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Veteran Member - Level 11
I often wonder how people approach reading these blogs.
Do they start at the beginning, the introductory paragraph that I painstakingly
craft to gently ease them into the actual content and purpose of the blog...or do
they jump ahead, read the name to see who it is, and then back track to read it
in its entirety? I doubt I will ever know for sure, but I suspect that many of
you, once discovering who is being spotlighted in this episode, will share this
same thought - "What! How in the world has he not already been featured?" The
truth is it is almost inexcusable he hasn't been featured yet. I am remiss in
the fact it has taken this long. His contribution and support of the community
is one of the cornerstones of its foundation. His inclusion into the herd is
long overdue and being rectified with this latest installment in the series. If
you don't already know who it is, you almost certainly will know who it is...
It's none other than...
GIO Name: Orochisama
GIO Rank: Level
(Years playing): 22
Skyrim, XCOM, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Origin of GIO
Profile Name: A bit of mythology. Orochi is an infamous multiheaded dragon
in Japanese folklore. Spectre is obviously a reference to Mass Effect. I
thought I'd add that title once I finished my 30/30 series.
Generated Questions + 4 Bonus questions + 1 Special question
1. You are clearly a Subject Matter Expert
(SME) on Mass Effect, a game that you wrote 30 consecutive blogs about, each
unique and thought provoking. Well, apparently Mass Effect 4 is being developed
and it's been said the game will be "exploring new directions" for
gameplay and story, but will still be true to the series roots. What does that
mean to you and how would you like to see the series evolve? Do you think we'll
see more of Commander Shepard? What is one element you would like to see added,
and one you would like to see disappear? Mass Effect is not listed in your GIO
profile as a one of your favorite games - is that oversight or intentional?
It's hard to say with Bioware. I would like to think that
"exploring new directions" means more innovation in terms of gameplay
approach - I'd love to see an RTS based on the ME universe, for instance - but
I'm hoping that it isn't too drastic of a departure and that they don't shy
away from building on the lore they've already established, since they have a
lot of great material to build new conflicts from. The series' roots most certainly
rest in its deep conversation system, personal relationships players could
develop with other characters, and the organic nature of how your choices not
only affected the immediate story, but also influenced events later on in the
story's sequels. These things, apart from the usual gimmick of being able to
explore new worlds and meet fascinating new races, are what I feel firmly
differentiates this series from other science fiction franchises of this
As for how I'd like to see it evolve, I wrote a blog on
this and I remember from it that seeing more of the customization inherent in
the first is something I'd love to see in combination with the branching
ability tree of ME3. I thought it was ingenious and really allowed me to tailor
my character just the way I planned for each class and playstyle. I remember
the unique class each character had in the first (battlemaster, scientist,
etc.), and I'd love to see something like that return with more depth and
variety. I expect that the exploration aspect of the game will evolve somehow
As far as Commander Shepard goes, Bioware has
definitively said that we won't be seeing them anymore. At most I expect
references to Shepard, but nothing more than that. It would be great if the
next Mass Effect - supposing it's a direct sequel - used save transfer data as
the primary template for this, and as everyone I've bantered with about the
subject has said, I would love to be able to play as a different race,
preferably Krogan. I don't want to see as much autodialogue in the future,
though it does work when used in moderation; the planet scanning and fetch
quests however, remain a pretty unpleasant aspect of the game that I definitely
hope to see removed or revamped so that they're engaging rather than a
As for Mass Effect not being listed among my favorite
games, that would be an oversight that hopefully has been remedied with the
humongous shrine devoted to it on my page.
Well, exploring doesn't mean they are necessarily going to proceed with a new
format, it just means they're evaluating their options. I think the bulk of the
game will be similar. Gamers seem to like that format. I do think we'll see
focus on character development and social relationships again but with innovative
improvements. I hope they do at least mention Commander Shepard or at least
figure out a way to incorporate his legacy into the game. He is such an iconic
character and I think the series almost needs him to be successful - meaning I
don't think it would be as successful if they never mention him again. It will
seem like a new series without him. Ah, playing as a Krogan would be kind of
cool, heh heh. I almost hope some of the old characters don't return. I've
survived 3 games now with most of my favorites still alive, so the odds are
stacked against them. Planet scanning - hah! Yeah, they could definitely lose
that and it wouldn't hurt my feelings. A shrine indeed.]
