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GIO Member Herding Part 49 of XX...

Technically I'm on vacation (in a completely different time zone) and it's really coming down to the wire with getting the 49th episode of Member Herding posted in what is the final day of June. Better late than never though! It shouldn't come as a surprise this person is being featured this month - the surprise might be that he hasn't been featured yet. He is certainly a routine contributor and has established a reputation among the community for setting the standard and providing some of the best user reviews available at Game Informer Online, including his unique and patent worthy video reviews. It's obviously none other than...

GIO Name: Craigaleg

GIO Rank: Power Member - Level 10

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 15+

Last Game Completed: Quantum Conundrum

Currently Playing: Spec Ops: The Line

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Result of trying to think of a username too many times, and just using something that rhymed with my real name...it was very random

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

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

1. Prior to giving you this question and without giving you any details, I asked you to give me a list of four video game characters. You said, Nathan Drake, Captain Quark (Ratchet and Clank), Morrigan (Dragon Age), and Cortana (Halo). Now fill in the blanks using the characters you provided - you can only use the name once. A difficult question? Perhaps. You up for it?

-Dies in the next game that features him/her:

-Never heard from again:

-Has an evil twin revealed in their next game:

-Stars in a game that wins Game of the Year:

If I had known you would do some terrible things to a few of them, I would have chosen some others! But, here it goes:

-Dies in the next game that features him/her: Cortana - This could be the big emotional impact needed to boost the Halo story in the new trilogy. If anything could get Chief to take off his helmet, it would be a Cortana death scene.

-Never heard from again: Morrigan - ...though when you think about it, this kind of already happened...and she totally took my awesome dragon baby!

-Has an evil twin revealed in their next game: Nathan Drake - Uncharted 4 plot twist, anyone? Nolan North will of course voice the counterpart and be paid double...

-Stars in a game that wins Game of the Year: Captain Qwark - The one liners this man churns out are pure gold. He deserves a nice GotY title for his "You win again, technology." line in Crack in Time.

[SAINT: Hah! Which is exactly why I made you give me the names before I asked the question! What character would you have offered up to die in the next game they starred in, had you known? I think your Cortana - Master Chief takes his helmet off would be a brilliant story and exactly what the series needs. A Nathan Drake evil twin could work and wouldn't be too big of a stretch for that series. Great response!]

2. Okay, let me go ahead and get this one over with. E3 was received with mixed reviews, many of which were fairly negative. What are your thoughts on E3? What game are you most excited for? Do you think E3 has lost its flair and is less relevant or was this just an off year? Imagine if you will one of the big 3 (Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo) hired you to design and/or lead their press conference and booth. Are you up for the challenge? Give us the details.

I was actually content with everything showcased at E3. It's basically this state of "overhype" that is associated with the press show nowadays that can kill any real enthusiasm. It was a test of optimism, where people tended to focus on the gray clouds in the distance and not the big blue sky overhead. Lots of great sequels were showcased for the holiday season. We saw new, unannounced IPs including Star Wars 1313, Watch Dogs, and Beyond: Two Souls. While the stage shows may have been questionable, the content on the show floor left me feeling fairly optimistic for what is ahead.

Through the multitude of fantastic sequels and new IPs that were showcased, the standout title for me was Star Wars 1313. Probably due to the fact that my childhood of Star Wars influence cried out in a joyful noise when the brief demo was shown. The grittier take on the franchise looks like a nice turn from the typical, and I am looking forward to seeing where Lucasarts is heading with this one.

I do not think E3 has lost its flair, I just feel like the show has lost its sense of direction. The show itself needs to consider its audience, because at times it feels like they are showcasing what the public wants to see, then what the business investors want to see, then what the media moguls want to see, and then what teen girls want to see...which is apparently Usher. A little course correction and highlighting the important items on stage could alleviate the issues with the show, and turn it into a showcase of the group in question instead of what feels like a marketing ploy.

Yeesh directing a stage show? I'm sure a lot of what was showcased was for good reason but here is my crack at organizing Nintendo's show for 2011: First, you come out the gate strong like last shows, so the choice of looking at Pikmin 3 to kick things off was a good one. Second, for the love of all that is holy, do not go word for word from a prompter or rely on scripted segments. You know who followed that bit of advice and had the best presentation of their game without even showing gameplay? That would be Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Naturally they entertain for a living, but they came out and talked to the audience like they were having an actual conversation, not reading rehearsed dialogue. Third, more time with the Nintendo 3DS. You have sold over 17 million units worldwide and spent 10 minutes discussing a few new pieces of software? Crazy-talk, especially considering you had a 3DS-XL hidden behind your back! Lastly, the Wii-U is your cornerstone for the show, so discuss the important features that matter most. You showed off some neat launch titles and third party partnerships, but more focus on the actual console's specs and closing with at least a window of a release date would have been a nice way to end the show...or you could one-up Usher and bring out Justin Bieber to take it home.

