Hello everyone and welcome to another 22 Questions interview. This week there is triple the trouble because I interviewed the crew from Epileptic Gaming. For those of you who don’t know, Epileptic Gaming is a Global Gaming League show devoted all aspects of gaming. They have regular guests [some of which have been interviewed on this blog], game reviews, and other segments each week. What else sets this show apart from any other you may ask? Well first of all it is filmed, not just an audio podcast. Also, it is now 5 days a week. Without further delay here is my interview with the crew from EG. Enjoy.
- What is Your Gaming Alias:
Rance- djRoME is my alias, tho I’m actually leaning toward getting rid of it and just going with my real name since it sounds like an alias anyway… (Rance)
- What Age Did You Start Playing Video Games:
Marcus- As much as I can remember, I’d have to say around 4 or 5. It was definitely a habitual thing by age 6!
Rance- My first system was the Magnavox Odyssey, but that was before I really had the motor skills to play well. Many many many hours were spent on the original Nintendo machine playing Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, Tecmo Bowl and Excite Bike.
Hogan- I must have been 4 or 5 years old. My dad had one of the first IBM PCs from the early 1980’s. I can’t remember which it was, but we also had an Atari 2600. I remember playing with my brother, but I was so young, I think I spent most of my time watching my brother play.
- Who Would You Say is Responsible for Getting You Into Gaming:
Marcus- I guess I can only give credit to my parents for this one… when I was 3 they purchased a VIC120 for the family and a year later came the Atari 2600.
Rance- My dad was. He ran BBSes back in the day, and I was obsessed with helping him run his 9-phone-line BBS in Denver called DATA-LINK. He would never let me play video games on the computers: “You’ll break the computer with those games, kid,” similarly the Nintendo couldn’t be hooked up to the good TV because it would “break it.” I also blame the arcade version of Killer Instinct for sealing the deal as I could probably buy a nice Lexus with the amount of quarters I pumped into that machine!
Hogan- My brother for sure. He has mentored me since I can remember. Since he’s older than me by about 5 years, it was natural for me to be in awe of just about everything that he did. He and I would spend the majority of our Christmas & birthday cash on video games, and at one point, we had over 150 Sega Genesis titles. It was an impressive library of games.
- First Game That Had You Hooked:
Marcus- It’s a tossup between Pitfall 2 (Atari 2600) and Wastelands (PC). Pitfall 2 just blew my mind when it came out. It was the first true “adventure” game on the 2600 (Adventure doesn’t count!!!), and Wastelands is a post-apocalyptic RPG that had me sinking hours and hours into the game. I played it through at least 3 or 4 times.
Rance- Hooked… Hmm. Killer Instinct in the Arcade, and Half Life: Team Fortress Classic (played TFC 5 nights a week for about 4 years)
Hogan- Ultima Underworld 1. It was arguably the first true 3D first-person perspective game. I have always love role-playing games, and it was pretty scary playing this one. We had it on our old 486/66 DX2 with 8MB of ram and 2x CD-ROM drive from Creative. I’d watch my brother play until I fell asleep each night, and then I’d wake up at 6 am and play as quietly as I could next to his bed. The hard drive was so loud, that whenever an enemy was about to appear in the dungeon, you’d get fair warning. That didn’t help me much though, but I loved thrill of it either way.
The EG Hosts [left to right: Marcus, Rance and Hogan]
- Little Known Fact:
Marcus- I’ve traveled to over 15 different countries as a Professional Pro-Gaming Commentator. I wrote all the music for an online Multiplayer game called PAINTBALL.NET.
Rance- I was a brass instructor for two DCI drum and bugle corps, the Troopers and the Colts. That would mean nothing to you unless you know what DCI is.
Hogan- My brother now comes to me for gaming advice, even though he is my mentor.
- If You Were to Make a Documentary, What Would it Be About:
Marcus- I’d love to do a documentary about the evolution of online communication. Before I was a slave to the internet, I dove into the world of BBS’s. The BBS’s evolved into UNIX based internet, and that got me into MUD’s (Multi-User Dungeons or Online Text MMORPGS). I think this particular period of time is ignored and discredited, but it is such an important part of the evolution of online communication and the internet.
Rance- Why so many more ladies play WoW than other video games. What is the allure behind that game for the ladies?
