Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Member of the Moment: FragEmAndSmile

Interview conducted and posted by: Tandar1

Q: You have a very interesting gamertag, how did you come up with it?

A: It all started back on the PC during the Unreal Tournament days. I was playing with a few Marines and had to come up with a tag so we knew who was who. I remembered an old coca-cola catch phrase "Have a coke and a smile". I combined my frag counts in Unreal Tournament with that phrase and came up with FragEmAndSmile....or Frag/FragEm for short.

Q: You recently came up with a few new challenges for the 360Voice community. Such as the U.S. Gamerscore Open and Iron Man. What gave you the idea for creating these, and do you plan to make them annual?

A: The U.S. Gamerscore Open idea really came to me out of nowhere. I wanted to do something "different" for a challenge that hasn't been done before which isn't easy with all the great challenge ideas already out there. This idea just popped in to my head and I thought it was unique enough from the other challenges so I went with it. There were over 90 gamers that signed up for it.

As for the Iron Man challenge, for the most part that was really in response to some complaints that the site staff got because the U.S. Gamerscore Open was only open to U.S. gamers.  I never got any of these complaints personally and I thought it was unfair that the site staff, who had nothing to do with the creation of the challenge, caught flak for it.  When I typed up the challenge invite I made it pretty clear that this was just how the idea of the challenge came to me and was not intended to offend anyone from other countries and that I would do something for them later. I even considered tossing out the U.S. Gamerscore Open completely and not doing any challenges at all, but decided to go ahead and do it.

Both of these challenges will be annual as long as there is interest in them.

Q: I think I remember you mentioning that there were a few more challenges that would be on the horizon, can you confirm this and give any hints to what they might be or involve?

A: I sort of have one going for WP7 gamers now. It's not "official" yet, but it will run for the entire year of 2012 and only games released in 2012 count towards your score. Highest score at the end of the year wins. No prizes are being offered at this time, but I expect that to change. This is more of a test run for Fsh's new challenge/tracking system which will make my day MUCH easier instead of tracking scores manually!

I also have another challenge that I will be putting in the invite forum pretty soon called Last Man Standing.  In this challenge, there is an elimination every single day. You have to score points each day, with the low man being eliminated. Mix and repeat until there is only one gamer left. 0 point scores for that day are an automatic elimination. So with this challenge, not only do you have to score points every day, you have to avoid being the lowest scoring gamer.  Prizes have yet to be determined. This challenge will be open to any region on the planet.

I may or may not add more challenges.

Q: What are some things you like to do other than gaming?

A: I have a programming background and I like to code games when time permits. I still have the 360voice themed game on the backburner. Maybe it will come out quicker than Duke Nuke 'Em Forever did.  I also bowl at a semi-professional level. This cuts out 2 nights a week and the occassional weekend (for tournaments) of gaming time, but sometimes you just need a break.  That's pretty much it. I just don't have to time to commit to anything else on a regular basis.

Q: Are you excited to be living in the town that such famous people originated from? People like Deion Branch and Ray Charles?

A: While it's cool to know some famous people came from here, Albany GA is nothing to be excited about.

Q: What are some things that are specific to your town that you would recommend to travelers, and the occasional Dog of Thunder?

A: Dog lives about an hour's drive from me so he doesn't have to dwell in the misery that is Albany that I do. There is one unique eating establishment called Harvest Moon that has some good food, but it's not something I would drive for hours to get to. The mall here is the size of a shoe-box, the closest thing we have to an electronics store is WalMart. There are 3 Gamestops here, but it's rare that I find anything to take home. The selections don't change as much as other stores I go to so I see the same titles day in and day out. I call Albany Agony but I live here because I have to not because I want to.  I'm hoping that changes in about a year or so. The only thing I could really recommend is to stay away from this place. Avoid it like the plague.

Q: Do you have any favorite sports teams? Die-hard fan or just occasional watcher?

A: Not since I got married almost 11 years ago. I did watch the Atlanta Braves, but like most Georgia teams, they blow critical games so I gave up on them.  I do like Florida State's football team but I haven't watched a game in ages. What little free time I do have I try to spend it gaming.

Q: If you had to pick only one genre to play for an entire year, which one would it be, and why?

