When I took over Member Herding, Saint was nice enough to send me the list of previous Herdees.  While I already knew who last month's recipient was going to be before I even got the job, I went in with a completely open mind as to potential suitors.  However, as I was perusing the list, it seemed to me that there had to be a mistake.  Someone was missing.  Then, a certain long-time GIO member messaged me with a nomination, and it hit me who was missing from the list.  This blogger's Top 25 lists were some of the first blogs I remember reading when i first came here, and many of you have had a chance to meet this man in person.  

You may have guessed already who I'm talking about, but if not, it is my great pleasure to introduce to the Herd...



GIO Rank:  Veteren Member - Level 13

Gaming Experience (Years playing):

Probably around 14 years

Last Game Completed:
The Wolf Among Us

Currently Playing:
Pokemon Y

Origin of GIO Profile Name:
They're my initials.


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

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 3 Bonus questions + 1 Special question

When evaluating a game, rank the following criteria in how important they are to you:  accessibility, replay value, fun, story, graphics, gameplay.  For each category, give an example of a game that would nail a perfect 10 in it, or be the closest possible example.

1.Story 2.Fun 3.Replay Value 4.Graphics. 5. Gameplay. 6.Accessibility

For story, there are many games I could chose from that have stories that captured me. But for me The Walking Dead had the best story I've encountered in a good long while. I could not stop. Once I completed an episode, I was eager to learn more of the following hell Lee and Clementine had to endure.

The Tomb Raider remake was the most fun I've had in a game in a good long while. Very rarely nowadays has a game been able to really capture me, and Tomb Raider was the latest that I've been able to play from start to finish within 48 hours of getting the game.

Fallout 3 would be the game that has the highest replay value for me. No matter when I play it, I still remember where everything is, what to do, how to use my skill points smart.  If a game I have not played in two years can get me to remember all of that work when I start it up again, you know I've played it multiple times, for long periods of time.

When the textures have loaded, Dead Island was a gorgeous game. Absolutely stunning. just stepping out onto that beach for the first time, seeing the waves of the ocean, the glare of the sun, the rotting corpses on the beach, it was breathtaking.

Not a lot of games have gameplay that can really be outstanding or great. Mass Effect 3 was a shooter that felt right and natural, despite being a futuristic shooter. I've never been more satisfied running for cover or shooting a gun in a game other than there.

Minesweeper. Easiest game to find, and to play for anyone.

(Oh man, I loved The Walking Dead too.  It blew my mind when I played it, and as soon as I completed Episode 5,  I immediately took it to a friends house and watched him play it all the way through.  Tomb Raider was a very fun game, and one that gripped me too.  It's odd though.  As much as I loved it then, it seems hardly memorable now to me for some reason.  Nothing really sticks out to me, for whatever reason.  Fallout 3 is another good choice, because there is so much to do, especially counting the DLC.  I have a complicated relationship with Dead Island, but there is no denying how beautiful the titular island was, even if the character models were underwhelming in my opinion.  I also agree about ME3, but that could be because of all the hours I've put into that series.  And hmm, I never considered Minecraft, but you are certainly right.)

Let's go through the wormhole:  Who is your favorite developer?  Which game of theirs is your favorite?  Which character in that game is your favorite?  What is it about this developer do you admire most?  What facet of the game is your favorite.  What about that character do you find most fascinating.  Finally, pick one game from that developer that you found to be a disappointment, if any.  Why?

BioWare, hands down. While Knights Of The Old Republic was the game that made me fall in love with them, the Mass Effect trilogy is the defining game from them, more specifically Mass Effect 3. I get bashed about this so much, but Kaidan Alenko is actually my favorite character from the series. I honestly can't fully explain what I love about him, but ever since the first game, I was always like "He's just so cute, and adorable, and hnnnng." I guess it's a crush type of thing. But yes, he was my romance for ME3.

What I loved about the game, and the entire series, was how about every choice from ME 1 and 2 came into some sort of play in the third entry. Just trying to imagine how all of that ties in, in some way is mind boggling.  Most notably the instance with Conrad Verner (The crazed fan) in ME3. I won't get into spoilers, but finding out how helping someone from ME1 can help with that situation.

