy at the prospect when the job opening was first announced, huh? Well, there are a few hang-ups that will need to be addressed before deciding one way or the other, but I would say there is a very high possibility that I would take the job if it was offered to me. There is the question of payment and moving time, since going from NC to MN is no small feat. It will also be the first time I truly move out on my own, so leaving my family will be an obstacle in itself.

I'm not too concerned about how working at Game Informer will affect my passion for gaming or writing. I will be honest with you, the prospect of strict, high priority deadlines worry me a bit but I'd like to think it would be about the same stress level as a research paper for school. I actually think that being in a career where I am playing games and writing about them all the time will strengthen my love for both. I will be introduced to all sorts of gaming experiences that I may not have given a second glance, and my writing will (hopefully) continually improve.

This is something I have asked myself often since applying: Why should they hire me? My first thought is "I'm a pretty decent writer, and I love video games!" but the job and the qualifications are much more than that. For one thing, I believe that Game Informer could benefit from having a female editor again. Obviously I've been somewhat outspoken on femininity in video games, but I think it's an issue that can't be as well addressed by a man. Also, as cheesy as this sounds, I feel like I know quite a few members of the staff already from things like watching every episode of Super/Replay and reading every featured article on the site. Plus my interactions with Reiner, Kyle, Joe and Matt Miller on the Mass Effect 3 live stream helped me get to "see" how it would be to experience a game together with them. I have also had plenty of tweets and back and forth with the guys and through all of my interaction I feel like my personality would mesh well into the fold. I also think that I could provide a fresh outlook and input on the pieces that are put together for both the site and the magazine from both the perspective of a female and that of an emerging journalist. Besides, my classic gaming repertoire is short and Dan could probably use a break from the "Worst at Video Games" title he's achieved from Replay. ;)

[SAINT: It's funny (at least I think so), but for me personally, the issue that would worry me the most about working at an organization like Game Informer is how it would affect my writing. There is a certain amount of freedom (both in expression and quality) that is inherent to blogging, but not necessarily true of journalism (I'd definitely have to break my ellipsis habit). It sounds like there were a ton of people who applied, so all I can say is, "You never know unless you try. You miss all the shots you never take." And then remind you that Nintendo is often translated to mean, "Leave Luck to Heaven."]

2. Nintendo has contracted you to develop a new Mario costume, power-up and a new color of Yoshi, complete with special powers. Are you up for the task? Tell us your design proposals. Do Mario and Princess Peach live happily ever after? And if so, what do they name their first child?

Oh geez, my creative juices in regards to design have the flow speed of molasses, but I'll see what I can do. I initially thought of something involving weaponry, but I figured that would be too "Mario After Midnight" for the family-friendly series that Nintendo has brought us thus far. Then I thought of a pseudo-Metroid morph ball power up, but that's obviously a already been done. So I give you something completely (un)original that will totally (possibly not) fit into the Mario universe: A lance! The lance would transform Mario into a knight in shining armor with a red feathered plume coming from the helm. Luigi would obviously have a green feathered plume. While the armor slows down movement speed slightly, the lance extends Mario's range of attack, poking enemies to death instead of squashing their heads. This leads me to my new Yoshi who is used best in conjunction with Sir Mario. This new Yoshi is silver colored and acts as a war horse. He can charge enemies by doing a short, quick dash and trampling them. He can also "rear up" once every 10 seconds and hit enemies on slightly elevated platforms. I bet you couldn't tell I'm a fan of the medieval era, huh?

As for Mario and Peach, I don't think he has a chance. The girl has obviously become a victim of a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome for Bowser and is absolutely loving being "kidnapped" all the time. I think that Mario should just give up and pursue Princess Daisy, I don't think she's doing anything these days. I know that she and Luigi are supposed to have some veiled romantic feelings, but would you rather date a guy that continuously scours fatal dungeons and castles to rescue you or a guy that is terrified of the dark and vacuums up ghosts? (No offense meant to Luigi, I still think he still has some major character and personality traits that Nintendo could develop.)

Also, Princess Peach has already had a first child. Septuplets, in fact. They're called the Koopalings. Come on, where would Bowser find time and find someone else willing to have babies with him if it's not with Peach? Stockholm Syndrome, I tell ya!

