What's that on the horizon? It must be GWJ rising "star" Kexx!
Many, if not most of you, know my brother from his greatest hits; Shalalm al Baskur and his crazy-good Portal 2 maps. He's the creative guy in the family. For as long as I can remember, kexx has followed the beat of his own drummer; pottery, sculpture, drawn his own comics, went into industrial design and threw everything away to realize his dream; making movies. We've always been close, so you don't get to read how videogames have kept us close. Like all gamers, we had a story we wanted to tell and the videogame medium was always around the corner. We never got around to coding a single line, but I'd love for everyone to take a look at the artwork he's been working on for years. With the beginnings of an app in development, kexx keeps finding ways to enjoy and share his hobbies and passions in brilliant ways.
In full disclosure, it took me quite a bit to convince him to give the goodjer community a chance. Most forums are a blackhole of trolling, bickering and rants. It's hard to explain the safe haven that GWJ without experiencing it first hand. But like most of us, once we step in, we never go back.
Fletcher Tannhausered me word for word with his introduction; I'm green with envy but very proud to see my brother get an Employee Profile before I did (cough, cough), but I was sure that once the community had a taste of the craziness that is kexx, they couldn't go back, either.
Well done, bro.
1) Who the devil are you?
- Interesting question. I don't know what to write. And I'm a writer! Hah, the irony ... or, coincidence ... or ... I don't know terms. What I do know is how to write small sentences. I'll throw some at you, see if anything sticks.
I'm a fussy eater. Hyperbole is my middle name. I smoke a pack a day. I hate ketchup, mushrooms, butter, and most seafood, except for fish and shrimp. I'm a walking contradiction.
It surprises me how tolerant I am, and the same time, how judgmental I can be. I hate. A lot. But I also find myself sometimes doing incredible selfless things.
I drink! A lot! I used to draw, since I was 3. I dab a bit into it from time to time, but it's definitely something I don't do anymore. Fooled around a little with sculpting, and computer 3D modelling, but never seriously.
I'm 31 and don't know how to ride a bike, that's an interesting story for another time. I've fallen victim to the "let's see who hooks up with the ugliest, skankiest, trashiest chick" routine. More than once. Won. More than once. When it comes to girlfriend material, I've been called out as very picky, but when it comes to just having fun, Jesus ... let's just say I've slummed. All for a great story and a good laugh.
In my early 20's, I went through a "when I'm drunk, I'm a klepto of useless things" phase. We once planned stealing one of those shrub animals. It was a giraffe, I think.
I love to write. I don't function in mornings, never have. I don't trust vegetarians, cat-lovers or people who watch reality TV regularly.
I'm an indoors, city guy. Drop me off in a forest, I'll look for ways to kill myself.
I want a tattoo but haven't found The One. I love olives, especially on my pizza. Love Coke (the soda).
I feel I'm starting to fall into the old-man scenario of "I don't get kids these days. Back in my day, blah, blah, blah ... ."
I love the sea, but the beach not so much. I love the sun, but the heat not so much. I love to love, but to love not so much ... .
2) What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?
- Reading and writing scripts. Looking for funding.
3) When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?
- Watch movies. All-nighter marathons. Sometimes til 5 or 6am.
4) How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
- 1 brother, Hobbes2099. My dog, Dingo, a striped boxer with uncut ears, left us in 2004. I visit his grave from time to time, to catch up.
5) When and/or how did you get into gaming?
- That's my brother's fault, 100%. Our first PC, a 386 I believe, or was it 486? Don't remember, but we had a kung fu fighting game, an olympics game, and I distinctly remember Carmen San Diego. I used to watch him play. Loved watching him play games like Monkey Island and Colonel's Bequest. Story got me. It's always been story for me, above gameplay.
6) What is your fondest gaming memory?
- I have 2 of them: FF6 and Shadow of the Colossus. FF6 is a game I revisit at least once a year. It's a game filled with flaws and unneeded quirkiness, but there are major adult themes at play, and I remember being completely devoured by the story. The story doesn't really have anything special, but it was the characters for me. It was the first time I remember realizing just how well a story can be told, if your characters are interesting enough. I still consider Kefka as one of the greatest villains in Gaming History. I remember relating to Cyan and Shadow. With Shadow, the moments when fear takes up one's soul. With Cyan, the fury, the perseverance, the acceptance. Powerful game.
With Shadow of the Colossus, another story completely. I had broken up recently from what I still consider my most serious and meaningful relationship, and the themes played on that game vibed with what I was going through. SotC is a game for those who have had some mileage in their lives. It's a story so simple, so minimalistic, so straight to the point, that it is one's personal experiences that fill in the gaps and connect the dots.
There's a lot of emotion going on in the game, but only if you can channel what you've experienced. It's like an artistic painting, in the sense that different people will get different things out of it. And it's all about context. One needs to understand the how's and why's of its creation, just as much as how's and why's of one's personal life.
I for one, have felt that solitude, and have experienced love and loss. I have been in a situation where I will do ANYTHING to make things right, or to correct a terrible wrong, especially if it's for that loved someone. The game helps convey what I've lived through. Whereas if I hadn't experienced love, loss, solitude, desperation, helplessness, etc, etc, etc., I might've not been as engaged with the game.
7) Why do you play games? Why haven't you outgrown them?
- Some of the best storytelling can be found here, if one knows where to look. It's an immersive hobby; all senses are connected. I don't know how to describe it, but it fills.
8) What is your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
- Asking this is like asking what's my favorite movie. It's impossible. Recent releases? ME3 was doing well, then fudged it up historically. Portal 2 is up there. Batman: Arkham City is up there.
9) What is your favorite game that you’re playing right now? Why?
- Right now I'm into 2 games; Portal 2's DLC Perpetual Testing Initiative due to the zen-like state I fall into when building puzzle maps, and TF2, because I simply love to burn people to a crisp.
10) Which upcoming game are you looking forward to most? Why?
- X-Com, as it brings me back to one of my favorite games from the past. Darksiders II, because I love Joe Mad's art, and always found the 4 horsemen to be an interesting story. Even if the game's story isn't spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, I have fun with it. And it's not a game per se, but I can't wait to try out TF2's MvM update!
11) What first brought you to GWJ? What keeps you coming back?
- My brother showed me the site. If I recall correctly, it was an article written by Momgamer about one of her sons going to war, and how she wrote the experience similarly to an RPG. Caught me. What keeps me here? You, you stupid peasants. You're too awesome and funny. If I'm not tearing up with laughter at what you've done to the Shalalm Baskur thread, I'm touched to the bone with community love like supporting BadKen's daughter's career choice, Fedora and Mike's coming out, to helping Edwin the PC-less, Vinnie the dog, Trichy the uncle, and most recently, St. Hillary. We can do it! Keep donating, you jackasses!
12) Is there a particular forum on GWJ that you frequent/favor? Why?
- Picture thread, video thread, Portal 2 thread, Portal 2 challenge map thread. Those are checked daily, about eleventy billion times.
13) What is the story behind your tag (Shalalm Baskur)?
- Shalalm Baskur has made it to the Commandments. That should suffice.
14) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?
Not much else can be said at this point. Liam Neeson in The Grey said, “Once more into the fray. To the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” I think I topped him with Shalalm Baskur, but who's counting?
Shalalm Baskur, my friends. May your women be hot, and your drinks be cold.