I'm not saying I hated the game, since I manged to put several hours, and nearly 100 %'ing the game in achievements, but Dragon Age II was a little bit of a letdown from it's predecessor. Combat, artstyle, and character creation. I had a few gripes with this title. I loved how everything looked in Origins. So having that change from the looks of the Quinari, was wrong to me. They shouldn't have done that. Along with how everyone looked. The artstyle made things look abnormal. The combat felt better from Origins, but it also failed. Whenever I tried to hide from an archer, It always hit me, even when I was in another room. And really, the whole reason I fell for Origins was the origin stories. How many different Origin's there were was amazing, and how complex all of them were. Just having the human Hawke was not satisfying.

(Huge BioWare fan here, as well.  While I preferred ME2 over ME3, it was a slight distinction, as they are both excellent games.  I hate to say it, but I would probably be one of the people bashing the Kaiden choice, haha.  I've always hated him, but hey, to each their own.  Dragon Age 2 is such a spot-on answer.  I actually liked playing it, but all your points are dead-on.  I hope they do a much better job with the next Dragon Age, and the origin stories should definitely be a part of that.)

Your page reveals that acting is a passion of yours, and your favorites list is filled with scary movies.  Pick six fellow GIOers, and put them into these standard scary movie roles:  first person to die, comic relief, the bad guy, person that gets out alive, the romantic interest, and the skeptic.

Oh, my. You're trying to get people to hate me, aren't you? Ok, typical horror movie cliches. Surprised and happy you didn't go with the Cabin In The Woods formula. (Which I'm glad you didn't)
The first to die would probably be Joyful Penguin. He's the opposite of a horror fan, hates the blood and gore, and is the perfect candidate for being the first victim.
The comic relief is without a doubt thejourneyman66. Just follow him on Twitter, and you'll understand what I mean.
The bad guy could possibly be Caudex. Maybe killing people for Cthulhu? He is a Cthulhu cultist...
The person that gets out alive has to be ace13. She's one of a kind. Strong, confident, more cunning than anyone here. An excellent candidate for the next Laurie Strode.
The romantic interest would be Saturday Morning Replay. He's a somewhat hopeless romantic from what I've seen, and him and Ace get along perfectly, being the favorite twins on Twitter. (Secret ship, sorry)
The skeptic is Hannibal. He's always questioning my motives and such, (Along with my poor taste in everything. Just ask anyone about my taste in "music")

(I love these questions because they are so hard, but you always get good insight on fellow GIOers.  All excellent choices, and I think we should all take a moment to lament the Penguin.)

Tell us a little more about your GIO Half World Tour.  That was just crazy awesome.  How much trouble was it organizing something like that?  What was the craziest experience of the whole trip?  Any plans to do something like that again?

Honestly, there was very, very little planning in the trip. About two weeks before the trip happened, me and GodOfIrony were talking, and it went from joking around to actual serious planning. It originally started with two stops, the Kentucky visit to see Stranger, iDreamRunner, and Papercamm, then Michigan to see Irony. The other stops were somewhat planned as I kept looking at where everyone else was. It went from those two stops, to going to all kinds of places. It really wasn't any trouble organizing all that much, other than getting directions and times/dates of when to meet the people. Most of them were planed days before I met them, but most of my meetups happened, with about three or four needing to be cancelled.

I do want to do something else similar., and actually did, I just never blogged about it. I added First Warden Dragon, and actual photo with markus1142 this time 'round, TOGNick, and the most significant meetup ever, ace13, considering she was the 25th person i met. And that 25 is important to me, since she commented on all 25 of my Top 25 blogs from way back when.I'll want to visit a lot of these guys again, along with those I missed, and those along the East and West Coast. I do have a few more planned before the end of the year, and a few more in the beginning on next year. Nothing as big as this trip, but there will be more "Sasquatch Sightings", as TurdFurgy calls it when I meet GIOers.

The craziest thing I ever did on the entire freaking trip, was my time with superkingc77 (Now Sakareon, if I recall correctly) I am not a Brony. Not by any means. But when I met him, I went to the Brony convention, Fiesta Equestria, that he was helping run. I actually enjoyed my time at the con, seeing as it was the very first Con I've been to. Although I hated the Pony theme to it,, I enjoyed all of it.

(Well, if you ever come through Arkansas, look me up.  We really do have a community unlike any other, and the fact that you took such a long trip to see so many of them is so cool.  It also made for a pretty epic blog, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who is interested to see more written accounts of your exploits.)

Despite, or perhaps because of, high-profile female characters like Samus Aran, Lara Croft and Jill Valentine, many still feel that female characters are underserved in games.  What's your view on the subject?  Is there any changes you think need to be made by the industry as a whole? 