[SAINT: I think the whole "knight in shining armor, lance and Yoshi" is a brilliant idea (pun intended). It has a couple elements working for it - the medieval setting is rather popular and the idea isn't so exotic it would seem uncharacteristic of everybody's favorite plumber. I think you're on to something. Your "Stockholm Syndrome" comment made me chuckle. I've taken some anti-terrorism classes before and had to do some research on the subject, but seeing it carry over to the video game realm is truly humorous, especially in such a cartoony style game. I almost forgot about Princess Daisy (actually I had until you said that). I don't think he would have to pursue her too hard...although reading the history between her, Princess Peach, Luigi and's almost like a daytime soap opera. Hah, I actually had to do some research on the Koopalings, just to see if there is any reference to their creation. You had me worried there for a second. For someone claiming their creativity moves at the speed of molasses, I'd say that was a pretty artistic answer.]




3. The Mass Effect series is perhaps one of the most innovative games of our time. Did you play as a male or female Commander Shepard? When considering some of the choices you make, some of the people who played it seem to focus on the "intimate relationships" - but really you have a few instances where you make life and death choices too. Without spoiling any of the games, how did you feel about the decisions you made in the game, and were there any particular "difficult" choices you made? Should Bioware change or clarify the ending of Mass Effect 3? Overall, how would you score the entire Mass Effect series. Regardless of their fate, who was your favorite character in the series?

I played as Commander Kylin Shepard, a virtuous woman who diffused many situations with her words, but wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty when necessary. She is probably my favorite character to date, and I sort of idolize her. She is by far the most relatable and realistic character I have ever encountered, and I enjoyed my time leading her footsteps. *Salutes*

I feel that my choices both in regards to romance and to life and death situations within the Mass Effect universe couldn't have progressed any better. At the end of both Mass Effect 1 and 2 I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I would say that the most difficult choice I had to make was in regards to the final mission of Mass Effect 2 and not knowing who was going to make it out alive. That was truly one of the most harrowing experiences I've ever had in a video game. I also had to make a few difficult decisions in Mass Effect 3, one in regards to my romantic life. This is a little embarrassing but I thought that Specialist Traynor acted in much the same way as Kelly Chambers in ME2: You can flirt with her but still romance someone else. Well, after a rather steamy scene with Traynor and another hour of playtime, I realized that the romance option I actually wanted would no longer converse with me in that way, so I had to go back and fix things. At least I found out pretty early!

My stance on the ending issue is a little convoluted. While I think it was an interesting choice that let players come to their own conclusions, like the indoctrination theory, I think it could have been handled a bit better. My main qualm is not with the actual ending per say, but with how you get there. It seemed to me that you were just building up a force that ultimately had no meaning in the end, and that felt like a blow to the amount of time I put in to my Shepard's story and personality. It seemed like a confusing copout, but not to the point that I'm up in arms and demanding change. It's Bioware's project and they ended it as they saw fit. I will be interested in seeing how the new DLC affects things, though.

My favorite character by far is Garrus. He was very much the male, alien version of my FemShep: A softie on the inside but not afraid to take his enemies head-on. It was great to see him fill out as a character and come into his own. He is incredible with a sniper rifle and confident in his abilities. He was with me from the very beginning and was always by my side. His loyalty was unparalleled and his sarcastic comments and feigned ignorance always put a smile on my face. I'm also sure that all of his "calibrations" kept me and my team alive as long as we did.

[SAINT: Hmm...You played as "a virtuous woman who diffused many situations with her words, but wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty when necessary."  Almost sounds like someone you know...maybe, LOL.

That's awesome you were pleased with your choices. I play the game such that I don't go back or reload or play thru it again. I make a choice and stick with it. I wasn't always pleased. I lost some good people, heh heh. But for you to be content, that had to be a satisfying experience, especially given the multitude of choices thrust upon your shoulders. Sounds like someone might've been a little guilty of fraternization though, heh heh.

I definitely see your point about amassing forces and getting to the end and it all comes down to the actions of one man. That was a bit odd, now that you mention it. Doesn't sound like they're going to change anything, and I seldom play DLC, so I'll probably just have to read about that and see what it offers.

We definitely agree on Garrus. In fact, almost everyone I talk to about Mass Effect lists him as their favorite (and yes, that's more than 3 people...counting you.) There were times when I had a Han Solo moment ("I've got a bad feeling about this.") and would leave Garrus behind because I didn't want anything bad to happen to him. You can take Kelly from me...and you can definitely have Traynor (never liked her)...but you best leave Garrus alone (and alive).]

