Meet the Podunkers is a new blog series I“ve started intended to feature members of the community, a sort of gamer spotlight if you will. I will try and have a new interview posted weekly, until I run out of willing members to feature!
Today“s interviewee is none other that Game Podunk Editor-in-ChiefJason Clement!
What's the first game you've ever played?
Super Mario Bros. 3. I remember how blown away I was when first I started playing it, and how much of a triumph it was for me to get across that big gap in the first level. Every day, I would come home from school and play it for 30 minutes to an hour (that was the extent of my playing time at that age, haha) and every day I would get a little bit farther, until one day, my brother and I beat it on a Saturday afternoon. When that happened, we felt like we had just conquered the world, though I'm certain that's the case with most kids and the first game they beat.
Describe your current gaming setup.
As far as active consoles and handhelds that I have hooked up and am playing - I have a PS3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, DS, and PSP. Technically I have a PC too, but I rarely use it for games nowadays since it's a bit of a dinosaur (yes, it's true; it only runs Windows XP...). I also have a PS2, Gamecube, SNES, and NES that are unplugged, as well as a GB Micro, GBA, GB Color, and GB Pocket. Used to have an N64, but my brother and I sold it along with its games to get a Gamecube back in the day. That's still one of my biggest regrets to this day, not because I thought the Gamecube wasn't worth it, but because there are some N64 games I'd love to play again that aren't found on the Wii's Virtual Console, like Space Station Silicon Valley.
In terms of what I play most at the moment, definitely the Wii U and PS3. Despite the Wii U's meager upcoming lineup, I'm enjoying it quite a bit due to the off-screen play and some of the exclusives (NSMBU, LEGO City Undercover, Toki Tori 2, amidst others). The PS3 is probably what I'd consider my "main" console due to the plethora of games I have on it and the fact that I usually get multiplatform games on it. Believe it or not, I still use my Wii occasionally as well, but usually only to play Fortune Street with some online buddies (including Jordan) every now and then. I also still need to finish Xenoblade Chronicles and play through The Last Story, so it'll get some more use yet.
Name the one game that changed your life, that is, what's the one game that made you into the gamer you are today?
It's tough to narrow it down to just one game. I could say Super Mario Bros. 3, but that was mostly what got me into gaming in the first place. Secret of Mana had a pretty big impact on me when I first played it with a friend growing up; it was the first RPG I'd ever played, and a pretty big reason I got into them in the first place. Final Fantasy VI further cemented the kind of bigger story experience I found out that I could have with games and what they were capable of. Earthbound was another big influence; it was the second RPG I played, but the first that I really played in-depth, and it really stood out due to how different it was from other RPGs, which were generally always based in a textbook fantasy world.
Super Mario 64 was another huge one. To this day, there will likely never be another game (at least for me) that will have the same impact. Going from playing on a 2D plane to exploring a 3D world like that was huge, and I remember how much of a quantum leap it was for me, even before the game came out. Just seeing screenshots of it in TIME magazine and Nintendo Power, I remember thinking that it would be the ultimate game and that the visuals were so amazing for its time.
When it really comes down to it, though, there are two games in particular that really made me into the gamer that I am today. The first would be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which I first played at my friend's house. I remember getting all the way to Dodongo's Cavern there, but that was as far as I got. A few years later, I finally played through the whole game on my own, and I was astounded by how big the world was and how much there was to explore. Not only that, but the story and narrative were just about perfect, and set the bar for me in what games were capable of achieving. There are certain moments that I still consider to be masterful storytelling and amazing from a cinematic point of view, such as Link saying goodbye to Saria on the bridge, the moment after you rescue Princess Ruto and she gives you the Zora's Sapphire in exchange for becoming betrothed to her, and the final moments when Link confronts Ganondorf, who's playing the organ as Zelda is held prisoner right above him.
The other game would have to be Chrono Trigger. Above everything else, the story blew my mind, not only as a piece of science fiction, but because of how thematically brilliant much of it was. I won't get too into it here, but the whole Zeal arc in particular is a fascinating study in underlying social themes. The characters were also exceptionally well-constructed with their own backstories and personalities (especially Frog), and even aside from the story/themes, the gameplay was phenomenal. It's quite sad because there may never be another game like Chrono Trigger again; there were so many things that happened at the right time for it to come together the way it did; so much so that I don't think Square could imitiate its success if they tried to make a sequel to it nowadays.
Chrono Trigger, like the Zelda series, is a game I could continually analyze and decipher forever. It's like that feeling you get with Lost (if you ever got into that show) where you can't stop thinking about it and all the mysteries it presented. And at the end of the day, it was those two games that really showed me how deep games can be, not only from a gameplay perspective, but with how it can change your outlook on life by the narrative and themes they present and discuss, even if they aren't apparent at first. It's why I love games with a heavy meaning behind them nowadays, like Journey, Papo & Yo, and The Unfinished Swan.
What is your all-time favourite game EVER?
Hooo, that's another tough one. In some ways, Chrono Trigger will always be that game that ultimately will likely never be topped, but if I'm being truthful, it's currently The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I know that's probably a pretty controversial choice given that many people hate it for certain design reasons and that they couldn't get used to the motion controls, but there are a lot of reasons I love it (gameplay and innovation being a huge factor). The biggest reason has to be because of the story and the way it develops, though, especially how the story arc develops between Link and Zelda and that the themes of lost innocence and such were tackled extremely well.
