I've played with MyBrainHz, I know MyBrainHz, MyBrainHz is a friend of mine. You're no MyBrainHz. Then again, neither am I.
It was extremely tempting to spend this introduction writing about MyBrainHz's "victory" in the worst-sniper competition, his long and enduring love affair with Longhorns football, or his alternate life as Brian, the tragic rejector of pubbies who just want to unlock beast mode, but the truth is, he doesn't deserve any of that.
The truth is, MyBrainHz is a genuinely nice guy.
MyBrainHz has been a major part of the GWJ TF2 community for almost as long as he's been a goodjer. He's patiently done a good chunk of the thankless configuration and maintenance work to keep our community TF2 servers happily running, and does a great job as admin, riding herd on the sometimes boisterous-to-inappropriate folks who play on the pub server. MyBrainHz also does an admirable job riding herd on our admins when someone gets an itchy kick-finger, and is one of two people to have taken the gold in every GWJ TF2 tournament to date (free Hatte to whoever posts the name of the other person in-thread). MyBrainHz's willingness to do the hard work of community building outside of the limelight is commendable, though this same aversion to the limelight contributes to his maddening skill as a spy in TF2.
Because of MyBrainHz, I've learned that if your wife is home and you want to taunt a spy who has stabbed you (again), it is *far* better to say "at least I hit you with my Jarate" than "at least you're covered in my urine".
And for that, I will forever be grateful.
1) Who the devil are you?
I’m a 36-year old husband, dad, Texas Aggie, gamer, musician, and geek. My real first name is Scott, but most goodjers just call me “Brainz” or “Brian”. Or “that jerk”. I answer to all!
Born and raised in the Lone Star State, I’ve lived in the Austin area since the early 80s. I’m a natural introvert, but tend to come out of my shell a little bit when amongst other geeks of like mind.
2) What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?
I work for an environmental research firm, and spend the majority of my time trying to figure out how much of the air you breathe is affected by the internal combustion engine, and in what ways. What that boils down to practically is that I write SAS scripts, crunch numbers, and massage databases all day long. I also write the occasional white paper or present some research, but I try really hard not to do that if I can avoid it. Speeches are terrifying!
3) When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?
I have a bass guitar and drum kit that I spend a fair amount of time with — usually I have some rehearsing to do for performances at church, but sometimes it’s fun to fire up iTunes and pretend I’m Doug Pinnick or Matt Cameron for a while. Other than that, I hang out with my family, or get caught up on various projects I’ve been putting off around the house. I’m also a college sports fan, especially football and baseball, and follow the Texas A&M Aggies religiously.
4) How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
I’ve been married for 13 years to a fantastic wife, and we have two little girls (9 and 7 years old). My wife is an avid Civilization player, and my kids both dig Plants vs. Zombies and Little Big Planet. They all have many activities they enjoy other than playing games, but I’ve managed to rub off on the family a little bit.
Last year we added a female Shih Tzu puppy to the mix. Estrogen levels run high in our house, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
5) When and/or how did you get into gaming?
I don’t remember too many specifics, but when I was four years old my dad brought home a TRS-80 from the school where he was a principal. I’m told I spent hours typing in simple BASIC programs.
A couple of years later my family bought an Atari 2600 and that was really when I got sucked in. (I still have it stashed in my closet!) I spent many hours with Pitfall!, Adventure, Dig Dug, and whatever other games I could scrounge up from local garage sales. Along the way I also spent a lot of time with a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A — with speech module and cassette recorder! — and the NES I got for my 9th birthday. Eventually I graduated to Roguelikes and adventure games on PCs in my high school years, and first-person shooters on the LAN in college.
6) What is your fondest gaming memory?
As a kid, seeing the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. in the local grocery store blew my mind. I had never seen anything like that before. On rare occasions my Mom would let me have a quarter to play during checkout. I couldn’t believe how amazing it looked, and it played like a dream.
7) Why do you play games? Why haven't you outgrown them?
This is a tough question to answer. I grew up being chastised by my parents for playing games so much, and the question makes me bristle a little bit. I think the real answer is that I’m just wired that way. We like what we like, right? I really enjoy breaking down and understanding game systems, optimizing approaches to game play, and reading about game design.
I don’t see any reason why I would ever *stop* playing games. The idea of someone “outgrowing” play seems silly to me. No one ever asks the guy on the golf course when he’s going to grow out of his interest in swinging a club at a tiny ball. Why should it be any different for guys and girls who like gaming?
8) What is your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
Probably The Binding of Isaac. It scratched that Zelda-esque action itch, and the randomness of items and level layout makes for a new experience every time. Plus, the difficulty curve is spot on. Storywise, Isaac is deeply disturbing, but the gameplay is so perfect it doesn’t matter. There’s a ton of value packed into that little $5 game.
9) What is your favorite game that you’re playing right now? Why?
Probably still Team Fortress 2. I’ve been playing a Diablo III and Saints Row 3 a lot as well, but I always end up coming back to TF2. Valve has done an excellent job of continuing to add content to game that already has a very solid gameplay foundation. Plus, the GWJ community is made up of the right combination of players — skilled, focused on teamwork, and downright funny — that keeps me coming back to shoot mannes and wear hattes.
10) What first brought you to GWJ? What keeps you coming back?
I first saw mention of GWJ over at Bill Harris’ site, Dubious Quality. I was in a bit of a gaming lull, having recently set aside WoW, so in my first post on the forums I asked for recommendations on other recent games I should try. After lurking for about a year after that, I got involved with the GWJ TF2 community and have been a fixture on GWJ’s most voluminous thread ever since.
Beyond that, and I didn’t tell anyone this at the time, but my Dad had recently passed away from cancer. GWJ was a place I could hang out and not feel overwhelmed. I’m very grateful for that.
11) What is the story behind your handle?
My handle is just a silly pun that I came up with for no particular reason. I’d never used “MyBrainHz” on any other forums, it had the bonus of being offbeat and goofy, and doesn’t seem to be used by anyone else.
12) What is the story behind your tag (Intracranial Overclocker)?
Muttonchop came up with the tag, for which he earned a very enthusiastic internet high-five. As Fedaykin said, “that's up there with the most inspired tags out there”. I think so too. It’s a really clever derivative of my handle. Certainly it’s way more interesting than anything I could have come up with myself.
13) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?
Just want give a quick shout-out to all our GWJ Team Fortress 2 players! If you’re old school and haven’t played TF2 in a while, come back, we miss you! If you’re new to the world’s greatest war-themed hatte simulator and don’t know where to start, come hang out on our servers!
Also, thanks very much to Certis, Elysium, and especially all the behind-the-scenes guys that keep the site going. Without the site there is no community, and without exaggeration this is the best online community I’ve ever come across. Thumbs up, y’all!