Hey there Runners! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your 3 days of peace and quiet, but don’t worry I’m not here to slam some more change in your face - it’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s Community Champion Day! \o/
This month’s Champion is one of the most tireless Hype Men in the history of Netrunner. It’s the King of Content, the Prince of Memes, the one and only CODE MARVELOUS!
If you’ve only just got into Netrunner (in which case, “HI! Welcome to the family!”) or have been hiding in a cave with no wifi and only squirrels to play against, CodeMarvelous, a.k.a. Dan Spinosa, has been putting content online for us to enjoy since like forever. He streams 4-5 times a week on Twitch (subscribe to his channel for notifications of when he goes live), puts all of his videos on YouTube (which he refuses to put ads on, even though it would make him money, because he doesn’t want to ruin your experience) is a prolific tweeter, and probably accounts for at least 60% of the memes on Netrunner Dorks - more if you include the ones about the fact he posts a lot of memes on Netrunner Dorks. Yeah, it’s getting a bit meta…
He’s also currently doing a series of interviews with us, the NISEI Board Members, so if you want to get a bit more info about what we’re like as people that’s a really good place to start.
‘Sneaky, tricksy hobbitses’ that we are, we sent the mat to Dan without him knowing about it, and wrote “record yourself opening this” on the front… which resulted in this video rather than the usual still image we put in these articles. As I was a little preoccupied with the Update-a-thon, my Right Hand Man @Orbital_Tangent ran the interview with our newest champion…
@orbital_tangent: Alrighty. Dan, welcome. Let's get down to the Hard-Hitting questions. Dan, are you ready to let the Netrunner community know about your marvelous self?
@CodeMarvelous: Sure, I’m an open book
OT: Excellent, first question then: How did you get into Netrunner?
CM: A friend of mine bought me the coreset shortly after release as a gift, we played it and couldn't get through it and he hated it. 3 months later I tried it again with a different friend and it clicked. I started digging in online and found a meetup in Philadelphia near where I worked.
OT: Did you get into it hard right away or were you a little more casual at first? Once you found said store, I mean.
CM: I was in pretty hard right away, if you look at early NRDB, right at the time NRDB first went up I was publishing 3-4 decks a day. Once I really understood the game it was like someone designed a game specifically to hit all the notes I like.
It had a more optimistic cybernoir theme, it was aggressively multicultural, the living card game model and the nature of the hidden information was unlike any game I have ever seen.
OT: Excellent. Sounds like you figured out early on it was just the right stew for you. So, how did the announcement about official FFG support ending hit you?
CM: I was at work at the time when one of the members of my local playgroup linked me the article, it actually made me very upset, to the point that I had to leave the office and go for a walk.
The first thing that went through my head was that so many people that I cared about, I might not see again in person because we wouldn't have worlds and regionals to bring us together.
For me Netrunner started as a compelling game but it became this incredible family.
I would say over the years, the game itself has come to mean less to me than the people who are a part of my life because of it.
OT: From my perspective, I'd say so. I can't think of many who have been flying their flag for the community higher and longer than good ol' CodeMarvelous. What inspired you to get involved with the community (in the long-ago times)?
CM: Initially, I wanted to give back to the community because of the great times I had at the Philly meetup. The nights spent playing, getting food afterwards, it was such a good experience I wanted more people to play.
I started blogging and doing more in-depth write ups and then Slysquid reached out to me to join ANRBlackhats. Eventually I would take over the channel as he stepped away from the game, and I dove in hard during a bad work period in my life, the meetup and the content became somewhat of a bridge to the things that made me happy when I didn't have a lot of freetime for socialization.
OT: ANRBlackhats eventually became your current channel, Self-Modifying Code, right?
CM: That’s correct, I rebranded the channel to have the same title as my blog once it was just me making content.
OT: Alright, so back to community. It sounds like it has been a pretty important aspect of your time with the game. That's maybe even an understatement. Can you distill down for me what makes it so dear to you and, immediate follow up, can you tell me what your favorite part of the community is?
CM: The community is so dear because the people who seem to be very passionate about this game tend to be caring, intelligent, thoughtful people. It’s not really like any other competitive group I have been a part of, where the community cares about everything going on in each other’s lives. There are so many shared interests and wonderful discussions that happen.
My favorite part of the community is the atmosphere of tournaments, where everyone is so invested in the success of everyone else.
But if I had to pick something more specific, anyone who has talked to me knows my favorite part of Netrunner is going to get food and drinks after an event. Meals have always been a big part of my life, I come from a large family. For me, when you can sit around a table and everyone is enjoying good food, chatting about things they love and making each other laugh. That is what is best in life and that experience in Netrunner is so wonderful because there is a such an interesting cross section of people who love this game
OT: The family aspect is indeed nice. Good times. So, if you were a Runner, who would your family be? In other words, what faction would you be in?
CM: I feel like I would be a Shaper. The focus on creation for the sake of artistry, discovery and notoriety feels very 90s hacker theme to me. Plus as much as I would like to think of myself as being a smooth criminal or a badass anarchist, I am a nerd. Shapers feel like the most benign and most community focused.
OT: I suppose there's evidence for the "Shapers are Nerds" sentiment. Hayley is rocking it in college while she's hacking into Corp plans. I think I know the answer to the next one already but here goes: If you could only play 1 runner and 1 corp ID from now on, what would they be?
