Happy Holidays everybody!  Recent technical problems have caused this episode to be a little late, but Member Herding is back with a great episode this month.  Many of you are no doubt familiar with this episode's Herdee, as he is a very active member in the community.  In addition to his over 140 blogs and numerous reviews and projects, he has completed not one, but two 31/31s.  I know, right?  

Well, no point in waiting much longer.  In this episode of Member Herding, I would like to introduce...

GIO Name:  The Destroyer

GIO Rank:  Veteren Member - Level 13

Gaming Experience (Years playing): Around 10.

Last Game Completed: Far Cry 3 (PC)

Currently Playing: Super Mario 3D World, The Last of Us, Pikmin 3, and Fire Emblem: Awakening

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Um...I think it's because in that awful Spyro game, Dawn of the Dragon, there's an enemy called "The Destroyer", and that came back to me unconsciously when deciding my name. It also sounds cool.

And now for everyone's favorite part of Member Herding...the questions.


Remakes are becoming more and more popular, and we are sure to see some more with the birth of a new console generation upon us.  Pick one game from this generation, and one game from any generation before it, that you would like to remake.  Why that game?  What would you change about it?


Let's see, for this generation...I think my principle choice would be Xenoblade Chronicles. Don't get me wrong, I think that game is phenomenal by itself without the realistic graphics, and it doesn't need better graphics. But seeing Monolith Soft's Wii U project, I'd love to see them enhance the original game. But actually, I think my real answer is Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. The remake would be for Wii U, and would basically just be a rebuild of the whole game with models on the level of Kingdom Hearts 3. 358/2 Days doesn't look great, but it's incredibly fun, and has the best story in all of the Kingdom Hearts games as far as I'm concerned, so a remake would be amazing. As for the previous generation...well, I've always wanted to play Eternal Darkness, and the Resident Evil Remake, so I'd just have an overhaul of those. I can't say really what I would change, since I haven't played them, but I'd like to maybe see them use next-gen tech in a creative way, and just fix any bad elements of the original versions.


(Eternal Darkness is a game that I've always wanted to play too, and never got a chance. A remake would be awesome. Same with Xenoblade Chronicles. You make a good point with 358/2 Days though. For the most part, the most drastic change that comes with a remake is in the graphical department. So a game like that, that does so many things so good, but is held back a little by graphical power, would objectively be the most ripe for a remake.)


You seem to be a pretty big RPG fan.  Build us your perfect RPG.  You can use any other game as a basis, or make up your own systems with the following criteria in mind:  Graphics, Story, Party Members, Antagonists, Sidequests and Mingames.


Oh boy, this is going to be creative. Let's see, I've always been split in liking real-time RPGs and turn-based ones, but I think I'll settle with turn-based for this. The antagonist needs to be believable, and should have some personal connection to the protagonist, maybe. Story is almost always the most important thing to me, so I want one that captivates me. The story itself should be grand, possibly traversing multiple times(I'm a sucker for time-travel), but still should have some personal connection to the main character. I don't want it to only be some "chosen one" thing-that can be great, but putting in small changes to that formula can be so awesome. For the graphics, I honestly am open to anything, as long as it fits the style. I think I'd rather lean away from hyper-realistic though-it can be a bit distracting. Oh, big, BIG thing-make all party members ones I want to immediately have in my party. Make them hide secrets, be real people, and not just "the healer", or "the tank". By that, I mean, don't let the characters be fill-ins. In Xenoblade, each of the party-members sort of fit a cliche roll, but I loved them all (well, maybe not Melia as much) and enjoyed them as characters as well as in battle, instead of just the latter. Sidequests? They've gotta be enjoyable, and add something meaningful to the story, or be their own meaningful stories in themselves, like those in Chrono Trigger. As for mini-games, I don't really ever see them as being critical, so I'm indifferent to their inclusion. One last thing: the game should be balanced well. I don't want to have to fight fifty battles in order to level up enough to advance to the next area. If I fight every enemy I encounter along the way, I should be leveled enough to have a bit of challenge at a boss battle, not a complete wash in it's favor.