A: That would depend on what platform I'd be playing on. If it was the PC, I'd have to say RTS. Ever since I played the original StarCraft I was hooked.  This has been my favorite genre for many years.  On the 360 I would probably go with RPG. These are the most involved, have engaging stories (most of the time), and would keep me busy until the end of the year.

Q: How did you eventually stumble upon 360Voice?

A: If I remember right, I think a friend suggested it to me back in 2006.

Q: What keeps you coming back?

A: That's easy. 360voice's community is the best on the web. I've been to many gaming sites where you just didn't feel welcomed at all and some of the forum mods were down right jerks. They got a title and it went straight to their head and had no problem throwing their virtual weight around. The 360voice community is the most friendly, helpful (I could go on and on here) bunch of people I've ever met. I have never  experienced anything close to this on any other website gaming or otherwise.

Q: If the next generation of Xbox, for some CRAZY reason, did not incorporate your past gamertag/gamerscore into its design and made you start over, would you still buy one?

A: Starting over would be painful. I think I would continue on with the 360 and get as much out of it as I could. Eventually I would probably move over to the new console but I doubt I would be there on launch day with money in hand to buy one. I've even considered to let the 360 to be my last console period. Only time will tell.

Q: Do you play games for fun or achievements?

A: Both. The 360's achievement system changed the way we play games forever. Why else would so many of us play Hannah Montana or My Horse And Me 2? I love to play games and there are some that I play just for fun. However, I'm usually in some gamerscore contest or trying to hit some gamerscore milestone that forces me to play for points too. Not that I mind all that much.

Q: Do you like single-player only games more than multi-player or vice versa? Or a combination of both?

A: Both, but for the last year and a half, it's been almost impossible for me to do any real multiplayer gaming. Ask anyone that's tried to boost with me.  It seems that EVERY time I try to set something up or offer to help out, some crisis comes up where I have to reschedule. This is no exaggeration. I really hate not getting to play online like I used to. I keep hoping that will soon change.

Q: Be honest, who has more videogames (including XBLA), you or Mightymango?

A: Hands down, Mango. He and I went back and forth a while back swapping places on the games played leaderboard which was fun, but I had to back off game buying last year big time for personal reasons. I did have a surge around Christmas which put me back at the #2 spot on the 360Voice games played leaderboard recently, but Mango is still pretty far ahead of me. I still can't buy games like I used to so I suspect Mango will stay ahead of me.

Q: How did you get started in collecting videogames? What keeps you wanting to continue to collect and "catch 'em all"?

A: After the original Pong home console where all the games were built-in, I got the Atari 2600. That's where it started. The market was flooded with games (most weren't any good) and the prices were cheap. Even as I kid I managed to rack up quite a collection of 2600 games that would rival my 360 collection. I owned just about every console out there and had most of the games for each system. Sadly, all my other game systems, and I do mean all of them, I had to sell a few years ago. Sometimes I really miss the Neo Geo (home and arcade) and the Turbo Graphix 16/Duo consoles. It is what it is.

Q: Do you currently count Indie games as a part of your collection? Do you even purchase them? Why or why not?

A: I do love the indie scene but I do not have any of the games nor would I count them as part of my "collection". I count games (or apps like ESPN) that show up on our blogs/xbox live.

Q: How long have you been an Xbox Live Gold Member and what keeps you paying that subscription fee?

A: My console says 5 years. You get to play a lot of games for a small price that's lower than most PC games that require a monthly subscription for just one game.

Q: Are you using any of the extra services provided? Such as Netflix (if you're already a Netflix member), ESPN3, UFC fights, Facebook, or Twitter?

A: I'm not using any of these services right now.

Q: If you could change or add one thing to Xbox Live, what would it be and why?

A: I'd make game developers/publishers that use their own servers to no longer have online achievements. I hate it when we have to scramble to beat a server going down.  I understand why they take their games offline, but don't take away our ability to earn achievements. Not everyone can buy the latest sports game only to have the achievements unobtainable in less than a year's time (in some cases).

Q: Out of the latest technology brought into the gaming world, what is your favorite, and why? [Kinect/Windows phone/3D Gaming, Cloud Saves]

A: Kinect is a neat idea, but I'm not sure it's "there" yet. 3D Gaming will further enhance the experience and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

Q: You are roughly 19,000GS away from hitting 200k! Do you have anything special planned?

