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Veteran Member - Level 11
You might want to grab a snack
and use the bathroom before you tackle this edition of Member Herding. It’s, uh…rather
lengthy. But it’s good. I enjoyed it and I admire the person interviewed this
week…definitely an interesting individual. The questions this week took more of
a philosophical approach; if you’ve read some of this person’s blogs or if you
understand the meaning of their name…you might understand why.
The spotlight of this week’s
Member Herding is…
GIO Name: EuphoricEnnui
GIO Rank: Power Member - Level 8
A feeling of happiness,
confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as
A feeling of utter weariness and
discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.
And now…the questions and answers…
1. You're somewhat of a rare breed. Under
your game systems (past and present) you have N64 and PC. Assuming this is
correct, what is your favorite N64 and PC game of all time? Congratulations!
You are the one millionth customer at your local GameStop and as a prize, they
offer you a free game system of your choice (Wii, PS3 or Xbox 360). As someone
who doesn't own a current generation console, which would you choose and what
are the contributing factors that lead you to this decision.
As far as the Nintendo 64 goes,
it would have to be a toss-up between The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (OoT)
and Super Smash Bros. For me, it brings up fond memories of my childhood which,
incidentally, didn’t include me having a Nintendo 64 at all. I didn’t get the
N64 until after Donkey Kong 64 was released. But I can still remember the day I
played OoT at a Best Buy. That’s actually one of the earliest memories I have
and probably my very first experience with any video game ever. Super Smash
Bros. also has many fond memories attached to it because it was the first and
only game my sister and I ever played together and could play together for
hours on end.
I’m actually pretty new to the
whole PC gaming scene. I didn’t get a decent computer until about two years
ago. But since then, I’ve played all sorts of games on it. However, my all time
favorite has been my experience with Mass Effect 1 and 2. I just love the whole
“create your own adventure” feel. It truly feels like a unique experience after
having played both my version of Commander Sheppard and my sister’s.
To be honest, none of the current
gen systems have really appealed to me to the point that I’ve felt compelled to
go out and buy them. That’s not to say I don’t think they don’t have good
experiences to offer. I think they all have great advantages, however if I had
to choose, I’d go with the PS3. A lot of the games on Xbox 360 tend to be
either ported or started off on the PC anyway. The Wii has some great titles
but sometimes quality over quantity just doesn’t cut it if you want something
for the long run. Plus, since the PS3 doubles as a Blue-ray player, I can watch
some of my favorite movies in all their high-def glory…And the games are pretty
fun as well.
[SAINT: I’m actually finally getting around
to playing Mass Effect. It’s a great game. I think I like KOTOR better, but
that’s probably just because of the affiliation with Star Wars. There are a few
times in Mass Effect that I have just stood there staring at my ship though; I
actually feel like Commander Sheppard, LOL. Hopefully I didn’t set you up for
any personal attacks with the “pick a console” question…but all valid points.
Sounds like the N64 was a pretty special system for you. Sweet.]
2. Your blogs at Game Informer Online are few
but are quite popular and poised with a rather philosophical overture. One
might assume that you prefer video games with a similarly equipped storyline.
What are your thoughts on the significance of a solid story and name a couple
of games that you think sport high caliber stories.
I’d like to say that the story in a game is
everything, but that wouldn’t ring entirely true if you were to look at some of
my favorite games (Crysis anyone). However, the story is extremely important.
While I don’t think an excellent storyline is necessary to have a fun
experience with a game, I think it does raise the game to new levels. When you
have a good storyline, that barrier between reality and the game world can be
blurred to the point of almost non-existence. You feel for the different
characters. You grow a relationship with your in-game partner. You grow to hate
the antagonist. For those few hours that you spend in the game, you aren’t just
playing as Jack or Sheppard. You become them. When that happens,
saving the “world” takes on a whole new meaning.
At this point, anybody can guess what I think
are good examples of a solid storyline (*cough Bioshock and Mass Effect*).
However, there are also others that I think represent the epitome in engrossing
storylines such as Heavy Rain (yes, I’ve played quite a bit of that game),
Knights of the Old Republic, System Shock, Half Life 2, and even OoT (I’m
probably a bit biased on that last one).
Some of those games are pretty old. But I
think another important factor in having a good storyline is the ability to
stand the test of time. These older games will continue to be placed on top of
a pedestal, even if the themes become cliché because of the fact that they
helped to set the bar in excellent video game story telling. Those newer games
will also most likely be remembered, not just for their solid game play, but
also because of their stories.
So long as video games continue to exist, I
firmly believe that. After all, when someone picks up a copy of Hamlet, reads
through it, and understand everything, you’ll never hear them say “they call
this a play?” From my experience, most can only say “Wow” if they can pick
their jaw up from off the ground. (I’m a literary major…I’m probably being
biased here too LOL.)
[SAINT: I’m with you on the significance of
story. I think this is one area some games really suffer from these days; they try
to be so sensational and extraordinary that it actually hurts the translation.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with a simple story…I don’t always have
to save the world from total annihilation for it to be a good story. BTW – I think
I’m in trouble interviewing a literary major and trying to keep a page limit.]
musicians aren't big fans of games like Rockband and Guitar Hero because they
say the games are nowhere near as complex as playing a real musical instrument.