(All good points. I'm with you on the real-time/turn-based thing, I've seen such good examples of both, it would be hard for me to pick if I was designing my own, although I think I would lean real-time. I totally agree about the characters...cardboard characters will kill a story for me faster than anything, so that too would be high on my list. I would throw out Final Fantasy VI as a perfect example of a group having both form and function. Chrono Trigger is an excellent system to emulate as far as sidequests go...they did it so well, making them something you wanted to do, instead of something you had to do. I would argue, just a little bit, about minigames. They don't need to be invasive or mandatory, but having something to spice the gameplay up, whether it is an arena or chocobo racing, can do wonders.)


Pick one character to represent each of the following companies in a battle royale: Nintendo, Square, Capcom, Sega, BioWare and Valve. In which order would they perish, and who would be the last one standing.


Hm...Nintendo, I'm going to go with Shulk from Xenoblade. Square Enix is going to be represented by Lightning, so I get a female in there. I'd love to put Phoenix Wright for Capcom, but I think a better fit would be Wesker, because Wesker is awesome, but is also evil, which is the light many people seem to see Capcom in today. Sega...um, Sonic I guess, because I honestly can't think of any other real other good Sega representative to fit in this battle. I know nothing about Dragon Age, and Shepard is kinda overrated, so let's get Wrex Urdnot in there, because Wrex is awesome (and is more awesome than Garrus. I said it.). Finally, Valve...ah, who else but the mighty Gordon Freeman, because who else would represent Valve? 

As for the battle itself, I think it's clear who will be targeted immediately. Even though I like both Wrex and Sonic, they don't have much going for them in this fight besides strength and speed, respectively, so Wesker will get Sonic through his own speed, and Wrex will get knocked out from a well placed fire from the Gravity Gun, and maybe a shot from Lightning's Gunblade as well. However, that Gunblade has no chance against the Monado, so a quick duel between her and Shulk will end in the latter's victory. With three down already, Wesker will try to use his speed again to his advantage, but due to the Monado's Arts, Shulk can use them to shield himself and increase his own speed, as well as deliver the almighty Monado Buster attack to send the former S.T.A.R. member flying. Left standing are the leader of Earth's resistance, and the heir to the Monado, but in the end, the former's Crowbar gets sliced in half by the sheer power of the Monado, to leave Shulk, and Nintendo, as the last standing.


(Interesting choices. I don't know Shulk, your eventual champion, but I'm familiar with thew rest. While I agree with Sonic, both in the fact that he probably wouldn't make it long and who else are you going to take from Sega, I'm surprised that Wrex went down so fast. Freeman is crafty, but I would be very surprised to see him still standing while Wrex takes a dirt nap. I'm also a little disappointed Lightning didn't put up more of a fight, but I get your logic there. Wesker is a great choice, and your description of his role in the brawl is pretty spot on I think.)


Do you think there is a room for another console in the industry right now? Where do the Ouya, WiiU and upcoming Steam Box figure into the hierarchy right now? What would a new console need to be financially viable?


Wii U is certainly my favorite next-gen(or is it this-gen now?) console at the moment, and I've enjoyed using it very much, and I'm very, very excited for Monolith Soft's X. Unfortunately, the gaming populace doesn't seem to share this sentiment, so I see Wii U competing with One in terms of taking a second place to the PS4 this generation, due to the popularity of the new console (I will be picking one up at Infamous: Second Sun's launch myself). The Ouya was something I was never interested in, and I don't think it'll ever pick up. People think the Wii U is failing? Well, how many notable exclusives does Ouya have? None. I essentially see it as dead in the water. As for the Steam Box, I'm always intrigued by Valve's offerings, but as long as Steam is an option itself, I don't see giving up PC gaming for the box itself. Valve has already confirmed that it's titles will still come to PC, so I don't see any reason to convert. But, I will say, I LOVE that new controller of theirs-it looks amazing, and I really want to try it out. I think Valve will slowly carve out a niche over the next few years, but won't have success like the Big Three for awhile, if ever, in the console market.

