There is a simple reason this week's member earned a spot in Member Herding - he earned it. Not only did he come out of nowhere with one of the most successful and highly popular "31 Blogs in 31 Days" project, he's also become somewhat of the de facto leader of coordinating GIO community gaming nights similar to the old Frag Fest events but on a smaller (and more frequent) scale. He is truly a blogger and a gamer I and many of you can relate to and is an all around great guy.

He's none other than...

GIO Name: markus1142

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 12

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 30+. My first platform was a Texas Instruments TI-99 (not sure which model, though.)

Last Game Completed: Far Cry 3

Currently Playing: Halo 4, Mass Effect 3, Dead Island.

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Well, my name is Mark. "Markus" caught on sometime in college. 1142 is my fraternity initiation number. The combination was unique enough that I almost never had trouble registering it for accounts back in the day, and I've been using it ever since. (SAINT: I always wondered about if I could just figure out the inspiration behind your Twitter name.)

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

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

1. Your profile indicates you are a fan of all things zombie related including The Walking Dead? Have you played the video game, and what are your thoughts on those who are critical of it and claim it's not even really a game? There are different types of zombie games, many of which feature the various types of zombies. What is your favorite type of zombie and what game do you think does the best job representing the zombie apocalypse. Pick five members from the GIO community you'd want on your team of survivors combating the zombie apocalypse and briefly describe what you think they would be like.

I absolutely loved The Walking Dead; it was my personal GOTY pick. I can see why some people wouldn't consider it a game; I'll admit it has almost no gameplay in the traditional sense. People have called it an interactive experience, and I'd say that's accurate. I'm still 100% behind it, though; I think the focus on story and character development was a breath of fresh air at a time when so many other games today are criticized for having a weak story. I don't think we'll see episodic point-and-click suddenly take over the industry, but I hope other studios took notes following TWD's success.

My favorite type of zombie - and this probably isn't the kind of answer you had in mind - is the Romero zombie. I'm a big movie nut as well as a gamer, and George Romero's work is amazing. He used zombies as a metaphor for things that the country was afraid of at the time, and it's something I'd love to see games incorporate more often. We're seeing hints of it even now. You could argue Spec Ops: The Line was a statement about how war changes those who fight it, released at a time when we're still fighting overseas and PTSD is a hot issue here at home. The next Rainbow Six was supposed to tackle some really difficult material, pitting authorities against "domestic terrorists," and I can't help but wonder if the Occupy Wall Street or Anonymous movements were some inspiration behind that. I hope that project is still on track; the industry needs more brave storytellers, more companies willing to take risks.

As far as zombie games, Dead Island may be my favorite so far (although I hear Day Z is brutally realistic and unforgiving.) It still has its tropes for the sake of entertaining gameplay, but it does a great job of making several unlikely characters work together, and the missions fit perfectly with what you'd expect for a zombie apocalypse. Especially the early missions, like securing a defensible location, or gathering food and water. If they can carry that over to an open world setting, where you find a place and choose how to fortify it, I'd be in Heaven. The upcoming "State of Decay" looks like it'll incorporate some of that; I'm dying (no pun intended) to see more from that game this year.

As for an all GIO survival group, that's a tough call. Definitely Ace, since she's the only one I know of with a medical background. PliggeTheFallen is always talking about sports or exercise, so he'd make a good runner. Caudex is just plain crazy, so if we need someone for a suicide mission or as a distraction, he might actually volunteer for that. Darkeon Warlord likes cars, so I'm hoping that extends to fixing them up. Plus he's talked about firearms before, so that's another good skill to have. I'd have to pick DJ as well; he's said he'd go right for a chainsaw if the zombie apocalypse ever happened, plus I can't think of anyone else who'd appreciate getting to live through a real life horror movie more than him.

