GIO Member Herding Part 53 of XX... - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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GIO Member Herding Part 53 of XX...

Weighing in at over 5,500 words, I know this is a rather lengthy episode of Member Herding. I admit I got a little carried away with the multipart questions, but the end result I hope is an entertaining blog that reveals some details about a devoted member of this community, who I've had the pleasure of co-authoring a blog with  and many of you have had the opportunity to chat with. If my numbers are right she is the third woman to be featured, which is fitting since she's a strong advocate for the fair representation of female characters in video games and has published a couple of blogs on the issue. If that doesn't reveal her identity, then read on and find out who it is...

GIO Name: ace13

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 11

Gaming Experience (Years playing): I can't exactly remember but I want to say 12 or 13 years.

Last Game Completed: Beyond Good and Evil HD

Currently Playing: Half-Life 2

Origin of GIO Profile Name: My initials are A.C. and growing up, I thought Ace sounded similar to my initials, and was a cool nickname. So basically, it's a nickname I like, and 13 is my favorite number.

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

1. You have the following games listed as your favorites:  Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Yoshi's Story, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Uncharted Series, Assassin's Creed Series, Heavy Rain, Kya, Jak and Daxter Series, Ratchet and Clank Series, Dragon Age series, Beyond Good and Evil. Rank these games from best to worst and describe each with one word. Imagine you have a free copy of each to give away to various members from the community. Pick each game and who you would give it to and why you made each connection. What's your favorite feature at Game Informer Online; Least Favorite? If you were Editor In Chief for the day, what would you change (or at least what's the biggest thing you would change).

Phew, I'm glad I didn't put in others I liked too, because this is tough! Here's how I would rank/describe them though:

Uncharted Series (Epic), Heavy Rain (Engaging), Banjo-Kazooie (Imaginative), Super Mario 64 (Classic), Beyond Good and Evil (Unique), Dragon Age series (Charming), Assassin's Creed Series (Beautiful), Jak and Daxter Series (Innovative), Ratchet and Clank Series (Fun), Kya (Underrated), The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Trailblazer), Yoshi's Story (Quirky).

Now for the gift-giving:

Beyond Good and Evil would go to Theora Craft. I know she likes FPS games a lot, but I know she also likes adventure games. And I think she'd really like the setting and Jade, the protagonist. AshaMan3000 has talked about his love for Skyrim and RPGs, but I can't recall him ever mentioning Dragon Age at all, so it goes to him.

Coachscorner00 is getting into non-sports games, and he seems to be lighthearted like me. I think he'd really enjoy Super Mario 64, which still holds up today, is very well-made, and a blast. Haha, I was tempted to give Assassin's Creed to J Warrior, because I always get a kick out of how much I like it, and he doesn't. As funny as it would be to hear about him destroying the games, I'm giving them to Glasses. He's in Switzerland, but learning Italian so he would appreciate hearing some of the language and experience how beautiful the game is.

To Hannibal, I'd give Kya, because he said how much he adored Beyond Good and Evil growing up. I have a feeling he'd enjoy this PS2 game as well because they share similar elements. LA643 and I were talking about how much we liked the book, The Road. I know he'd love the story of a father trying to save his son, so Heavy Rain goes to him.

Yoshi's Story would go to The Great Cubone, who I know loves Nintendo, but I don't think he's played this yet. He's a quirky Cubone so he'd love quirky Yoshi, who is awesome. Joyful Penguin doesn't have a PS3 yet, but I would give him The Uncharted Series for when he does get one. He recently wrote a 'Favorite Women in Games' blog, so I have a feeling he'd love Elena and Chloe.

Harry seems to be a big Naughty Dog fan too, so I would give him Jak and Daxter, which was what put Naughty Dog on the map for me. Plus, it's a great platformer, which is a genre he likes. To Darth-Carbonite, I would give Banjo Kazooie. We both seem to have a similar sense of humor so I think he'd love Banjo and Kazooie's antics!

To DJH, I'd give Ratchet and Clank because he recently got a PS3 and I've given him some must-play series titles. This is one of them. And finally to Markus1142, I'd give Ocarina of Time. He was just Gamified for the GaMe series, and in doing some research on his page, I just think he would have a blast with it. Especially with the unique environments, since he enjoys gardening/being outside.