A new console itself needs to have games, plain and simple. Specifically, EXCLUSIVE games. Ouya, again, has nothing going for it now due to Towerfall's move to PC and PS4, and Steam Box doesn't seem to have any exclusives yet. I stuck with the Wii and PC for years, so I think that that shows that I personally need a really big incentive to get a new system.


(I totally agree with the revealed Steam controller, it looks really slick. The Wii U...I'm torn about it. I think it is a legitimate next-gen (this-gen?) console, but it sometimes seems like Nintendo thinks they are an NBA team and they need the number one pick in the draft. A Link Between Worlds is a perfect example, that is game is just so stellar....where are the Wii U games of that quality? But I also think that too many people have written it off...I'm not betting against Nintendo. While it is still early, I think I am going to have to disagree. The Xbox One will be fine, but I think this is Sony's generation to “win”. You make a good point about the Steam Box though...why buy it? I'm sure Valve has something up their sleeves, and I do think there is a market for it, but it remains to be seen what it's real advantage will be over both other consoles, and its own PC market.)


You have reviewed a number of games for GIO.  Describe your thought process when reviewing games?  What is most important to you?  How much do you incorporate your personal feelings into your review?


Reviews seem to be, in my case, excuses to gush about a game. But also, it can just be to talk about a game itself, which I guess is more accurate. When I play a game, I want to enjoy the experience I am having, and rate my experience off that. I had a lot of trouble with Dead Space 3, so I gave that game a lower score than others because the experience itself was not as enjoyable. My biggest focus is almost always the story though-if you look at the games I've reviewed, all of them are ones with story being the center focus, save New Super Luigi U and Metal Gear Rising. If I don't enjoy the story, I doubt that I'm going to like the game. Any frustrations I encounter with gameplay are also factored in, because they detract from my enjoyment. As for bringing in my personal feelings, well, the fact that I review mostly story games is sort of part of that, I guess. I tend to think about games a lot in tune with myself, about how a character's motivations relate to mine, or maybe imagining myself doing some feat a character had done. These can bring my own enjoyment of the game up, because of that connection I make. For example, I just finished Far Cry 3, and I sort of see myself as similar to Jason, because he starts off weak and dweeb-ish, but he matures and grows stronger, which is what I've been trying to do the last couple of years with my life. That in of itself made me like the game more.


(I get that. I've had to review a few games professionally, and it is impossible to keep your personal feelings of the game out of it. Story is a big thing for me as well. I cut my teeth on Super Nintendo RPGs, so naturally as I grew up I was drawn to titles that had the same values as those games, namely story. It's always interesting to see how others critique something you are familiar with, in this case video games. You put big stock in character relateability... that's something I rarely think about when playing a game, unless it is either scary accurate or just plain awful.)


Bonus Questions


Chris Mrkvicka asks: If you could combine features or games of any console to create a super console, what would you use (i.e. controller of 360, games of SNES, media capabilites of PS3, etc.)?


Oo, I like this. Hmm...well, I like how Wii U has various controller options for most games, so I think that's something to put in, but I'd also add in the ability to use a keyboard and mouse, or possibly the Steam Controller, because I don't see using analog sticks as a viable option for first-person shooters. The games...well, let's do something twofold: the games that the 3DS has been getting, which would include backwards compatibility with DS games, and the Virtual Console library of the Wii, as it has some Nintendo classics. An online service with support on par with Xbox's (but free, and WAY better in terms of navigating), and as for the design of the console...something stylish, like the PS4, but not too-stylish, just something that says "I'm unique".