[SAINT: I concur with your thoughts on The Walking Dead game (yes, I am one of the one's who considers it a game). I loved it. I'm not a fan of Dead Island though...I couldn't really get into it. The Romero zombie is a perfect answer and was exactly the kind of response I was looking for. Good call on bringing a doctor along. As The Walking Dead (TV show) has demonstrated, having a doctor available has come in handy on a number of occasions. And Ace...well besides her real world training, she is good at reviving players in Uncharted 3 and apparently has played the Surgeon Simulator 2013 (that might be a secret, so don't tell her I told you), so she's ready for it. Not sure if Caudex is going to appreciate hearing he has first shift on the "falling back and holding them off while you make your escape" plan...and why am I not surprised with DJ wanting a chainsaw and longing for this to actually happen? My feelings are seriously hurt I didn't make the cut. I'm ready for the event now, and even have my bug out bag packed and ready to go. Your chances of survival just diminished a bit, my friend. Or were you worried I might inadvertently take you out with a poorly thrown grenade. I promise you, I'm much better in real life. That's okay though, I didn't want y'all slowing me down anyway....(I'm only teasing).]

2. Fans of racing games are somewhat rare, but you mention Need For Speed Hot Pursuit as one of your favorite games, which is also one of my favorites in the racing genre too. Are you more likely to play the cops or bad guys in these sorts of games? What is your dream car? When you race, do you find you try and keep it clean or do you like to "lean" on your fellow racers? Do you race with wheel, wheel + pedals, or just a regular controller? Without incriminating yourself too much, what's the fastest you've ever been in a car? Do you have any memorable race stories you can share with us (real life or virtual)?

Definitely cops. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I enjoyed chasing down other players a lot more than trying to out run them.

I know absolutely nothing about performance or price, so I go almost solely on looks. Call me unoriginal, but I'm a sucker for a dark blue Mustang - especially the Super Snake. My midlife crisis will probably be buying and trying to fix up a classic Mustang for my wife (but she insists that hers will be powder blue.)

When it comes to the games, if it's like Most Wanted where everyone's racing, I definitely try to wreck everyone else. In Hot Pursuit, I never interfered with other racers, I was happy to have as many racers on my team finish the race as possible, even if it meant I placed lower.

I don't think I've ever owned any peripherals other than a classic controller. So, no steering wheels or flight sticks for me.

The fastest I've ever gone, to my knowledge, was during a road trip one year during college. I was asleep in the back seat, and woke up to chants of "one more, one more, one more." I look over the driver's seat and see the digital speedometer flip from 99 to 100, everyone in the car cheering. I sort of willed myself to slip right back to blissful, ignorant sleep once I realized what was happening. As far as my own racing stories, nothing too memorable, I'm afraid.

[SAINT: I seldom ever play as the bad guys. But I do love being the cops. It's silly, I know, but in NFS: Hot Pursuit you could click a button and change your siren type, which I thought was so cool even though it had no affect on getting the bad guys to pull over. A Ford guy, eh? I'm not much on Mustangs but I do love the GT often featured in many racing games. In my more serious racing days I used the wheel and pedals, but It's just such a pain to set up; now I usually just use the XBOX 360 controller (on PC). I try to race clean, because I find I usually wreck myself when I'm trying to take someone else out, but I am a firm believer in bump drafting, heh heh. Triple digits, eh? Nice...I can neither confirm nor deny whether I've topped that speed or not.]

3. You have an amazing collection of blockbuster games listed as games you are currently playing including Far Cry 3, Halo 4, Borderlands 2, Resident Evil 6, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Mass Effect 3, and Minecraft. Rank these games based on your personal experience with them, and provide one thing about each game that makes them better than the others on the list. We've had a couple great games like Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 released already this year - any early predictions for Game of the Year? Do you think when the game releases during the year hurts/helps its chances when being considered for Game of the Year (for example, does it hurt Dead Space 3 releasing so early in the year)?

Far Cry 3: 8. It's a solid game, very entertaining despite its bothersome tropes (I think David Chandler wrote a great blog about a while back.) The open world single player is one of the most fun romps I've played in a while, and the co-op is surprisingly addicting despite being somewhat limited. I'd say the freedom of approaching the outposts, letting you go in stealthy or guns blazing, was one of the game's high points. Few games offer you that kind of freedom to tackling an objective.

