BuckswanaBuckswana), all the way from Ottawa to answer all the mysteries you and I have about this magical place called Canada.
Q: What do you do in your everyday life?
A: I'm the warehouse manager of a local musical instruments retail store. It's mostly shipping & receiving, and running stuff to salesmen, as well as transferring stock between the other 2 stores that we have. I do occasionally work the sales floor, as well as taking care of all the accounting and daily cash duties when my boss isn't there.
Q: Tell us about how you came up with your gamertag?
A: It was really just a spur of the moment thing. My nickname is Buck, which came from a hockey teammate referring to Buck Rogers while we were playing one night, and it just stuck. When I had to come up with a gamertag, I was trying to think of Buck...something, and for some reason Botswana popped into my head. Buckswana just sounded right, and I really didn't give it a lot of thought at the time. It's been pointed out that it sounds like a variety of piñata...maybe a deer and a swan? Filled with candy...mmm...candy...
Q: As one of the few Canadian residents on the site, explain some differences between your country and the United States? What are some noticeable places to visit or things to do?
A: Free health care, no guns, lax pot laws (within reason) are probably the biggest differences, lol. Really, it's not that different going from a small town in the US to one here. As for places to visit; I suppose the Parliament buildings here in Ottawa would be one spot to check out. Right downtown, near the canal that cuts through the downtown area. Toronto has the Skydome and CN tower. Montreal has it's own unique style, as well as the yearly F1 race on the island. Vancouver is on the west coast near Seattle, and has a lot warmer winter weather, with a short drive to the mountains for skiing. Every city has it's own feel, and something to do.
Q: Is it true that you must love hockey in order to be a resident of Canada?
A: That's LIVE hockey, actually. And beer and bacon, of course. Poutine is optional. ;)
Q: Besides hockey, are there any other sports you enjoy?
A: I'm a Redskins fan (these are dark times...), as well as some of the more European stuff; F1 Racing and English Premier League Football (soccer). I'm looking forward to the upcoming Olympics as well.
Q: Where did you develop all your amazing musical talent? It obviously shows on your gamercard with 12 musical games completed (more if you count Disney Sing It and Karaoke revolution)?
A: I come from a pretty musical background. My father's a drummer, and started all the kids on piano lessons when I was 6. From there, I learned trumpet and guitar, before finally settling on drums as my main instrument when I was 12. I still play today, but mostly for fun with friends or the odd show to fill in, and don't really tour anymore.
Q: You seem to take being a completionist to heart, what made you decide you wanted to finish everything? I see a few games that are incompletable though on your card, but still impressive 98.35% including DLC with over 250,000 gamerscore!
A: After I had my console for a bit and got into gamerscore a little more, I remember noticing a couple of games on my card that I had nearly no score in. I went back to them, and found I really enjoyed them the 2nd time around, especially the challenge of trying to bring up their gamerscore, and then finish them, as they were both relatively tough. I had already played a few games that were either incompletable or had ridiculous leaderboard achievements by that time, so I knew 100% would never happen, which is why I've always promised myself that I'll never avoid playing a game just because I may not complete it. I play games for fun first and foremost, it just so happens that finishing them is a lot of fun for me too. ;)
Q: What are some hobbies that you enjoy other than gaming?
A: Obviously drumming and guitar. Playing hockey, biking and rollerblading are a few others.
A: I had seen a few people using the blog as a sig in forums, and didn't really know what it was. I came on the site a couple of times, and thought it was kind of cool, so signed up, and ended up in a challenge. It's been so long, but I do remember ZeroDesolation being one of the first people that made me feel like this was a good place to be.
Q: What keeps you coming back?
A: Definitely the sense of community. I've never been much of one for forums and such, but it's different here. The badges are great and add that much more to keep people involved, and the community events and challenges that people create are fantastic.
Q: Is there anything you would add or change about 360Voice?
A: I've never been one for change just for the sake of change, and have always tried to be happy with what I have. As long as everything works, I'm good. The guys running the site do a great job of keeping it doing just that.
Q: There was a new event that was held in Terre Haute, called AchievementFest, what did you think of it?
A: It was a bit of a blur to be honest. In 5 days, I think I slept a total of 13 hours. Getting to meet so many of the people I interact with here, some on a nearly everyday basis, gave me even more of an appreciation for how great the community here is. I could write pages just about that weekend alone, so suffice to say, if you missed it, you missed a great time.
Q: If you could change or add anything to AchievementFest, what would it be and why?
A: Pretty much the same answer as changes to 360v...I'm good. The first is always the toughest to get set up and pull off, so I'm sure they'll just get better from here, and I had no complaints.
Q: Being #1 in Canada for completed Windows Phones games (82), according to TrueAchievements, is outstanding. Especially when you see smrnov is a part of that group! What are some other leaderboard stats you are proud of?
A: I don't really have any, other than that one I guess, to be honest. Living in the same province as smrnov pretty much excludes me from the top spots on all the leaderboards I look at, but it also helps keeps me humble about my accomplishments. It would be easy to be cock of the walk living somewhere else, but his amazing feats keep me from getting too full of myself.
