"Kind of like Sweeney Todd or something."
Though we highlighted ForgeHub.com
in our Group Spotlight just before the winter break last year, Average Joe deals with individuals. The opportunity to interview one of the more rabid members of the site was too tasty to pass up. This week we caught up with Insane54, who you might already know as a ForgeHub staffer. But don't define him by his affiliation. Though he's quick to give props to his online Alma Mater, he's got plenty to talk about besides blacksmithing. Read on to to look upon Insane54 with your own eyes.
Q. Who are you and what do you do?
A. Why, hello there good sirs. I’m Aaron (Insane54 online) and I work as a web developer for my dad's company part-time. Obviously, my biggest hobby is gaming, having nearly 11,000 games played on Halo 3. I also play basketball, football, Photoshop, play my guitar, and am generally awesome. I’m also a Staff member at ForgeHub.com.
Ever since my dad introduced me to Mad Dog McCree on the Macintosh I've been playing games as a hobby, starting on the Mac and then moving on to consoles like the N64 where I got addicted to games like Super Smash Bros and Starfox 64. My friend had an original Xbox and when he got sick for about six months my two friends and I would walk over once or twice a week and play Halo 2 split screen for hours.
Eventually I bought my own Xbox 360, but not Live. When Halo 3 came out, I bought it on the first day and was hooked instantly by its community and the customization possibilities in Forge.
Q. So when you made the move to Live, how did your settle on the gamertag?
A. My first online game was “Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy” on the PC. Some friends an I thought it would be funny to group us into a fake clan called “.:MOO:.”, which we did to the reaction of people calling us 'insane'. It stuck form there.
When I got Xbox Live, I was super sadface to discover that the gamertag 'Insane' was taken, so I decided that 54 was a cool number and tacked it onto the end. Plus, it’s easy to type.
‘Insane' is also a word you could use to describe me. Kind of like, Sweeney Todd or something. Except I can’t sing for my life. Believe me, I try.
Q. All the good tags are always taken. Someone's been squatting on "urk" for years. If we wanted to find your squat online, what haunts should we search?
A. A month or so after Halo came out I downloaded a map containing a link to a Wordpress blog – ForgeHub - for more such maps. I stalked there for a while until ForgeHub upgraded to a .com site with a forum. I've been an active member ever since and I've gotten up to my Staff rank for my dedication, hard work, and general awesomeness. Other sites and groups I frequently visit are halo.bungie.org
, Ghosts of Onyx, B5D, UNSC Dawn Under Heaven, Real7alk and all the other affiliates of ForgeHub. I'm obviously very attracted to the custom content aspect of Halo 3, so I find areas such as ForgeHub and sites alike to it more interesting than purely competitive games. But I love how the Halo community is so diversified. IT’S OVER 9000!
Or something equally cliché like that.
Q. Sounds like you spend quite a bit of your time gaming. Do you ever game with friends and family?
A. Not much else to do around here in Detroit. Plus, I'm completely addicted to Forge and Halo. I've tried playing Halo with family, but that went nowhere, but I do play every now and again in an 8 player LAN with some friends (not very often). I usually just play with my imaginary friends over the interwebs.
Q. What was the first Bungie title you played with your crew of imaginary peeps?
A. My first Bungie title was “Halo: Combat Evolved” on the Mac. I got it for a gift or something, and it was pretty enjoyable even without the online aspect. I played the campaign a few times which definitely got me hooked. Without internet at the time, I couldn't really get into the custom content possibilities of Halo, but I've certainly gotten my fair share in H3.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that music at the main menu of Halo is some kind of hypnotizing device that keeps you addicted to the game. I’ve had it running through my head for weeks at a time, the whole wooaaaa-oaahhaaaahaa thingy that won’t go away until you play Halo, and then it comes back when you get off! Uh…anyway…
Q. Even though you're convinced hypnosis is involved (send cash), are you still surprised by your level of engagement with the community at large?
A. Yeah, definitely. I just picked up the game to play some matchmaking and pwnz0r sum n00bz lul, but the community is so much better than any others that I've ever experienced. You feel like a part of the big Bungie machine, creating Forge maps and such. Even when starting out in the community, I never thought I'd be getting on Bungie Favorites and occasionally playing with Bungie Employees (<3 JonnyO, Achronos, and uh, Urk too).
Q. Do you get that same feeling from any other online communities?
A. I still occasionally go on Jedi Academy, though the community's pretty much dead. Other than that, not really. No other game really compares to Halo 3's perfect balance, as much as I may yell and scream at it while losing in matchmaking.
Q. Screaming, eh? Wanna make any shout-outs?
A. Go check out ForgeHub.com, even if you’re not really into custom content. There are forums for all kinds of stuff, like Graphics & Arts, debates, screenshots, and discussions for gaming or just general stuff.
Oh man, there are a lot of people I'd like to give a shout out to. I have to give a hand to Shock Theta and Sir Toppum Hat1, who have been my Forging partners over the past year or so. You guys are awesome. Look for mine and Toppum's new map, coming out in a few weeks, on my file share, and while you’re there, go download my stuff!
Roche178 (So there I was…), Mini Waz (CAKE TO THE FACE!), Xanon/Shan0n (NO…U!), TheYavimayan, Dom says Oi, TrueDarkFusion, darktiest and everyone else on my friend list and on ForgeHub, I love you all. Lastly, Urk and Bungie as a whole for making this whole thing happen, the interview and Halo's awesome possibilities. I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
Thanks to Insane54 for the words this week. And for the props. This was a triumph.