SSG Speaks – Apollo Running
This time around on SSG Speaks, we’re talking to a familiar face from around the GGN. Pull up a chair & take a gander inside the life of our resident musician & gamertag contrarian Apollo Running.
Your GGN resume is impressive. From Hawty McBloggy and Allies FTW to Spirits of Fire and then to SSG. How has your view on clans, and the GGN in particular changed during your tenure here? Was it hard going from a leadership position at SoF to starting back out as a recruit at SSG?
It’s changed quite significantly, actually. I originally found TTL and eventually the GGN through b.net. I had always heard a lot about them and originally I really wanted to become a Gunslinger. But I was 18, and they had/still have a strict 21+ rule. So in some way or another, I stumbled upon Hawty McBloggy and subsequently, her forums and SoF. I joined SoF and kissed enough ass to work my way up to a leadership role and take over the campaign to get into the GGN. At this point I thought clans were super srs bzns, and I was very fortunate at the time to know our very own Cazaril (then Viktim Viktor from Cirque D’Geezers) who really helped me along in the process. I thought everyone in the GGN took being in the GGN super seriously and were very critical of anyone on the outside. I don’t know why I thought this, I just did. I also got kinda intimidated when I was in a party with people like Deej and other GGN leaders. Then when we got in, I was like, these are just cool dudes trying to play some video games with other cool dudes. I realized it was a way more laid back culture than I originally thought and kind of laughed at myself at being so strung out about it.
It wasn’t too hard to make the switch. I really didn’t do that much anyway in the waning months of my tenure at SoF. I just had a fancy title and access to the Security Council. I do enjoy helping out and playing a role and Jay knows he can count on me if he ever needs something.
Here’s a fun fact: The ONLY reason I am even where I am right now is because I really really wanted Recon armor back in the day when it was almost impossible to get. When I first joined the HMB/SoF forums, it was to promote my stupid Halo webcomic that I was making. Basically I took Halo screenshots and attempted to make funny captions on them. It was bad… but the idea was to get Bungie’s attention with it and they would think that it was so hilarious and original that they would just have to give me Recon. That never happened, obviously. But I did find a great community at HMB and so I decided to stick around, eventually gaining something much more valuable than stupid Recon that everyone got anyway a few years later.
Out of all the clans out there, what made you choose SSG?
I’ve always had a great relationship with Jay and everyone from SSG from the day it was founded and even before that. I think Jay was even trying to get me to switch over from SoF to SSG in the very beginning, and in the back of my head I always knew that if I ever had to leave SoF, I’d love to be a part of SSG. I had the opportunity to game with many clans in the past few years via friendly mixers and casual party-ups, so I had a good idea of the general personality each clan had. All of them were great, but I knew which ones I would fit into and which ones I wouldn’t, and SSG was at the top of a pretty small list.
That sounds very, very familiar for some reason. In ten words or less, what does SSG mean to you?
Super Sexy Gamers, of course.
Ha! And here I thought it was Sesame Street Gangstas. Okay, let’s delve into your gaming history. What’s the earliest game you remember playing?
I remember playing Super Mario on my brother’s SNES when I was little. I would only ever play the first few levels up to the first castle for some reason. I think those rocks shaped like Bowser’s head scared me or something.
What was the first game that really hooked you?
I would probably say Super Mario 64. My brother and I played that non-stop. I remember getting the 64 on Christmas and it came with Mario. I was blown away by the graphics. I don’t think I had ever played a non-side-scroller before this. If I didn’t play that game, I wouldn’t have gone on to play Goldeneye and fall in love with FPS.
Do you have a favorite gaming memory?
This one is tough. The one thing that jumps out at me are the Halo:CE LAN parties I had with my friend and his dad, uncle and cousins. This is what got me hooked on Halo, which I originally hated because 1. I couldn’t hold those humongous XBox controllers and 2. I couldn’t play with inverted controls, which is how my friend plays, and I didn’t know you could change it. Those were some of the best times I’ve ever had playing video games. Nothing will ever come close to getting the last kill to win the game and hearing the person I just killed start yelling in the other room. Also, his cousins were dirty little screen watchers.
It’s amazing how many folks have fond memories of Halo:CE LANs. I certainly wouldn’t be gaming now without those fantastic times that drove me to find like-minder gamers to frag alongside. Although I don’t think anyone misses those bear claw controllers… What do you do when you’re not gaming?
Well I haven’t been gaming very much recently unfortunately, so what have I been doing? Well I have a full time job now. I work as an Audio/Visual support tech. Basically my company gets contracted out to a lot of big companies to handle their A/V systems. So whenever something isn’t working, I get called out to fix it. I live in the DC area so this pretty much means that I go to a lot of government buildings. When I’m not working, I’m probably out playing golf or sitting around on the internet. Basically just living the single life. I play music every now and then but I haven’t really been playing as much as I like.