4. Your blogs typically reflect an angle that captures the fact that you are a female gamer; and you're very vocal on how females are represented (or misrepresented in video games). Do you think the community / industry is getting better or worse? If you could pick one female video game character to be a spokesperson for or to represent all female video game characters, who would it be and why? How awesome is Chell and describe that moment in Portal as you're on the platform, headed for the fire and make your daring escape.

While part of me fears I will be viewed as the feminazi on Game Informer, I figure my writings are necessitated to exact my revenge on every guy that has ever said anything to the effect of "Go back to the kitchen" or "Make me a sammich" and truly think they're clever. I have quite a bit of ground to cover. As far as the GI community, my views are a little mixed. Mostly I think we're an accepting group of people that respect each other regardless of gender, and most guys here have the view that a girl that plays video games is pretty cool. But I have certainly noticed a few that didn't quite get the concept either of what I was saying or what I was doing. In regards to the industry as a whole, I think we're slowly progressing. With characters like Faith from Mirror's Edge and Chell from Portal emerging, I think the industry is starting to realize that girls play "hardcore" games as well, and guys are able to play as a female character without feeling emasculated. While there are definitely still the over sexualized female characters like Bayonetta and the girls from Dead or Alive, it's good to see a few branching off and leading the right pack.

I'm not sure if this is cheating since she's not the only playable character choice, but the greatest female character I have ever encountered is Female Shepard. Let me clarify: my Female Shepard. I know that you could make the Commander cold, calculating and cruel, but mine was very caring, considerate and compassionate. She is extremely level headed and knows how to talk her way into, and right back out of, a situation. She is the epitome of sacrificial and would do anything for her teammates. She is great at strategizing and accounting for her faults. She is very set in what she believes and isn't afraid to go after what she feels is right, regardless of the challenges she will face. She is a believable character who shows vulnerability without being weak, and I think we could use more characters like her.

Chell is extremely awesome. I actually really enjoy the fact that she doesn't speak, giving the player the perspective that she is focused and driven. She isn't the least bit fazed by GLaDOS' insults and jibes, simply figuring out the rigorous test chamber that has been laid out for her. Chell is incredibly intelligent and tenacious, and I bet that escape would have put a smug look of satisfaction on her face. Thankfully, the only thing I was told about Portal was that I needed to play it and it was a fairly short game, so I went in with few expectations. Figuring out how to escape was incredible, or rather shooting my portal gun in a panic and figuring out something that worked was incredible. But I still mourned the loss of my only friend who met a fiery death. Poor, poor, companion cube...

[SAINT: I don't think anybody views you like that, and if anything I think they appreciate the perspective. You'll always have those who harass you just because you're the opposite sex (good and bad), but from what I've witnessed from this community, those would be isolated events. As far as blogs missing the mark, that happens to all of us from time to time. The only problem I have with your blogs is you don't post them often enough. As far as the growth and acceptance from the industry, I certainly agree with your comments. I know we briefly discussed the Uncharted series, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on Elena and Chloe after you play. I think Elena is my all-time favorite female character. And even Chloe as the bad girl still maintains a certain amount of class.

I played Portal long after it came out, so like you I didn't have a lot of expectations. It's now one of my favorite games ever. It's amazing the thought and emotion such a simple game can muster up. The escape was one of the most brilliant moments in gaming and like you, the companion cube scene was a sobering experience (wrote a blog about that too).]

5. I don't know if everybody knows this about you, but you actually work at a GameStop. Can you describe what that is like? Any perks?  What is the most annoying thing about the job? How do you handle unruly customers? What's the most embarrassing story (that you're willing to share) that happened to you at your GameStop? Anybody famous ever come into the store?

I work at Gamestop? And here I thought I just hung out there enough that they finally decided to pay me for it! Though I guess that explains why I have to alphabetize the wall multiple times a shift. Honestly, working at Gamestop is a lot like any other retail job, it just has a different source matter than most other retailers. A lot of the time is spent taking in trades and finding games or cases for people. And filing, a whole lot of filing.

There are definitely some perks such as a 15% employee discount on anything except new systems. That also stacks with the Powerup card, so pre-owned items are 25% off for us. There is also the ability to get first pick of any trades that come in on your shift, which is how I swooped up my own copy of Guitarooman. Still haven't played it, but now I have it!

