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GIO Member Herding Part 45 of XX...

One of my favorite elements of Member Herding is learning a bit more about various community members and discovering that I actually have a lot in common with them. The person featured in this episode of Member Herding is someone I've talked with on occasion and chatted with in game (even though technically we were worlds apart), but honestly, not someone I talk with daily. I'm not his favorite member of the community (at least not yet), but some of you reading this probably are. And now, thanks to Member Herding, who knows what the future holds between us.

He's written one of my favorite blogs at Game Informer and is without a doubt a solid member of the community. He contributes both as a content provider and by supporting others with their posts. He's someone that I apparently have a lot in common with (except for liking Skyrim) - from non-video game hobbies like shooting, to our passion for all things Star Wars and even our choice and approach to video games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. He's none other than the seasoned veteran gamer and committed community member that you all know and love as...

GIO Name: Noobtubin8er

GIO Rank: Power Member - Level 9

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 27 years

Last Game Completed: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Currently Playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic

Origin of GIO Profile Name: A few years back, I played Modern Warfare on the PS3 in a very large but well organized clan. The clan was divided up into 7-8 man squads chosen, generally, at random with a squad leader and squad assistant. In the squad I had been assigned to, three of us had been dubbed "The Noobtubinaters" due to our high proficiency with grenade launchers and the fact that we could level an entire opposing team in a match of search and destroy on nearly every Modern Warfare map within 10 seconds using our three launchers. After a while, I quit the clan as I had bought an Xbox 360 so I could play online with my brother since we hadn't talked to each other much over the past few years. When I signed up, I decided to carry my clan nickname over and just got witty by using the "8". In hindsight, it wasn't very witty, but it has stuck.

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

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 4 Bonus questions + 1 Special question

1. We have a lot in common including our outlook on Battlefield and Call of Duty. Admitting you like both games, list one thing you like and dislike about each game. What style/class do you normally play and what is your preferred weapon load out? No doubt a new Call of Duty is in the works - predictions where the series will go next or where you would like to see it go? Will the next game outsell Modern Warfare 3 (the current record holder)?

I love Battlefield's ability to bring large-scale combat into the game, an area sorely lacking in the Call of Duty franchise. It forces you to think before running into a wide-open field and to consider your team's overall tactical approach. Unfortunately, Battlefield's co-op is awful and the story for Battlefield 3 felt like they just took some elements from past Call of Duty games and mashed them together. When playing Battlefield, I enjoy the assault class. The weapons layout gives me the ability to act in both close quarters and medium range combat while still assisting my team as a medic.

For me, Call of Duty's biggest strength (besides its general popularity) is in its variety. The number of game modes and options available keep me from getting complacent. Additionally, its co-op is absolutely amazing, especially in the last two Modern Warfare releases. Unfortunately, the single-player suffers from spotty writing and research, making some of the story bits good and the rest completely awful (Modern Warfare 2, for example). In Modern Warfare 3, you will most likely see me ghosting with a suppressed M4 (or other assault rifle) with grenade launcher, a pistol sidearm, blind eye pro, assassin pro, and stalker pro.

I think the next Call of Duty title will be back in the Black Ops era. I would personally like to see them broach the area of Cold War Era Afghanistan, though it would probably get some degree of backlash as your team would most likely have to work along-side early era Al Qaeda, which probably wouldn't sit well with some. But that portion of the Cold War remains largely untouched (aside from Rambo), leaving a wide-open area for some great story-telling.

As for sales, the next game is back in the hands of Treyarch, a developer I am not a huge fan of. I have come very close to not buying World at War and Black Ops, so this next entry may be the one I leave on the shelf. But, in the end, Call of Duty continually gains momentum and as long as the population of console gamers continues to grow, so will the population of Call of Duty players. Since we won't see a new generation of systems being released (Wii U doesn't count because it is more of an Xbox/PS3 generation console that is just late to the party), I think the next entry will break Modern Warfare 3's record.

