questions SgtPezzer about why he went
back to the Marines, what its like being away from home,
and what made him become a gamer. This was an
exclusive interview in issue #1, now brought out to the
home page for all to read.
So as I understand it, you re-joined the US Marines
and left for Iraq, why did you return to the armed
Well, there are actually a few reasons. Probably first
and foremost would be that I missed the life, missed
the camaraderie. Another big reason is that for 6
years, I served as a Marine. I don’t know who first
coined the phrase, but I had a Gunny who used to
say that “We train for war, but pray that day never
comes. Marines that I knew from years ago were
working on their second deployment to Iraq and here
I was sitting at home on my ass. I figured it was time
for me to get into the fight. To me, it doesn’t matter
if you agree why we came here in the first place;
we are here now helping the Iraqi people to live in
freedom and help make the world safer. I view being
over here as my sacrifice to ensure my family’s safety
for the future.
I noticed you have a myspace profile ( http://www.myspace.com/sgtpezzer ) and you’re from Allentown
Pennsylvania, a 28 year old guy, but do you
have a real name or is “SgtPezzer” what your mom
My name is Jason Lopez. I’ve been using that nickname
for years. It came about from combining two
things. The Sgt part obviously from the military, my
rank is sergeant. The Pezzer part is actually a lot
older. When I was about 16, I worked in the kitchen
of a restaurant/bar. Some of the bartenders used to
call me Pezzer because of my last night. It kind of
stuck. I didn’t use it for a while, but came back to it a
few years ago. The only question now is, will I keep it
or change it when I get promoted to staff sergeant?
What is your favorite band or artist?
That’s an easy one. The Tartan Terrors. They are a
comedy/music/dance group from Canada. I first
heard them at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
a few years ago and have been hooked ever since.
Considering I am trying to learn how to play bagpipes
and the bodhran, I consider them a major
When you just want to chill out and relax, what type
of music would you turn on?
As funny as this may sound, bagpipe music is what
I’m usually listening to. A lot of the Marines that I’m
here with can’t stand it, but it just seems to help me
relax. Kind of as an oxymoron, I also listen to the
pipes when I’m working out.
I noticed from your myspace profile that you have
two sons, a two and a half year old, and a six month
old. My kids are similar in age, how is “dual wielding”
two kids coming along? Do you find it’s much
harder to handle?
To be perfectly honest, I’ve been away from my baby
for more than I’ve seen him. My wife has actually
been the one taking care of them. She’s doing a pretty
good job at it, too. She has some help from her
family and friends, but she is proving to be rather
So its obvious that you have some form of Internet
access from your station in Iraq, is that common for
many of the military units or only those stationed at
From what I’ve seen, most places out here, except
maybe the smaller outposts have internet. It’s actually
a pretty vital communications source. It’s the easiest
way to disseminate the vast amounts of information
that need to be passed around. A lot of pains-taking
steps are utilized to ensure that it stays secure.
Do you find that the Internet gives you more connection
to your family and friends then standard phone
lines? Or do you still find yourself aching to phone
home a lot?
Having regular access to the net allows me better
contact back home. My wife and I email each other
regularly, at least a few times a day. I do follow it up
with a phone call every few days so we can talk to
each other and hear each other’s voices, but email is
our primary form of communication.
When not in the military, what is your occupation?
I was actually unemployed when I rejoined. Well,
I was a stay-at-home dad. My wife and I owned a
business. We traveled around to colleges and corporations
selling fair trade gift items from third world
countries. It was a noble business, but in this world of
cheap labor from countries, it’s difficult to make a living
by it. We sold it to her parents when we decided
I should come back into the Marines.
How did you come to be a 2old2play member?
I was tired of getting my ass kicked by kids who would
sit and gloat about it. Playing Halo2 was becoming
to be a chore. I didn’t get a chance to play much
and then I would have some little 12 yr old berate
me about it. Finally, I saw an article in OXM (Official
Xbox Magazine) that mentioned a few gaming communities
online. I saw 2old2play and thought that
might be a good fit. Playing with people like me, who
had to carry on real lives and then tried to play on
the side, was appealing. After checking out the website
I was hooked. It took me only a couple to days
to get into a clan, The Wheezin’ Geezers (shameless
plug) and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, 2old2play’s gamer groups have ponied up to get
you guys some gaming equipment, how does that
make you feel?
The amount of support I have received is over-whelming.
In particular, MikeJames for orchestrating everything.
I don’t know if there is any way for me to repay
the favor. When my Xbox got fried, I posted on the
site merely to complain. I never expected anything
like this. I was only hoping for some sympathy.
What types/genre’s of games do you like?