There is one main annoyance about working at Gamestop: Making numbers. By numbers I mean sales, and my bosses push this extremely hard. You're rated mainly on how many reservations you get and how many Powerup Pro cards you get per shift. As irritated as you might be that an employee asks you if you want to put $5 down to reserve an upcoming title every single time you come to the counter, know that we're frustrated that this determines if we keep our job or not. Despite my loathing for sales, I'd rather be here than back at the grocery store job.

I generally don't handle unruly customers. If people make a comment that is in regards to something I have no control over I usually just ignore them or apologize. The nice thing about being the lowest on the totem pole is that there is always a Manager on duty and I can call for backup is needed. Other than that I usually try not to give people a chance to be upset by whipping out some of my charming sarcastic humor.

I'm not incredibly embarrassed by this story as it happened, but looking back I feel a little foolish. I often go to midnight releases even if I'm not working or actually picking up the released game. One such case was the launch for Batman: Arkham City. One of my co-workers had bought a Batman costume from our local party store and wore it for a very short amount of time before deeming it too hot and too difficult to work in. Someone jokingly said that I should wear it and run around the parking lot in order to bring more people inside the store. I said I would do it, and donned the much-too-big-for-me costume. The problem was that the black pieces of fabric at the bottom didn't cover my white shoes, so I just wore my socks. I decided not to go outside since knowing my luck I would step on a nail or a smoldering cigarette, so I stayed inside the store. I definitely got plenty of looks and struck some heroic poses, one of which a guy took a picture of from a phone. I wore the outfit for about 30-45 minutes until midnight just mulling about the store until I decided it was too warm and awkward for me to keep wearing. The most uncomfortable part of that costume is that the chest plate puffed out way too much, so whenever I would bend my arm or kneel, the chest would concave on me. Standing awkwardly is not terribly becoming of anyone. Eventually, you just look like a creeper. But hey, a guy gave me his number because I wore it, so there is that. And yes, it was the guy that took a picture of me.

Unfortunately, besides "Batman", no one famous has ever come into the store.

[SAINT: You bring up a great point about the business side of working at GameStop. People complain against the employees, but really it's a corporate policy that you all are required to enforce. That's why I always politely decline (but seems like lately I usually reserve at least one title). This goes hand in hand with people lobbing attacks towards Game Informer's for all of the website issues. I always remind myself it's not the editors' fault - they use the same website and I bet they have their own list of bugs and issues with posting news and what not. Anyway, thanks for that insight. I doubt you know this, but I was doing this blog series (I'm not anymore - yet.) where I visit a different GameStop each month and blog about it. I visited one in NC (Ft. Bragg area) but can't remember if that's one of the ones I posted or not. Anyway, since you haven't met anyone famous, now I'm wondering if you've ever met someone from online who just happens to visit your store?

And you will from this day forward always be known to me as Batsilver. Thanks for sharing. It's not all that embarrassing of a story, but it's still a good one...any chance you post the Batman pic? Hey! I'm just asking what everyone else is thinking, LOL.]

Bonus Question #1: Stranger asks, "If you had to live in one in-game world for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?"

Ok, I know I've mentioned this way too many times already, but the Mass Effect universe. I love the cast of characters and the huge amount of exploration to be had. It would be so exciting to meet all the different kinds of alien races and see what makes them tick. From the headstrong Krogan to the wizened Asari to the Elcore that speak like HK-47, I would love to be introduced to them all. Plus, nothing brings people together like the whole world's existence being threatened, and I'm a bit tired of all the fighting we're doing amongst ourselves here.

[SAINT: You're a brave woman, especially having played the final episode. That's such a violent environment. You'd want to live in a world like that as opposed to something peaceful and harmless like Super Mario World or Flower. Hmm...I dunno, the Normandy is an awful pretty ship. Yeah, sign me up for a tour of duty there. Actually, I think I'd probably go for The Old Republic...I have this thing for Star Wars.]

Bonus Question #2: Stranger asks, "Good or bad, what game holds the most nostalgia for you? Any specific reasons for this and experiences you'd like to share about it?"

