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Back in November or December, PTH staff member Noe V caught up w/ andyTHPS to conduct a rather friendly interview.

andyTHPS is a familiar name to those who keep tabs on the dominant online players. Sick high scores are just part of his claim to fame. His ability to find lines and combos is unparalleled and just one of the reasons Neversoft sought out this young Texan to help test out the new features in THUG.

How does the mind of such a high-caliber player work? Well, that we don't know, but take a peek at his thoughts on the THPS world in this interview by Noe V.

Our West Coast Editor Noe V got a chance to catch up w/ THPS masterandyTHPS to ask a couple of questions.

This interview was conducted in late 2003.

Noe: Can you give us a quick history of everything that has happened to you since you first started playing THPS online?

andyTHPS: Well, the day that THPS3 came out, I had already bought a keyboard, Ethernet adaptor, and Ethernet cable, so I was all geared up and ready to play online. When I first got THPS3, I immediately started playing Career Mode. Later that night, I hooked everything up to get online, and hopped on.

Ever since I first played the THPS1 demo, I knew I was addicted to the THPS series, but I never thought it could ever get this addicting.

Online play totally changed my whole outlook on THPS and video games as a whole. For a few months I was totally a hermit, and just playing THPS3 day and night as much as I could. Just because it was so damn fun.

The first thing that I ever gained from playing THPS (besides entertainment) was when I received an e-mail from Jared Prindle, Tony Hawk’s Personal Assistant. In the e-mail he greeted me and all, and asked me if I was the one that could bust out on THPS3. I e-mailed him back and informed him that, yes, I could in-fact, bust out on THPS3. He e-mailed me back about 30 minutes later, and he was interested in a combo video and wanted to contact me over the phone.

I gave him my phone number and he called me later that night. Turns out that him and his buddies at 900 films were interested in compensating me for a sick combo video to air on the jumbo-tron during the intermission at the Boom Boom Huck Jam Tour. After all that went down, shortly after THPS4 came out, you (Noe_V) hopped on IRC to get contact information from several people. I hooked you up with my phone number, and a few days later I got a call from an ESPN editor. After being interviewed by him a few times totaling up to about 3 hours, he used about 3 sentences of mine in his article about online gaming. (click here for an image)

The next summer, after gaining a huge positive reputation throughout the THPS online community, I was asked to go to LA to help test through the development of THUG.

While I was there, I was pleased to demo off the game to many various people who came in, including Dan Elektro. I had played THPS3 online with Dan a few times before, and he had remembered who I was by the severe ass-whooping he had received. He’s a great guy. He was nice enough to do an interview with me and include a side bar of me on his THUG preview page.

Noe: Did you ever think that playing games well would lead to anything?

andyTHPS: Nope, never. I had always hoped for it, but I never thought it would actually happen.

Noe: What do your parents think of all of this?

andyTHPS: My mom died of breast cancer when I was 3, but my dad can tell you that I’ve been addicted to video games since I could barely talk or walk. During the hermit days of THPS3, he grew very upset with the way I was spending my free-time, and that I should be looking for a job instead of just sitting on my ass.

Haha, thanks dad.

Now, when he opens the door to my room and sees me playing video games, he knows I’m either working or I earned the privilege to be playing video games at 5 in the morning on a school night.

Noe: What were your job duties at Neversoft?

andyTHPS: Way too many things to list really, but basically, to make sure the game could live up to its fullest. I made sure that walking and all the new features and physics flowed nicely as well as suggesting and testing controls for hidden combos and maneuvers, while at the same time, making sure the scoring system was balanced and that there were no exploits. I also helped design the new firefight game as well as giving tons of input for online and offline play.

Noe: Was testing as fun as many people assume?

andyTHPS: I don’t think testing is as fun as people hype it up to be, because it involves tons and tons of work, but for me, yes. I enjoy putting effort and work into the TH series for the love of the game. I don’t think any gamer or anyone outside the gaming industry realizes how much time and effort is put into creating a video game.

Noe: What is your favorite level in the THPS series?

andyTHPS: Way too hard to decide, I really couldn’t say.

Noe: Favorite THUG level?

andyTHPS: Manhattan & Tampa.

Noe: Favorite pro skater in THUG?

andyTHPS: Probably Eric Koston.

Noe: Favorite trick, special or otherwise?

andyTHPS: FS flips are always sick, as well as Shiftys and quad heelflips.

Noe: Favorite THPS title?

andyTHPS: THUG.

