Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

GIO Member Herding Part 21 of XX...

Since I handpicked this week's GIO Community Member to be herded, I feel I'm obligated to justify why. This blog has always been about the community and I never want to be the one single handedly in control of deciding who's picked and who's not picked. There is a reason for this and it should be obvious.

I have three kids; although I wouldn't necessarily call them kids anymore (they're older). If you were to ask them who "dad's favorite" is they would each claim the title. I routinely tell each of them when the others aren't looking that they're my favorite. Of course they know this happens, it's all in fun and not to be taken seriously...so, why am I telling you any of this?

This week's edition of the Member Herding blog IS my favorite.

And hopefully the above point has now been made.

Yes. This week's person was handpicked by me. We haven't ever really talked before and up until a few days ago we weren't even on each other's friends list. But I'd taken notice of this person awhile ago. This person is a valued member of the community; always seems to be contributing in a positive manner; and appears to get along with everyone; a true motivator and encourager.

Funny story (and true). I had every intention of herding this person. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. Well, as ironic as it is, I received a friend request out of the blue from this person. I was on my way home, stuck in horrible traffic and read the message on my phone. I navigated to the GIO webpage and when I went to accept the friend request. I flubbed and hit the reject button. Try as I might, I couldn't undo this action. So, here I am, in traffic, on my phone (I know...I'm a monster - but at least the traffic wasn't moving) trying to hammer out a message via GIO's profile comment feature in a text box the size of a Chicklet. I think I was only able to get, "WRONG BUTTON!" Needless to say, I was a tad embarrassed for rejecting the request...for someone who I was preparing to interview anyway. Ah, well...after I got home we got it straightened out.

And so, I present to you, my favorite Member and my favorite Member Herding blog to date...complete with some awesome answers. I'm always amazed and pleasantly surprised when I go throw out a seemingly innocent and generic question, and get a response that is far more deep and passionate than what I expected. I truly enjoyed this episode and hope you do to.

GIO Name: Warbuff

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 11

Gaming Experience (Years playing): My earliest recollection is Spider-man on the Atari 2600. But I was barely potty trained at this point and the memory is purely visual. My birth by fire would have to be getting the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989. My first game, Sesame Street ABC/123. Oh you just wanted a number, 21 years.

Last Game Completed: Call of Duty: Black Ops (Regular Difficulty)

Currently Playing: Black Ops some more. Bad Company 2 when AMSacco is in the mood.

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Just something I came up with back in 2003. I used to go by Eskimo72. There also used to be a 6644 at the end of the name. It's a date military enthusiasts should recognize. Sophomore year at military school I became obsessed with World War 2 and Vietnam. I thought long and hard to come up with a name the suited who I am. It's nice that no matter how many games I play it seems no one else uses the name. There's never a need for x's in my name. Ironically enough the 6644 was added because at the time I saw all these profile names with numbers in them and I thought it was the popular thing to do.

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 2 Bonus question

1. Your platform of choice has suffered a catastrophic failure. If you had to choose between losing your audio or network capability, which would you choose and why?

Network Capability. 360 is my current rig of choice and I've only been online since Halo 3. Most of my time is spent playing solo. Audio is a very important factor of the experience for me. When done right it's an integral part of immersion. Plus if you try to play a shooter online without any sound, you're gonna have a bad time.

[SAINT: Indeed. My sound card quit working once and I thought, "Well, you can either quit and reboot or keep trying to play without sound." I lasted about 2 minutes before I gave up. I dunno though...most of the games I play are online and I don't know that I would be as interested in playing with no multiplayer.]

2. In Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, the firemen burn books "for the good of humanity". It is eventually revealed the protagonist of the story has been hiding books and reading them to try and understand their meaning and to preserve their contents. Now imagine if you will the same fate has befallen our precious video games...list your three picks for games that you would risk everything to hide in the "ventilation shafts of your house" in order to preserve their stories and pass on to future generations; discuss why you chose these three games.

Super Mario World - Readers are welcome to debate but I find Super Mario World to represent everything pure in video games. The most accessible Mario title and pants down my favorite platformer. Future generations should know the story of how the Italian plumber pulled video games out of the dark ages and changed history forever. Super Mario World is his best title.

Bully - I feel Rockstar does the best in presenting the modern world through satire. Is Satire the right word? Having the future generations run around as Niko Belic would convey the wrong message about modern society. But with Bully the framework is a little more down to Earth. Players experience the brunt end of different social classes. Interact with characters who have real life problems and result to solutions that, chosen for gameplay, could still happen. The game manages to be light hearted and serious at the same time. Not to mention if a people are trying to burn all video games out of existence, players would connect with Jimmy Hopkins plight to shutdown the bullies and take the school back from a tyrannical head master.

Fall Out 3 - If I ever manage to play through Mass Effect 2 I might change my third choice to that. But of the games I've played Fall Out 3 did the best job of giving weight to player choices. Good and Evil choices are the most cut and dry but there is much more to it than that. How players decide to level up their character, perks chosen, gear outfitted and alliances made all shape a different experience. To this day I have not once talked with somebody and heard them say, "Yeah I did that too." Everyone played the game differently. Everyone's adventure was their own. It's a very personal experience and one I'll want to relive again and again just to do things differently.

[SAINT: Interesting picks. I could absolutely see a Mario title being selected. Mario is an iconic figure and as the most recognized video game character, it would be important to preserve that. Just want to say great response to this question. I was reluctant to use this but went for it. You knocked it out of the park!]

3. Nestled away in your impressive list of favorites games that include Red Dead Redemption, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Medal of Honor you have NHL 95, which for those that don't know, stands for National Hockey League...as in...a sports game. With so many shooters and action games, what is it about this game that makes it earn a spot on your list of favorites? As a seasoned hard core gamer, what are your thoughts on Duke Nukem and its future?