[SAINT: That was quite the answer, but serves me right for those multipart questions. I mostly agree with your response. It sounds like I enjoyed the Battlefield story a little more than you did, but definitely think its grand scale makes it stand out compared to its closest rival. I actually think Modern Warfare's popularity is kind of a disadvantage because obviously the more people playing it, the more problems you're going to experience with the quality of people playing the game (and by quality I mean those obnoxious unruly players who cheat, troll or boost).

It's funny you say the game will be back in the Black Ops era because there was a recent post at GI suggesting there was going to be a Black Ops 2. Maybe you saw this, maybe you didn't...but I certainly think it's possible. Your idea of a game focusing on the Cold War era is interesting. Not a period I'm a big fan of but that's mostly because I'm not a history buff and don't remember all the details from school. Breaking Modern Warfare 3's record will be a Herculean task, but I tend to agree that the number of gamers is continually increasing, so yes, we'll probably see another record breaker, regardless of how well the game turns out. Great reply!]

2. Something else we have in common is Star Wars. Coming from someone whose profile indicates he has sons with Star Wars inspired names, I'm not surprised you are attracted to the recently released The Old Republic. Give us a brief summary of your character. Do you think TOR is going to maintain its fan base for a significant length of time (does it have unlimited potential growth)? Do you think TOR had any impact or effect on World of Warcraft? How do you think the stories in TOR compare to the actual movies? Favorite Star Wars movie (as if I have to ask)?

My character is Noobtubinater, a Jedi Sentinel who has carved out his reputation as the Hero of Tython, destroyer of Sith and Bane of the Empire. He is essentially a picture perfect Jedi, though he adheres to Revan's thoughts on Jedi and love, as he has fallen in love with his padawan who has now become a knight herself. For those unfamiliar with Revan's theory, it is attachment that is the problem, the fear of loss not the emotion of love that leads to the dark side. It is the Jedi's inability to teach Jedi of how to handle emotion that creates the problem.

I think The Old Republic has potential to stick around for a long time, like any other successful MMO. However, for those like me who only play because there is a real story, unlike other MMO's, I will only be around as long as there is story. So, for me, each expansion will need to extend the story and not just throw in a bunch of pointless fetch quests and new planets to see.

I have never understood the true draw of World of Warcraft. In an age where games have become an art form where stories are laid out in more detail than a movie, I cannot wrap my brain around a game with no obvious purpose other than to make a powerful character. The experience simply doesn't make sense to me. With that opinion in mind, I must say that World of Warcraft's days are probably numbered, but not by The Old Republic. World of Warcraft seems to come off more as a cartoonized version of Zork and will soon become a hidden Easter egg in a Call of Duty game.

I cannot compare the stories from The Old Republic to the movies. I think the scope of the games is much grander than the movies. The game also suffers from lulls in the story where you have to gain levels to keep up with the difficulty of your story-based quests, but some of those side stories are quite entertaining. I will say, though, that the twist in the first act of the Jedi Knight story caught me a bit off guard.

Empire Strikes Back is the best, no question whatsoever.

[SAINT: That's a great story about your character from the Old Republic. Spoken like a real Star Wars patriot! I wish I had more time to lose myself in the game but unfortunately I don't. I think it's a beautiful and magical game that borrows a lot of concepts from the movies, and I'm okay with that, but I just refuse to let myself get wrapped up into it or else I might not ever blog or do anything other than play that game. Like you, I never grasped how and why so many people got caught up on WoW - but that harkens to the blog I wrote about setting - WoW is not a setting I'm particularly interested in. I think the game complements the movies very well, at least the parts I have experienced. And without doubt, ESB is the best...no question whatsoever. On that, we couldn't agree more.]

3. As a fan of The Walking Dead, cast your fellow Game Informer Online members in the following roles: Rick Grimes, Lori Grimes, Shane Walsh, Andrea, Dale, Glenn, Daryl Dixon and T-Dog. Why do you think gamers have such an attraction to zombie games? Do you think we'll see The Walking Dead video game or is the market already too flooded with games like Dead Island and the Left for Dead series? What's your plan to survive the zombie apocalypse?

