A familiar face returns.
If you spend any amount of time stepping through the various doors that lead to the disparate, multi-dimensional haunts that make up the Halo community, you've undoubtedly heard the name XerxdeeJ. This Gunslinger is no stranger to the Bungie spotlight. We know him
. So why, you might ask, are we shining our spotlight upon him once again? Venture forth dear reader, and find out for yourself. This Overlord aims to please.
Q. Hile, Gunslinger. Introduce yourself.
A. I am XerxdeeJ, one of several Community Leaders at Tied the Leader
, and one of more-than-several Overlords in our clan of Gunslingers. Over three years ago, I founded the catalyst for our “KaTet” - and became one of the lowest forms of life on the Internet - when I launched a blog devoted to gamer culture. When I am not fragging faceless strangers over the Internet, or writing about it, I am selling photography for a living. I would go into greater detail, but I must safeguard my secret identity. When I am not engaged in any of those aforementioned tasks, I am likely inspecting the taps in local taverns. I am pleased to inform everyone that they all work fine, so far…
Q. Noble work. Someone has to take the pics and test the pipes. And the gamertag?
A rose by any other name would be easier to pronounce. What a mess! I used to game under the handle “Xerxes”, back when a gaming alias was only relevant on a friend’s couch. This was also before the movie ‘300’ made me out to be a golden drag-queen standing at 9 feet tall. When Xbox Live required a unique gamertag, I substituted the second syllable with my nickname. All other modifiers were taken: 420, 187, 69, xx, oo, et al. I settled for the mashup in my haste to see what Bungie had wrought. If you start to stumble over the obstacle course of syllables, just call me “DeeJ” and I will push to talk.
Q. I think you may have just seared the image of you as a not-so-benevolent but oh-so-scantily clad honest-to-God King into my brain. Thanks for that. When you're not here providing nightmare fuel, where can we find you in cyberspace?
A. Is it too obvious to say that I spend a lot of time on my own forum? Enabling the ensemble and processing new recruits at TTL consumes many hours in the average day. I visit HBO every morning to keep tabs on allies, opponents, jesters, pundits, and new states in the Halo Nation. Some people read the New York Times. I get my national news from Halo.Bungie.Org. From time to time, I visit Bungie.net forums to stick up for y’all. Other than that, I go where the links send me. Some of my online time is spent fostering diplomacy with other clans. A hungry team needs worthy opponents, after all…
Q. You really are a benevolent king! What compels you to offer up that kind of gaming dedication?
A. My priorities as a gamer have shifted a lot in recent years. When my only outlet was a single-player campaign in the cockpit of some spacecraft or other, my pastime was a solitary role-play. I have always loved video games for their stimulus of my imagination. Ever since Halo granted us access to each other via Xbox Live, I have gamed for the sake of community. Time away from the game means missing real people now. While I am always trying to recruit real-life friends into the TTL community, it is extremely rare that I game with family or co-workers. On those rare occasions, I entertain them under a second gamertag. Not only do I think it’s healthy to maintain a boundary between real life and second life, it’s just sad when an acquaintance on my team faces a squad of Generals in their first multiplayer game of Halo 3.
Q. Speaking of new experiences, what was the first Bungie title you played?
A. It is likely that I am in agreement with 90% of the people who will answer this question when I say: Halo CE. When I was first recruited by the UNSC, I had made the cross-over from PC gaming to console gaming. At the time, I was in the throes of a dangerous GTA addiction. Friends of mine were taking turns hosting what they called “Video Game Wednesday”, which was an invitation to play split-screen in the Master Chief simulator, and consume way too much beer for the middle of the work week. One of those friends is still a fellow Overlord in the service of the TTL Gunslingers. The mood in our community is based on the fun times that we had in sharing our passion for that game.
Q. Are you surprised by that passion and your level of commitment to TTL?
A. Yes! More like shocked, humbled, and honored on a daily basis. I didn’t build TTL, I just set it into motion. The seeds on the blog began with a rant about sportsmanship and having fun. I linked it to the H.B.O. forum on a random lark. Louis Wu front-paged me and, dozens of unexpected comments later, I was instantly hooked. That event launched me into orbit before I was ready for takeoff. Since then, a whole company of talented individuals have rushed to my aid in making Tied the Leader something more special than I could have ever created on my own. I work for them.
Q. Single tear. Enough about you, let's get back to us. What draws you to keep coming back to Halo 3?
A. It has to be the ease of use in creating our own content. The screenshots. The detachable machinima cameras. The freedom to forge our own maps. The free data transfer to share these things with each other. As a gamerblogger who seeks to churn out content that inspires people to stay interested in the game, the tools at my disposal are infinitely more effective than they were in Halo 2. I wouldn’t trade any of that to have my in-game clan roster back. Being a fan of Halo is so rewarding because the people in our community can use the game as a stage to express themselves in infinitely surprising ways.
Q. Remember the face of your father. Stand true. Give a shout out while you're at it.
A. I’d like to say “Good Game” to anyone I have ever splattered with my Warthog* on Xbox Live. Despite my quarrels with a large portion of the Halo Nation, I would take you bastards over Artificial Intelligence any day. I’d like to say “Thankya” to every single one of the TTL Gunslingers, both past and present. I’d like to say “Long days and pleasant nights” to all of our allied clans in the Good Game Network. Who says the clan system is dead? And finally, I would like to say “Bravo” to the fine men and all three of the women who work at Bungie Studios, LLC. Keep up the great work in preparing us to drop!
*contrary to frequent objections, the Warthog is [in fact] mine!
Apologies for all of The Dark Tower/300 references. It couldn't be helped. Thanks to Deej for once again sitting down to palaver with us. We know his road is long and winding. Perhaps one day we'll meet him and his ka-tet again. Something tells me it's a sure thing. And if you happen to catch him making his inspection rounds at the local tavern, please contact the local authorities. They've been looking for him for. Turns out, you need a license for that sort of work.