[SAINT: I couldn't agree more about Star Wars 1313. Nobody really saw that coming. I'm a bit skeptical just because of the reputation Star Wars video games have; but I am optimistic because what was shown is encouraging. Please Lucasarts, don't screw this one up. Your strategy for a successful E3 show seems logical, plausible and sensible. I'm sure many would agree had Nintendo followed that plan it would've been better than what was presented. Maybe we'll see you adding event planning to your resume in the future.]

3. You have a pretty spiffy blogspot website and your video reviews are equally as good as what can be found on G4TV. What made you decide to pursue the video reviews? Are you pleased with the responses you've received? On average, how much time does it take to produce one video review? It's only a matter of time before someone discovers your talent - imagine G4TV and Game Informer both sent you a job offer - which do you think would interest you more and which job would you accept? Of all the video reviews you've done, which do you think turned out the best?

I've wanted to do video reviews for some time, mainly to add to what I was already doing. I started writing reviews around 2009 or so and as the years have gone by the format keeps evolving. The way I look at it, there are generally three kinds of ways people look at a review that I take into consideration - a quick glance, in-depth reading, or media scrounger. The quick glancers want in and out, an idea of what you thought and nothing more which is why I add a score with a pros and cons list at the very top. The In-depth readers will look for reasoning of your score and analyze your examples, hence the fleshed out reviews. The last thing to cover were media moguls that want to see the game in action, as words and screenshots can only help so much.

Overall the response has been pretty surprising. I remember crafting my first video review which was for Trine 2, and realizing how time consuming and difficult it all was and wondering if it was even worth it. I never expected most of them to get noticed, let alone lead me to become a featured a blogger. The Final Fantasy XIII-2 vid review was the biggest surprise, with more staff comments than I had even expected.

Length to produce a video review varies from game to game. It all starts with playing the game start to finish and recording along the way. As I am playing I am writing impressions down to form the review itself. Once the actual written review is complete, I basically take snippets and reword it to act as an actual script. Then it's off to shortening, cutting, and splitting all the clips of gameplay together and narrating over them. Without factoring in time to complete the game itself, it generally takes a few hours for about 3-4 nights...with a few gaming breaks in between.

Seeing as I am looking into a career change, those offers would be freaking incredible (and highly implausible!). Hard to choose, since I actually talked to a few producers at G4 that were pretty delightful people. I would have to go with Gametrailers, though. If it is not obvious enough their video reviews have greatly influenced my own, and I generally enjoy scrounging through the material on their site.

With each review I always end up saying to myself that it was better than the last. That is in no small part due to the improvement in tech I am acquiring and methods I found to work best in throwing everything together. My favorite vid review thus far would probably be Kinect Star Wars, which is surprising considering it's one of the lower rated games. It required me to overlay video on video to showcase some of the capture control and the inability of the Kinect to always work made it much more entertaining than I previously anticipated. I can only imagine the hilarity that would ensue with Dance Central 3...

[SAINT: Ah, branching out and not picking GI or G4TV but going with Gametrailers, eh? Bold. Well, I absolutely love your video reviews - they are the perfect length and very informative. I plug them every chance I get, heh heh...so once you hit the big leagues, don't forget about us little fish. I'd have to say your Future Soldier video review was my favorite, but also enjoyed the Old Republic too.]

4. Whether you like the Mass Effect 3 ending or not, there is no denying the game altered the way video game endings are now evaluated. What game or games do you think had memorable endings? Do all games have to have happy endings to be considered acceptable? Can you end a game with a cliffhanger or on a sad note and still be successful? Are there any other games you think have bad endings that should be reconsidered?

I guess I will start by throwing in a very obvious ***SPOILERS***

I am a sucker for the happy go lucky "Disney" ending where they live happily ever after, but the more memorable endings are those that end on a sad note. More recently, Batman: Arkham City took me by surprise by killing off their main villain. Just to see Batman lay the Joker's corpse on a car and leave without a single word was this haunting turn for the series that brought closure while simultaneously opening the possibility for future content. Another recent gem was Red Dead Redemption. You spend this whole game trying to atone for your past and the final shootout where your past catches up with you was perfectly executed.