Rick Grimes - I would say myself here, but that wouldn't be fair. I'd have to hand this to you, Saint. Like Rick, you seek to advance the group itself and sacrifice your time and effort to do that and to do it the best you can while maintaining a cool, level-head.

Lori Grimes - Oni no Tenshi. Similar to Lori, Oni tends to be the voice of reason amongst a bunch of testosterone pumped guys with guns and is sort of the mother figure amongst the group.

Shane Walsh - Eyros2k. Shane and Eyros2k seem to suffer from a similar issue. It is not that they don't have good points, ideas or plans; their presentation is just difficult for some to handle. But, they definitely know what they are doing.

Andrea - Mojomonkey12. I love the guy to death, but if you have played co-op with him you know that, like Andrea, it is likely he will get you killed or shoot you in the head on accident.

Dale - Shootist2600. Like Dale, Shootist carries the aged and educated wisdom that can only be found through time and experience, he's old school.

Glenn - The Legendary Ewok King. Like Glenn, TLEK has a willingness about him to really try but he still carries that youthful innocence that comes off as ignorance, even when surrounded by hordes of hungry zombies.

Daryl Dixon - Doctor Apozem. Like Daryl, Apozem does what he feels needs to be done but isn't looking for world-wide recognition for it. He just does it.

T-Dog - indiejones. I'm not sure exactly why, but I could picture indie cutting himself on a rusty car part while trying to escape from zombies.

Like the movies and shows, zombies are amongst the most terrifying creatures thought of. Twilight has forever killed vampires and werewolves, making them sissies forever in my eyes. Zombies cannot be threatened, cannot be bargained with and are afraid of nothing. Also, in our age of chemicals and drugs, they are probably the most viable. Being able to pit ourselves against a threat like this with minimal weapons and ammo in a game gives us a way to experience that thrill. I think there is no question we will see a Walking Dead game, even if it is by Telltale, the team that butchered Jurassic Park. In my opinion, there aren't enough zombie games and there are plenty of genres left to work with and I would really love to see a well-crafted Walking Dead game.

As for my survival plan, I currently have food and water storage to last my family and some friends for about a year and weapons to arm a small militia. This gives me time to formulate detailed plans and determine where is safe to go for supplies and where is too dangerous. With my other shooting friends in the area, we would move all our gear into a two or three story house, destroy the stairs to the second floor (since zombies can't climb) and work on building a secure zone until we are able to determine how the rest of the world has fared.

[SAINT: I don't think you could have answered this question any better...I was literally laughing out loud with this one. The Rick Grimes = Saint comment is a real complement. He is my favorite character and I love how just when you think he is weak / soft - he'll do something that makes you gasp in shock. I think part of the appeal of using zombies as bad guys is it gives us the opportunity to shoot people that aren't really people and not feel bad about it. It can even be somewhat graphic and not make us feel bad about it. As far as your survival plan, sounds like I need to work my way towards your place, heh heh...I don't each much and can bring my own hardware. But I still say holing up in a prison is the best plan.]

4. What are five of the most influential games of all times and what makes them so influential? What are five of the most overrated games of all times and what makes them so? And finally, what game, if any do you think is the most under-appreciated?

Oh gosh, I hate trying to make lists as much as you do...but I'll try:

Most Influential

5) Grand Theft Auto - I really don't play these games and have little interest in them. However, I also know that the open world sandbox concept I love in many games like Skyrim owes a lot of its advances to this series.

4) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Love or hate the Call of Duty franchise, every gamer must recognize that the face of the on-line shooter was forever changed with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Even Battlefield has taken a number of elements from Call of Duty and owes the vast majority of their success to the franchise.  Modern Warfare popularized modern combat and weapons system while focusing on urban combat scenarios.

3) Alone in the Dark (the 1992 version) - Though it wasn't the very first survival horror game, it definitely wrote the book which Resident Evil and Silent Hill have capitalized on. Without the Alone in the Dark franchise, I am fairly certain the survival horror genre would be far more limited than what it currently is.

