Features & News

Interview: Dan Maher (XBL’s MrPointyHead)

February 2, 2010, Author: Neil Hughes

Daniel Maher, AKA MrPointyHead, is responsible for overseeing the publication of content across the Xbox LIVE homepage in Europe, i.e. Spotlight, Game, Video, Music Marketplace and, of course, Inside Xbox..

Most Xbox 360 owners will be used to seeing him alongside SuperKaylo on SentUAMessage on the Xbox dashboard with their amusing videos, so are delighted to grab him for an interview with This Is My Joystick.

Q. Where did your love affair with gaming begin?

“France. I can’t be more specific than that because I was 2 at the time. My mum plonked me in front of a Pac-Man machine, then bought me a Spectrum 48K soon after (possibly because she was fooled by claims that it was an educational device). The rest, as they say, is boring.”

Q. Where did your Gamertag come from?

“I was in Tokyo back in 2005 when I came upon great sculpture in the middle of Roppongi Hills by Takashi Murakami called Tongari-kun, or Mr. Pointy and the Four Guards. I took it on board as a pseudonym while I was working at Sony and it’s stuck with me ever since. I don’t remember when I bastardised it to include the ‘head’ bit, but at least I can’t be accused of copyright infringement anymore.

There’s a nice video of it being constructed in Brooklyn here.”

Q. How did your path lead to roles on Xbox Live?

“I’d worked at SCEE for six years (four years as a Content Producer on PlayStation.com, two years as a games producer in their International Software Development team), and a call came out of the blue from a recruitment agency who said a friend (who worked at Cancer Research, not MS before you start calling shenanigaans) had recommended me for the position. I thought I’d give it a go and, eight (!) interviews later, I was deemed worthy of joining the fold.”

Q. Do you only game on the 360, or dabble on other consoles too?

“I definitely dabble. I’m a gamer first, corporate mouthpiece a close second.”

What games excite you in 2010?

“Bayonetta and Darksiders kicked off the year in tremendous style, and with Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2 both out this month too it’s shaping up to be on the best starts to a gaming year in recent memory. I’ve also got high hopes for Super Street Fighter IV, Halo: Reach, Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Project Needlemouse, Split/Second, Fallout: New Vegas, BlazBlue, Splinter Cell Conviction, Dead Rising 2 and, of course, whatever games are announced for Project Natal.

On the other formats, Heavy Rain, God of War III, Trico, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, the next Zelda, Sin & Punishment 2 and Epic Mickey.

I’m meant to be getting married at some point, but I may have to postpone until 2011.”

"and it's goodnight from him"

Q. Have you ever played an awful game for achievements only? If yes, what were the easiest achievement boosters?

“In the early days, when I was trying to get my score up to a semi-decent level before I faced the community I did the unholy triumvirate of Avatar, Lost and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Q. If we hit start on your Last FM Radio, what would your favourite tunes be?

“Tragically, I started searching for orchestral arrangements of Koji Kondo tunes and then just followed a rabbit hole into other game BGM. ‘Proper’ music, I’m listening to at the moment includes *checks iPod* The xx, Delphic, The Temper Trap, The Horrors, Empire of the Sun, Santo/igold, Manchester Orchestra, Pulled Apart By Horses, Twin Atlantic and my old favourites Biffy Clyro.”

Q. Your favourite thing about Twitter is…

“...that it has rapidly become the number one source for breaking news, no matter how hard certain establishments try to block stories from circulating. It’s bringing current affairs back to the people and away from the clutches of Murdoch et al.”

Q. Funniest Facebook status I have seen is…

“...still to be discovered.”

Q. When LIPS is put on, what would your song of choice be?

“Poker Face by Lady Gaga. I’m definitely more of a Rock Band player.”

Q. Does AceyBongos insist on a passion for spandex cock rock when working for Microsoft?

“No, he used to be quite the modest type, but his popularity grew and Jimmy Spandexxx emerged (from a cloud of dry ice, naturally) like some kind of Tyler Durden-esque embodiment of his latent desire to be a testosterone-fuelled, womanising, heavy drinking, poodle-haired cock-rocker clad entirely in overly snug clothing. To be fair, the heavy drinking part wasn’t particularly latent.”

Hello Cleveland, My Name is Aceybongos and you have been a beautiful audience.

Hello Cleveland, My name is AceyBongos are you ready to rock?

Q. Would you prefer a game from “Games on Demand” or a hard copy of a game?

“If it works, I don’t care if I can manhandle it or not.”

Q. What is your favourite Indie and Arcade game?

“I MA3D A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 (mainly for the soundtrack) and for Arcade it’s a toss-up/off between Trials HD, Shadow Complex, Battlefield 1943 and Braid.”

Q. Are some developers exploiting DLC?

“They all are, but that’s business for you. Do some of them make bad DLC or deliberately withhold finished content for a quick buck? Of course, but there’s some great stuff out there; Borderlands, GTAIV and Fallout 3 have all enjoyed additional content that clearly wasn’t just left out at the last minute. Paying for additional costumes, ‘lost’ levels and horse armour is where it all gets a bit whiffy.”

Q. What would be your ideal film to enjoy on the current selection available on the Xbox?

“I loved the new Star Trek. It made me wish that George Lucas had given the Star Wars prequels to a younger, more enthusiastic director with an understanding of what made the first three so entertaining. Now Star Trek is better than Star Wars, and that makes me a little bit sad.”

Back to you Trevor in the studio.

Back to you Trevor in the studio.

Q. In Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, should I prestige or not?

“Do you still lose your perks like you did in CoD4? Unless you actually get something decent for doing so as compensation, it’s just pointless willy waving.”

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?

“The tubes above our desk that deposit gold whenever Bill thinks we’ve done a good job. That’s how he spends his retirement, you know. It’s a bit like Sliver, only with the limp eroticism replaced with eccentric altruism.”

Q. Are we going to be seeing more of MSN Tech Jane?

“No, she’ll continue to dress modestly, as is befitting for someone with her high degree of professionalism. (Yes)”

Q. Do you still get confused for Martin Fowler from Eastenders?

“Not since I developed the capacity for growing facial hair and sorted my hair out, no.”

Q. Is it better to travel or arrive?

“Depends on the mode of transport and the destination. If it’s a jet pack to Monster Island, I’d say travel.”

Q. Who would win a fight between Superman v Hulk?

“Supes. He’d just pick Bruce up and toss him into space if he had any sense.”

As I run the risk of starting the age old Marvel vs DC comic debate, I think it’s best to finish the interview there, but a huge thank you to Dan for taking the time to speak with us and we look forward to seeing what else he has in store for us on the Xbox dashboard.