Hogan- One area that I’d focus on would be the dumpster divers. Almost every night, I can hear people looking for recyclables in the dumpster for my apartment. I see no shame in that, as many people seem to earn a good amount of money recycling metal, plastic, and glass.
- How Did You Get Involved In the Gaming Industry:
Marcus- After traveling around the world covering video game tournaments on my spare time, I was finally hired by a company who recognized my talent and wanted to utilize my abilities in a full time capacity. Leaving my full-time Bank Networking job was not a tough thing to do :)
Rance- I started off by volunteering for an online radio station called Game Radio Live. I mainly just shoutcasted TFC matches and didn’t really travel. I then found out that some crews were traveling to live events (like e3) and live competitions (like the World Cyber Games) so I set out to find a crew that did some traveling. GBC Sports was my new team, they traveled to CPL (Dallas) and Ever LAN (Denver). Sadly after about 1.5 years that station died so I joined Inside the Game (iTG). Through iTG I met Marcus who turned me on to the Global Gaming League (GGL) and ended up talking those guys into bringing me out to LA!
Hogan- I moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. After a few years of gaining valuable experience working for a talent manager, I switched gears and applied for a job at Electronic Arts as a game tester. In many ways, it was a dream job; getting paid to play video games. Not all is glorious though, because some games are not fun to test for too long of a time. However, I met some really cool people at EA. After my contract was up, I began working at the Global Gaming League in the video production department, which is where you can find me now!
- What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job:
Marcus- Creative freedom, doing Epileptic Gaming every day, and being able to play games. Creative freedom wins over all though, because we’re lucky to not have to go through a gaggle of red tape in order to do something we want to do. The company we work for trusts in our judgment and also realizes that we understand our demographic. So they let us just run with whatever we want!
Rance- The favorite part of my job is being able to tell people that I ‘play video games’ for a living. I don’t really play that much during work, but when a good game comes out (like Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars) I can veto my schedule for the day and just play. Like I did yesterday. :P
Hogan- Well, it has always been my dream to work in the film industry, but I soon realized that working in gaming is much more fun because it’s such a young industry. What’s best about my job is that I get to combine video production with gaming! I love going to events and producing awesome content and I have acquired a deep respect and appreciation for professional gaming. It truly is an elite art that is way beyond casual gaming.
- What Are You Better At That Any of the Other EG Host:
Marcus- Hosting :) Actually, I’d say between Kam-Ra and djRoME, I am the true video game nerd. So I would have to say my extensive knowledge of gaming (console, arcade, and PC) is probably better than the other two hosts.
Rance- I’m definitely better at pulling the ladies and being an asshole than those other clowns. Then again, kam-RA has a steady girl and djWHEAT is married so it depends on your perspective. LONG LIVE THE SINGLE MAN!
Hogan- Well, it’s my job to set up the cameras. So that’s my specialty and that’s what I’m best at. Beyond that, we’re all pretty good gamers and we all know how to do certain parts of each other’s jobs. But I wouldn’t be “kam-RA” if I didn’t know how to correctly set up the cameras & the lights.
- Strangest Hobbie You Have:
Marcus- Browsing 4chan.org /b/ Random forums – You never know what you’re going to see, and when you do see it you just can’t look away.
Rance- Probably the music teaching thing. I’m quite possibly the most unlikely music teacher on Earth. I love it, though.
Hogan- I wouldn’t call it a hobby per se, but I have a tape fetish. I love to make sure shit is taped down properly and such. Just ask Marcus or Rance… they can tell you of my taping exploits… especially with black gaffing tape.
- Closest You Have Come to Death:
Marcus- Tough question… I’m not sure if I was actually close to death in this particular example, but I THOUGHT I was close to death. Rewind back to the college years where doing drugs and skipping class was the cool thing to do. My girlfriend and I decided to eat a bunch of mushrooms one night. After consuming our dose of natural goodness, a friend came over with a vial of liquid LSD. So we “double stacked” our intake that night… and 3 hours later someone thought it would be a great idea to go see “Snatch”. Upon arriving at the movie theater I was feeling very good and was excited to see the movie. We entered into the theater, and I looked up at the Marquee. BAD IDEA. After admiring the flashing lights, I walked into the dark theater. The lights were still flashing and it actually caused me to black out for nearly 5 minutes. When I woke up, I thought the last 5 years of my life was a dream. I wasn’t really in danger of dying, but it was a scary moment and death did cross my mind. I’m glad I’m still here!!!
