JACE: Hello, Calvin. Thank you for meeting with us.
CALVIN: Sure, no problem.
JACE: Let’s start with you, Calvin. Would you tell us a little about yourself and then maybe your heroic alter ego?
CALVIN: The alter ego is probably more fun to talk about. He laughs self-consciously. Well, I’m 19. I’m a sophomore in architectural engineering at Drexel University. I don’t do a lot of sports, well, any sports, and I study a lot. The most exciting thing I do is sometimes I play an RPG game called Elven Fire with a group at school who’s into that. I’m kind of a nerd.
JACE: Nerds are important, too, Calvin. What about your hero?
CALVIN: His face brightens up a little. That’s where things get more exciting. He’s a super hero, obviously. I made him with blond, surfer hair. He’s pretty athletic. He has a castle-hemmed cape, and a dragon on his chest. The dragon is for my school. I picked a pair of powers to start with: Statue and Lead Feet. Statue is a single-target freeze, and Lead Feet is an AOE slow. Of course, each one costs energy, so there’s some strategy in using them. It’s fun.
JACE: And AOE is short for?
CALVIN: Area-Of-Effect. It means it hits several enemies at the same time.
JACE: I see. That does sound like a good combination. Let’s talk about powers a little bit. Can you tell us how these powers work, and how you learned them? Press A to shoot, B to jump? Certain hand motions for certain tricks? Is there a tutorial, or do you figure it out in game?
CALVIN: He laughs comfortably. No, this game isn’t like that. There aren’t controllers; you’re completely inside the game. Whatever you do, you’re really doing in the game. A lot of players, when using classic controllers, jerk the controller up when they press the jump button. The game doesn’t care if you lift your controller or not. In some more advanced games, lifting your controller will make your character jump. In Hero Games, if you jerk your arms up, your character just jerks his arms up. If you want your character to jump, you’d better jump yourself. You and the character are really the same person.
JACE: Okay, so I know how to jump, and walk, but where did the real you learn how to cast “Statue” or “Lead Feet”?
CALVIN: Oh, that happens in the Training Room, with TrainerBot and his TAs.
JACE: That sounds interesting. Can you tell us a little about that?
CALVIN: After you make your character, you go down a mirrored hallway to the Training Room. It has a very high, arched ceiling and is mostly steel walls. You go back to the Training Room any time you learn a new power, to learn how to use it. TrainerBot is a floating robot. He’s metallic humanoid on top, but the bottom half of him is a round floating set of equipment. He guides you on using the powers, and the TAs, Training Assistants, are basically the practice dummies. They look like gym class rejects until they start coming at you.
JACE: The TAs attack you?
CALVIN: I think it depends on the kind of power you have. Mine is actively offensive/defensive, so yeah, they attacked me so I could use my powers on them. Using the powers is mostly a matter of concentration and focus. Since the entire game is wired into our heads, it makes sense that using the powers would just be in our heads, too.
Other Hero Games Introductions:
Nick “Virgil Ante”
Paul “The Peace Keeper”
Erin “Vanessa Pyre”
JACE: Hello, Erin. Thank you for taking the time to join us today.
ERIN: She shrugs. It’s no problem. They said you were interviewing all the Beta testers.
JACE: Yes, we are. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself to get us started?
ERIN: Okay. I’m seveteen. My birthday is October 8th if you want to send me a present. I read a lot. I do okay in school. I’ve never been arrested, but I beat up the last guy that said I was emo. When I was a kid, we had a lizard in our backyard, a gecko, and I got friendly enough with him that he would let me feed him. I like your goatee, and I think I’ve run out of things to say.
JACE: I’m caught a little off guard by her reference to myself. We were supposed to be talking about her! Ah, thank you, Erin. What about Hero Games? Are you enjoying being a Beta tester?
ERIN: Yeah, it’s fun. When I read, I kind of fall into the story, you know? This game is even better than that; I’m really in the world and action.
JACE: Can you tell us a little about your character?
ERIN: Sure. Her name is Vanessa Pyre. She’s kind of a vampire. She wears a gothic corset and dress, and she can do some of the traditional vampire stuff, like turn into mist and bite people. Her bite just puts them to sleep right now, though.
JACE: Traditionally, fire is one of the ways to kill a vampire. Was the irony in your character’s name intentional? A pyre is a burning structure.
ERIN: She flashes that pretty smile again, perhaps even slightly longer and larger. I think you’re the first person to get that. I didn’t start with that in mind, but I liked the idea, so I went with it.
JACE: So, Vanessa is a vampire. Is that one of the options when you make your character? I don’t think we’ve heard much about that.
ERIN: No, the Character Creation isn’t like that. There are tons of options, and none of them are stereotypes. Obviously , you can stereotype if you want to, but it isn’t setup by default. There aren’t even player classes like in most games.
JACE: Could you explain more about that for our readers who might be less game-proficient than others?
ERIN: Well, most games like this, you choose a ‘class’ of character, like an tank, or a blaster, or a mage.
JACE: I think you lost me there, Erin.
ERIN: A tank is the term for someone who can take a lot of damage. They run in and keep the bad guy’s attention, doing a little bit of damage, but taking all the hits while the other guys attack the same bad guy. A blaster is someone who attacks from a distance, like an archer or gunman. And a mage is someone that uses magic. There are other types, but that gives you the idea. When you choose one of those characters, you choose powers or abilities or weapons that work for that type of fighter. In Hero Games, you don’t pick a class, and all the abilities are open for anyone to choose. You can make your own class, or spread it around and be a little of everything. It changes the strategy a little bit that way, and that’s cool.
JACE: What about the social aspects of the game? Are you making lots of new friends?
ERIN: A slightly disgusted look crosses her face. I don’t make friends. Yes, you can group, and there are options for that in the game, but you’ll have to ask someone else about that; I work alone. Everything’s going social these days. People act like you can’t do anything on your own, like it’s a bad thing to be by yourself.
|Image created by HeroMachine.com|
JACE: So you don’t talk to or interact with anyone else in the game?
ERIN: Well, there’s this one guy that’s helped me out a couple of times. He’s kind of sweet, really, but that’s the sad part, cause he’s just going to get hurt in the end. Nice guy, though.
JACE: Well, if you don’t go in for the social aspect, what is your favorite part of the game.
ERIN: She clearly ponders this for a moment, her watery blue eyes looking off into the distance. I like the pure freedom of it. I get to experience things without worrying about getting trapped, or getting hurt. I’ve jumped off a building and faded into mist half way down, drifting gently to the street. I can talk tough to the bad guys, cause their just computer pixels. Yeah, I like the freedom to feel anything.
Other Hero Games Introductions:
Nick “Virgil Ante”
Paul “The Peace Keeper” Granados