As for my favorite feature online, I'd say it's a tie between Replay and the GI podcast. I can be nostalgic, and I like seeing past games being revisited on Replay, even if sometimes I'm not familiar with the game. Plus, I like hearing the staff's shenanigans. That's part of the reason I really like the podcast too. It's nice to be able to hear their opinions and discussions instead of simply reading them. Not to be a cop-out, but I can't really think of a least favorite feature. Lol, can I say the spambots who can overwhelm the forums/blogs, and the trolls who come out from their bridges to comment? :)

Hmm, if I was Editor in Chief for the day, a small change I would do is fix is the activity section of user profiles. I know there's a link you can click to that leads to your article comment, but you still have to scroll through the pages to find it. If it could somehow go directly to yours, that would be great. Not sure how possible that is though.

As for a bigger site option, to add to the whole staff/community dynamic, I would make a virtual tour/video of the office. As I just mentioned, I think it's nice to be able to listen instead of just reading, so it would be neat to be able to look too. I've seen the vault and some other various spots in the office, but I know other users, and myself, would be interested in seeing the layout and some of things happening at the office. Maybe it could turn into an occasional 'inside access' video log feature or something?

[SAINT: You put a lot of thought into that gift giving, I can tell. I'm sure those hypothetical recipients will love reading about your kindness. Not sure if you listen to any of the community podcasts like The JACKED Up Indie and Mojo show or Robot in the Corner, but they are definitely worth listening to also. Hey now, the spam bots are being dealt with, heh heh! I like your idea of a virtual tour; how about a live webcam of a particular spot? Now that would be cool too.]

2. Your profile states you recently finished Beyond Good And Evil. Briefly summarize the game. In terms of a review score, how would you rate the game (on a 1-10 scale)? The game received a number of awards including a few for the music component. Describe this part of the game and your thoughts on the role music plays in adding to the experience and immersing the player into the story. Do you typically finish all of the games you start? A sequel is supposed to be in the works - what would you like to see from a sequel?

Beyond Good and Evil is a third-person, action-adventure game that takes place in the island city, Hillys. Jade, the protagonist, is a freelance photographer who ends up becoming involved with a secret organization, IRIS. IRIS gives her these assignments to go undercover on with her camera, in order to record and expose the truth about the ongoing war. It has its weaknesses, but it's incredibly innovative, so I give the game a 9.75.

The soundtrack is incredible, and it rightly deserves those awards. Different sections of the game have great background music, but my favorite music moments were when I was infiltrating areas. A significant chunk of the game involves Jade sneaking around and photographing evidence, and that particular music really added to the atmosphere. It complemented the gameplay wonderfully and it definitely put me in the mood to be extra careful and sneaky. I really felt like a spy!

Music is really important for me, and I even have some game music on my ipod. It sets the mood, evokes emotion and complements the story. I think the most important testament to a soundtrack is when you're not playing the game. If I listen to a song, and I can picture the game in my mind, that's the sign of a great song. As for finishing games, I actually do finish all of the ones I start because I like to see how the story ends.

I was excited to at least hear about a potential sequel, so I hope it actually ends up being made! At the end of the game, we found out Jade wasn't quite what she seemed, which was a surprise. So I'd like to see her doing some research about her family history, and possibly traveling to space again with the help of her memorable comrades, Pey'j and Double H. That level was really beautiful, and it was pretty fun to fly around in the ship.

[SAINT: Great summary. I haven't played the game but it sounds intriguing. I'm not a music person, but I'm always interested with games that manage to implement it such that it impacts reception of the game. I finish games for the same reason; that and I am a completionist, heh heh. Well, I hope you enjoy your sequel and expect your review within 24 hours after you finish the game.]

3. Having read your blogs and a number of your comments, clearly you are a strong and vocal advocate for the fair representation of female characters in video games. Do you think the developers or the fans of games with exaggerated characters are to blame and why? Can you list five female characters that you feel represent females positively - and which of these characters is most like you? Some would say if you don't like the content of a game, then just don't buy it. Agree or disagree?

