20 Questions with a video gamer extraordinaire

Jeff Novack
Margaret Bauer

Ashton was ranked No. 1 in the computer game WarCraft III on the U.S. West Server for both 1v1 and 2v2 simultaneously, earning him a free trip to compete in Las Vegas in a WarCraft III tournament. Playing under the name “Tray,” Ashton’s skills were so highly regarded that novice gamers paid him for WarCraft III tutorials.

SL: Warcraft III pits 4 races against one another- the humans, the night elves, the orcs, and the undead. Couldn’t they just work this all out over a big pizza and a few cold ones?

AF: The Epic battle of the four legendary races cannot be won by mere pizza and beer, you insignificant mortal.

SL: Where did your passion for games come from?

AF: Once I saw the movie “The Wizard,” I knew two things: that I wanted to be good at video games, and that I wanted a huge brachiosaurus.

SL: Who is the hottest video game character?

AF: Great question, Jeff. This is one of the most debated questions in all of video games and there is no easy answer. Ranking high atop the list are Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Orchid from Killer Instinct, and Chung Li from Street Fighter. The real winner? Lara Croft . . . I think we all know why.

SL: Worse video-game movie: Street Fighter II or Super Mario Brothers?

AF: Lara Croft . . . I mean . . . what?

SL: It is often said that each new group entering Wash U is smarter than the last. With Wash U playing host to a presidential debate in the fall, did someone not give George W. Bush the memo?

AF: Shhh . . . I think I can hear GWB getting stupider.

SL: Just recently, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chastised Democrats for being too beholden to special interests and called them “Girlie Men.” One has to wonder, however, if the Dems were truly “Girlie Men,” wouldn’t Arnold have groped them by now?

AF: All I know is I wouldn’t want to mess with Arnold-or it’d be hasta la vista, Ashton.

SL: Linda Ronstadt was recently given the boot from Las Vegas’s Aladdin Hotel for dedicating her rendition of The Eagles’s “Desperado” to filmmaker Michael Moore. Do you think it is wrong of Ronstadt to sing Eagles covers?

AF: Did you know if you watch Aladdin and listen very carefully you can hear him tell Jasmine, “take off your clothes”? No joke.

SL: Speaking of Vegas, I heard you went there for a video game competition?

AF: Yeah, I lived the dream in January. Out of 64 people I made it to the final 16. The competition was also the last time I played video games competitively. Losing to an 18 year-old-kid who not only brought his dad (whom he appeared to be a clone of), but also wore Reece’s pajama pants, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shirt and spoke with a lisp, somehow made me lose interest.

SL: Several years ago, I read reports of people dying while playing video games, which greatly disturbed me. I mean, don’t you think they’d know by now to hit “continue”?

AF: OH! I was talking to that guy right before he got permanent game over. He kept telling me “Man, this lag hurts.” I guess I should have realized he didn’t know how to articulate the difference between Internet lag and body lag after so many consecutive hours online.

SL: According to reports, Spiderman 2 star Kirsten Dunst had final say over her depiction in the video game based on the movie and used her clout to force the game’s makers to tone down the size of her character’s breasts. Is Dunst setting a dangerous precedent for a future where women are realistically proportioned in video games, or will cooler heads ultimately prevail?

AF: Seriously, Kirsten Dunst is top three of “Ashton’s Dream Girls.” So honestly, don’t question her, man. Anything she says is law by me and all my favorite stalker friends. Don’t you forget that.

SL: Your WarCraft III exploits are featured on a WarCraft III game guide online with pictures captured from the game and a caption describing the action. One such caption reads: “Tray catches Gecko-boy as he tried to Creep. Gecko retreats but Tray uses the Mountain King to Storm Bolt his Crypt Lord. The Footmen then surround the Crypt Lord.”
Which prompts the obvious question: What did Gecko-boy do to deserve the Mountain King’s Storm Bolt?

AF: He slept with my Priestess of the Moon, so I did what any Thug would do: I sent my boyz to catch him while he was creepin’, hit him with a hammer, and gangbeat him. Did he deserve that strong a punishment? You bet he did.

SL: Speaking of video game violence, the gaming industry has come under fire in the last few years for the extreme content of their games, particularly from Congress. Is Congress a bunch of assholes or what?

AF: Well maybe if they stop making these games so damn realistic. I mean, just the other day I was walking down the street with my spiked baseball bat in hand, dressed in a black leather trenchcoat, and the cops drove by me, oblivious to my ordinary attire, when three fully clad ninjas yielding all sorts of jagged metal objects jumped out from what appeared to be rifts in the space-time continuum and attacked me. It really made me think . . . you know?

SL: How do online gamers communicate?

AF: Online chat has its own language. My favorite word by far is “haxzorz.” People say it when they think you’re using some game cheat. For example, someone might say, “U sux man, why got haxzorz?” They might also add one of about a million Internet faces such as -.- . My favorite face is O_O, which I think is supposed to show surprise.

SL: What words of advice do you have for the freshman class?

AF: If you find your skin to be pasty-white, forget what natural light looks like, or start calling people on your floor newbies, you should probably go outside and open your eyes. If the sunlight burns them, I suggest unplugging the computer and spending some time outdoors, because those games control you.

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If you would like to challenge Ashton to a game, e-mail him at [email protected].

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