A: No I do not have anything currently planned.

Q: Tell us a little about your favorite badges on 360Voice, and what kind of badges you would create if you could?

A: Since I'm a game collector, I would go with the collection badges. As for a new badge, why not have a # of games played badge? We have one for # days played, watchers, etc.  You can never have too many badges.

Q: If you could add or change one thing on 360Voice, what would it be and why?

A: The site is constantly changing/evolving. I don't know of anything right now.

Q: Any particular beverage or food you like to have laying around while you are gaming?

A: Soda of various flavors. I don't like to eat and game.

Q: What kind of gaming setup do you currently have?

A: In the "achievement room" that is a 9' x 12' room. I have a 42" LG flatscreen with a 500watt surround sound system. 2 - 504 capacity DVD racks, and 2 smaller DVD racks 1 of each on both sides of the room. I sit in a recliner. I have all 3 region consoles and gaming PC attached to the TV via HDMI and I use wireless keyboard and mouse for the PC so I rarely have to get up once I start gaming. In the living room, where I have to use the Kinect, I have an older Phillips 55" rear projection big screen to play on. It's rare that I can get the Mrs. away from it long enough to use the Kinect though.  I'm working on getting a new house built so that I won't have this problem anymore, but that is a ways off.

Q: What was the very first videogame you remember playing?

A: Pong

Q: What was the first game you started on the Xbox360? Did you get all the achievements?

A: Blazing Angels. No I never went back and finished it. Maybe one day.

Q: BoZack is currently planning for an "Achievement Fest" during the Summer, do you plan to attend? Who are some people you would hope to meet if you can make it?

A: I would like to attend and I'm going to try. It's a 12 hour drive for me though. The event is too far out to know for sure just yet. I'd like to met a lot of great people over the years at 360voice.  I'd be happy to meet any of them.

Q: Tell us some details of your life away from gaming, what type of job do you have? Any family members?

A: My job takes up 90% of my time. I'm in the IT business. I mainly work on servers, routers, switches, desktops, and laptops across a 100+ square mile radius in any direction.  I'm on the road a lot and usually barely have enough time to update the tournament leaderboards and pop in a game long enough to get an achievement.

Q: You drive around a lot, do you listen to any particular music or podcasts during your travels?

A: I just got a new ride back in November that has a Satelite radio in it so I've been playing with that.

Q: What are your thoughts on how Microsoft handles their security? Especially with the recent Fifa hacks, do you feel safer than a PS3 member?

A: I think overall they're doing a decent job. After what Sony went thru I would say M$ is doing a better job keeping their clients info safer.

Q: DLC, practically every game nowadays ships with it planned. Do you ever buy any, or are you satisfied enough with having the original game in your collection?

A: I get some DLC, especially if it's for a game I really like or has additional achievements.

Q: What are your thoughts on SOPA and PIPA, are you for or against them?

A: As an amature developer myself, I wouldn't like someone stealing my work so I don't do it either.

Q: Do you watch any movies? What are some of your favorites?

A: Recently watched Underworld 4 and I did like most of the series. Anything science fiction related really.

Q: 2011 was a year packed with AAA titles, what were your 10 favorite games released (XBLA and Retail)?

A: I enjoyed Gears 3, Modern Warfare 3, Shadows of the Damned, and I'm sure I'm leaving out several other good ones but the mind draws blank.

Q: Any New Year resolutions you have to accomplish in 2012?

A: I would like to break 300,000 in gamerscore by the end of the year but at the rate I'm going (5.0% last I looked on TA) I'm not going to make it.  Just not enough hours in the day with my schedule.

Q: Do you ever wait for videogames to go on sale, or do you regularly buy them on release-day?

A: I rarely get a game on release day and most of my games I get used. It's how I get so many of them.

Q: In a regular workday, how many miles do you drive? What vehicle are you driving such long voyages in?

A: In a 5 day work week, it's not uncommon for me to do 1,000 miles or more. I drive a 2012 Kia Sportage SUV. I got it back in November to replace my 2005 of the same make/model. It had over 300,000 miles on it.

Q: Anything else you would like to add? Say hi to mom, or taunt your nemesis?

A: If I have a nemesis, I don't know it so if he/she wants to reveal themself, bring it!

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