Three favorite bands and what is their significance to you?
1. Led Zeppelin: this goes way back. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t started getting into their music when I did. To put it simply: Started listening to Zeppelin -> made me seek out other great music like them -> made me want to learn guitar -> started a band -> started recording our own songs -> developed passion for audio engineering -> went to school for it -> graduated and now have a great job in the field. Thanks Zeppelin!
2. Bon Iver: I know Bon Iver is a super hipster thing to like and some find it boring, but I really love Justin Vernon’s music. I’m definitely a major introvert, so I really love that cerebral, meditative kind of sound. I’ve listened to both their albums front and back for over two years now and I will never get sick of it. Justin also has a very similar attitude to mine when it comes to music, so I really respect him as well.
3. The Flaming Astronauts: You should check them out.
Gee, wonder why the third one is on the list? Speaking of astronautical things, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Serenity? Why is your choice the superior option?
Honestly, I’ve never been that attached to any of them. I never saw Serenity actually, but I have watched FireFly. I enjoy all of them equally but not a huge fan of any one of them in particular.
Geek sacrilege! What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last year?
I’ve actually had a pretty great year. I graduated college, released my bands album, and got a full time job in my field. The best thing would probably be graduating. There was a time when I thought I’d never graduate, so it was a very big deal to me when I did.
That’s a pretty full year. So, you’re a musician & you recently released an album. Has your passion for music been around before or after your gaming passion?
I’d say after. Video games have always been a constant in my life. I remember my dad used to tell me “for every hour you play video games I want you to read a book for an hour.”
How did you come up with your band name?
This is a story I’ll never get tired of telling. I didn’t come up with it, actually. We were playing an open mic night only a few weeks after forming and coming up with our first original material. We didn’t have a name so were just introduced individually by name. Then one of our friends in the crowd just randomly yells out “The Flaming Astronauts!” and that was that. We seriously attempted to come up with a new one on many occasions, but we never could. Now it’s just a part of us!
When did the band get started? Is it still going, post college?
We started in our senior year of high school. I met the singer in a guitar class I took at school. He invited me over to jam with some guys he knew and that was that. Those other guys quit pretty soon after, so the main core of the group is the singer and I, and we’ve had many other musicians play with us through the years. Right now we are on a hiatus until I don’t know when. The singer is currently in school at Pitt working towards his PhD and I’m in DC working. It’s hard to find the time now unfortunately. Our album was a project that spanned many years and definitely showcased our evolution as musicians.
If you could live in the shoes of one person for one day, who would you pick and why?
This is a tough question. I’ve never really thought about it. I think I’d like to live a day as the President, just because I’m very curious about what really goes on behind the scenes and all the secrets that they can’t tell us.
They say ignorance is bliss. I’m not sure I’d want to know everything a President faces on a daily basis… In a fight between a one-armed swordsman and a one-legged ninja, who would win?
What one-legged ninja?
Battlestar Galactica – Which Apollo 1978, 1980 or 2005 and why?
A lot of people have brought up BSG when they hear my gamertag. Honestly, I have no opinion because I’ve never watched it. Sorry.
Why the name Apollo? What’s the genesis of it?
I came up with in while trying to come up with a new name for my band. The singer didn’t like it, so I kept it for myself. I was just putting random words together, but I don’t remember what my thought process was for “Apollo Running”.
And when are you going to change your name to SSG Apollo?
After you change your name to SSG ApolloIsAwesome. Honestly though, it’s not that I don’t want to show off my SSG pride, I just have personal reasons for not changing it.
Touché. So, if you’re really Apollo, the Greek god of prophecy, and you’re running, when will you arrive at Mount Olympus and at what speed?
If I start now, I will arrive there instantaneously and I will have travelled at 671,000,000 miles per hour.
Should video games be considered an art form? Why? Defend your stance.
Of course they should, but only if the creators of the game are trying to make an artistic statement. There are plenty of games that mix brilliant storytelling, amazing visuals, captivating music and engaging gameplay. That’s almost every single form of art all in one package. However, there are also plenty of games that were developed solely for the money and not so much to make any kind of artistic statement. We all know what games those are…
Zombie survival plan? Weapon of choice for dispatching zombies? Idea place to set up a “Home Base”?
I haven’t thought too much about this. However, I do know where the best home base would be, a recording studio. Especially the one at the college I went to. It’s in the basement of an obscure building that nobody knows about. All the entrances are heavy doors that require card access. Once you’re inside, there are two sets of very heavy, sound proof doors that you have to go through, which also require a card to access. The space is large enough to fit about 10-20 people and is basically impenetrable as long as nobody leaves a door open.
In what ways is Wookiee completely wrong about Cazaril’s age, alignment, & modus operandi?
I thought this thing was all about ME??
Geeze, narcissistic much? Anyways, thanks for taking the time to share a little bit about your non-gaming persona. Until next time game on.