Yes, I am a big advocate of that, and I believe it only enhances a game when you have diversity. I definitely think that problem is a cycle. If fans want exaggerated characters, then developers make them. Unfortunately, as you said recently in your blog, that's exactly what Yohei Shimbori from Team Ninja admitted about Dead or Alive 5. I do think developers hold slightly more responsibility though, because I think it's a crutch used to sell games. There are critically and commercially successful franchises that don't use fanfare to sell their game. So I think when developers focus more on looks/sex appeal than the gameplay or story, it's kind of insulting. You know, it's almost like they're saying, here take this game in which we only focused on appearance. Take it, oh and this bikini costume set, because we know what you want! I always think it's lazy to rely on sex appeal, and in a way it shows a developer's lack of faith in their product and their fans.

But despite that, there are some really great female characters I've come to admire:

1)Jade, Beyond Good and Evil

2) Elena, Uncharted (I have to say Elena feels most like me)

3) Chloe, Uncharted

4) Morrigan, Dragon Age

5) Alyx Vance, Half-Life

Hmm, as for that statement, I guess I partially agree with it, but not too much. The only games I've purchased have been ones I've really wanted to play. For example, I've never had a desire to play any sports games, so I don't buy them. But I don't think that not buying a game means you can't voice your opinion. I'm hesitant to fully agree with that quote because it sounds like a lazy defense for things such as exaggerated females in games. I think that's what you were getting at. You might as well say, its okay if you don't like it, then just don't look. It just doesn't sit right with me, because for example, in the case of female characters, then there are negative connotations. It's kind of like a ripple effect, which I think is related to cosplay judgment, and gamer stereotypes. The bottom line is, if we don't criticize things we object to, how can we expect things to change?

[SAINT: I have played three of the five games and couldn't agree more. I'd add Chell from Portal to the list, even though we don't know much about her. I'd love to respond to your final comment but I'm having an idea for a blog that perhaps I can solicit your assistance with. And Elena Fisher is perhaps the greatest female video game character of all time. Just saying.]

4. You and I (and many others) are fans of the Uncharted series. In a word, describe Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, Victor Sullivan, and Chloe Frazer. The personality of each of these characters is brilliant and the chemistry and dialogue arguably the most believable of any game. Agree or disagree? How do you think Naughty Dog accomplished this? Rank the games in order of your favorite. We'll assume you're Elena Fisher, now pick someone from the GIO community to be Nathan Drake, Victor Sullivan and a new unnamed nemesis (if you're feeling especially creative, come up with a name). Now pick a location and a brief summary of the next expedition you're all going on.

Nathan Drake: Lucky

Elena Fisher: Determined

Victor Sullivan: Colorful

Chloe Frazer: Independent

I agree with you 100% Saint. I first became a fan of Naughty Dog through the Jak and Daxter series, and Uncharted made me love them even more. I joke around with my sister that if Naughty Dog made a game about a sandwich, then I would buy it lol! Seriously though, I think the key to the game's success is how much thought was put into character development and the script. Each character seems so real. They have their flaws and their strengths and so we root for or against them. Basically, we get emotionally invested in them.

That's one of the main reasons I love the series so much. Every character is so fleshed out that I come to feel like I'm in the game with them.  The dialogue between them is just perfect, and I love quoting the gang! I do love each of the games, and I like different things about each one. But if I have to rank them though, I would say each one gets better than the last: Drake's Fortune, Among Thieves, and then Drake's Deception. I know the third game doesn't rank as highly with other fans, but I think it built upon the awesomeness of the other two games, and added in more poignant moments.

Woo-hoo, I can be Elena again! In that case, I'm choosing deckard to be Victor Sullivan. Mainly because deckard can be a ringleader of GI shenanigans, keeping things in check, but he also gets in on the action too. Also, his PSN avatar is Sully, which is just too perfect. As for Nathan Drake, I think mojomonkey12 would be great. Mojo makes some of the funniest remarks if you look at his comments/blogs, and even his profile itself is hilarious! Not to spoil things too much, but as Uncharted fans know, Nate definitely had a dark past, and overcame it to achieve his greatness. I know mojo has also spoken of his past troubles as well, but like Nate, also worked to carve his own happiness.