Q: What is your gaming setup like? Do you have a closet filled with music peripherals?
A: I have 3 US systems; a 20gb Pro, a 120gb Elite, and a Gears of War 3 console, as well as a Japanese arcade console. I run everything except the 20gb one through a Yamaha 5.1 surround sound system, then to a 37" LG HDTV. The 20gb I run through a second smaller tv next to the other for boosting, as well as having everything wired so I can watch tv or play games on either tv (or both) at the same time.
Q: How much hard drive space does your entire music collection take up for Rock Band and Guitar Hero?
A: I've actually exported all of the music games I have, so quite a bit. It's around 9gb of Guitar Hero, and 9.5gb of Rock Band songs. I haven't bought any GH DLC, but have bought quite a bit of RB stuff.
Q: Do you like to eat or drink anything while playing? Bacon with maple syrup perhaps?
A: Water or Canada Dry ginger ale to drink. I don't usually eat while I play, unless it's a boosting session with some downtime. I do always have a bowl of chocolate M&M's on the table for emergencies though. Or gummy bears. Something mess free with sugar for 2:30 in the morning before the end of the STEI interval...
Q: Think about the past 7 months, what are your top 5 retail and top 5 XBLA games that were released?
A: I don't often pick up games on release, so hard to say. I'll just give you my top ones; Retail #1 for me is definitely Gears 3. Arcade #1 is Trials Evolution. Both were absolutely fantastic.
Q: Microsoft seems to be doing a better job with the Deals of the Week, and now they have even more deals with the Sales and Specials+ app. What are some things you would like to see discounted?
A: Stuff I want to buy and haven't bought yet. No, there's not really much.
Q: What are 3 games you are looking forward to in the future?
A: Assassins Creed 3, Halo 4, and something else involving shooting and/or stabbing.
A: Pong. The original one with the 2 big paddle wheels. A friend on my street had it, and it was the coolest thing ever at the time.
Q: What are some of your thoughts on Kinect? Epic fail, or has Microsoft developed a unique peripheral that will last?
A: My first thoughts were; junk. I play games to relax, not jump around. That's definitely changed somewhat, after seeing it in action. There are still some games that can be finicky, and not track well, but some others are great fun. If they can get it to track better in a smaller area, I think it'll open it up for a lot more people with space issues.
Q: What are some new and innovative things you would like to see done with the Kinect? What about the Windows phone, or even the Xbox360?
A: Really, just a better quality camera and tracking in smaller space for Kinect. I love my windows phone, and my only complaint is about creating your own ringtones and text alerts (which isn't much of a complaint). Like I said, I'm good.
Q: Thinking ahead a year or two, do you expect to see the new generation of consoles coming out? What do you think it will be called, priced, and be capable of?
A: I leave speculation for others usually. I don't expect a new console for at least a couple more years, but it's going to be a beast. It's amazing the 360 has gone as long as it has, and the way they've been able to constantly get more out of it in terms of graphics and performance.
Q: What's your favorite genre, and why? Also, what are some of your favorite games from the genre?
A: A few years ago, it would have been hockey. That was a genre to me, lol. Now, it's all over the map. I suppose music is the biggest, but I enjoy just about anything, if it's done well. I tend to prefer 3rd person shooters to FPS, and don't really play RPG or strategy games much anymore though. Beatles RB is possibly the best music game ever made. Gears of War for shooters, Mass Effect, there are just so many good games.
Q: If you had the choice of introducing the newest instrument to the Rock Band lineup, what would it be? What are some songs that you would need in the setlist for it to stand out?
A: Soprano Sax. Anything by Kenny G.
Q: A huge issue of gaming, or welcome addition if you're on the other side of the fence, is DLC. What are your thoughts on it?
A: For the most part, I think it's nothing more than a cash grab. Even more so when you're being charged to unlock content that's already on the retail disc. There have been a few rare exceptions (both the GTA 4 DLC's come to mind), that have been well made, great additions to the main game. Unfortunately, that's not usually the case.
Q: What are some of your proudest completions, what about some of the less prideful ones?
A: Rock Band 1 will always be one of my proudest. Having to do all of the band stuff solo, singing and playing guitar/bass at the same time, was a lot of fun, and challenging on the expert stuff. Being first in Canada to 1k Gears 3 is certainly another. There's a few "cheap" ones on my card (Avatar, MH&M2, Hannah Monatana, etc.), but that doesn't bother me.
Q: Being a completionist it would seem you play games for achievements, but is there anything you like to play for fun with friends?
A: All of the music stuff is a lot fun with friends, no matter the difficulty. I still have "NHL nights" from time to time as well, having friends over and playing nothing but hockey all night.
Q: If you could travel the world, where would you go and why?
A: I've actually already done a lot of traveling. I spent 3 years in Germany as a kid, and we traveled all over Europe, including England, France, Spain, Italy, Austria; anywhere we could go by train. I still think it would be neat to check out Japan, as well as Australia.
Q: Why are all Canadians extremely nice? Do you actually know any who aren't?
A: I know many that aren't. It's all an act; we fake it well.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add or say?
A: Have a good one! 8)