Honestly, there needs to be a few more leading ladies out there to help shine the way for female gamers. I know several, and they could use some idols to look up to. Of course they enjoy being as the male protagonists, but having that leading lady that speaks to you, that really becomes your role model, can help and be a moral booster for them. There are too few high-profile characters like the ones mentioned above, and there needs to be more. I enjoy playing as a man in my games, but there's some where it's more fun being a woman.
However, there's also another part that makes me worried when I play a game that has a female protagonist. They tend to over sexualize them just to get guys to buy the game. Lollipop Chainsaw is a perfect example of this. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the hell out of this game. But I was also uncomfortable at time with how they used Juliet, your character, in sexual ways. it got too disturbing and creepy. Like when I was purchasing the game, the cashier was trying to sell me on the game by mentioning there was an achievement for looking up her skirt. If I had not already gave them my money, I would have put that game down and left. Things like that disturbs me, and the general audience those games are targeted for. It's aimed for the lonely losers who just want to stare at a hot blonde in a cheerleading outfit.
If more games went the route Tomb Raider or Metroid does with their characters, having more female leads would be exiciting. Rather than picking up a game that's basically, "Look at my breasts while I kill stuff", I'd rather see more games that are "We're in trouble, help me survive." like Tomb Raider did with the new version of Lara Croft. She wasn't just an Indiana Jones knockoff with pointy breasts. She was a survivor. She was a fighter. She felt like a real person.  The industry needs to change trying to sell on sex, and trying to sell on story. That's one thing I tend to worry about in the future of some games. Especially with the release of the game 'Girl Fight'. There's some serious issues with the industry, and change is needed. Hopefully sooner than later.

( I think it's an interesting question.  And you make a valid point:  it's not enough to just trot out generic (or straight up offensive)  female characters and call it a day.  What's worse is the way our industry as a whole can treat women.  I've heard horror stories (former Game Informer Editor Meagan Marie wrote a particularly engaging one) about how girls have been treated by so-called industry professionals that were appalling. On a personal note, the lack of female characters sucks because I almost always choose to play as a female character in games.  Nobody messes with my femme fatale on GTA Online, so I must be doing something right.)  

From Chris Mrkvicka:  Imagine that you have 1 year left to live. You will have money to play any game that you desire. What games would be on you bucket list, what order would they be in, and why?

There are five games in my bucket list I would want to play one last time before I die. In order:
Kingdom Hearts - People may favor the second one over the first one, but for me, Kingdom hearts is where my heart is. The very first time I ever played the game was when my sister was struggling with the dragon Maleficent boss battle. I picked up the controller, and beat her on the very first try, without playing the game before. That accomplishment made me fall in love.
Knights Of The Old Republic- when I was a kid, I was a die hard Star Wars fan. I would play anything with the words "Star Wars" in it. I picked this up like every other game, not knowing what to expect. And I was blown away. This was technically my very first RPG.And it made me love the genre.
Paper Mario-I was a Nintendo child. Mario was my main man back in the glory days of doing nothing but gaming and school. The entire premise of playing as Mario in paper form was amusing and satisfying for some reason. But with good reason, considering how many hours I sunk in.
Halo 3- While Combat Evolved may be one of the best Halo games out there, me and my cousin had the most memories coming from Halo 3. I posted a blog last year about my cousin and my remembering him, and our hayday of Halo. And how we played every Halo game for the first time together, with 4 being released while he was/is serving. I would play Halo 3's campaign one last time with anyone from here willing to play it straight through without stopping.
The Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion- and with my final game, I would of course spend the rest of my final days sinking all the time I have left into an RPG. And the specific RPG that always brings a smile to my face no matter the circumstances. I could literally walk around the entire world in Cyrodiil, just looking at everything. Not doing anything else, no story, no quests, no fighting, just wandering. That's how I would end my days. Just wandering one of the most beautiful, spectacular, and heartwarming worlds I've ever layed eyes on.

(Interesting.  Not going to go with a single game that is new to you?  I think I would have at least one new experience on my bucket list, but the games you picked are all pretty great.  The only one I've never played is Paper Mario, but if it is anything like Super Mario RPG, I could get behind it.  Speaking of Halo 3, I did just get it for free the other day...)

From Tim Gruver:  Video-game violence is always a hot topic in the industry, especially in a year as violent as 2013. As a gamer, when do you believe that violence crosses the line from making a game fun to being unpleasantly grim?

