When I first started blogging here at Game Informer Online, I was pretty nervous.  I played a lot of video games and did a lot of writing, but so did a bunch of other people, and I would be judged here.  Most likely very harshly, with words like mediocre, derivative, and "Superman 64-like" being thrown around liberally.  Of course, it wasn't like that, and I ended up finding one of the nicest and most supportive communities around.  Luckily, I found my niche early on: Top 10 lists.

While I certainly wasn't the first to do a Top 10 list, I think I might have had the widest range of topics for my time.  While I prided myself on picking eclectic topics, I'm not sure even I could match some of the wacky and awesome topics our next Herdee has come up with.  I don't blog as much as I used to, but plenty of other excellent bloggers have taken up the slack.  This next one in particular made Top 10 lists look easy, but that is far from his only talent.  It is my honor to present to the Herd...


GIO Name: xl9

GIO Rank:  Veteren Member - Level 13

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 10

Last Game Completed: Sonic Generations (Just last night!)

Currently Playing: Well, just started up Sonic 4 Episodes 1 and 2. Hoping they're better than what the reviews have said.

Origin of GIO Profile Name: When I was a kid, we used to play 'Secret Agent' on the playground. I thought X was a cool letter so I screamed "XL!" I don't know where that L came from, honestly. Oh, and I was 9. So that's where the 9 comes from.

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


Obviously you do a bunch of Top 10 lists.  Was there any that were particularly hard for you to do, for whatever reason?

Hmm... Top 10 Scarecrows was tough, mostly because I spent about 6 or 7 hours brainstorming. And I've had to have spent over 10 hours in a new Top X blog I'm working on.

Some of the Top 10s I've done have actually been so hard that I've never got enough material to finish them! Seriously! Top 10 Haunted Houses, Top 10 Slashers, Top 10 Strategists, Top 10 'Stage Fatalities' (Ways to kill enemies through stages), Top 10 Kaiju, Top 10 Creepy Things that Chase You, Top 10 Cruise Ships, and Top 10 Centaurs simply don't have enough material. I may get a bolt of inspiration to finish these, but as of now consider them vaporware.

I know the struggle, brother.  I have somewhere a list of Top 10s I wanted to do, but could never flesh out, while others I had to scrounge really hard for the last two or three entries.  The sad part is that one of those late additions almost always makes its way into the top three somehow.  I'm not going to lie, I would love to read a Top 10 Creepy Things That Chase You.  That sounds awesome.)

You have done 4(!) 31/31s.  That is just simply incredible.  What inspired you to go through that four times?  Was it difficult?  Do you plan on adding a fifth anytime soon?  (For those of you who aren't familiar, a 31/31 is 31 blogs in 31 days.)

Well, I did the first one to hone my writing skills. I did the second one because nobody else had done two 31/31s at the time. I did the third one because The Destroyer was doing it, and I figured I got nothing to lose. And I did it again in January just for fun.

Oh, it was difficult like you wouldn't believe. There were plenty of days where I wanted to give up, and I actually did in 31/31 2. Dealing with family issues and depression hasn't really helped my 31/31s either, haha.

Oh, and I am doing a fifth one. Well, not 31/31 but more 20/20 in anticipation for MGS: Ground Zeroes. All Metal Gear reviews, Top 10s, and Features for 20 days. So if you like Metal Gear, you have something to look forward to!

(I am seriously on awe of that.  Even at my peak, I was luck to have more than one blog per week.  Having one every day, especially a quality one...I don't envy your task, friend.  But it is an awesome thing, and I'm glad terrific writers like yourself are carrying on the tradition.  Nice, I'm a huge fan of Metal Gear, and it sounds like you are too.  I bet you are excited about this months cover as well then!  Can't wait to see what you come up with.)


You are a fan of the Simpsons, Red vs. Blue, Deadliest Warrior, South Park and Star Trek, all of which have video game adaptations, or are based on a video game.  What is the best game that was based off another IP?  What is the worst?

The best game based on another IP is... Uh... Hm. That's a tough one. I'm going to play it safe and say Telltale's the Walking Dead or Knights of the Old Republic. Or maybe Batman Arkham City.

The worst? Superman 64. ET is at least funny. There is nothing funny about Superman 64.

(Haha, I referenced Superman 64 in the intro and alas, it pops up again.  All great choices.  I loved all three of those games, and as far as pure adaptations go, it is hard to beat any of them.  The Walking Dead conveyed the tone of the comic and show so perfectly.  KOTOR expanded the fiction in ways previously thought unimaginable, and Arkham City captures the feeling of being Batman just so good.  I always feel like Rockstar's PS2 offering The Warriors is an underrated adaptation as well.  It's hard to argue against Superman 64 also...maybe E.T.?)

Do you think there is a clear winner in the console race right now, or is it too early to tell?  What advice would you give Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony if they asked you?

No clear winner in the console race, and I truly believe that Mario Kart and Smash Bros could turn around the Wii U's future. If those don't save the Wii U, I would cut Nintendo out of the home console race (As much as I hate to).