As a musician, what are your thoughts on music games? The new Rockband 3
includes a guitar featuring six strings instead of buttons and is supposed to
model a real guitar. Do you think this arrangement is going to be successful
and be anything like playing a real guitar?
When music games really started taking off, I
considered it a nice way to introduce people to music they otherwise would
never have heard. Back in high school, I had quite a few friends who knew
little to nothing outside the realms of rap and hip-hop. But when those games
started coming out, I found that more and more of those same friends were now
downloading Alice Cooper and the Ramones onto their mp3 players. It was great
for quite a while because I honestly think those games assisted people in
becoming more musically open-minded.
However, there were the occasional few who
began to belittle the talents of genuine artists, claiming nonsense like “I can
play that Dragon Force song on the highest difficulty, blind-folded. Playing a
song like Hendrix’s Voodoo Child can’t possibly be that hard.” While I do think
it takes quite a bit of skill to pull off a feat like that, playing real,
earnest music on an actual guitar or drum set or whatever has so many nuances
and subtleties that can make it infinitely more difficult to perform than just
pressing buttons and strumming a toggle in sync with colored gems. Again, I’m
not saying that doesn’t also require skill. You’re really working your hand-eye
coordination on those things and the drum sets can give you an honest feel for
how it is to play on a real one. But it just doesn’t compare to the real thing.
With all that considered, I do think that a
six-string peripheral will offer people more of a chance to feel what it’s like
to play on a real instrument. I can’t say too much on it because I don’t know
all the details on what functions the peripherals will or won’t have. I think
placing strings on the guitar is definitely a step in the right direction. I
think it will have a similar effect on what these music games did originally.
They helped people grow in appreciation over music they might not have been too
familiar with. By making the gaming devices more like real instruments, I think
that will make any non-musician who picks up the game grow in appreciation for
the artists themselves.
Personally, I’d love to see the time when
video games and music are so perfectly melded together that it’ll encourage a
desire in everyone to just pick up and play. Out of all the Arts, I am of the
opinion that music has always been the most influential and thought-provoking.
To be honest, I’m not much of a music person and for the longest time I
just disregarded games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero…until I played them. Now I’m
addicted and while I still can’t play a real instrument to save my life, I have
a blast jamming out on the video game versions like I’m a real rock star.]
4. Who is
the best and worst character in Super Smash Bros and why? Tell us the story of
one of your most epic battles.
Most of my experience has been with the
original version, but I have played the other two and even placed first in a
tournament my friend threw when Brawl was released. With the first game, I’ve
always found that Link had most balance between speed, power, and versatility.
Boomerangs, bombs, and a hook shot give him great range. And if you get close
enough to even try and do some damage, you still have to contend with his
The worst character I think would have to be
Jiggly Puff. Going solo with Jiggly Puff is flat out miserable. However, she’s
great for support and setting up opponents for smash attacks. But if you’re on
your own as Jiggly Puff, it’s always a challenge.
My greatest battles though, took place during
that tournament I mentioned. While I had always been a fan of the series, these
guys had bought their Gamecubes and Wii’s for those games. Even before the
tournament was held, Brawl had been out for a few days and you can be sure they
were spending all their waking moments fighting and unlocking everything they
could find. Out of the 30 something people who played in it, I was the only one
who had absolutely no experience with the two recent iterations. So you can
imagine all their surprise when I kept working my way up through the rounds.
The tournament was set up not by using the
in-game process. At least, I can’t remember if they used it. I do remember that
it was set up in a pyramid form, starting with team battles first. I strictly
remember our hosts wanting to do that to avoid having three people duking it
out while the last guy just stayed away from the action until the opportune
moment. Playing in teams, we had no choice but to work together.
The problem was, the most likely to win was
paired with the least likely to win. Needless to say, I was the least likely to
win and one of the hosts was considered pretty much a professional. Everybody
thought I would end up pulling him down with me, especially when I chose Marth
(is he really that bad? Because I got used to his counters pretty quick and it
definitely helped). Then there was the whole fact that I was using a Mad Catz
controller that I had specifically purchased for the tournament (Give me a
break..I didn’t know how bad they were). Their fears were remedied when they
decided there would be judges on whether each team mate pulled their own weight
(talk about having faith in me as a gamer). So the first surprise came when I
managed to hold my own against the second likely to win and her (I said her)
team mate played us in the first round. I suppose not considering me much of a
threat played into our victory.
Everybody soon wised up though and started to
take me seriously. After having taken down the team most expected to win the
very first round, the other teams stopped taking chances. The battles were
fierce and as part of the rules, we couldn’t change characters between rounds.