That's not to say there weren't some bad endings to go with a few games. Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes to mind, where everything I did was essentially pointless, as if the time travel plot in itself was not confusing enough. The biggest disappointment or me had to be SW:Knights of the Old Republic II. No real closure was given at all and Kreia attempted to wrap up the multitude of your decisions from a 30+ hour game in 2 minutes.

And speaking of cliffhanger endings...*cough* Half Life 2: Episode 2 *cough*...That is the one ending that makes me simultaneously joyous at how well it was executed and full of rage for knowing I will not see how it resolves itself for some time.

[SAINT: Definitely agree that Arkham City and Red Dead Redemption have some amazing endings. I don't recall if fans considered those controversial or not, but I thought they were perfectly executed. It's been so long since we've seen HL2: Episode 2, I hope Valve somehow summarizes the events of all of the games before starting the next chapter in the series (whether it's an episode 3 or Half Life 3). I dunno, but the ending to XIII will forever haunt me - it really does end with... To Be Continued. I hate that!]

5. Your profile says you're currently playing one of my all-time favorite games - Team Fortress 2. What is your favorite class and map? Thoughts on the Mann store and micro-transactions? So, in Team Fortress 2, you have a scout, sniper, medic, soldier, demo man, heavy, spy, pyro and engineer. Pick a member from the GIO community to represent each character from Team Fortress, and don't forget to tell us what character best represents you (and yes, I've asked this question before - but I'm always curious how my fellow gamers tick. Besides, it was over a year ago). Red or blue?

I will just lay this out there...Team Fortress 2 is still my favorite competitive multiplayer game to this day. Period. The balance, the maps, the classes; it just all worked out so well. Favorite class would have to be Sniper. A typical answer, sure, but I love using the Huntsman to headshot a Heavy...if spies do not get me first. Favorite map would have to be pl_goldrush, some intense standoffs on that one! Lots of shouting, "Hold the freaking attic, people!"

The Mann store and micro-transactions do not bother me too much. I like the whole crafting and item discovery element of the game; it adds that rewarding element without obligation. With it going free to play it brought on entire new wave of players, and my sniper could use the free kills!

Scout - GoldvsSilver - The first one out the gate that charges headfirst to meet new people...even if those people are all trying to attack him. With his status in the welcoming committee and support for new members the guy is a regular scout, and I'm sure he is a fast talker whose weapon of choice is a baseball bat.

Sniper - Anticitizen One - He lines up each blog and nails it every time. Some truly great stuff from this guy...and if he is Australian I get double points!...or at least if he can do the accent.

Medic - Saint - If anything, you keep this community alive with blog herding, member features, and overall support. Without the ubercharge you provide to this community we would be mowed down by level three sentries...plus your profile picture is the medic so that kind of pigeon holes you into this role...

Soldier - Eyros2k - With the numerous Fragfest sessions this guy is on the front lines with the community on the battlefield as much as possible. His Diablo III character is something fierce, and his repertoire of past games completed gives him veteran status. I also believe he can play a mean bugle horn for our buff banner....

Demo Man - Mojomonkey - The guy knows how to make noise, pave the way through unknown territory, and bring people together. With a podcast, assistance in gathering members for the upcoming Extra Life for Team GIO, and community support he gives he is blowing up something fierce. Doesn't hurt that he also owns a kilt...I heard that somewhere.

Heavy - Le Hannibal - I see this guy churning out blogs one after another and each just as great as the last. His minigun approach to blogging earns him the space as the Heavy in our group, firing $200 custom tooled cartridges at 10,000 rounds per minute. If he happens to like Sandviches...well that would just be icing on the cake.

Spy - Orochi Assassin LEVON - His blogs and reviews always pop up out of nowhere and stab me in the face...it hurts, but it's a good hurt! Not to mention he has assassin in his name, so it comes with territory.

Pyro - thegodofwine7 - His multitude of Top 10 lists cover a huge range of topics. His ability to lay down a spread of fiery topics makes him much like a Pyro. For the love of all that is holy...please remember to spy check!

Engineer - Jolt The Cynic - Much of what he blogs is done on a phone. His fast fingertips and quick thinking land him the role of the engineer. Imagine the speed and precision in which he could throw a perfectly placed sentry up. Dispenser over here!