Noe: Does your work interfere with school?

andyTHPS: No. School interferes with my work. School is the biggest load of bulls#!t ever created on this earth.

Noe: What are your goals if Neversoft calls you back for THUG 2?

andyTHPS: To make the game as best as possible, and good enough to bring back all the old school THPSers back to the series.

Noe: What are your career goals?

andyTHPS: I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. I’ve been playing drums since I was in 2nd grade. The chances of that are pretty much 0. I’d have to say that testing video games would be my career goal, and there’s no better way or place to do it than at Neversoft.

Noe: Have any lame things happened to you since your name got out?

andyTHPS: I’m so sick and tired of people coming up to me and talking s#!t to me like I’m not the best. I don’t care. You can call yourself the best. I just like to play. I’m really a friendly person and a fun guy to hang out with in real life and to play with online. If you’re just going to come up to me and be a d!@k, f*$@ off. Find something better to do.

Noe: Do you have to deal with haters since THUG’s release?

andyTHPS: Yes. I just ignore them.

Noe: Who do you like competing against online?

andyTHPS: I never really liked “competing” online. As I said before, I just like to play. However, if you could win a prize through competition, then it is usually worth it. But I always enjoy playing with tXo/tXa as well as anyone else who is a friendly person.

Noe: Unlike some of the fans of THPS you are also a skateboarder. Got any favorite skate videos or teams?

andyTHPS: I’ve been really hooked to the DC video and Girl’s Yeah Right video lately. Don’t think I have any favorites.

Noe: How is the skating scene in Texas?

andyTHPS: Well, none of my friends skate anymore. It sucks, because skating by yourself sucks, but there are tons of those middle school-er sum41/blink 182 “punk rawk” kids that I see skating around every day. They all suck, and clearly do it just because they’re cool. I wish I could be as cool as them.

Noe: Do you street skate or skate in parks?

andyTHPS: Street skate mostly, someone burned down the local skatepark here after stealing everything possible. Major bummer how some d!$knose can be such a f@99ot and ruin it for everyone else.

Noe: Who is your favorite pro not in THUG and why?

andyTHPS: Doesn’t matter much to me, because I think we all will just end up using our own created skater anyway, but I’d have to go with Stevie Williams, because he just flat-out owns.

Noe: Favorite video part?

andyTHPS: In THUG? Probably Froston’s part.

Noe: Which pro would you most like to meet and why?

andyTHPS: I wouldn’t mind meeting any of them really, but if I could skate with one, I’d go with Tony Hawk or Rodney Mullen. I guess it’d be just because they could help me improve at skating more than anyone else. I can’t prove that they could, but it just looks/seems that way.

Noe: Which control evolution did you think most impacted the THPS series? (the manual, wallride, revert, spine transfer, freestyle, wallplant, caveman, etc…)

andyTHPS: Although walking makes a huge impact and totally changes the series, I’d have to go with the manual.

Noe: What do you think makes a great created park?

andyTHPS: Rule #1: Don’t clutter your CAP with random bulls#!t.

99% of parks that are uploaded to the vault fail to follow this rule. Besides that, a park that allows the player to get real creative in making lines is the best way to go.

But there are also the parks that are dedicated to playing a certain game, like KOTH, or Boxing, or what-have-you. Now that you can create your own goals within your own created park in THUG, the possibilities are virtually endless with making your own COMBO goals, SKATE goals, and the addition of cars and etc..

Noe: Where do you think THUG is headed as a series?

andyTHPS: I don’t think there’s a better way to put it than simply just, ”Bigger, and better.”

Noe: What else do you think Neversoft could incorporate in its control scheme that hasn’t been offered before?

andyTHPS: ;-)

Noe: When coming up with lines for a combo in either THPS or THUG how much do you rely on pre-determined lines and how much is chance?

andyTHPS: Uh, none. My favorite game to play is freeskate and just skate around freely, whether it’s doing 1 or 2 tricks in a combo, or 300. I only do lines when trying for a high score (close to never), or when I’m trying to land a certain style line or no manual line.

Noe: Do you think combos should be harder or easier to execute in the series, perhaps adjust the modifier point system?

andyTHPS: Harder, definitely harder.

Noe: Any tips you’d like to give to budding combo masters?

andyTHPS: Practice. And practice online. Not only does it make the game more fun, but you have others to keep you company and teach you new techniques and to play against. Without playing this game so god-damned much, I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am. I honestly think I’ve played this game (series?) more than anyone else in the world.

- Noe: V

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