NintendoLegend.com is honored to have, for our first interview – the Emperor himself, a High Councillor, the Ambassador, owner of over 40 gaming world records, endorsed by Nintendo of America, who gets interviewed by such outlets as CNET and the New York Times, and an all-around classy guy, eight questions with… Isaiah TriForce Johnson!
1) The Elevator Pitch: You have 15 seconds to introduce yourself to someone who knows nothing about you. What do you say?
My name is Isaiah TriForce Johnson. Everyone I know including my Father calls me TriForce for short. I’m the founder of a development organization for gamers called “Empire Arcadia.” I’m perhaps the biggest Nintendo fan you find on this side of the planet. If not the world itself. I’m also pretty decent at playing video games.
2) Among everything else you are known for, you clearly have an affinity for the Nintendo brand. What is your favorite era of Nintendo gaming, and do you have a particular favorite title from that era?
This is perhaps the most detailed question I’ve ever had to answer this year. There are only 3 eras for Nintendo; the Pioneering age 1889 – 1981, the Golden age 1982 – 1999 and the Modern age, 2000 – present.
Well, I wasn’t alive during their Pioneering era and I don’t have as much time to truly enjoy the games that I play because I work and travel a lot in the Modern era. The Golden was the best for me. Almost 24/7 gaming. Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64.
Not only were the games difficult because I love a challenge, most importantly they were fun. I would say The Legend of Zelda I and II, Super Mario Bros. and Tetris were my favorites for the NES. Then Super Mario World, Contra III: the Alien Wars and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. Finally, Star Fox 64, Pokemon Puzzle League and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were my favorites for the Nintendo 64.
3) Obviously, the term “TriForce” comes from the Legend of Zelda mythology. What is the origin story behind TriForce becoming your handle?
The name “TriForce” was given to me by a friend named Robert Billings in 1996 because in our nerdy video game debates during our Pen and Paper RPG’s I would always use the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda as a trump card to other omnipotent relics like the “Infinity Gauntlet,” “Cosmic Cube,” “Chaos Emeralds,” etc.
From that time, my friends and family started calling me TriForce. When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out in 1998, I decided to legally add it to my first name before the turn of the Century. I even got mail of my Nintendo Power magazines as TriForce GameMaster hence TFGM. Now my name is Isaiah TriForce M. Johnson. Long isn’t it? Yeah, so everyone calls me TriForce for short and I’m ok with it.
4) There are very few human beings who have truly “made a name” for themselves on the gaming scene, purely for their gaming prowess and presence – you are one of them. Did you ever imagine you would be as well-recognized as you are now?
I never really thought about it to be honest. I know if I put my mind to something, I’m confident that I can accomplish whatever that task is within reason.
I will say that I’m not surprised at what is going on with my life in gaming. I’ve sacrificed a lot and I’ve put a lot of passion into the culture and community of gaming. What is more important however, is the further development of the culture, community and the bridging of that to the gaming Industry.
I work hard to be known more so for that development work than any championship or world record that I’ve won or set. I look to share that work with others who share in the commitment to help unify, develop and expand the gaming scene world wide. That is why I work with Nintendo, Twin Galaxies, the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum and the Council of Gaming Legends.
5) If a young gamer approached you and asked for advice on how to “make it” on the professional gaming scene, what would you say?
I’d tell them go to school and complete it, at the very least high school. Then discipline oneself to learn how to balance responsibility of everyday life and the time to give to your passion for video games. From there they will be able to develop themselves and create a portfolio for themselves.
There is no one way or advice to go about becoming a professional gamer as competitive gaming is still in its pioneering stage. Although it’s closing out that stage and is forming into a structured institution for gamers world wide, it all comes from within.
6) What are two things you are looking forward to?
That’s such a broad question. If you’re talking about the immediate future, I would say I look forward to the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and the Nintendo WiiU. As for the long term…I don’t know. We’ll see what the future holds.
7) Can you share one favorite moment from your gaming career?
The most memorable moment in gaming for me was to see Fatal1ty, Justin Wong, Walter Day, Todd Rogers, Billy Mitchell and myself all come together to raise food for the hungry. It’s an indication that gamers, young and old, classic and modern, black and white, men and women all can come together to make a positive difference in society; the video game community, culture and its industry.
8)Whether a few days or a few decades from now, what do you ultimately want to be remembered for, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as the son of an orphan Father who he raised from poverty to positively change the world, physically and Digitally.
Thanks again, TriForce, for squeezing me into your busy schedule as your plane landed en route to your attending the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony. It is now a dream of mine to throw down in a match of Pokémon Puzzle League with you someday…