Before that, it was actually Twilight Princess that was my favorite; there were a lot of landmark moments in that one for me; too many to count off-hand. It was just an incredibly fulfilling, epic game, and arguably the darkest, grittiest Zelda game at that point. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn also deserves some huge props here; the story in that game is downright incredible for the most part; you almost wouldn't know you were playing a Nintendo game due to the themes that that game tackles.
How about your favourite character?
Um, tough to say again. I want to say either Link or Samus, but both are mostly avatars for the player in most instances, though there is a canon behind both characters. Mega Man comes to mind; he's likeable since he has a great design and was in some of the best action platforming games around but I can't say he has a whole lot of depth.
I can't say she's my absolute favorite, but one of the bigger characters that always stood out as one of my favorites was Beatrix from Final Fantasy 9. It was really cool to say Square build up a strong female character in games for once and show that women can be just as strong as men, not only physically, but character-wise as well. Jade from Beyond Good & Evil was another great character for many of the same reasons.
Savyna from Baten Kaitos and Cynthia from Pokemon Diamond are great characters as well; both sport great designs and Savyna especially has a great personality that grew on me during the course of Baten Kaitos' story.
Do you collect any sort of gaming memorabilia? If so, what and why?
Sort of. I don't go out of my way to find things to collect, but if I find something really cool and not too expensive, I'll add it to my collection. Right now, I've been collecting a lot of stuff from Club Nintendo, such as the Platinum rewards from the past few years (all un-opened except for the Mario statue from a few years back). My most prized of those rewards is a limited edition 20th Anniversary Kirby medal that they only made 600 of altogether. I believe Leah and John also got one as well.
What's your story? How'd you end up on Game Podunk?
That's a long story, haha, but I'll try to keep it as short as I can. I originally found out about Game Podunk through a post that TylerxDurden made on CAG's forums back in the summer of 2010. He said that GP was paying out $50 for featured blogs on the site, something they did for about a year or a little less back then. I tried my luck at writing, and got my first blog featured, along with most of the ones I wrote after that. At about the same time, I had made friends with Marcus, who joined GP about a few months before me.
When February 2011 rolled around, the admin of the site, Nashkirb, posted that they were looking for writers to form an Editorial team to write officially for the site. I initially didn't think it was something I could do, so I said I was going to sit it out, but to my surprise, Nash asked me to reconsider and that they wanted me onboard if possible. So I decided to take a leap of faith and join the team, and I became the third person enlisted; the first being Dan Curtis, who has since left to found his own site, and the second being Jamie Donnelly, who is now the Editor-in-Chief for Beefjack.com.
Nash wanted four people on the team to start with, so we all thought that Marcus would fill the last spot perfectly. Things went great for a few months, but both Dan and Jamie were fast approaching their graduation from Uni and were looking for full-time employment in the writing field, so they had to depart. With their absence, Nash looked to Marcus and I to carry on and lead the team, so we decided that I would take the role of Editor-in-Chief and Marcus would be the Managing Editor. Shortly after, we enlisted Marshall as the third writer on our team, and soon after we had everyone else come onboard.
As for how I became admin, that happened when the site switched owners in early 2012, and the new owner had me continue on as admin in Nash's place. And the rest, as they say, was history.
Which 3 people, dead or alive, would you want to play a game together with? Which game?
Probably Shigeru Miyamoto, Masahiro Sakurai, and Keiji Inafune; they're the three game designers I respect above most, for different reasons, of course. Miyamoto for the influential games he's created; Sakurai for his in-depth and precise way of developing games with tons of content; and Inafune for his knowledge of the industry (and his awareness of its decline in Japan) and what generally makes a great game.
As for the game we'd play? Probably Super Smash Bros. Brawl. How could you go wrong with that? Or maybe Fortune Street; we could probably get a mean game of that going...
It's the zombie apocalypse - which person, weapon and music would you have during your final stand?
I actually wrote a blog about this back in my days as a blogger on IGN. For me, it'd have to be one of three characters; Boba Fett (from Star Wars), Sigma (from Mega Man X), or Thanos (Marvel Universe). I imagine Boba Fett would be pretty resourceful to have around in a situation like that. Sigma would be an extremely powerful ally to have due to his ability to control anything computer-related, not to mention the fact that he can come back almost as many times as he needs to if his physical body is destroyed. And Thanos is not only extremely powerful, but he's brilliant as well; if anyone could triumph over zombies, it'd be him.
As for the weapon, I'd definitely have to go with the Master Sword from the Zelda series, and for some reason, The Final Destination theme from Smash Bros. Brawl was the first song to pop in my head in regards to music.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Um, I dunno? I guess I should say something here so I'll just say that I've been extremely grateful and lucky to be GP's admin for the last year and Editor-in-Chief for the last few years. Not only have I gotten to work with a great staff of writers and mods, but I've also gotten to watch all the community members come together to make GP the great little community it is today. Thanks for sticking around, everyone, and hope you continue to stick around as we continue to make GP an even better community!
Thank you Jason for being the guinea pig for my new blog!
What did you think of this interview? Are you looking forward to similar interviews with other members?