2) Ultima - Back in the late 70's/early 80's the FBI had put out a document and a series of lectures explaining why the Dungeons and Dragons craze amounted to Satanism, quite similar to the handout related to internet cafes and terrorism I wrote about a couple of weeks back. In the foolishness Richard Garriott released Ultima on the Apple II. Without D&D, many kids turned to the computer for their entertainment and Ultima had been designed around the D&D systems, so it became vastly popular and is one of the big roots for modern RPG's.

1) Pong - The original video game should always be the most influential game, ever. It doesn't matter how complex the story, the graphics, the gameplay, or any other factor, it all came from two lines bouncing a ball back and forth. Without it, we would have nothing.

Most Overrated

5) The Sims - I don't know what happened to the awesome Sim City, Sim Earth, even Sim Ant; but they got replaced by the most pointless waste of time ever developed. I view each release and expansion of this game to be a giant middle finger to the thinking portion of the brain of every consumer that buys it. I think EA even pays a person to laugh hysterically every time a sale occurs...

4) Super Mario Brothers - That's right, let the flame fest begin. But, and I alluded to this in a blog post of mine a month or so back, aside from graphics and a couple of enemies, what has changed in this game since the first version in the 80's? It probably doesn't help that I think the Wii is a joke and the Wii U is a rehashed stolen Carlos Mencia joke, but the era of Mario ended after the first release on the NES.

3) Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy X - Mojo's going to slap a forehead for this or say "WHAT?!" but I honestly think these two Final Fantasy games were absolutely awful and neither deserved a direct sequel. The sequels to both are even worse, if that is even possible.

2) L.A. Noire - Yes, the facial recognition was amazingly cool, but the game was a giant piece of boredom. The occasional chase and gunfight only seemed to serve as a teaser to make you think the game was actually going to become cool, but would quickly let you down. After about an hour, I found it more fun to take a car and run people down with it or jump off of cliffs.

1) Halo 3 - Few know this, but I have owned two Xbox 360's and never once had the RROD. I bought my first 360 in anticipation of Halo 3. The first entry in the series was amazing. Though the second was nowhere near as good, I really wanted to see the end of the story. Within minutes of completing the campaign, I had the 360 posted on craigslist and sold within an hour. The Halo 3 disc...well...we'll just say I now know what a .50 caliber bullet does to an Xbox 360 game.

Most Under-appreciated

 Hands down this will go as a tie to Mystery House and Colossal Cave Adventure. These two games are the great-grandfathers of puzzle-solving games. Without these two games, I doubt we would be experiencing half of the games out on the market right now. Yet many younger gamers would look at these and scoff. But they were the springboard for so many of the point and click adventures made by Sierra and many newer games took their inspiration from them.

[SAINT: Those were some interesting choices, on each list. Of course it's your list, so I would never question any of them but I was a bit surprised by Super Mario Bros -although I understand your comment. I have to be honest, I don't recall your two most under-appreciated games, so that's kind of neat to hear about something that is somewhat of an oddity. In recent times, I'd have to say I was a little disappointed with the reception that Medal of Honor received. I thought it was much better than what the critics did.]

 5. As someone who has witnessed the evolution of video games from the days of the Intellivision to present day, do you think video games are comparatively better/worse/same today than they were back then? When do you think we'll see the next Xbox and Playstation? While Microsoft and Sony are playing catch up with Nintendo in the motion controller department, now we're hearing rumors they may follow suit with adding more features like miniature monitors on the controllers. What are your thoughts on the input device of the future? Will there always be a big three or is the next generation of gaming consoles going to be a battle between Microsoft and Sony?

I think they are mostly better, so long as we ignore 98% of the games released on the Wii. Dialogue has come a long way from the "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this" era and the storytelling has been refined to where you no longer need a 20 page instruction booklet with a backstory to help you understand the purpose of what you are doing.