Really, it depends on the type of game. For fantasies such as Dragon Age or Mass Effect, those are, well, fantasies. Space RPG, with a medieval RPG. The violence can get pretty heated in them both, especially the gore in Dragon Age, but neither are what I would go as far to saying are "realistic" in a way, since neither is possible to happen. (At least not yet in Mass Effect's case. Please let a Turian abduct me) Those can be fun, in a sort of weird and twisted way. (I dripped buckets of blood in DA)
However, the games trying to be a tad bit more realistic, like Saint's Row or Call Of Duty, can almost cross the line, but yet not pushing the boundaries to the extreme. CoD can come close to being realistic, but int he end, it's just a simple way of blowing off steam by backstabbing your friends when they're not looking.  Saints Row tried to be realistic in the first two games, almost being a Grand Theft Auto clone. Just simple gangbangers trying to take over their turf. However, as the series proceeded, it moved away to more extreme insanity, making the violence fun. And fun where you run around with a baseball bat shaped like male genetalia, and grenades that are literally farts in a jar.
Then there's the game that pushes the boundaries too far to me. Grand Theft Auto has always caused controversy, and with reason. The newest GTA, Grand Theft Auto V, pushed everything from being fun, to being down-right uncomfortable. It tries too hard to be real, while trying to show it's  just a game. It has those moments where it's unrealistic and whatnot, but then there's parts of it that goes too far. One scene in particular had me so uncomfortable, I stopped playing because it got too grim. (Trying to avoid spoilers, but it involves Trevor, and a certain kidnap victim you, well, kidnapped) Scenes like that takes it from being enjoyable, to being too dark and unnecessary. Almost to the point where it deserves the criticism it gets.
Though to every parent buying games for their kids; learn to parent right and look at the freaking ratings and what it's rated for. You're the idiots buying it, and the info is right there. Your fault, own up.

(Yeah, like most gamers, I've never bought the fact that video games are in any way directly responsible for violence, but you are absolutly right, some games these days are really pushing the envelope as far as violence.  It's weird, that particular scene with Trevor didn't faze me at all, but I was seriously shocked when I violently banged my head on a rock as Lara Croft.  I've never considered Call of Duty particularly violent, but Dead Space gave me literal nightmares with some of its scenes.  I suppose it all depends on personal experiences, and how you relate to a particularly violent piece.)

From Stranger:  You're in a zombie apocalypse with any three fictional characters of your choice. Who are they and how's your chances of survival?

Kaidan Alenko-Mass Effect series
Lara Croft-Tomb Raider (2013 remake)
Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil series)
Chances of Survival: 80% chance of living
Kaidan is my top pick, of course, since I'm going to need a hump buddy. Everyone shacks up during the apocalypse, why not join the fun? And besides, with his biotic abilities, he would be useful when fighting a horde of zombies. Lara is a top pick for me since she's a survivalist. Her entire journey fighting through the wilderness on her own shows she's more than capable of handling herself. With her ability to sneak in and out undetected, she would be able to slip in and out of places to gather supplies easily. Along with her overpowered bow, she will have no trouble righting off a zombie or twenty. Then of course we would need a zombie expert. Leon have been through hell and back, and with his knowledge of the infected, and ability to kill B.O.W's, he would be the excellent choice to have alongside Lara and Kaidan. That and dat hair.

(Sure, Kaiden is great eye candy, and I'm sure his biotics will come in handy, but his constant nagging would drive me crazier than any zombie ever could.  I'm sorry; I'll stop bashing your man now.  Lara can definitely handle herself, but I wonder if 2013 Lara could withstand the emotional toll of a zombie apocalypse?  Leon is, of course, an excellent choice, and his hair could serve as a rallying cry for those times when morale starts to falter.)

Finally, ask me a question and I just might answer it.

Compared to when you first joined GameInformer Online, how different is the community then to the community we have now, and would you change anything about it?

(Oooh, good question.  The biggest change is probably in the people.  There are still a few people around from when I first started blogging here about two years ago, but the majority of the first people I met here have slowed down or disappeared.  I don't know if it is just me not being involved in the right places, but it seems like I see less community events than before, although the overall level of interaction with my fellow GIOers has gone up.  The only changes I would make would be on the technical side:  a notification system, a chat system, more blogging support from the magazine.  The front page could use some fresh faces, but it would be even cooler to see some of out bloggers get recognized in the magazine, although the newsletter is still a cool way to support bloggers in the community.)

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