That was actually quite a challenging list to throw together. As for myself? I am very much an Engineer - always prepared and thinking ahead...which usually ends up falling to pieces at the hands of a sapper. Red Team remains a preference for me being a sniper, especially when you get to the last capture point and everyone bottlenecks your way.

[SAINT: That was a brilliant response! Could not have asked for better - and to top it off, you picked me as the medic. Sweet. I'm not very good at sniper, but if I do play I love using the huntsman. It makes me feel like Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Gold Rush is a great map, but I'm a sucker for 2Fort. I had no idea you were that big of TF2 fan. We must play some time.]

Bonus Question #1: Aaron asks, "If you could hang out with one video game character who would it be and what would you do?"

Tough one. I would say Link from LoZ, but that might result in a 4 hour staring contest where nobody says a word. Gonna play it safe and stick with Ezio Auditore de Firenze. A few Italian lessons to assist in swooning the ladies, a few parkour ventures in Venice, and an infinite amount of jumping into haystacks with no physical harm would tie together a pretty good experience.

[SAINT: Interesting pick, and assuming you didn't tick him off, you might even survive the experience. Of course if it were me, I thought about picking Mario but not sure what hanging out with him would be like. I'd have to go with Commander Shepard...us Navy guys gotta stick together and swap sea stories. He might have one or two that are cooler than mine.]

Bonus Question #2: Aaron asks, "What's your favorite Television show/film(you pick, you can choose both if you'd like)of all time and why??"

The question of all questions! My tastes and preferences have changed for a while now. I'll usually play it safe by saying Firefly, but Community has been a recent show that I have enjoyed thoroughly. Hard to nail a comedy show that forms some unique episodes (the flashback episode of events that never really happened) and combines it with a laugh out loud cast of characters. Dismayed by the cancellation, but they seem to be ending it on a high note. As far as favorite film goes I will stick with the safe answer of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. That is a movie that I have grown up watching over and over again and it remains just as entertaining each time.

[SAINT: Well, we certainly agree on movies! As far as TV shows, I don't watch a lot...but do try and catch Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels. Everything else is just hit or miss.]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "The Fourth of July is right around the corner...any firsthand experience with fireworks? What's your favorite type? Do you have any funny firework stories?"

Nothing professional, but plenty of firework encounters. It mostly involves the small stuff, like roman candle battles in the backyard. I prefer the firework that does not explode in my hand and cause me physical harm, but I like getting the big drums that make a big thud as they launch fireworks in the sky. Only firework story I can remember is when one of my friends was lighting a roman candle, while simultaneously reading the directions on the side. He disregarded the fact that the other end was pointed at another person, whose hoodie was instantly pegged with a fireball as he made the highest pitched scream possible for his register. He was fine, but his brand new white hoodie did not survive the encounter.

[SAINT: Hah. Funny...I've had a few close calls like that. I'm an Army brat and recall once when I was really little my parents dropped me and my brother off at this big 4th of July celebration. I lit this firework off (a Jumping Jack) and caught this section of grass on fire. All these soldiers ran over and poured their beer on it to put it out. I got scared and ran off. Ah, growing up in the 80s...how did we ever survive?]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "Imagine a world somewhat like ours but oddly different - would you rather be able to hear colors or see sound? Why? (Believe it or not, your profile image helped inspired this question.)"

See sound. I will admit, this is partially because I would like to see myself actually making a real life Fus Ro Dah, and partly to tell if people can hear me. Imagine the stealth capabilities! Hearing colors just sounds like it would get annoying really fast. Something tells me the colors are like Pokemon and they just shout their name over and over again. I would be staring at a Stop sign and it would just blurt out, "RED! RED! RED!"

[SAINT: I half expected you to reject this one and question my sanity, heh heh. So thanks for playing along. It is certainly a creative and thought provoking answer.]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Craigaleg asks, "With the shared love of Team Fortress 2 I feel compelled to ask; which class do you usually play and what is your number one cause of death?

[SAINT: I LOVE TF2 questions! It should come as no surprise that I play medic more than anything. I am more of a combat medic though and will run into the heat of battle right alongside whoever I'm healing and will attack if provoked! I really like the Kritzkreig and with a really good soldier or demo man you can wreak havoc on the other team. I couldn't tell you what my number one cause of death is because as a medic I have all sorts of people targeting me...but I will tell you, if the person I'm healing lets a scout kill me with a baseball bat (or worse, the fish) I quit healing them. I don't know what it is, but I actually get ticked off when I'm playing medic and a scout kills me with a melee weapon. After medic, I like soldier, demo and pyro.]


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

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