My taste runs most of the spectrum. From sports games
to RPG’s and just about everything in between. Simulators,
FPS’s, strategy games, I do it all.
How many hours a week in Iraq do you get to actually
play games or blow off steam?
My schedule runs 12 hours on and 24 hours off.
That certainly isn’t indicative of most of the service
members out here, but as the Operations Chief for
my unit, that’s what I drew. However, I tend to be a
workaholic and wind up spending a lot of extra time
in my office dealing with what needs to be done. I
would have to say on average, I try to spend a couple
hours a day playing games. Honestly, sometimes
that time is spent while I’m on duty. I have periods of
slow time and I try to get some gaming in if I have
nothing else to do.
What do you find yourself doing to pass time besides
thinking about electronic gaming? Texas Hold’em?
When not gaming, or working. We’ve been known
to get some sports in. We usually play basketball or
volleyball. We have a full court set up right in front of
our bunker and we also have portable poles to set up
for volleyball. As soon as we find space for it, we’re
going to get horseshoes going, too. There is also a
lot of card playing that goes on around here. Spades
and rummy seem to be the favorites, but we have had
a game or two of Hold ‘Em.
When did you first become a gamer?
That’s a tough one. I don’t exactly remember, but I
guess it all started back when I was 6 or 7 and my
parents bought an Atari 2600. That was the good
stuff back in the day. Intellivision, ColecoVision…I remember
them all too well.
What was the first game that got you “hooked” on
I guess the games that got it started for me were Frogger
and Pitfall. They were my favorites back then.
There was also a game that I can’t remember the
name, but it was similar to Frogger, except you were
a chicken trying to cross the road in traffic. It was
just a funny game to play. I think the name was Freeway.
What do you think is the most revolutionary console
system that “changed the face of gaming” up
I would have to say the Xbox. The PS2 came out first
and was a step in the right direction, but the Xbox
was the one that went leaps and bounds in the realm
of online gaming. I even traded up my PS2 for an
Xbox and haven’t looked back since. Sony fired the
first salvo, but Microsoft hit back more effectively.
What coin-op arcade game did you spend the most
I spent a lot time playing Super Off Road back when
I was in school. I would have to say that, or the original
Star Wars game. It’s funny to look back now and
see that those were top of the line games back then
and to see how far we have come.
Do you also play games on a personal computer or
are you strictly a console gamer?
I like to play PC games too. Games such as Civilization,
Empire Earth, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. There
are others, but those are the main ones. I also have
a Nintendo emulator with a couple hundred games.
I have spent a lot of time playing with them recently.
In fact, they are the easiest to play while I’m on shift.
I have my personal laptop out here, so I just whip it
out and play.
Do the people you’re protecting our country with
also share an interest in gaming?
Absolutely. There are a couple Marines who have
their PS2’s out here, and they are awaiting the game
gear that has been donated. There are already plans
in the works for sports leagues and tournaments. They
are pretty pumped up about it.
I know it’s hard to get Xbox 360’s around the US,
any easier in the desert?
The funny thing is I actually saw a couple when I
had my stop off in Kuwait. I wasn’t tempted to buy it
though. I try to shy away from first runs because there
are usually a few bugs yet to be worked out. I haven’t
seen any since I got to Iraq, but hopefully when I get
back home the supply situation will be worked out for
me to get on board.
When you return to the States do you plan on ‘upgrading’
to an Xbox 360?
Yes, without a doubt in my mind, as long as I can find
one, I’ll be buying it.
Given your military background do you favor military
type games? Strategy, FPS, or otherwise?
I have a soft spot for military FPS’s. The Ghost Recon
and Rainbow Six series I have always enjoyed. There
is no game that I have played that truly captures the
feeling and tactics of the battlefield, but they’re close.
Well, paintball actually has it down pretty good.
Does the reflexes you’ve gained from playing video
games help you on the field or in training? Or is it
like a whole different feeling?
Physically, I haven’t noticed any advantage. But I think
my mental reflexes are faster from playing games.
Games today are fast paced and you have to be
able to react quickly. Especially playing on XBL. You
need to be able to assess the battlefield and react to
your opponents and allies on the fly. I think that has
definitely helped me.
SgtPezzer continues his time in Iraq serving the duties of
his country. I think all the readers and 2old2play forum
posters would agree that what he is doing is brave and a
job not everyone would be up to performing.
While your sitting back in your chairs at work, in the vehicle, at home,
or otherwise please remember that these guys and gals are fighting for
our country! I am sure everyone is wishing you and all your comrades
the best of luck and a cheerful safe return to the States when your time to
Jason Lopez, known as SgtPezzer to us in the gaming
community, was able to take some time out of his busy
schedule to answer a few questions.