As for an enemy, my choice sounds pretty funny because he is a very nice guy, but Nikolas Davidoff first popped into my head because his name already sounds like it could be a great Russian villain. Plus, he'd be a great cerebral nemesis. If you look at his comments/forum threads, you can see how eloquently he speaks. I imagine him as a witty enemy like Gabriel Roman. If he needs some muscle though, I'm going to cheat a little and add in a sidekick for him: our very own Sasquatch, DJH lol!

Hmm, our next adventure would be delving into the legend of Atlantis. Nate gets the idea for us to go searching for the usual rumored treasure, and so we end up actually finding Atlantis. Meanwhile Nikolas, discontent with society and its rules, decides he wants to somehow unearth Atlantis to re-create a perfect society like the one that was once there. Basically, he wants to restore Atlantis to the naval power it once was and use it to enforce his version of a utopian world. Naturally, there's an epic showdown between us as we try to stop Nikolas from fulfilling his dastardly plan. To add fuel to the fire though, the buried Atlantis citizens also become awakened, and let's just say don't take too kindly to foreigners...

[SAINT: Brilliant, simply brilliant! We are definitely in sync on ranking the games; in fact my profile says each game is better than the last. I thought UC3 was easily the best even though the general consensus says UC2 is. And we certainly do (we get emotionally invested in them), don't we? Great cast of characters. I know those people will be happy to read that. I LOL'd over your justification for Nikolas Davidoff being the nemesis. It does sound very believable. And I knew you would come up with a great plot based on our cooperative blog, but that sounds like it could have been torn from the script of the next Uncharted game under development.]

5. Your profile indicates you are currently playing Half Life 2 from the Orange Box. I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't ask any specific questions, but what are your thoughts so far? Does Half Life live up to the hype or is it overrated? Is Gordon Freeman truly a hero, or just really lucky? Have you been to Ravenholm yet and if so, what are your thoughts? I admit I found it to be a little unnerving and jumped a few times. Do you ever jump during really tense moments? If so, which game or games? The Orange Box also includes Portal. Have you played that game yet? Any correlation between you playing a game about the Black Mesa Research Facility and the fact you are a medical research assistant?

I actually had begun Half-Life 2 a few years ago, but then my PS3 data was deleted. I wasn't too far into the game yet, and at the time I moved on to other games and figured I'd work my way back to it. I have to say this time around, I don't know what changed, but I fell in love with it. I'm not the biggest FPS fan, but it's surpassing my expectations and I'm hooked.

I'm late to the party, but Half-Life definitely lives up to the hype! One thing I am especially addicted to is using the gravity gun and crowbar on everything. I love to pick up things and toss them around, and also smash crates. Nothing is untouched when I play lol! :) As for Gordon, I'm not so sure yet. He has helped out some people along the way and performed some cool stunts, but he seems to be really lucky. I guess I'll have a stronger opinion as I get further along.

Before I answered this, I was a little further back getting through the water canals, but I should have known there would be some creepy spot! At least I saw your warning! I got to Black Mesa finally, Alyx was showing me around, and she pointed out the blocked off Ravenholm tunnel, but I didn't really pay too much attention to it. But when everything turned chaotic though, her dad was saying take Gordon away, don't go to Rav-, and he got cut off. Of course, what does Alyx do? Send me to Ravenholm. And I remembered you said it was creepy so I was saying to myself, no Alyx he clearly said not to take me there. You're right though it is creepy - I've been calling on my inner bravado to get through haha. I'm trying to meet up with the crazy Father Grigori.

As for jumping, it's funny, when someone startles me in-person I freeze, but in-game, I jump. It's pretty funny to laugh at yourself for it though lol. In fact, just the other day, I jumped when a group of super fast headcrab zombies came out of nowhere. As for other games, the Uncharted mutants made me jump, as well as the groups of Grims in Resistance 2 that burst out of cocoons.