That meant for better or for worse, I was stuck with Marth. Soon, the numbers
dwindled into one on one matches after a short intermission (some of the fights
had ended up lasting over thirty minutes!). People’s doubts in me began to
surface yet again, one competitor playing as Link offering me the first hit. I
was pretty confident in my abilities so I countered his offer by offering to
throw myself off (we were playing stock matches). He laughed and said some
nonsense about how it would be my undoing (some of them tended to get into
character…don’t even get me started on the guy who played as Pikachu). Like I
said, I was pretty confident in myself, so I did it. Guess who ended up winning
I continued winning, some matches being
closer than others, and finally there was only one last guy. Needless to say,
it was my former team mate who, ironically had chosen to play as Ike. Up until
this point, standard rules had applied, meaning the items were left alone.
However, for the final fight, items were all taken off except for the final
Without items, I quite honestly felt at a
disadvantage. Ike might be slower than Marth, but my friend was great at timing
his counters and Ike’s moves made Marth’s look like pinpricks. We were playing
on the Final Destination stage with six lives. It was the hardest fight in any
game against another player I’ve ever had. As soon as the match started, we
raced towards each other. I leapt over to land on his right to attack from the
other side, which he countered and quickly added a grab to followed by a flurry
of attacks. After sustaining quite a bit of damage in the first few moments of
the match, I finally managed to break away. But it was clear to me that I had
to really get unpredictable; otherwise I wouldn’t stand a chance. You see, he
had observed me throughout the tournament up to that point. He knew how I
fought, always attempting to attack from the side.
He didn’t give me much of a chance at all. In
fact, I was doing all I could to avoid him. And then the first Smash showed up.
Throughout the tournament, I had realized something—I really suck using Marth’s
final smash attack. Half the time I ended up flying off the screen and missing.
So my goal was to just keep my opponents away from it. Going up against Ike
proved to be easier with the help of my agility. I kept knocking either him or
the item away until it vanished. But once it finally did, he managed to hit me
off. I was down one point.
But it was getting harder for him to do it,
because now I was learning how he fought. He tended to wait for his opponent to
come to him and because I was pretty confident in Marth’s agility, I would
constantly fall into his traps. So I started trying new tactics. I’d charge
again, but instead of trying to attack, I’d feint away. Not knowing, he’d
instinctively hit to counter, throwing his timing off and leaving him open for
By using that tactic, I managed to keep the
score relatively even until we were both left with just one life left. We both
had high damage percentages, but obviously if he could land one more hit on me,
he stood more of a chance of knocking me off than I did to him.
And then yet
another final smash appeared.
People began hollering and screaming as we
both raced towards it. We fought in the air, him attacking first, then me
countering. But he blocked! And then came the swing.
Marth went soaring into oblivion. And I lost.
No just kidding. But it was close. I just
barely caught the edge and the crowd behind us gasped right along with the in
game one. Ike was already on his way to knock me off once more though,
figuring he didn’t need the smash. I jumped back onto the platform, barely
dodging as his blade swung and soared for the smash item. I swung and it
The two of us stood there for a moment,
realizing what this meant. He had seen how poor I was at using Marth’s final
smash. He smiled and taunted from the opposite end of the platform.
“Well? Go ahead and do it.”
Marth ran straight at him. Ike jumped into
the air. Marth followed suit. The two jumped past each other. And right before
he could even realize the mistake he had made, I turned to face him and
activated the smash attack. Ike landed just into to connect with Marth’s
The match was over and I had managed to win
by a hair.
Well that certainly went on longer than I
A literary major you say? Nah…I’m just teasing. That was a great story.
I was never that big into Super Smash Bros. because my son was awesome at it
and I used to get so frustrated and throw the controller down and storm away.
He could take us all on at the same time and destroy us all…one by one. It
certainly wasn’t my game.]
the following sentence. StarCraft II is...! Do you think StarCraft II, a PC
only game, can get the nod from Game Informer as the 2010 Game of the Year?
StarCraft II is…well I honestly wouldn’t
know. I didn’t get it. LOL… As far as it getting Game of the Year? I suppose
it's possible. It's certainly been highly praised in a number of different
reviews. It's also one of the most anticipated games of all time (notice how I
said ONE of the most. Nobody get bent out of shape please, because I've already
seen that happen).
Now, if you will excuse me. I have to brace
myself for the coming hurricane of angry fellow PC gamers. I still have marks
from the last time I said that.
[SAINT: Saint --> Fail. Hah…I have to be honest. I was
working on the questions late one night and was trying to hurry up and get them
to you…I was literally dozing off while I was typing them…and after one nod
that lasted for who knows how many seconds…I finally came to and all I had typed
was “StarCraft is…” so I just decided to go with it and add the part about the
Game of the Year. Alas, you found me out…as the question didn’t go over so well…but
perhaps this little revelation will salvage it.]
A special thanks to EuphoricEnnui
for spending some time with us. To read more about EuphoricEnnui, check out the GIO profile here.
As a reminder, next week’s Member
Herding is going to be determined in a unique format. I’ll post something on my
profile page tomorrow and the first person who responds correctly will be interviewed
(or if the person that answers was previously herded, then they can nominate
someone). If no one answers it correctly or no one plays, then I’ll just
randomly pick some stranger off of the street and interview them.