2. Your contributions to Game Informer
Online have been nothing short of exemplary as witnessed by your continued
success and lengthy list of accomplishments. You have posted plenty of content
of the highest caliber; have been promoted to moderator; have been featured in
Blog Herding; published the most comprehensive and monumental 30/30 blog series
devoted solely to the Mass Effect game; and you're just an all around great
guy. What is your secret, and what is the best piece of advice you can offer
new GIO members? Of course nothing is perfect, so what is your biggest grief or
pet peeve with GIO? What member from the community do you think is the most
underrated or underappreciated that all of us should be following? What's up
next for you?
Well, as far as writing goes, my secret is that I've
taken the time to embrace the writing voice I have through lots of practice.
Yet, I still recognize that I don't quite "know" or understand my
writing voice completely, and with that approach, one can say that I'm constantly
in a journey of discovery and revision. Reading others and studying their
approaches - from Oni's easygoing comedy and introspection to EE's trademarked
snark and sarcasm - really gives a person a sense of where they stand as a
writer, especially when one compares their old work with the material they're
currently putting out.
Trying to get caught up in the particulars of what a good
blog is or chase after the fame of others is an exercise in futility in my
opinion, since we're constantly finding our previous understandings or
expectations being challenged; kowtowing to those insecurities will hobble a
writer. I've seen incredibly short blogs worth more than blogs that spanned
several pages, and then there are the really unique and innovative approaches
like the video reviews, the GaME blogs; even Irony's drawblogs. I like the
updates that lotrgeek does on the games that they're playing.
My advice to new members as far as writing goes would be
the same they've always heard when asking me: be yourself. Don't be afraid to
embrace different writing approaches, yet steel yourself for the consequences
that come with them. Some of us - and this includes me, as I have certainly
been guilty of this - can be a tad bit elitist at times and unwelcoming to
newer bloggers if they don't necessarily post quality work, while others who
are certainly talented don't get the attention or respect they deserve for
opening up. This of course leads to advice that I think goes in tandem with
being open to self-expression: know who your audience is.
As for any secrets I may have in terms of character, I
would say that I'm essentially a sourpatch kid: I'm nice one moment, then a
troll the next. I do my best to hide the trollish aspects of myself through
euphemisms and humor. Then, I'm also pretty candid when it comes to expressing
and challenging an opinion. I try my best to do so as respectfully as possible,
though I'm not always successful. I'm still amazed people like me, honestly.
My biggest pet peeve of GIO is that I can't be totally
breakfast. The Old Vets know what I'm talking about, and I'll avoid delving
further into that can of worms since it's been beaten to death, revived via the
Lazarus Project, and killed all over again more times than the ME3 ending
controversy. I will say one word though: forums. Sports Spam is a close second.
Moving on, I'm really excited to see the talented list of
new bloggers, from ace13 to John Wrek, quasi, Theora, and Jolt. David Chandler
is a person I think members should definitely read more of. His piece on
Transhumanism and Deus Ex was spectacular, and is the kind of material I could
see in a gaming journal.
In terms of what to expect from me in the future, I plan
to review a few games, as well as possibly blog. There are a few projects I've
been tinkering with in-between modding sessions. Otherwise, I'm taking things
[SAINT: Listen up readers and fellow bloggers...that was
a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, free of charge. I couldn't agree more
with the David Chandler shout out - he posts rather infrequently but everything
he posts is gold. I'm a big fan of Hannibal's work too, but I certainly don't
think he is underrated or underappreciated. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what
you're referring to with "I can't be totally breakfast" - but perhaps it's
because I'm not one of the old vets. I actually don't mind the sports spam that
much. I mean, yes...it's annoying...but it's spam. It' supposed to be. I have a few
other pet peeves that rate far higher than spam. Anyway, I always enjoy hearing
advice from fellow bloggers to see if it is similar and where their focus is.]
