For me Harmonix is filled with people I wish I had known when I was 13 years old. There are numerous folks here that share my current and past obsessions with Prince, the X-Men, robots, Star Wars, Atlantic Records, Nike sneakers, anything out of Giant Robot magazine, the list goes on. I am always on the lookout for a chance to visit with HMXHenry and sneak in a discussion about some of the X-Men toys on his desk, give him a drawing or a high five. What can I say? He is an extremely likeable associate community manager and he knows a ginormous amount of information about comics and toys.
Fish McGill: Tell us about your crew facing you at your desk.
HMXHenry: I am being watched by a million tiny eyes, which is vaguely unsettling. I have an unhealthy obsession with the characters of Marvel Comics and I have around 75 Marvel Mini-Mates on my desk. I’ve gone so far as to organize them by team. The Avengers are over on the left, the X-Men are up in front, all the assorted Spiderman characters are in the middle there. They keep me company during the long cold lonely nights on the forums.
FM: So why are you so into Marvel Comics characters? Do you have a past life that relates to comic books or something?
HMXH: I may have been the Sub Mariner in a past life, I can’t say definitively. I used to work at a comic book store; I actually worked there for seven years before I came to Harmonix. I came here with a lot of comic book baggage as opposed to the normal video game baggage that a lot of people arrive here with. I brought some of my obsession with me. It was also a good excuse to get a whole lot of toys out of my house and into the office.
FM: Is this the extent of your Mini-Mates?
HMXH: This is the extent of what I have now. Maybe 75 Marvel characters, a handful of DC (comics) characters and I have a set of Back To The Future guys hidden in the back. Little Marty McFly in his little “life preserver” jacket.
These are all the Mini-Mates I have now, I have a ton of other action figures at home but I figured I would start small. I started very small. HAHA!
FM: Do you have a favorite Mini-Mate?
HMXH: I like the Avengers a lot. The costume design on the Avengers is my favorite; Captain America with his tiny little shield, Iron Man’s tiny helmet that comes off, they’re adorable.
FM: Are any of these rare or hard to find?
HMXH: There are a few chase figures like this little J Johah Jameson. They just did a little Chameleon with but one in every case came with a J. Jonah Jameson head that you could swap. I’ve got a few rare figures, but none of them are that hard to track down.
FM: Anyone who reads the forums will be familiar with this hat.
HMXH: Anyone who reads the forums should be familiar with this hat, but we haven’t talked about Battle Hat in quite a long time. It is quite possible that many posters are unfamiliar with Battle Hat. The premise is: HMXSean in his infinite wisdom devised a method for arbitrating all arguments in the Community Pit among our team. He took a dirty old hat and filled it with tiny pieces of index card with different names on them ranging from the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous. If two people were having an argument each one would draw an avatar from the Battle Hat and then you have to pin all of your hopes and dreams on your tiny scrap of index card beating the other index card.
Say Fish & I are having an argument right now…
FM: Let’s do this.
…I could dive into the Battle Hat and I would pull out Scrooge McDuck.
FM: This is close, I got the Marx Brothers.
They are startlingly similar in many respects and I would have to argue that Scrooge McDuck was a more formidable opponent than the Marx Brothers. I could argue that he has more money and he could buy the Marx brothers off. I could argue they have equal star power, Scrooge would be out numbered.
FM: Scrooge could be interviewed by Groucho on “You Bet Your Life”.
HMXH: Groucho had a talk show? Crazy.
That is the premise of the Battle Hat. There are all sorts of ridiculous stuff in there ranging from interoffice memes to abstract concepts. You could have Optimus Prime fighting Existentialism.
Some of them are a real losing battle and there are not a lot of ways to argue. Some of them are pretty much lose-lose like Kevin Costner or a half eaten ham sandwich. You are not coming out ahead in that battle, nobody wins.
FM: The ham sandwich did beat Mama Cass…
HMXH: OH! TOO SOON! We could put Mama Cass in the Battle Hat; that would be a good match.
FM: Tell us about these strips of photos.
HMXH: Those are from the Rock Band 2 photo credits session. For the credits at the end of Rock Band 2 you can see all of the developers in a classic photo booth background. There are 3 or 4 photos from each of us. We did photo shoots for nearly everyone which was around 275 people around the time of RB2. We rented a photo booth and kept in the main lobby for a week.
Everyone got to go in and take 12 photos. Lots of people went all out wearing costumes, someone brought in their dog, some people had stand-ins, girlfriends, family, all sorts of weird stuff. Then we went through and picked out our four favorites. We all got to keep the raw, unedited original photos.
Special Guest Christine Jandreau: Where did you get your gnome from?
HMXH: My “Gnome Sayin’”? From the day I started at Harmonix I have had at least one piece of Fish McGill art at any given point of time. I still have a little Santa Pizza slice, a Halloween sticker with a Frankenstein Elephant (Frankenphant), you can absolutely, positively never have too much Fish McGill. Gnome Sayin’? is the most recent addition. I keep that front and center even though it obscures most of my business cards and important work information.
FM: What about these guys up top?
HMXH: The Mighty Mugs, these are the larger version of the tiny Avengers that I love. The Bee Movie toy and the Monsters vs Aliens stuff were a gift from Dream Works studios; they are big fans of Rock Band. They were good enough to send us a big sack of really cool DW stuff because we sent them a big thing of prizes for an inter office Rock Band competition that they had at Dream Works studios out in Redwood, California. And the giant Transformer (Bumblebee) is from Fish.