Better Know a Gamer: #35: NuAngel

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Several years ago on this website I ran a segment called “Better Know a Gamer.” I also had a series called “Star Light.” These were spotlight articles, interviews with regular gamers throughout the Xbox Live community in particular. The Star Light articles were used to interview people who held more of a “celebrity status” within gaming circles, but eventually I just lumped everyone under the “Better Know a Gamer” banner. I stopped after 34 “issues” if BKAG, and it has literally been over 6 years since the 34th installment, where I interviewed Dan Amrich.

I always told myself that, some day, I should answer my own questions. Looking back at them, I think that time is now, because it genuinely feels like I’m being interviewed by someone else, I barely remember these questions! Some of the questions are very dated now that we’re in an era removed from the unique experiences of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but nonetheless, I wanted to relax a little and just laugh about some of these old questions.

So welcome to Better Know a Gamer #35 – NuAngel (ME!).

What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?

For the most part it just came to me one day in the late 1990’s – I have an article about it here on the website, but basically I was replacing an evil alter ego with a more virtuous one and replaced the darker “angel” persona with “NuAngel.” I like to think I’ve been a good guy ever since!

Where are you from, how old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?

I’m from a small town in rural northwest Pennsylvania. I finished school at Penn State Behrend, a branch campus in Erie, Pennsylvania. Since then I’ve hopped to different parts of the state and even lived in Rochester, NY for a while, but I came back to my small town where the cost of living is low and the pace is slow. My hobbies? You’re looking at it! Writing, and even now producing video content about video games for my website(s) takes up most of the free time I have. When I first began this website I was only 15. I let the domain expire after owning it for about 7 years, but within months I was restless and I bought another domain! Eventually I was able to reclaim this one and now continue to curate (and other sites) all these years later; I’m currently 33!

How long have you been gaming in general?

I have very specific memories – I don’t remember exactly how old I was, 3, 4 years old maybe? But it was Christmas. My mother, sister, and I sat on the couch, looking at the decorated Christmas tree in the dark living room as records of Christmas music played in the background, somewhere around 1987 or 1988? My dad was toiling away in his bedroom, the door was closed, a surprise waited inside. When he finally opened the door, I was introduced to the family’s new computer, a Commodore 64. Most of my childhood gaming memories began on that computer. I didn’t even know what I was doing, but I typed LOAD”*”,8,1 in order to load my games because my older sister wrote it on an index card because she was tired of typing it for me.

So, what’s a day in the life of NuAngel like?

I work a full time day job as an IT guy for a rural health clinic. It’s not the busiest job, but they like having me there for when things go wrong, and due to our rural nature, it happens quite a bit. After my work day is over I like to come home and relax by playing some games or working on an article or another episode of OurStorySoFar.TV — but sometimes I don’t have that luxury. I also sit on the boards of 2 non-profits and one not-for-profit entity, and my volunteer work takes up a lot of my time. Some how I still try to make time for family and friends on top of all of that!

What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?

What a fun thing to think about. I honestly have to say entering the era of “Hi-Def gaming.” The original Xbox 360 didn’t come with HDMI cables, believe it or not. I remember getting a VGA adapter to hook it up to a computer monitor and how much better it looked. I then remember upgrading to my first 1080p TV and seeing what the games looked like on that system! It was a fun leap in to the future of many firsts… higher resolutions, higher textures, the biggest TV I had ever owned. It’s fun to think I started on a Commodore 64 and got to have all of these experiences of watching things improve.

Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?

To this day I still think an achievement I unlocked, sheesh, 2008? But it was when I collected all 500 Agility Orbs and all 300 Hidden orbs in the original Crackdown. Okay, technically that’s two achievements, but man I had fun orb hunting in that game. Once you get leveled up you can move so fast and jump so high that game is so much fun! That might one of my favorites.

Are you currently working toward any achievements?

Nope, unfortunately. I was chasing the Gamerscore dragon, but nowadays I play a lot of retro games from the ancient “pre-achievement” past! But don’t worry, even back then gamers had their own versions of achievements. 101, 201, and 103% in Donkey Kong Country 1, 2, and 3; 120 Stars in the original Super Mario 64; Star 96 in Super Mario World… I’m tempted to go back and re-do some of those old challenges from my youth!

What game(s) are you playing the most now?

Nothing in particular, really — I’m frequently jumping from game to game so that I can make new videos.

What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?

I honestly haven’t been thrilled with the last few albums I’ve purchased. In the last few weeks, I find myself going back to chip-tune music like I Fight Dragons and Anamanaguchi, and if I’m on a long road trip and I need a good variety, I just find pop-punk and emo stuff that scratches my early 2000’s itch; Green Day, Blink-182, Weezer… a new radio station started in my town and the word “CLASSIC” is now in front of the word “ALTERNATIVE.” I’m officially old.

Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?

I used to change it very infrequently… now I honestly don’t know if I’ve changed it since the Xbox One released. Same goes for avatar icons everywhere else, like Twitter, Steam, and wherever.

What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?

WOW this was a specifically targeted question back then! I definitely played to the Xbox crowd. 😉 I have to admit though that I do a whole lot of YOUTUBE. I often find myself digging in to channels like Pat the NES Punk and Metal Jesus for general gaming news and goings on.

What upcoming game are you looking most forward to?

I don’t have anything in particular that I’m all too hyped about. That said, I’ve never really gotten in to the Metroid Prime series and seeing Metroid Prime 4 on its way is fairly exciting!

Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?

I can fairly safely say “Wing Commander III” comes out on top without much hesitation, I sank a lot of hours in to that game and it really opened my eyes to what games could but – but there’s no doubt a question like this is like “choosing your favorite child.” I talk about this and many other things with my friend Mike during our 30 Days of Gaming podcast that we did.

Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you? (SHOUTOUTS?)

@TheXev on Twitter, my friend Mike I mentioned from the podcast above. He’s my only friend as geeky as me, and I can’t imagine how much more boring things would be without him to chat with.

Any parting words for the droves of readers?

I’m cynical by nature, and I often say “take care of yourself, because nobody else will.” But, lately, all I want to say is “take care of each other.” Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help if you need it, and don’t look down on others who need help.