Another answer that won't be too surprising but The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is at the core of my journey to becoming a gamer. While I played quite a bit of Bubble Bobble and Duck Hunt on the NES, games didn't truly resonate with me until I was playing my N64 and popped in OoT. The graphics were more incredible than anything I had ever seen, the gameplay was solid, the environments were original and I had a major crush on the silent protagonist. I spent a lot of time playing the game with my brother, fighting through dungeons and figuring out puzzles. It was the first game I remember truly beating, and that final boss fight was a beast (no pun intended). I think the moment that stuck with me the most was actually towards the beginning of the game: The Phantom Ganon battle in the Forest Temple. I don't know why exactly this fight stood out to me so much, I just remember spinning my control stick around and around to figure out which Ganon was the "true" Ganon I would have to shoot. It was also probably my introduction to psychological warfare, which explains why I'm so weird.

[SAINT: Maybe not a surprise, but definitely a perfectly acceptable response. That was such an amazing game from an iconic series, I think a lot of people would agree with you. In terms of nostalgia and video games, I suppose the old arcade games like Pac-Man cause me the greatest sense of nostalgia.]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Do you think a person can learn to be creative?"

Hmm, I believe that someone could learn an outlet to be creative. Sure there's all sorts of left-brain, right-brain mumbo jumbo, but I think with enough patience, practice and persistence anyone can learn how to create music or art. I'm not sure that someone can truly learn to be creative though. There is definitely a level of intellectual outpouring in order to create something original, because tools are useless unless you have an imagination and ability to use them. Otherwise you could be the most wonderful painter of a still life bowl of fruit, but what worth is it if that's all you can do? This is also why I stick to words and photography. In one the amount of creativity is expanded by the reader's mind, in the other the creativity and imagery is practically already done for me.

[SAINT: I can agree with that. I think there is a natural creativity that some people are just born with, but I also think people can, as you say, "with enough patience, practice and persistence anyone can learn how to create music or art". Personally, I don't think I'm all that creative or artistic...I'm much more of a technical writer...which I think anyone can learn to do. You certainly have an interesting perspective on the issue.]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "What's under your bed right now?"

The majority of my Ethernet cord, a tennis ball and a plank of wood. Thankfully there were no serial killers, just a few dust bunnies with Uzis.

[SAINT: Hah, your response sounded like the inventory list from The Secret of Monkey Island or similar point and click adventure game. You know the ones where you have to combine items to create an object that you need to proceed to the next part of the level - like a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle. I bet you're almost certainly going to get some follow on questions stemming from that response from the community. I usually never think about how the question applies to me until it's too late, So in fairness I have...hmm...a gun case (locked of course - contents classified); a jelly bean (I knew I dropped one the other night); a pair of running shorts (oh, hey...I've been looking for you); and my own share of dust bunnies (although I never noticed if they were armed or not).]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Silvershine08 asks, "I know I am being insubordinate but...Why is MS excel one of your hobbies? If you won't answer that, then since you have apparently had every video game system known to man, what is your favorite generation of gaming history and why? Which console is your favorite from that generation and why? What is your favorite game from that console and why? The choice is yours, Saint. Either way, you have a lot of explaining to do."

[SAINT: Hah, the ole MS Excel question. I do get asked about that from time to time. I can't really explain why it is a hobby other than I just really like tinkering around with it. I have several books about MS Excel and actually enjoy reading about its advanced features and capabilities. MS Excel includes a VBA programming component which is a fairly easy language to program in, so I enjoy creating these advanced worksheets with formulas and functions to automate repetitive tasks. Perhaps it will help if I demonstrate with an example. At the end of Blog Herding you will see a long list of names separated by a semicolon - these are people who have submitted blogs for the week. I don't type that by hand. I paste the list of names into Excel, run a macro that inserts a semicolon at the end of each name and then collates all the names into a single string. I copy that single string back into the draft of Blog Herding and voila - I have the list of bloggers for the week. Too easy. Typing it by hand sucks.

Hmm. Part II of your're trying to send me into shock aren't you. It would take me an entire blog (perhaps even a multipart blog) to respond to that question (and honestly, I wrote a blog on the very subject of favorites). But I'll try to answer your question, because that's what I do, heh heh. As far as favorite generation, I like that I was around during the early days of arcades and first home computers, but I also think we're living in the best days gaming has ever witnessed. It's hard to compare technology from back then with modern day technology. The same is true of the games; they're vastly different now, but for what we had back then, they were equally as fun. So my answer today, right now (subject to change on a moment's notice) is...

Generation: Mid to Late 90's. System: Nintendo 64. Game: GoldenEye 007.]

A special thanks to Silvershine08 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about her gaming personality. To read more about Silvershine08, view her GIO profile here.