I am anticipating an announcement for the new Xbox and Playstation at E3 this year, though I doubt we will see a release until 2013. I think both Microsoft and Sony have recognized that a weak economy will lead to weak sales of a new system that is guaranteed to have a high price tag. At the same time, I think they both learned lessons from the launch of the PS3 and the 360 regarding rushing a product just to make an arbitrary deadline. Top those off with the general idea that the Wii U poses no market share risk for the next generation of consoles, an idea I completely agree with, and you aren't given a reason to have a new system on the market.

Well, first off, I think Sony is playing catch-up with Nintendo and Microsoft has developed a far superior motion controller. The problem with motion controls in general is that it is an instance of invention driving necessity rather than necessity driving invention. I don't think producers and developers have been begging for motion control abilities for games and thus weren't really prepared for it. So, to fill the demand for games on these systems, publishers have been making every title that comes out of someone's mouth, leading to the pile of crap with the occasional gem as we have it now, for all three systems. I think as we see developers really find a solid use for these input devices (i.e. Mass Effect 3's amazing audio control system) and as the hardware is fine-tuned, we will see these motion controls become more popular, though I doubt there will be a true demise of the controller, at least not in the near future. One of the beauties of a controller is that physical limitations (other than in the hands) do not limit a person's abilities in game. If a controller went completely away, those who are over-weight or out of shape will not be able to play anywhere near as long as they do now. Though this idea sounds like advancement with people getting in better shape, I think we would just see fewer people buying the games and systems.

Having been a Genesis, Sega CD, Saturn, and Dreamcast owner, I know that no single company is too big to fail at systems. At the same time, some companies can pop out of nowhere and make an awesome one (Sony). I think any of the current three could fall, Nintendo being the current most-likely candidate. At the same time, I think there are a lot of companies who could pop in and change everything (i.e. Apple, LG, etc...). However, new doesn't always mean better, let us not forget the Philips CD-i travesty.

[SAINT: Sage advice from a wise gamer, indeed. I'm curious to see how the Kinect + Mass Effect 3 combo works out. I think one great game that gets behind a motion controller will boost an interest in that technology. Perhaps Mass Effect 3 (or Future Soldier) will achieve this. You bring up a great point with the next generation console being impacted by the economy. The big three will certainly have to trudge on (I don't think they will hold up development) but have to be careful when they roll out their new hardware or else risk poor sales. I don't think I would buy a next generation console if it were released anytime soon. Hah, I say that even though I've waited in line the night before to make sure I get one (Xbox 360 and Xbox).]

Bonus Question #1: Oni no Tenshi asks, "What do you think has been the biggest gaming innovation thus far?"

On-line gaming. The ability to game with people from around the world has opened our ability to expand our personal horizons as is another step in building a world community that is more understanding and tolerant of one another. It also ups the talent pool, forcing players to step up their game to keep up with the pack.

[SAINT: Yup. No doubt about it. Nothing else has changed how we play games more than on-line gaming.]

Bonus Question #2: Oni no Tenshi asks, "If you had to assassinate a dictator or bad guy and do it in the style of a popular Nintendo video game character, who would you be and how would you do it?"

Like most others, I would pick Adolf Hitler (though in his case, I wouldn't have to, it would be a pleasure). Being a classical gamer, I would have to take him down Dig-Dug style: injected with a hose in his backside and inflated with air until he popped.

[SAINT: Who knew Oni no Tenshi was more Oni than Tenshi? That is quite the method you have there. Messy but effective. I'm not a big fan of that period, so if it were me, I'd go with something more modern...Act of Valor (movie) seems to be doing pretty well, so maybe a game that lets you be a member of SEAL Team 6 and go after OBL and all his henchmen along the way.]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Assuming you've seen Toy Story, if you were Andy would you pick Buzz Lightyear or Woody (and if you haven't, would you pick a cowboy toy over a spaceman toy)?"

Woody was a cowboy without a gun...what kind of a cowboy is that? He had a holster, but no gun. Buzz at least had a light where his laser was supposed to go and there was a good chance the laser could eventually blind someone. So, I would take Buzz. My kids are also obsessed with Buzz, so it has rubbed off on me a bit.