Halo 4: 9. The campaign feels too short (although it was fun to play through,) but the amount of multiplayer and replay it offers is amazing. The campaign and Spartan Ops offer plenty of co-op, and the competitive multiplayer is always being updated with new playlists. The multiplayer is my favorite from any Halo so far, and it's also been one of the biggest hits when it comes to GIO game nights. I don't think we've had more GIO members in a single match in any other game, that I know of anyway.

Borderlands2: 9. It's a shame Gearbox can't bring it's A game to every project, because this is what it looks like. Gorgeous graphics, drop in drop out co-op, new game +, and 5 different characters you can build and re-build to your liking. More than almost any other game, it's one of the quickest and easiest games to jump into with friends thanks to the streamlined menu system. It's lead to MANY late nights grinding out a few more quests, or "one more boss fight" with friends.

Resident Evil 6: 8. It has A LOT of little flaws, and for a lot of gamers they added up. I still had a blast with it, and the pros outweighed the cons for me. My biggest regret was never being able to find people I knew to play with. With the new multiplayer modes, I may offer this up to the GIO folks to see if we can get some groups together and go back to it. One thing it does better than other games is an emphasis on teamwork; the other games' co-op have your friends respawn if killed. Here, either player dying is an instant Game Over, so keeping one another alive is paramount.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted: 6. That may be a harsh score, but I was a little disappointed with this one. The open world and fast cars were there, but it didn't quite feel like the successor to Burnout Paradise a lot of gamers were hoping for. I had a lot more fun with Hot Pursuit. That said, it's really great at trying to reel you back in; with speed cameras to trigger and billboards to smash through, the world is full of little challenges that light up as you drive by, showing you any of your friends' high scores. Few games try to lure you back to compete with friends quite like NFS and the Autolog feature.

Mass Effect 3: 9. Dollar for Hour, this might be the best Return On Investment I've ever gotten from $60. The decisions you make across three games allow for multiple playthroughs, and the multiplayer is just exquisite despite its simplicity. We're almost a year past launch, and countless GIO members are still tearing it up regularly. Few games have that kind of staying power these days. Say what you will, Bioware has done a stellar job listening to the fans and supporting the game since launch. Many of the multiplayer DLC additions were taken directly from the feedback forums (I remember discussing the Batarian Brawler weeks before he was added to the roster.)

Minecraft: 8. This is another great "bang for your buck" title. The only gripe I have with the game is that there's a bit of a learning curve; as much as I hate needless tutorial levels, this one doesn't hold your hand at all. Thankfully, there's no shortage of FAQs online, or more experienced players on GIO to help out. It's also one of the most relaxing games I've ever played; even my wife comments on the piano music when she hears it from the next room. Very few games can soothe me after a frustrating day at work like Minecraft can.

2013 GOTY? It wouldn't be my pick, but I'm assuming GTA V will be a frontrunner, if not the winner. Rockstar's games are almost always well received; it's been a few years since the last one, fans are eager for more, and this one sounds like it'll deliver in the "more" category. Me, I'm more excited about picking up Tomb Raider in a few days.

I don't think a game's release date really helps or hurts its chances; Mass Effect 3 released in March, TWD's episodes released over several months, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, and Far Cry 3 came out across Oct-Dec, and all of them made numerous GOTY nominee lists. I think that coveted "Holiday release" probably helps, since the game will be fresh in peoples' minds around awards time, but I think a game that stands out from the crowd is better remembered than one that releases near the end of the year.

Dead Space 3 is off to a great start, it sounds like. I doubt an early release will hurt it, especially if they support it with DLC (as long as it's not overpriced.) Sadly, its biggest competition as survival horror would have been Aliens: Colonial Marines, which turned out to be no competition. I was really looking forward to Aliens until the reviews came in, but at least another favorite series of mine stands to gain from Aliens: Colonial Marines loss.

