The purpose of Livegamers monthly celebrity is to reveal the hidden skeletons celebrities might have, meaning what games do they play, why, and do they even play at all?
This time our Monthly Celeb is a world-class star, Marco Hietala, from the bands Nightwish and Tarot. We heard that Marco is a true gamer and was seen for example in an ad campaign for Nintendo therefore we had to interview him. He reputedly has a wide selection of consoles and furthermore it is said, that in the smoky backstages, buses and aeroplanes Marco is more comfortable with a controller in his hand rather than a bottle of beer!
Marco Hietala FactFile
Nickname: Muta-Antti (Mud-Antti)
Gaming platforms: Cube, Wii, DS and PC
Idols: Neil Armstrong
Motto: Live and let live.
Howdy Marco. Thank you for letting us interview you. How’s it hanging?
– Next night I’m headed for a tour of Middle-Europe8 countries, 17 gigs, in other words: survival trip. We’re also mixin’ the next Nightwish LP, on Monday I sang the last vocals. I even had the time to get sick for a couple of days… so it’s something for every day! When we (Tarot) get back from the tour, we’ll start getting ready to announce the new Nightwish vocalist!
Nightwish has recorded new songs with the secret vocalist. Are you scared of the fans’ reactionand possibly rejection, as happened with Stratovarius, when they switched their vocalist for a while? A disgruntled fan even stabbed Timo Tolkki…
– We’re not afraid. You’ll always find some twisted dude who’s ready to attack the stage and shoot Dimebag (Darrel). We make music and want to continue doing it for the people and in a good company. If you get scared of that possibility, you should switch to a safer line of work.
Did you have to adjust the sound of Nightwish for the new vocalist, or the other way around?
– We really didn’t set our minds on changing anything… We’ve trained since last summer with the new stuff, keeping in mind the singing melodies. However, in the studio if we noticed that something’s not working, we changed it, and went with something that worked.
Tarot is nearly a legendary Finnish metal-band. In which game would you like to see Tarot’s music?
– I’d think that a sci-fi game would be the most fitting. A sci-fi roleplaying-game, in which you slice and dice your way through enemy hordes with a lightsaber and collect massive amounts of stuff.
As of yet the closest Nightwish has come to videogames has been in the disturbingly horrifying Alone in the Dark movie by Uwe Bollin the ending credits with Wish I Had An Angel. The movie is based (very, very) loosely to a renown game and its quality is, in keeping with Boll’s tradition, extremely loweven nearly campy. Were you as a band satisfied with the movie and will we in the future hear Nightwish in other Uwe Boll’s movies?
– [Laughing] I’ll have to say, that Uwe tried to get our music in Bloodrayne, but we refused. I haven’t yet seen even a decent movie from the dude. Maybe we should’ve gotten to know his movies before agreeing to Alone in the Dark… However, I don’t think that the publicity is bad for us, but maybe even better for him. We’ll see if he tries to contact us again.
How much do you pay attention to in-game music?
– There have been few [games] that have impressed me greatly and through them I have gotten inspiration to my songs some of them have even made it to albums. There are some extremely great things in them. For example in the US versions of Final Fantasy games on the 16bit Nintendo had many impressive tracks… they weren’t released in Finland. Icewind Dale 2 has a brilliant track playing in the background of the first city. Unbelievably tragic and sad.
Have you played Guitar Hero games on Xbox or Playstation? How do you feel about them as a musician?
– Yeah! I think they are fucking great! I’ve just fiddled through a couple of songs. In our tour bus at the ”Heavy Christmas” tour the guys had a Playstation and Guitar Hero with them. Couple of days were filled with frenzied fret competitions. It seemed like a great fun, although the idea is extremely simple tapping the buttons on time. I don’t believe that a musician has a real advantage in it.
Do you consider yourself to be a game-a-holic?
– Well… not really. It’s great fun and a hobby, but if I was really addicted, I’d really hear about it at home… [Laughs]. I Play Mario Kart with my kids at home. At 5 years old they are starting to pose a challenge, if I choose the heaviest car. When they get a little bit older, we can start to play those epic roleplaying-games all night long together.
And what games do you play?
– At this moment Zelda: Twilight Princessalways when I have time. I’ve trounced through a couple of dungeons and visited a few locations.
On average, how much do you play in a week?
– Well… depends on the week and my schedule, but lets say four to eight hours.
What gaming hardware do you have?
– At this moment Nintendo Wii, old but functioning GameCube and a PC. Earlier I have owned both Playstations, but the second one started dying on me slowly.
Are there any consoles in the Tarot or Nightwish tour buses, and if there are, what do you play on them?
– Well yeah. There are consoles, the type depends on where you rent them. Mostly I think there are Playstations. I also have had my DS with me and we’ve played against each other with Tommi (from Tarot). On the hand-helds I mostly play some light RPGs… there’s usually a lot of down-time on tours. Mostly I play games or read books.
Name the all-time Top 3 games
– Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 with the Expansion Packs. But even better was Planescape: Torment. And the earlier mentioned Final Fantasy 3 for the 16bit. I played it from beginning to end with a fervor.
What game do you expect the most at this moment?
– Well, as insane as it sounds, I’m looking forward to Super Mario Galaxy… I’ll just have to hope that they get it out before Christmas. Even though I love RPGs, every Mario has been a lot of fun.
What do you generally think about gaming. E.g. Is it comparable to real sports in any sense?
– [Laughs] … Real sports? Well, it’s not even close. Of course in some things, like focus, you might get a bit closer. Sports of course keep you physically fit [Laughs]. In any case, while playing, you use your head among other things… that means it’s thousand times more educative than watching the TV.
What do you think gaming is going to be in the future?
– Tedious race with hardware and software upgrades and updates. Things should advance a lot slower, so the human brain could keep up.
What are your favourite competitive games?
– Now we get back to Mario Kart! It has always been the most fun, and it’s great to drive the tiny red racer up your friend’s ass! [Laughs]
Have you visited Livegamers or PCGamers?
– Speaking the truth, no. Sorry. 🙂
Care to send regards to our reades?
– Goddamn! Play, when you have time!
At the end of the interview Marco responded to my quip about the ”Nintendo fanboy’s regards to an Xbox community” with the following:
– If I had time more, I would buy every possible platform and all games there are. I don’t care about the manufacturer. I love to play, but I don’t see the sense to pay for every other console or game, if I don’t have time even to play them.
Big thanks to Marco for the interview, to Tapio Wilska for setting it up and for Tuohis for the help with the interview.