[SAINT: HAH HAH! Too funny. This is actually a very difficult question for me to answer and something I've wrestled with ever since I saw the first one. I like spacemen and that whole genre, but I'm a country boy at heart and lean more towards Woody...but that blinky light was pretty cool.]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "List something on your bucket list (or something you'd like to do during your lifetime)?"

My bucket list is massive. I enjoy hiking, so there are a ton of trails on the list including the Appalachian trail, but I have one major dream that shines above the rest. Being a gun guy who is into long-distance shooting, I would love to be able to attend either a Marine or Army sniper schools. Over the years, I have learned a lot of their skills and techniques from the men themselves, but only in piecemeal bits, never in its entirety. I would love to put myself through the paces and see if I have what it takes to shoot alongside the best and earn my own hogs tooth.

[SAINT: That is a pretty impressive bucket list item. Honestly, I'm not a bucket list kind of guy. I've achieved more than I ever thought possible and of course I still have things I'd like to do, but nothing I feel like I need to do. That being said, there are some low level - relatively easy to achieve items like "attend Comic Con or E3" and higher level - harder to achieve like "stand on the moon and look at Earth". I'd also like to compete in The Amazing Race with my brother...so I guess we'll see what happens.]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Noobtubin8er asks, "Time to return the list-favor [insert maniacal laughter here]: using the movies, books, comic books or any other part of the Star Wars Universe, who are your favorite three characters, who are your least favorite three characters, and why?

Also, as a rite of passage between Star Wars fans, who shot first?"

[SAINT: Okay, well the easy answer first...without a doubt Han shot first. No question. I have the original movie to prove it. And touché with getting me back on the list...Grr, I hate lists!]


(It's pretty clear!)

The three favorites are easy.

1) Han Solo is why I love Star Wars. The character he represents - this scruffy nerfherder with a fast ship...a rough side, but overall a good heart...he's more than just your run of the mill smuggler, or futuristic pirate...he's a lot like Nathan Drake of the Uncharted fame...a "bad guy" but a likable bad guy, who you find isn't really all that bad.

2) Boba Fett is kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum as Han Solo, but just as cool. He's menacing and intimidating...very mysterious. I actually think he lost some of his awesomeness after the "new" movies came out as they revealed his origin - what was it, Episode II I think? I didn't really care for Jango Fett and that whole chain of events, but whatever. His legacy lives on and in ESB he was right up there with Darth Vader himself. I mean, who carries a sawed off blaster rifle. That just screams BAMF!

3) Kyle Katarn. Yeah, I know...he's a Jedi and I'm not a big fan of Jedi (or Sith) but I do like Kyle Katarn. If Han Solo was a Jedi, he'd be Kyle Katarn. Kyle is quoted as saying, "I'm no Jedi; I'm just a guy with a lightsaber and a few questions." One of the things I like about Kyle is he is a former Stormtrooper, and I have this thing for Stormtroopers. I just like his story and his personality. He's a great character.

Hmm...least three favorite characters?

1. Jar Jar Binks - I don't think I need to say any more than that.

2. Anakin Skywalker from Episode I - So, here's this little punk kid that gets this really hot girl who appears to be two or three times older than him to fall for him? How's that work? And he also gets in a Naboo starfighter like it's an arcade game and not only flies it but takes down the command post...gimme a break. The podracer was one thing, but having him fly a star fighter...whatever. I don't care if he is/was the chosen one, I strongly dislike this kid.

3. Tie between the Lars family and the Twi'lek from Return of the Jedi. Uncle Owen was a grumpy old man and abusive...Aunt Beru just turned her back on all of it. And it just got worse in the Attack of the Clones when Anakin goes to rescue his mother on Tatooine. Sigh. The Lars family is one dysfunctional family, and I'll leave it at that. And that Twi'lek from ROJ just gave me the creeps.


A special thanks to Noobtubin8er for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about Noobtubin8er, view his GIO profile here.

 

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