Rounding on nearly four years with the site, Gorilla.800.lbs has been a pillar of the Gamers With Jobs community since before being a pillar was even cool. Who is this primate? A little insight may be found in his jungle habitat.
Read on for the Employee Profile! Ook.
1)Who the devil are you?
My name is Valery. I am a 35 year old guy, hailing from New Jersey. I am a Russian American, hence the odd name. Back in ol' Soviet Russia, this name is used in both male and female variations, and my parent's weren't overly concerned with the international ramifications of that. And despite the conclusions my photo may force you to make, I am actually not a Gorilla.
2) What are you supposed to be doing during the day when you're reading GWJ?
Managing Lean/Six Sigma projects in the IT department of a "major Wall St investment bank". I am in the middle of trying to pull off a switch from my lifelong career in application development to the project management. Right now, I am supposed to be haranguing some already overworked people on three continents into committing to do even more work. I am switching furiously back and worth between Project, Excel, Minitab, and bludgeoning the point home using my outstanding oratorical skills, as well as Outlookmanship and PowerPointmanship.
3) How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
I am happily married to my high-school sweetheart who goes by nickname "Yozhik" ("cute hedgehog"). She's in the background on the photo. We have two sons. The older boy is 12, and manages to combines shyness with high proficiency in martial arts. He would be a full-blown "avid gamer" if we weren't limiting his PC and Xbox 360 time rather strictly. You can occasionally see him on Live as "ChompletKing". The younger one is 3, and quite bossy. He's possessed with cars and makes the older one play Forza 2 and Dirt demo incessantly against the older one's will. The role of a family pet is played by our Volkswagen Jetta, which continues to undergo one modification project after another.
4) What was your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
Easily, Gears of War. I'd love to be able to pick a game more high-brow, sophisticated, and slightly haute-art-ish obscure so as to demonstrate just how refined my gaming tastes are, but the point of fact is, GoW is THE game of the year. Much like a pop-star's new album, it's engineered to be a megahit. It takes no risks, but delivers in flawless execution. To continue the analogy, if it were a music album, it would be the kind of record you'd find yourself playing most often over and over.
Besides completing the game to its cutely cheesy ending though the series of endless "ohmigod's", my most cherished impressions are occasional Live games with the GWJ gang. The thing that sealed it for me was walking through the campaign in Live co-op with my old-time friend and reliving the memories mentioned further down in item #6.
The runner up God of War 2. Much like Gears, it was a piece of entertainment so well crafted and very engaging and satisfying.
5) Which game are you looking forward to most?
The most awaited one would technically be Team Fortress 2, because I've been waiting for it since circa 1998. I am absolutely looking forward for it more than for any other game I can think of. I literally dream of pulling rocket-grenade jump combos and building gun turrets again. But knowing Valve's track record, I have no faith in their "2007" release date whatsoever.
So, being realistic, Halo 3 is then the definite answer. Having a taste of it from the Beta that just concluded, I can't wait to get my hands on the whole package. You, me, and that UglyD00d173 guy all know that Halo 3 not going to disappoint us.
6) What is your fondest gaming memory?
Cold winter evening of 1994 in Moscow when me and my workplace (all of us still grad students) buddies started up Doom for the first time. We had a Novell network going, which Doom supported with the IPX stack, and we had 4 workstations connected for a Deathmatch. One guy had a SoundBlaster card in his PCs and a ghetto blaster tape player connected to it. E1M1 tune blared to the high heaven. The night ahead was long and dark, and we had an endless supply of hot tea and coffee. Our projects' deadlines suddenly fell by wayside, our tomorrow's classes were forgotten, and whatever the notion of "Gaming" used to mean before got shattered overnight.
7) Finally, why do you play games at all? Why haven't you outgrown them?
I always enjoyed that question! The implied premise seems to be that we're naturally EXPECTED to outgrow the gaming but that somehow doesn't happen in certain cases? If so, I must confess that I am probably failing you, my friends.
Certainly, as a higher primate, I continue to respond to once remembered stimuli, and fully appreciate the shine and the color of the dazzling beads that is the "digitalized entertainment", as my son says. Hence, I do get a great deal of enjoyment from playing Gears, for example. But it's not unlike going to see a summer blockbuster at the movies -- simple, bright, laden with explosions, augmented with popcorn, and, above all, infrequent. I believe it's inevitable. In my thinking about it, I began getting afraid that maybe I am not even qualifying as an "casual gamer" anymore, and therefore invented a new category -- an "occasional gamer".
It's all about how we balance our need for the entertainment. And at the end of day, gaming is a vehicle of entertainment. As we mature, finding time for such becomes harder and harder. At the same time, other forms of pastime are emerging that may not even look on surface as entertainment at all. We're switching to activities and hobbies that begin to appeal as more fulfilling than just entertainment. Having a free hour in the day, would I rather play Forza 2 or tinker with my own car's innards? Re-play God of War 2 or actually go to fight in my Taekwondo studio? Breed Pinatas or work in my garden? Tag people with grenades in GoW or teach my little son how to draw helicopters and firetrucks? You have to begin making choices. Not making them means doesn't mean that we're avoiding getting older. It means that we're avoiding the maturity. Avoiding becoming more developed and complex persons.
Legend has it that a certain Buddhist hermit in province of Wee Skong Sing believed that he had achieved an enlightenment, and decided to venture out to the world, seeking social acceptance and success with females. Instead, all he found was Level 60 for his Tauren shaman on Tichondrius.
I may be wrong altogether, of course. Maybe there is just one simple but effective personal time management trick, which would allow me to easily balance the responsibilities, fulfill the yearning for development and needs for creative and social self-expression in a non-trivial way, and at the same time leave enough hours in the day for simple pleasures of "digitalized entertainment". Just maybe. But alas I yet have to find it, so all I can do is to squeeze just a couple of game-time hours out of a week.
8) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard hitting questions! Any last words?
EARTH AND WATER!
Seriously, however, I have this remark to make. The success and the longevity of GWJ is indisputably rooted in the fact that Certis and Elysium not only managed to continue come up with the brilliant content and promote the talented frontpage contributors, but also largely in part to the unique atmosphere they maintain in the forums. I can swear that Everything Else and Politics section have bigger impact on my life than all Master Chiefs and Kratoses (Kratii?) combined. Some truly eye and hear-opening wisdom and advice and commentary going on there are always thought provoking, and now and then we see the repetition of a pattern: get a new member lured out of the woodwork, registering in to submit a marvel of an article.
This makes me go thinking: just how many more insightful, knowledgeable, and articulate lurkers are out there, reading the forums silently? My words are to them: if you are enjoying the level of civility and quality of discourse, then don't just sit back and read. Register and contribute as well! It will only make GWJ better for all of us.