3. I see you're a fan of Lord of the Rings
too. Imagine you are Frodo Baggins setting out on the quest to Mount Doom to
destroy the ring. Pick members of the GIO community to represent the following
characters and explain your selection: Samwise Gamgee; Meriadoc Brandybuck; Gandalf;
Aragorn; Legolas Greenleaf; Gimli, son of Glóin; Boromir; Bilbo Baggins; Sauron,
the Dark Lord and Gollum. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is
scheduled for a December 14th release - do you plan to see it and
how do you think it is going to compare to the book; and the other movies?
There have been a number of video games based on Lord of the Rings but
unfortunately none have been all that successful. Why do you think that is and
what do you think it would take to make a successful LOTR video game?
Drym would be Samwise Gamgee. He's an all-around likeable
person, loyal, virtually incorruptible, and passionate about the things he
cares about. He's also equally laidback.
Mojo is the Gandalf of GIO, hands-down. He has a lot of
wisdom to offer to the community here and is one of the most responsible people
I've had the privilege of meeting up here. He's selfless and carries his duties
Aragorn would be you, Saint. You've got quite the legacy
up here but it's never something you brag about.
Craigaleg would have to be Legolas. I have absolutely no
clue why. Must be his spot-on reviews.
Blake would be Gimli. He has the perfect dry sense of
humor I'd expect and has a storied role up here on GIO.
Boromir, now that's a tough one. I'd say Chris Mrkvicka.
He's a warrior.
NEWT (New Traditionalist) would be Meriadoc. We haven't
talked much, but he's a pretty laidback person I'd like to know more about.
Supersnake would be Bilbo Baggins. He's a well-known mod
up here, but he's been active on GIO for a very long time, and along with a few
others like Rain, Stump, and Dbull - especially Chf - helped make GIO the
community it became.
God of Wine would be Sauron. He rules the Top Ten lists
of GIO with a cruel, iron fist that will never be relinquished.
Stranger would be Gollum. There's something zany about
him that I can't quite put a finger on.
Bonus: Jolt would be Pippin, since he's so *** silly, and
Oni, well you know she's the Elven princess Arwen. Because she is.
As far as the movie(s) go, I'll have to reserve my
opinions though I know it won't compare to the original book. I'm hoping that
it will still be a marvelous cinematic experience and expect it to be a smash
on hype alone.
I can't really say why they haven't been successful,
apart from not really having the same magic as the films or source material -
although the games based on the movies were pretty fun to play - to draw from
like they could. It seems, after the abysmal horror that was Conquest and the
underwhelming War of the North, that their blatant attempts to milk the
franchise dry were a bit too transparent to people. I think Bethesda has what
it takes to make LOTR work as a game if we examine their storied history with
The Elder Scrolls series.
'nuf said. That is all. No seriously, he is my favorite character and it
doesn't hurt he is a BAMF, so that is a real compliment. Much better than being
called C3PO by Oni - no offense Oni. Those were some great answers and
character assignments. I am very excited for the movie. While I enjoyed the
book, there is something about seeing the magic on the big screen that is very
appealing and I look forward to its release. It will be a huge success; I have
no doubts about it. Definitely agree with Bethesda's talent, they could make an
awesome LOTR game...I mean, they're essentially one in the same as far as content
4. You have Bioshock listed as one of your
favorite games, which is a game I recently finished. Rapture was envisioned as
a utopian world where the residents were pretty much free to live however they
chose. If Andrew Reiner invited you to Rapture when it first opened (for lack
of a better word), would you have gone? Was the lawlessness and ensuing chaos
and inevitable outcome? No doubt you saw the various business establishments,
from bars and clubs to shops and stores. What sort of employment do you think
you would have sought? Did you harvest or rescue the little sisters? How
excited are you for Bioshock Infinite? Describe Bioshock in three words.
Yes, I would've. Rapture was certainly a fascinating
world I'd kill to visit just to escape from modern restraints in an attempt to
strike out on my own. However, given that Rapture in itself was a critique of
Ayn Rand's Objectivism, you could say that failure and chaos were certainly
inevitable. The kind of paranoid and classist environment Rapture embodied,
hidden underneath a rather glossy façade of indulgent radical capitalism, was
one that would only be ideal in a world without true limitations. Yet, as we
certainly learned, the privileges of the denizens of Rapture, especially
Ryan's, were very selective and their desire to enforce that privilege through
propaganda and anti-intellectualism became the catalyst of their undoing.