[SAINT: Phenomenal answer, very thorough. I mostly agree with your thoughts and scores although admittedly I'm not the fan of Borderlands 2 you seem to be. It's a good game, don't get me wrong, but I got bored with it fairly quick. I also didn't realize you were into Minecraft. I think that is such a remarkable game, but understand your comment about the learning curve. I play it on PC now, and you can often find me pausing in the middle of doing who knows what (digging, probably) to shift to my laptop to look something up. I also have the handy little iPhone app that tells you everything you need to know about crafting stuff. And I certainly use it to relax too. I tend to agree on your outlook of GTA V - not my choice either, but definitely a natural and obvious pick.]

4. You have quite the track record of playing multiplayer games online with members of the Game Informer Community. Give us a list of the games you've played online and a list of the GIO members you've played online with - then provide a brief summary or your personal thoughts on each of these members and perhaps a funny story or two about the experience. What games do you think provide the best multiplayer experience, and why do you think that is? What's the funniest thing you've heard a GIO member say over the mic?

So far, I've played Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, Halo 4, and Mass Effect 3. I'll probably be adding Dead Island to that list sometime this week, and hopefully Resident Evil 6. Maybe Tomb Raider if someone is getting it for the 360 and not the PS3 (I really need to get me a PS3 already.)

I've gotten to play with quite a few GIOers.

Saint: you're incredibly polite online (as evidenced by your 'mic etiquette' blog.) You're always a team player, sticking near the group to watch our backs (or fronts, when we panic when getting flanked or surrounded.)

PliggeTheFallen: I usually see him with a sniper rifle when we play Far Cry 3, so it's good to know we have someone on the team picking enemies off before they get too close to us.

DJ: Poor DJ seems to be the target of most of our (my) friendly fire mishaps. And I mean that literally when I play with molotovs and flamethrowers. He's always a good sport, even when we're more or less getting him killed, or left behind when we take a raft across a river.

noobtoobin8ter: I think he's the last person on GIO who hasn't gotten that Black Widow in ME3 multiplayer. I wish I could gift weapons like in Far Cry 3, since I don't use mine. I think the last time we played ME3, he was picking off enemies so quickly I didn't even see where on the map they were.

Chris Mrkvicka: Another of the ME3 regulars, Shotgun joked that he and noobtoobin8er "created a monster" by getting Chris hooked on the co-op. All the random chatter during matches can't hold a candle to his fiance stealing the microphone while he was out walking the dog and telling some stories.

Shotgun: AWW YIS! Whether it's ME3 or Halo 4, Mike likes to chat it up, and it's always a riot whether we're winning or losing.

xKing595x: We need to find a time to get him back on for some Halo. He was on for a few nights of playing the campaign on Legendary, and it's amazing how much easier that is with a group of 4, even when some of us are dying, or maybe flipping a Warthog over not 3 seconds after climbing aboard. I'll definitely ask him to join us if we tackle Spartan Ops on Legendary from chapter one.

Theora Craft: She looks so sweet in her profile pic. Don't be fooled; she can talk smack with the best of them, especially when a teammate in a vehicle runs her over. I'd say she was the source of at least half of the memorable quotes from the last Halo night. Unfortunately, my most memorable Theora story involves a certain someone and sticky grenades, so we'll leave that one alone :)

Caudex: It's not every day you hear someone chanting "death to the heretics" between gaming matches. Well, it IS every day if Caudex is online. Like Shotgun, he's another one that makes everything a little more interesting when he starts chatting it up.

Joyful Penguin: We managed to get in a few rounds of ME3 a few nights back. I think he hasn't played for a while (or not until just recently,) so I hope he's on for some more matches in the future. This next DLC looks like it'll be a great reason to keep playing.

I think that's everyone; I hope I didn't leave anyone off the list.

The best experience? That's tough. ME3 and Far Cry 3 have 4-player co-op, so it's a smaller group but there's something great about sticking together and fighting off the enemy. Halo' multiplayer means we're up against other human players, which stings a little when we lose (or get matched against a bunch of level 170 Spartans) but it's still a fun time. As long as any game lets us work as a team, I think it's a blast to play with GIO members.

Funniest quote? That's a tough one, there's been far too many already. Probably a tie between any of the inappropriate "balls" comments during Halo's Oddball games, some lewd comments thrown DJ's way when he played the female character in Far Cry, or anything Theora screamed that involved a Warthog - getting blown up, run over, you name it. Comedy gold. Halo seems to bring out the best and worst in us all.