CM: That is an easy one for me. Smoke and Argus
OT: For real, while we're here, I have always wanted to know why those two in particular? What makes you absolutely love and enjoy them?
CM: In my experience Netrunner is at its best when theme and rules come together in a fun and potent way.
With Smoke, there is this strong theme of her being able to sneak in and out of servers without paying the same tax that other runners do. The stealth theme makes an entertaining counterpoint to the cards that feature her in the art or quote. Daily Casts, Notoriety, Net Mercur are good for her strategically but also have this theme that she is so public and attention seeking with her activities. She is able to do this because her skills as a "stealth" runner make her impossible to catch, even with her public taunts to the corps.
With Argus there is this them of them as an overt militant security force. It gives the runner the choice to either be attacked or be followed. It feels very thematic to Weyland and a security force where they make these public examples of anyone who penetrates their servers.
OT: It's making sense. So, you like good cards but you love when they also drip with theme. That's cool. Alright, speaking of security, what is your least favourite ICE to faceplant?
CM: Back in the day it was Komainu. These days it is the surprise cortex lock out of Mti.
OT: Net damage and trashing cards. I see. Another segue here, but I know you have plenty of experience trashing cards. I believe Little King Trash Mouth (Geist) is your second Runner home. Geist: blue shaper, or a criminal minifaction?
CM: He is a criminal minifaction. He doesn't really play like a shaper, he plays like Geist
OT: Succinct answer there. Next: If you could unrotate a single card, what would it be?
CM: Account siphon. No question.
OT: That's not very Shaper-y. LOL. Is there a reason you'd like a centerpiece Criminal card over something green?
CM: I didn't even really play it, but I understand how critical it was for keeping certain corp strategies in check. Also, it would be a lot more balanced now with High Profile Target in the game.
The only green card i would want is Personal Workshop.
OT: Personal Workshop. A polarizing choice. I have heard people argue that one both ways. Did you ever play any Noise Shop?
CM: I did, Noise was my first and most favorite runner. He was such a polarizing but incredible runner. He was the Geist prototype. He played completely different and put both the runner and the corp into a different headspace.
He was bad for the design space so he had to go, but I miss him.
OT: I never actually played Noise seriously. I took up Andysucker and never looked back. But I remember playing against it a lot. The different headspace thing is true.
I have two more and then we're just about good.
Second to last: What other games do you play? Anything else as seriously as Netrunner?
CM: I play a lot of board games, I play the Arkham Horror card game which I adore.
However, tabletop roleplay is the only other hobby I have that reaches the same obsession level as Netrunner. I have been playing tabletop RPGs since i was 12.
It was actually my primary hobby until netrunner came into my life and at any given point I am running 2-3 campaigns.
OT: Hmm. I suppose there is a follow up question to that last one: Do you have a favorite character of yours you've ever played?
CM: There is a cyberpunk / horror system called Eclipse Phase where the game takes place in a futuristic solar system where the terminator apocalypse has taken place. Basically, humanity creates full AI and is almost wiped out, you are living in the shattered ruins of that society.
A lot of the people who lost their bodies during the conflict uploaded their consciousnesses to the net, creating millions of digital refugees called infomorphs. I played a hacker named "faux" who had been in the system so long he wasn't sure if he had ever been human or if he was an AI with synthetic memories who had managed to survive the war.
OT: You were the Ghost Runner. Lol. Explains the Smoke love even more.
Last thing: Do you want to give any shout-outs, or do you have anything, that is anything at all, that you would like to tell or say to the community?
The floor is yours.
CM: I have so many people in this community that I am thankful for but there are a couple I would like to mention specifically.
I would like to thank the incredible Ghost Branch (local Delaware) meta for being such great friends, especially my part time cohost Sanjay.
To the community at large, thank you so much for being a part of my life and letting me into yours. This game wouldn't be the same without all of you and I wouldn't do what I do if you all weren't so lovely.
Also I would like to say thank you to the members of the NISEI board and the members of Artist Colony. You all dedicate so much time to making this game more enjoyable for others, I don't think this game could have thrived the way that it did without people like that.
So there we go, another pillar of the community celebrated as a champion. I do love doing these!
On to OTHER BUSINESS, and then I’ll let you all get back to whatever you were doing...
One of our aims as NISEI is to put out as much of our content in as many languages as possible. For that, we need people skilled in the arcane art of transforming words into new forms… if you speak multiple languages and are able to volunteer some time for this, we would love to hear from you via this form.
We also have some incredibly ambitious plans for the upcoming website, for which we need some talented and enthusiastic web developers. If this skill is in your wheel-house, let us know here! Applications close next Friday.
Playtesting volunteer submission is still open! If you were thinking about applying but haven’t done it yet just fill in this survey and we’ll be in touch with you soon.
Same with if you want to run events, we’re still open for you to give us some details if you’re interested in buying kits and running events at your FLGS, game club, or dining room! This is open to ALL, not just stores and distributors! Speaking of which, our 2019Q1 GNK is available to buy - if you can’t use PayPal, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and sort something out with you.
You can anonymously submit questions and they’ll be answered publicly here. You can also ask them directly in that thread if you wish. Keep them coming and we’ll do our best to answer them when we can.
Now, I’m off to the pub, so your agendas are safe for the time being, but until next time…