I must have forgotten to put Portal in my favorite section also, because I really enjoyed that game too. GLaDOS is such a memorable character, and has some of the funniest lines from any game. It's probably one of the more challenging games I've played, but it was great. And the Portal gun is one of the coolest gadgets ever. I haven't gotten around to playing the sequel yet though.

Finally, that is a funny coincidence Saint! The Black Mesa Research Facility sounds like it would be pretty neat, doesn't it? :)

[SAINT: I didn't realize how many questions I asked until I read your response, heh heh. We agree on Half-Life 2 and I would encourage you to blog about your experience when you finish it. I know I and I'm guessing others would love to read it. Hopefully I didn't spoil anything with Ravenholm - I rolled the dice thinking you would be past that part, but apparently you weren't. It was my least favorite part of the game, but I thought it was a crucial part of the game and enjoy hearing other perspectives on it. Funny hearing I'm not the only one who jumps. I've had some controller dropping jumps in my day, and yes...those mutants in Uncharted had the same effect on me. Glad to hear you have played Portal and couldn't agree more with your comments. It's truly an epic experience. You should definitely play the sequel - I didn't like the story as much but it's still great. And the multiplayer mode is simply brilliant, especially if you team up with someone you know. I don't know if the Black Mesa Research Facility is neat, I suppose that depends on which side of the bars you're on.]

Bonus Question #1: Hannibal asks, "There are a bunch of major titles hitting store shelves this fall. Which title (aside from Call of Duty) will see the most success, and which do you think will see the least?"

I like how you excluded Call of Duty Hannibal, LOL! Hmm, I think without a doubt, the biggest hit will be Dead or Alive 5. No competition, ha ha. Hmm, as for the worst, there are a bunch of titles that don't seem to have much potential. I'm going to go with Kinect Nat Geo TV. I haven't really heard anything about it besides noticing it on the GI fall release schedule, and besides, there are other games geared towards kids that have more appeal. As for the biggest hit of the season, Borderlands 2 is doing very well, but I think Assassin's Creed III will be huge. It's the start of a new direction for the series, and it's arguably one of the games with the most hype, and I believe it will pay off.

[SAINT: Ace, you can't be serious with DoA 5, LOL? Anyway, I suppose that depends on how you define success. Are we talking financially or gamer reception after the game ships and people get to play it? Halo will certainly do well, it always does. And as far as the least, I know lots of people have been talking about Dishonored, but I've also seen quite a few gamers (myself included) indicating they're skipping it for the time being. It will be interesting to see what its numbers look like after the initial hype tapers off.]

Bonus Question #2: Hannibal asks, "If there was one T.V. show/movie/book that you would have converted to a video game, what would it be? Who'd be developing it?"

Ooh, this is a tough question. When I first started thinking about it, three things popped into my head immediately: The Road (a book I just finished, though I've seen the film too), and two TV shows, Supernatural and Firefly. One of the themes I always especially enjoy in any medium is family, whether it's the family a person's born into, or makes for themselves. I'm very fascinated by anything that depicts the struggles and triumphs of a person, and the influence their family has had on them. I also love a good underdog story.

So with that being said, though I think any one of them would be a great adaptation, I choose Firefly. It's a mix of a lot of genres I like: action, comedy, drama, and some romance thrown in too. As fans know, the show was sadly axed after one season, and we never got to fully learn the character's secrets. So there is a lot of potential for a storyline. The characters are all diverse and memorable, and the Western/Space setting is very colorful and imaginative. If Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the show and Naughty Dog, a master of mixing multiple genres, teamed up, it would be amazing.

[SAINT: Hmm. Well, I read a lot of books based on video games, so most of my choices have already been done. I used to play an old paper and dice role playing game called Star Frontiers that spawned a few books. It's a lot like Halo, but I'd sure love to see that series come to life in a video game. If CCP Games did it and made it like EVE Online, that would be magnificent. Them or Blizzard. And I agree, Firefly would be great too.]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Statistics suggest that 40% of people snoop inside other peoples' medicine cabinets. What's in your medicine cabinet and do you snoop?"