[SAINT: Hah Hah, good stuff! What I offer in the way of microphone etiquette, I make up for in my propensity to team kill. I've always had a blast (pun intended) playing with you all and appreciate the follow on offers to play more, which either means you're not worried about winning as much as you are having fun, or you enjoy the opportunity to see when/where/how I will screw up next so you can poke fun at me over it.]

5. During your January "31 blogs in 31 days" project you revealed you're quite the little blogger. Which of your posts are you most proud of? Are there any that you were surprised by the community's response to? You kind of came out of nowhere - is writing something you enjoy doing and can we expect more in the future? Any big projects you're working on now? Any tips for your fellow bloggers?

I think the last 31/31 blog was my favorite. There was that sense of accomplishment since I'd seen it through to the end, but it was also a great chance to look back at the month, and recognize what I learned about not just myself, but the GIO community.

I was surprised that a few of them were herded, and even more surprised when you said I had one week with several candidates. There were some nights I was struggling just to get something written by midnight, so I was surprised that some of them were well received, like the one about marketing / commercials. It does say a lot about the community; I mentioned it in another blog, but the comments were a great motivator to keep going with the 31/31. The people on here are incredibly supportive of one another.

I really do enjoy writing, and I'm definitely going to keep blogging, just not as frequently. I mentioned in my 31/31 recap that I'd like to focus on quality over quantity, so I'm planning to do some more "serious" blogs this year. I'll still write about whatever pops into my head, but I want to try to push myself to "go bigger." The blog I'm wrapping up now will, I hope, be a good indication of what I mean. I've had a number of GIO members help me with it, and I'm eager to get it posted and see what people think.

As far as tips? I'd suggest people start with the your "Herding 101" blog; it's not all about getting herded or getting the most views or comments, but everything in there is good advice for writing a solid, approachable blog. Be kind to others, stay on topic, and try to find a subject that will get people talking, whether they agree with you or not. If you can think of something no one else has brought up, it's a great way to stand out from the crowd.

[SAINT: Spoken like a true gentleman! And it wasn't just "several" - it was six. Six out of seven blogs were considered for blog herding - that's an impressive feat. Obviously I enjoyed quite a few of them, but I really like the one about progress bars. The community here really is unique and supportive, couldn't agree more. Thanks for mentioning the Herding 101 - it's always good to hear feedback and that it has helped somebody. Thanks for sharing those wonderful words of wisdom; couldn't agree more.]

Bonus Question #1: GoldvsSilver asks, "Now that the Playstation 4 has been out long enough for us to mull it over, what are your lasting impressions? Was there any stand out, "must have" moments or games of the presentation? It releases Holiday, likely in time for Christmas. Will you buy then, or will you wait to see the Xbox successor and weigh what each has to offer? What do you think needs to be present in order to sway you in one console's way?"

Shameful confession time: I didn't watch the presentation. I forget what I was doing, but I was more than happy to follow everyone's impressions on Twitter. It sounds like Sony's done a great job with it; the streaming capabilities have my interest, since I don't have any other setup, and I wasn't able to stream any of my Extra Life gaming last year like I would have liked to. If it had backwards compatibility, I may have considered holding out for one, but things being what they are, money is a factor these days, and I'm more likely to pick up a cheaper PS3 this year instead. I'm still very interested to see what Microsoft counters with.

[SAINT: You and me both! Not only did I not watch it, I stayed away from Twitter during the whole event too. I did read some of the articles at Game Informer after the fact, but honestly I tend to steer clear of these events and the "ooh, ahh" tweets each time they wheel something new and shiny out on the stage. Part of the reason why is I'd be compelled to blog about it, alongside the dozen or so others who did. I think this is an area for the professional journalists to cover and I steer clear of it.]

Bonus Question #2: GoldvsSilver asks, "You wake up. You walk out of your room and downstairs, and immediately you're rushed by your mother, who tells you to set out on a journey. In the world of Pokémon, which region would you live in, what starter would you pick, and why? As you continue on your journey, what Pokémon would you consider necessary for your travels (a full team of six)? As a fun addition, you are given the task of naming your choice of six Pokémon after members of the GIO community. Who would you assign to which creature?"