Rance- I had a bike accident when I was 12 that knocked out my two front teeth… Face planting into pavement at like 35 mph never feels good.
Hogan- I’ve come close to death a few times, but the closest was probably when I was in boarding school in Virginia on a camping trip. We were white-water kayaking down a very cold river and I got stuck going down a short fall. My kayak turned side-ways and the on-rushing water rolled me over really quickly. Because of the constant pressure from the water fall, I could not flip my kayak back over. What made matters worse was that the river was so shallow that my head was pressed against the rocks so I couldn’t scoop my self out of the boat. I only had about 40 seconds of air, and I was pretty worried after 20 seconds of being under the water. Luckily for me, 2 experience kayakers came to my rescue. They pulled me out of the stuck spot and I was able to eject myself while inverted. It was pretty scary, but I was thankful and felt good enough to continue my trek down the river.
- Last Gadget Purchased:
Marcus- Logitech G15 Keyboard – and I LOVE IT
Rance- A bitchin’ new FX-60 for my socket 939 Gaming rig.
Hogan- Sony Ericsson w810i cell phone. I bought this phone out of a frustrated need, not so much necessity. It’s a good phone, but after Cingular broke my previous phone, I pretty much had no choice. It’s just clear to me that all cell phone companies are jack-asses ruining the world one subscriber at a time.
- Song You Are Currently Listening to:
Marcus- Mash-Up Remixes (Anything with a Bass and a Hi-Hat will do though !!!)
Rance- Tower of Power: Live in Sacramento album is non-stop on repeat.
Hogan- My coworker and friend Carmac has been visiting from his office in Poland. He quickly discovered that I have Sniper and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in my car. Sniper is a French hip-hop group and RHCP… well, you had better know who they are!
- Favorite Ending For a Game, Movie or Book:
Marcus- GAME: Final Fantasy 8 – I’m a sucker for love stories in video games; BOOK: Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard – The book actually ends halfway through, and then a new story begins… the final battle for control of earth is an epic event.
Rance- Half-Life 1 single player for PC. Riveting.
Hogan- I’m into tragic endings… so I think most movies, books, and games do not end that way. But the ones that I love are the most tragic. Like the ending of The Thin Red Line when Witt meets his maker. Wow. The ending of Lord of the Flies is pretty awesome as well, when the grown-ups finally find the boys in their deep state of disarray.
- What Person Has Had a Large Impact on Your Life:
Marcus- My wife and son.
Rance- I don’t really want to admit it in public, but Marcus (djWHEAT) has changed my life more than anyone else recently. He convinced me to leave my old life for a new one as a game journalist.
Hogan- My brother, sans doute (without a doubt). He has always helped me improve everything thing that I do with regards to filming and gaming. My girlfriend, Ella, has been a great supporter as well. Without either of them, I wouldn’t find myself doing what I love to be doing. My job is challenging and rewarding every day, and getting to co-host EG with Marcus & Rance is a dream come true; a dream that I never knew that I would have.
- What Movie Inspired Game Would You Love to See:
Marcus- Until I play a decent movie to game translation, I can’t choose one for myself. If I had a gun to my head and was being FORCED to answer… I’d have to go with Back to the Future. Sure it’s been done in the early NES/SNES days but I’m talking a real 3D BTTF game.
Rance- A GOOD MMO with the Star Wars theme.
Hogan- I don’t really want to see games turned into movies. I mean… the point of movies is to provide the user an experience for a few hours. They are so short-lived. A book is the opposite, because you get to live that book for as long as you’re reading its pages. Games are somewhere in the middle, with some role playing games providing upwards of 50 or 80 hours of game play. That trumps any movie in my book, and it’s pretty sad when you try to condense that into a movie. I guess I haven’t answered the question yet, so I think a bad-ass movie would be Toe-Jam & Big Earl. I’d love to see how that kind of movie would pan-out.
- What is Your Drink or Snack of Choice While Gaming:
Marcus- Red Bull (or any Energy Drink), Mountain Dew, Lays BBQ Chips
Rance- Mountain Dew, Doritos.