(You don't think that analog sticks are viable for first-person shooters? That's an interesting view, for sure. The Virtual Console, to me, is one of the strongest draws of a Nintendo system, and if I could incorporate it into my own dream console, you better believe I would be playing Super Mario World right now.)


Stranger asks: Handheld gaming had evolved a lot over a recently short period, from battery-draining monochrome 8-bit screens to the technological splendor of devices such as the Vita, 3DS, and various phones and tablets. Do you play handheld or mobile games? When did you start? What do you think of this medium's development as it has moved forward and where do you think it will end up? 

I play a lot of 3DS games, and if the DS library is included, it may have my favorite library of games ever, with series like Ace Attorney and Professor Layton. I never play games on my phone though, because I've never really been intrigued by any, except The Room (only on iOS, which is a no-no. I am not a fan of Apple.) and the Dead Space game (which I played on my mom's iPad only for the story). I technically started with handheld gaming, and gaming in general, in 2003, when I got a GameBoy Advance SP for Christmas with a Jimmy Neutron game. It wasn't until I played Pokémon FireRed that I really started gaming a lot. 

Both the DS and 3DS are not very powerful compared to their rivals, the PSP and the Vita, respectively, but they show the uniqueness of handheld gaming compared to console gaming. It is hard to believe that ten years ago the best we had for portable gaming was Metroid Fusion and other notable games, but handheld gaming has progressed at an arguably faster rate than console gaming, which I'm happy with, because of the great games that this has resulted in. While I think Sony's idea of portable gaming is just going to stay the same, with creating a less-powerful version of their home console with some mobile-exclusive features, Nintendo will probably stick with the DS series for a few more years. It's possible they've tried to think of new ideas for portable gaming, which I'm completely open to, knowing their creativity. I don't know what will happen when they get as powerful as home consoles are now, but I think that handheld gaming will develop to become more and more connected with home consoles, like Sony has been pushing with Vita and PS4.

(Yeah, handheld gaming isn't going anywhere. The Vita is certainly impressive, but it's hard to argue against Nintendo ruling the roost as far as handlhelds go. Mobile gaming is super interesting to me...I don't particularly like the micro-transaction powered culture it is currently endorsing, but it really does have the potential to change gaming permanently, and possibly render traditional handheld gaming irrelevant. Whether that will actually happen or not remains to be seen...)

Saint asks: Which PS4 and/or Xbox 1 exclusive title are you least and most excited about?

The PS4 exclusive I care about most is probably Infamous, because Kingdom Hearts isn't an exclusive anymore, and I don't know what else I'm excited for on the system, because I unfortunately haven't gotten to play Uncharted, so I can't say I'm excited for the PS4 game from Naughty Dog (I really respect them as a developer though). The one I'm least excited for...hm...I guess DriveClub, if we want to ignore minor games like the eventual sports game. I just like Mario Kart.

For Xbox One, it's no contest that it's Quantum Break. I loved Max Payne, and Alan Wake, and am looking forward to what Remedy puts out next. However, I'm pretty sure I'm not ever really going to pick up a One, and Quantum Break will most likely come to PC at some point a la Alan Wake, so I don't have to worry about that. Least excited...well, I honestly don't care about TitanFall, because I honestly thought I was watching Call of Duty gameplay when I first saw it, and I don't like first-person shooters on consoles. But to be realistic...um...Ryse, because of the apparent mess that it is, according to Dan Ryckert.

(I haven't gotten to play Uncharted either...sad. And I'm not much of a racing nut, but I thought that DriveClub looked really, really cool. For me, I think it is Jonathan Blow's the Witness. When I found out that was coming to PS4, I think that was the point I decided to buy a PS4. Quantum Break looks really cool too. I get you with TitanFall to an extent...don't get me wrong, I think it looks awesome, but I don't feel as hyped about it as everybody else. Honestly, I think Deadrising 3 looks like the best launch game, on any new console, so I might have to go with that.)



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