Believe it or not I'm a hockey fan. At one point in my life I was so obsessed with the Chicago Blackhawks I couldn't decide which team t-shirt to wear to school. So I wore them all and would shed one each period. At the time I was playing NHL 95 every few days. It was my go to game. I got to make myself into a player and skate beside the greats like Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte and Ed Belfour. It also didn't hurt that I had discovered a nice exploit that allowed me score 30+ times a game. I was always trying to beat my own high score. With Blackhawks being at the top of the pile again, I regret falling out on my hockey obsession.

My thoughts on Duke Nukem are skeptical in nature. I'm very much looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever; since the 8th grade even. Facts are the franchise hasn't been handled well the last decade. There were a few console titles that didn't peak much interest. I'm afraid the game won't hold up to the expectations of the "once a year" generation. Fans will buy it. Fans will hold a special place for it in our hearts. But after that it may finally be over. Deep down, I'm wondering if it's all just a bluff to continue the legend.

[SAINT: Hah! I can absolutely believe you're a hockey fan. I knew you must've been looking at your list of favorite games. Great points about Duke and I totally agree with your thoughts on it being a bluff. There is no way Duke can live up to the pressure and expectations placed on his shoulders...he's tough, but not that tough.]

4. Who's your favorite independent and major game developer and/or publisher? Why? If you could work for any game company, which one would it be and what position would you want?

 My favorite publisher used to be EA. They were responsible for NHL 95. Later on it would be Medal of Honor. I'm not such a fan anymore but I'd gladly take the job to work on the next MOH. Nowadays I don't pay much attention to publishers. They all kind of blur together.

My favorite developer right now, probably DICE. The Battlefield franchise is my all time favorite for multiplayer. The very first match of Battlefield 2 I played, I seriously stood there for a few minutes amazed at how large scale the battle was. My dream job would be to join Multiplayer Design Team; preferably designing maps. Since Duke 3D I've always enjoyed making custom maps and game balance is something I analyze very heavily in games. If DICE would just release some tools with their next PC title I've love to take a crack at making a Battlefield map.

[SAINT: I've always been impressed with Dice. They're not my favorite but they put out a great product. I can't think of anything they've ever done that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. Battlefield 2 remains one of my all time favorite games. I played that game for years straight without playing anything else. Yep, good call.]

5. What's the most powerful weapon you've ever used in a video game?

Coincidently it's the most powerful weapon I've wielded in real life; will power. In games like Fall Out 3, who lives and who dies is based solely on my decisions. I've shown compassion to those who deserve it and ruthlessness to anyone who got in my way. I stopped an uprising that would have resulted in dozens dead just by talking to both parties. But at any moment I could have taken sides or just killed everybody. That kind of power is a rush.

[SAINT: Brilliant. I didn't see that coming at all. Slap me with a trout! Great answer. I couldn't have come up with anything better. What else can I say?]


 First Bonus Question

xXxSKOLxXx asks, "On your profile you have "Contract Game Tester" listed as your occupation. Based on the fact that the words Contract (money), Game (fun), and Tester (using the fun) are in your title, your job must be pretty awesome. What exactly does this job entail? What is it like?"

 (Saint: I was planning to ask this same question...that's one of the most interesting occupations I've seen listed in a profile. Spill the beans and tell us as much as you're willing to share about what this means and what titles you've been a part of testing.)

In corporate speak I'm a Test Associate. Contract is what it is. Washington State law allows for contracts up to 9 months before a mandatory 3 month break is required. When my contract is up at one studio I move onto another so I'm not missing work. I'm technically employed for a company like Volt. They seek out and negotiate contracts with game companies.

I used to have a full time position at my Uncle's company Handheld Games. I was hired full time for Game Play assurance. Eventually moved up to Designer on Nintendo DS games Power Ranger Super Legends, Cory In the House and....cheatah girls passport to stardom. Don't judge.

Since parting with Handheld Games (the company no longer exists) I've worked on FEAR 2, Halo ODST and Halo Reach. Not so sure I can openly discuss the project I'm working on now. Nothing top secret. It's been announced and has a release date. It's a good rule of thumb for contract employees not to openly discuss what they are working on over the web.

Work is fun most of the time. Things get stressful when a project enters crunch. (See over time) A common misconception is that testing is the same as playing; and it's not. When you hop onto Reach with your buddies and start searching for a game, it works because a very talented group of people stayed very late hours for weeks on end to make sure it worked. We can't simulate 3 millions players all at once, but we tried our damndest to.

Also, we are not Beta testers. Beta is just one of many milestones all projects must have. Beta signifies the home stretch when nothing new should be added to the game and everything from now until ship is strictly polish.

Those of you going through college and want to get into the games industry. Contract test positions can be a the perfect college job. Use Google to find if there are any developers nearby and reach out to them. If they need help they'll point you in the right direction.

[SAINT: That is pretty freaking cool! And thanks for sharing as much as you did. I completely understand not talking about current projects, and know that a lot of companies make you sign non-disclosure agreements to keep you from talking about it. That's some great information and very interesting.]

Second Bonus Question

Way back on June 09, 2010 you posted a blog titled Idle - A Comic Strip that was basically a parody of what video game characters do behind the scenes when there is a lull in the action. Where is the next episode?!?

 Haha, yeah I thought this would come up. I have a list of some 30 ideas saved on my computer. Between then and now my blogging slowed down to nothing; I kind of lost motivation. But with all the new friends I've made since then I've been considering getting it started again.

[SAINT: Look forward to another episode because I loved the first one! Beware...I'm always watching! -ninja-]

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