Hogan- Mountain Dew & Doritos FTW! Coke and Pizza Hut Pan pizza is pretty bomb as well. It depends on how hungry I am.
- Game You Are Looking Forward to the Most:
Marcus- Metal Gear Solid 4 – Without a doubt the best looking video game I’ve ever seen in my life. I just want to play it!
Rance- Team Fortress 2 will be released with the upcoming Half Life 2: Episode 2 and Portal. That release is going to pretty much end my productivity in life for a long time.
Hogan- Assassin’s Creed!
- Game That Was the Biggest Let Down:
Marcus- FABLE, or the cancellation of Ultima Online 2 (which never surfaced thus a big let down!)
Rance- World of Warcraft was a big letdown for me in the end because not everyone in the game was playing on one world in one server. The next uber-popular MMO will have all players in one world. Madden 2k7 was a gigantic disappointment also… I hope EA can get the frame rate up on future iterations of the Madden franchise.
Hogan- FIFA World Cup 2006 for the Xbox 360. Even though I have lots of fun playing it, it’s such a buggy game that I want to pull my hair out. EA gets a bad rap sometimes, and games like FIFA World Cub ‘06 don’t help them improve that.
- Biggest Change in Gaming in the Last Year:
Marcus- The fact that PS3 hasn’t been on the forefront with their new console… yet. Being a huge fan of the Playstation Brand, it’s been weird that they have been under attack more than they’ve received praise. I also think Nintendo has managed to release ANOTHER game console that will have a short lived life (along side the N64 and GameCube). I guess the biggest change is the fact that we are now knee deep in the NEXT-GEN WAR!
Rance- Professional e-Sports has hit main-stream TV in a couple of places. WSVG (ABC) and MLG (USA) as well as the Championship Gaming Series (DirecTV) have all been on REAL TV in the last year.
Hogan- The console wars heated up. People are so inclined to join either the PS3 camp or the Xbox360 camp. It’s such a hackneyed struggle fueled by PR departments. I’d rather just play games that look cool and are fun. I don’t care about the platform. I own a PC, and I get to have access to the company’s Xbox 360 & PS3, so I’ve got no complaints or alliances. I do think the PS3 is going to soon prove itself the superior system graphically.
- Ideal Game That Has Not Yet Been Created:
Marcus- Naruto MMORPG – I might get owned for even mentioning this, BUT, the Naruto Universe has everything a good MMORPG needs. I think that fact that it focuses around Ninja’s and has a worldwide draw could make it an epic game.
Rance- Palladium: Rifts was a great pen and paper RPG that I’d love to see ported to the MMO genre. Too bad it’s stuck on the N-Gage in cartoon form for the foreseeable future.
Hogan- I would not want to predict what I think the ideal game would be. I like too many different types of games… you can’t have one ideal game. I guess any game that has a solid spectator mode would make me happiest. I love the pro competitions because of the spectacle that can be made out of it. Ideally, I’d love for pro-gaming to become as popular in the US as it is in Korea.
- What Message Would You Send to Gamers Everywhere:
Marcus- If you aren’t watching Epileptic Gaming, then you aren’t watching a REAL video game show! :) But seriously, I want to tell gamers to just keep supporting gaming. The gamers are the reason we started doing Epileptic Gaming back in 2003 and they are STILL the reason we are doing it today. Gamers need to support one another for gaming to continue to grow!
Rance- COMPETE AGAINST REAL PEOPLE!!! Single player gaming is a waste of time. If you play against the computer, the game is designed to eventually guarantee victory. I don’t mind losing, so I have no qualms about playing a real person. It’s so much more exhilarating to play a person, win or lose. Toughen up and play your favorite games online!
Hogan- If you love it, you can make it your career. But you got to keep leveling up in the real world. Finish school if you can, but no matter what, put your heart and soul into everything that you do… otherwise, what’s the point?!!
Great answers guys! Thanks so much for the interview. Ever since I stumbled on your show a while back I have been a regular watcher and enjoy it a lot. Readers, be sure to stop by the Epileptic Gaming site. You can watch each episode LIVE every weekday at 7 PM Eastern or you can view older episodes which are archived on their site with VOD. I recommend it!
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s interview. Stay tuned next week for another great person. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.