Ryan's attempt to deal with social inequality by creating a faceless enemy -
the "parasite" - ensured that they would never be able to target the
problem, only its symptom.
Employment I would've sought in Rapture would pertain to
the arts in some form, probably as a critic or an aspiring artist or writer.
Fort Frolic would certainly have been my choice of residence. I rescued the
Little Sisters the first time I played, then I harvested them the next
playthrough. I'm definitely very excited for Infinite. Columbia is the epitome
of Steampunk and I can't wait to see how the game's environment critiques
Describing Bioshock in three words? A certified GOTY.
[SAINT: A solid,
thought provoking response to kind of a scattered multipart question. I was
fascinated with the book, which was further compounded when I played the game -
this notion of unregulated capitalism and uninhibited research &
development. With all the criticism the government receives, where in the world
would we be without it? I always fancied Bill McDonagh - this rugged plumber,
maintenance guy who is taken aboard by Ryan and becomes somewhat of a confidant
- but also opens a pub on the side to live out his lifelong dream. He had a
much more prominent role in the book. I don't think Infinite is going to be AS
epic as the first, but that's only because the original was as epic as it is.
It'll be good though, for sure.]
5. I have not played Fez. Tell me about it
and why I should. Indie games and developers are gaining popularity and,
comparatively speaking, we see simple and short games doing very well in sales
and popularity. Why do you think that is? Do you think we'll continue to see
this trend continue in the future? Once again, despite many gamers abandoning
ship, Call of Duty Black Ops II shattered sales records. Is this good for the
industry and other the other video game developers? Why or why not? Do you have
any ideas for an indie game?
Fez is a brilliant puzzle-heavy adventure game that has
you playing as Gomez in an attempt to save the universe by collecting cubes and
anti-cubes that are located in various worlds that Fez can travel to. Prior to
the beginning of Fez's journey, the world is completely two-dimensional. Yet,
after Gomez is given the signature magical hat, the world becomes
three-dimensional and players are able to see different perspectives, including
new worlds. If you love gaming - especially old school games - you'll love Fez's
presentation. It's homage to the things we love about gaming, from the Zelda
and Mario references you'll find to the hidden riddles and secrets players can
find in each of the uniquely designed worlds Gomez will travel through. It's
approachable, but it's also challenging, blending many of the old school
mechanics into a formula that new school gamers can enjoy.
I think we'll continue to see a trend of games like Fez
coming out. There's obviously a cult following for these games if we examine
the successes of Bastion and similar titles, especially Minecraft, which is
doing extremely well on the 360; the PC community is as strong as ever, of
course. As for Call of Duty, I think the series is a textbook example of
business 101: once you have an established base, it's incredibly easy to remain
successful, and Call of Duty has an immense fanbase. For better or worse,
they've honed a gaming juggernaut by only changing the things necessary and
offering changes that are slight and complementary rather than fundamental. Of
course, storytelling and general gameplay aspects haven't evolved much, but
they remain the best in terms of the audience they're marketing toward, and
that's what matters. As the saying goes, "one man's trash is worth more
than another man designating it so," and in this franchise's case, the
money being made clearly speaks for the majority. Economically, it's certainly
good for the industry as it shows people are buying. How its success will
affect development decisions of those who aren't as prominent is something up
I currently have no ideas for an indie game, but if I
were to make one, it would be either an RTS or an RPG.
summary. Since I haven't played the game I have no idea how representative it
is, but it sounds cool and I do hope to play it one day. I think the real
benefit of indie titles is the opportunity for us to really see the developers
let their creativity loose. They can take more risks and try new things. I look
at CoD and games like that differently than most I suppose. I once wrote a blog
about how I like certain genres...whether it's books or movies or even video
games. So, I can play shooter after shooter after shooter and never get bored.
I definitely agree with it being good for the industry. I think the success of
any title or platform helps us all, as long as the dollars are flowing into the
video game industry. Hmm...RTS or RPG...two genres I'm not all that good at.]