If Sony approached me, I'd tell them to break out God of War. Ascension looked utterly brilliant on the PS3, but a PS4 God of War could put the nail in the "Graphics Race" coffin. For Microsoft, I would tell them to make a true 3D Platformer. They got Rare on their sides, the second they steal the platformer market they would have defeated Nintendo. For Nintendo, I would tell them to seriously consider merging with SEGA or at least making SEGA second party. It could really work wonders for them.

(I too would hate to see Nintendo cut out of the race, but maybe that is just the nostalgia in me.  You aren't the only one banking on Mario Kart I wager, but I feel like Smash Bros. is probably their most important upcoming project, outside of a new Mario, Zelda or (God forbid) Metroid game.  I have to imagine we will see a PS4 God of War sooner rather than later, and I promise, you aren't the only one wondering where Rare has been (outside of designing the still-awful avatars).  The Nintendo/Sega partnership has been a huge talking point lately, and I have to think both sides have at least considered it.  I grew up in the heyday of the Genesis/SNES battle though, so it still seems a bit weird to me.  It would be like if Microsoft and Sony teamed up...it just feels unnatural.)


With the upcoming PlayStation Now, and services like the Virtual Console and Xbox Live bringing some old classics back, what is your take on retro gaming?  Is it worth bringing old titles to newer systems, or should we be focusing on what is coming over the horizon?  If you could remake one title in HD, what would it be?  

I wasn't around for the SNES and NES, but I have been catching up through downloadable stores. Some of them hold up well, others are tough to get in to without Nostalgia goggles.

Yes, it is ALWAYS worth bringing back old games. If you don't, most gamers will just emulate them. While it's good to think of new releases, you got nothing to lose by re-releasing old games.

I wrote a Top 10 Games That Need A HD Remake a long while back, but I would switch the places of Number 2 and Number 1. We need a Morrowind remake, but with new graphics and combat that isn't based on die rolls in a real time combat game. Just don't dumb down the mechanics, that would ruin the whole point of Morrowind.

(Very true, the concept of nostalgia goggles is spot on.  I can't tell you how many times I have exposed my friends to a "classic", only to find out it wasn't quite as good as I remembered, or worse, that I'm the only one who feels it still holds up.  Although I love the Elder Scrolls, I never played Morrowind.  I have a number of friends who swear by it though, so an HD remake would be the perfect vehicle to catch gamers like myself who let it slip by.)


Bonus Questions: 

Saint asks:  Top Ten list blogs seem to be popular. Why do you suppose that is? Pick ten members of the community and describe them in one word.

Top 10s are popular because they're an easy way to not just express your opinion, but to also give insight in to lesser known games. Writing Top 10 heroes would get you to put on cliche answers, but strange Top 10s can draw out some lesser known titles.

And for ten members? Hmm...

10-Mray901: Bro-tier (It counts, I swear!)

9-ParadigmtheFallen: Opinionated (In a good way, though)

8-Eric Watson: Ten

7-DJH: Nice (As in Nice Guy. One word is pretty tough)

6-Saint: Professional

5-thegodofwine7: Best

4-SaturdayMorningReplay: Friendly

3-ResidentHazard: Knowledgeable

2-Tim Gruver: Talented

1-The Destroyer: Insane

(Hahaha, that is a perfect Saint question.  And a great answer by the way, especially the "best" answer ;).  It's never easy putting your fellow GIOers into boxes like that, but you did an admirable job.  And as far as I'm concerned, bro-tier is totally one word, although I'm not 100% sure what it means...)

Juanolo asks:  As we've seen so far, most of the next gen titles have been good, but not great. What game do you think will be the next big thing in gaming?

I'm really holding out for Watch_Dogs to wow me. If it doesn't end up living up to the hype (Which is sadly more than likely), a PS4 God of War could wow. Or the Xbox One could have a true Banjo Threeie and have me die from pure joy.

(I've heard some shaky news on the Watch_Dogs front, so I hope everything is okay there. Like most everybody else, I'm pretty excited about it too.  I hope everything is okay over there.  I am going to have to agree about Banjo-Threeie (works as good as anything else, I suppose).  The first two are just so good...I want to see if Rare still has "it", and if they do, why hasn't this game came out yet?  Nuts and Bolts was fine...but still, I'm right there with you.)

Banjo Kazooie

´╗┐Finally, ask me anything and I may just answer.

xl9 asks: So you've wrote a lot of Top 10s in your time, what are your Top 10 favorite Top 10 lists you wrote?

(Ha, you know, this isn't the first time I've been asked this question.  Saint posed it to me when I was herded, long ago.  I think I am still going to have to go with my original answer, but I'll add a couple for old times's sake:  Top 10 Gaming CommandmentsTop 10 Best Things About Skyrim (which I just checked and has a crazy 21,000 views) and I'll cheat by adding 9 Things We've All Done.)

A special thanks to xl9 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about xl9, view his GIO profile here.