Shameful Gamer confession #2 - I've never played Pokemon. None of them. I'd love to answer this, but I literally have no idea about any of it. I don't think I even know six Pokemon names to assign GIO members to. Pikachu, Squirtle, Charzard, MewTwo... Mothra? Shiva? I guess DJ can be Charzard, because I always set him on fire anyway.

[SAINT: Yeah, when I saw this question come in, I thought to myself, "Better him than me." I remember admitting to somebody at GIO I never played a Pokémon game (except for Snap, but that doesn't really count) and sent them into shock. You recovered nicely though, with the poke at DJ and Charzard...]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "If you were a G.I. Joe character, who would you be?"

Probably Mainframe. I've always been more of a supporting role kind of guy, and even if I don't have his magical computer skill set, I'd prefer to hang back and do "tech stuff" rather than charge into battle. Besides, GI Joe battles always end in fisticuffs, and I'm definitely not cut out for that.

[SAINT: Hah Hah, great answer. I like it. As far as battles ending in fisticuffs, the good news is nobody ever got hurt (at least not in the cartoon), so you'd be okay. Hmm, while I'd like to think of myself as Torpedo (Navy SEAL) or Deep Six (Diver), I'm probably more like Shipwreck, heh heh.]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "What do your neighbors say about you?"

That's a great question. I have no idea; despite everyone around here being polite, I rarely see my neighbors. I've invited them over when I'm outside grilling, but most people around here just stay to themselves. Maybe I've scared them with one too many nights of yelling at the TV while playing Halo with strangers; the random players are never as good as the GIO crowd, it seems.

[SAINT: Hah, where do you live again? That sounds a lot like where I live. Maybe we're neighbors and don't even know it. I couldn't tell you a thing about my neighbors other than what they look like...and can only imagine what they might say about me.]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Markus1142 asks, "I've seen a few blogs on GIO, where people point out the inaccuracies of firearms or terminology in military FPSs. Do you ever have any "Navy" moments? Have you ever shaken your head when you see a cutscene and someone in the wrong colored uniform is waving a plane into position on the catapult, something like that?"

[SAINT: Oh man that is a GREAT question. Yes, I have those moments, and it's not just limited to Navy but military in general. I think it's only natural though, and would imagine people of any industry do it when they see their area of expertise misrepresented. Perhaps the two most common screw ups that drive me the craziest are - salutes and beards. With the salutes, I've seen games where the person saluting does it with the wrong hand, or they do it indoors (Navy doesn't salute indoors) or uncovered (no hat on). Many of us have this vision of the Special Forces operators having their "biker" looking beards, and it's true, that does happen (for a few reasons, mainly to blend in but also because shaving is the last thing you're worried about when you're getting shot at). But some games take the liberty of having the military represented with goatees and well trimmed fancy beards...that irks me every time.

Games that get it right - certainly Medal of Honor Warfighter does it the best, but also, believe it or not, the original Crysis has a scene near the end that takes place aboard an aircraft carrier, which is done very well. I was surprised with one of the Splinter Cell games that has you board a submarine - you receive a message via the shipboard communications gear (my exact area of expertise)...I was quite surprised they not only had the actual name of the system but also the proper format of the message received on that system. I thought all that was classified, but apparently not. I think Tom Clancy himself must've helped them with that little detail.

Games that get it wrong - Spec Ops: The Line...on so many different levels; and although I kind of like Modern Warfare 3, the part occurring in New York City and the East river where you hijack a Russian Oscar II submarine was very bad. So very very bad.

I usually try to be lenient and forgiving when games include a military component, just because I'm happy when they do, but when the information is easily available on the Internet and they don't give it the proper attention to detail, then I tend to curse them under my breath.

I could tell you a funny Navy submarine beard story, but looks like I've rambled on long enough. Maybe I'll share it in private.]

A special thanks to markus1142 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about markus1142, view his GIO profile here.