Bonus Question #1: ace13 asks, "Out of any
character you have played with, as, or against, who do you relate to the most,
As mostly everyone who has read my horrible blogs knows,
I identify the most with Jackie Estacado. He is a hero of one of my favorite
comics (The Darkness) and also the star protagonist of the videogame series based
loosely on the comics. Given that I have Epilepsy and similar neurological
illnesses run in my family, there's a striking parallel between us; he, being
cursed with a primordial spirit that possesses the firstborn son of his family
line; me, being "cursed" with bad genes. Then, there's the rather
atypical antihero vibe going on in addition to the strong ties Jackie has to
those he loves.
[SAINT: Bite your
tongue for saying horrible blogs! I think you know better than that. I do
recall your discussion about Jackie Estacado. As I recall, I told you I didn't
have any exposure to the character, which is unfortunate because I have this
habit of assigning characters to people - ace13 will forever be Elena Fisher to
me - and since you feel as passionately about this character as you do, it
would be a natural choice for me to consider you Jackie, but for now...I just see
you as this shadowy Specter figure from the Mass Effect Universe, residing on
the Citadel while sneaking around hacking into computers. Hmm, maybe I should
blog about GIO personalities and the characters I associate them with...like
born4this = the Iron Giant or Noobtubin8er as Woody from Toy Story...]
Bonus Question #2: ace13 asks, "What is your
GOTY pick and why?"
I'm giving this to Assassin's Creed 3. It's an impressive
game that will gain a lot of attention for its expansive and immersive world.
As an Arawak, it's great to know that we in Indian country have another
Amerindian hero in gaming that isn't a caricature as well, since we can literally
count them with one hand. Mass Effect 3 is tugging at my heartstrings also.
[SAINT: Mass Effect 3 is tugging at a lot of
hearts for Game of the Year. I think it will probably win, which I'm okay with,
but I'd also be happy to see a game like X-COM surprise everybody and pull it
off. I don't know that Assassin's Creed 3 is going to have enough steam at this
point...and then of course there is Halo 4 to consider. I don't think we have to
worry about Black Ops II though. Regardless of what happens, there have been
some exceptional games released this year.]
Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Would you
rather have a job you really like or one that pays really well? Explain why."
I would view a job as being more of a duty given my
health situation rather than a leisure, so it would be the latter. One of my
medicines alone costs more than one grand without insurance, which I am
currently unable to afford because I'm unemployed - I use a patient assistance
program to acquire it. In the long run, it would be a job I would need to pay
[SAINT: Well, that
definitely makes sense and demonstrates on a personal level the motivation
behind how some view job opportunities. I've never really had to deal with
anything like that and it's unfortunate that you have to. There was a time when
I would've agreed with your outlook. I've always had this philosophy of - they
call it work for a reason. Now that I'm "experienced" - a polite way of saying
"old" - and venturing out in search of a new job, I think I'm ready to find
something where I can have fun and not worry about the corporate grind of
fretting over promotions and how much money I make. I might be living out of my
car, heh heh...but as long as I'm having fun...]
Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "Can you name
ten things you can use a pencil for besides writing?"
Well, let's see: 1) a "magic trick" (think of
the Joker); 2) drumsticks; 3) eyeliner - my mom has those; 4) unconventional
weapon or projectile - or conventional if sharpened; 5) paperweight 6) building
apparatus; 7) backscratcher; 8) makeshift dart; 9) back-to-school gift; 10)
tickling torture device.
[SAINT: Hah Hah,
the conventional/unconventional remark made me LOL. Very creative response, I
must say. The question is apparently one that some people get asked during a
job interview to gauge the ability of the person being asked to respond to an out
of the ordinary question while also demonstrating their creativity too. I'd say
you passed - you're hired! I remember as a kid someone - I don't remember who -
told me you could start a fire by rubbing two pencils together. I'm here to
tell you, if it is possible, it sure isn't easy to pull off, so I'm glad start
a fire didn't make your list.]
Ask Me A Question
And I Might Just Answer It.
Orochisama LEVON asks, "Give the answer to a question no
one would ever ask you."
A special thanks to Orochisama LEVON for spending some
time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To
read more about Orochisama LEVON, view his GIO profile here.