That is a funny statistic! I honestly have to say I'm one of the 60%. I might have snooped as a kid, but from what I can remember, and my current actions, I have never snooped in anyone's cabinet. The only exception being if I was told to look around for something I had asked for. Snooping is like opening up a can of worms, and I don't know if there would be something really... interesting that I would have to keep to myself if I knew it was there, ha ha. As for me, I keep my getaway stash of money and gun in there! :) Just kidding, it's not that exciting! I share a bathroom with my sisters so there's just face wash/moisturizer, contact solution, q-tips and a random bottle of body spray.

[SAINT: Well, admittedly I don't like to use the bathroom in other peoples' houses, so I get in and get out without snooping. Not saying I never have, but I don't do it regularly enough to admit guilt. I'm also worried about it being booby trapped and I'll somehow set the device off. And with 40% of the people admitting to doing this, I doubt it's a safe spot for your gun and cash, but your body spray should be safe.]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "What are the simple things in life?"

As I mentioned in a recent status, ice cream sandwiches! :D Food really is a simple pleasure to enjoy though. And I'm lucky my family cooks very well. Me, not so much, but I have them! :) Anyway, this is all going to sound so incredibly cheesy, but I'd say the simple things are just little things that can be overlooked, but make us happy. For me, this includes riding my bike around my neighborhood, waking up and realizing I can still sleep in more, and a beautiful view (whether it's in-game or outdoors, just looking around at the environment and soaking it all in). I can't forget laughter though. I believe a sense of humor is so important, and there's nothing better than a gut-busting laugh.

[SAINT: I am reminded of the quote from Robert Brault, "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." I think that's a great outlook on life you have.]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Ace13 asks, "I haven't been around here as long as you have, so I may not have noticed from your past blog entries, but I did see that you have a family of gamers, which I think is awesome. So with this being said, did you introduce your children to gaming or did they gravitate to it on their own? And finally, are there any games you like to play as a family together?"

[SAINT: Great question. I normally don't talk a lot about my private life, mostly because I doubt people would find it all that entertaining, but yes...I do have a family of gamers. And as far as influencing my kids I think it was a little bit of both. Certainly they watched me play and naturally adopted a similar interest, but even if I wasn't a gamer I think they would have picked it up, partly because that's our culture now but also because they like them and are really good at them.

Although each of them is a gamer, they have very different interests and talent. My oldest is more laid back and appreciates the classics; he isn't as competitive and plays more for the entertainment value. He has a functioning SNES he still plays and a rather large library of SNES games. My youngest used to be much more involved with gaming and was surprisingly good at Halo and Call of Duty. She has even competed in a few tournaments. I participated in a GIO Frag Fest one night and let her play I while I took a break to eat and she did much better than I ever could. She doesn't play as much anymore due to work and having other interests (like shopping with her friends), but she is still a hardcore gamer. We have a tradition of going to the midnight release for every Halo game that has ever had one and will for the upcoming Halo 4. My middle kid is often called a mirror image of me, and we both share an avid interest in video games. When he was just a few years old he would sit and watch us play Mario Kart and we had to do the ole trick many parents do where you give him his own controller that isn't plugged in, so he thinks he's playing. Well, he recognized right away he wasn't controlling anything so I eventually let him play. And he was good. He is good at anything he plays. I've seen him ace songs on Rockband on the hardest difficulty levels; I've seen him hold track records on Mario Kart. He is truly amazing at anything he plays and a much better gamer than I ever dreamed of being. He is extremely competitive and we have had some brawls on games like Soul Caliber that almost turned into actual brawls (I've wanted to wring his neck on more than one occasion).


As far as games we play together as a family...sure, we play (or have played) all sorts of games. We play Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Scene It, Mario Kart, Call of Duty and others. Rock Band was always cool because we would have a drummer, guitar, bass and a singer all playing together. Two of my kids and I were playing Mario Kart on the Wii the other night. We have some very heated battles. My "mini me" son and I play together the most. We've played through all the Halo games cooperatively. He sat and watched me play each of the three Uncharted games. We play Minecraft several times a week together and are currently playing Borderlands 2 cooperatively.

Now you see why I don't talk about my private life, heh heh. I tend to be verbose.]


A special thanks to ace13 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about her gaming personality. To read more about ace13, view her GIO profile here.

 

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