For this months community highlight we'd like to show our appreciation to Shinkurex: A true pillar of the Aexia community. Shin is a Community GM who has gone the extra mile. He's created and run the most role plays out of any user, and is always a pleasure to chat with. He's also taking part in Aexias Second VR Roleplay Game Jam and we can't wait to see what his team creates. We took a dive into who Shin is, and it turns out he forges more than just stages in Aexia.
Zoey: How did you come up with the username Shinkurex?
Shinkurex: Uh, I'll be honest. I don't know if I actually came up with a Shinkurex. This is way back when I was in middle school, maybe? I was playing a funny game called RuneScape…. and I think one of my friends gave me the account because they weren't playing anymore. And that name just stuck. I liked it. It was cool… So I kept it.
Zoey: Do you have any other hobbies outside of VR or roleplay?
Shinkurex: Outside of VR roleplay, outside of roleplay in general… I do enjoy reading… I do enjoy playing tennis or pickleball… I also enjoy woodworking and blacksmithing. On Saturday mornings, I generally, uh, I'm working on building a cedar plank canoe right now, which is kind of fun.
Zoey: Blacksmithing. That one, that one caught me by surprise.
Shinkurex: Yeah. I got my own little forge and a barn, and it's, it's fun.
Zoey: What's your favourite thing that you've done while blacksmithing? Favourite thing you've created?
Shinkurex: Ooh…I'm very much a beginner when it comes to blacksmithing… I got interested in it, uh, with Forged In Fire. I really… wanted to forge knives but the best I've gotten so far is, uh, these twist hooks that I can hang on the wall… they can use for coat racks and whatnot. And they look really, really cool.
That's probably the cleanest thing I've made. Um, other than that, I've done leaf key chains. I've tried to make my own blacksmithing tools, tongs and whatnot. Um, but I eventually I want to get into knife making. I want to get into blade smithing.
Zoey: I mean it sounds fun. Also, the idea that you are creating your own, or trying to create your own, blacksmithing tools: I found that to be particularly interesting because I imagine the feeling of blacksmithing using tools that you created would be, in my mind, much different from using tools that you purchased.
Shinkurex: Oh yeah. It's… one of the major rights of blacksmithing apprentices... Back in the old days, the, apprentices would, uh, would make their own tools. The blacksmith that was apprenticing them would guide them through making their own tools. By the time they become journeymen, they have all the tools that they need to be a blacksmith.
Zoey: What drew you into role play?
Shinkurex: I like to think of it as a, uh, as an extension of my creative side. All through high school, I was a theater geek, a thespian. I have been in quite a few musicals of, uh, quite a few plays and I really enjoyed that. Then my, uh, my family… were getting me into D&D… It really struck a chord with me and role-playing. I could embody that character and act that character's life out… I found a real big joy in that. So I, uh, kind of ran with it. I became the DM for mainly pretty much my family and any other groups that I'm in. That translated well over into… some of the games that I've found that I like to RP with.
Zoey: That joy that you found, where do you think that comes from?
Shinkurex: So that is, that is a really good question. I would say… that the joy for me specifically is exploring the story of a character that I've embodied… I come up with a character, and one of the first things that I do is get a picture of the character. I get a, uh, a visual representation of him in my mind. And then I come up with a backstory and… how he got to where he was. Playing him out… how the backstory plays into his current story and where… the story gets to an end. That is probably the biggest joy that I… can get from role-playing. Just throwing him into crazy situations and seeing how far he goes in a story and where he ends up.
Zoey: I ask a similar question often in interviews. “What do you get from VR role-play?” And oftentimes it's the same answer. “What I get is experiencing the story of a character”. Living through it and embodying it. Most everyone says the same thing. What they get is the story itself.
Shinkurex: Almost always what I get is… the story. And I find that an interesting answer for sure… It's really cool that there's that same thread… that same thing connects all of us essentially, and I found that with all these groups… all these groups that I'm in, uh, everybody wants to come together and create a really interesting story.
Zoey: How did you get interested in virtual reality to begin with?
Shinkurex: VR kind of happened when I was watching one of my… old friends Twitch channel, uh, he plays a character in Ascension Academy… I pulled his stream up one day, uh, I watched… three hours before, I had to go to bed… after that, I spent a good few weeks going back through his VODs and watching those. And that's when I started the VR journey… and that… led me to go and, uh, get a quest myself.
Zoey: So here's a, here's a question that I've been considering recently… You said you were a theatre nerd, right? There's an intersection between VR roleplay and improv that I find interesting. Really my question is: What aspects of theatre or improv do you think are valuable to utilize within VR roleplay?
Shinkurex: With theatre... a lot of what you're doing has to be emoted physically with your body. A person in the back row is not going to see your face and not going to understand your emotion from your face. They're going to understand it from your body language. Acting and improv in general helps kind of train your body to make believable exaggerations on emotion... that's what's helped me. Especially with things like full body tracking and whatnot that, uh, helped me kind of make my character a little bit more believable as I... personally know how some of my actions are portrayed. I can use my voice and my body language more than just the expression on my face to show whether I'm upset with somebody or with whether I'm sad.
Zoey: And what drew you to the Aexia community itself?
Shinkurex: I saw an interesting scenario posted in the Purple Lotus discord: The pigeon wager. That was the RP that hooked me.
Zoey: Pigeon Wager hooked you, but what got you to stay?
Shinkurex: I played that and I had a lot of fun, but to be honest as a player... I don't think I would've stayed as long as I have. It was only when I started actually getting into the... creation side of things and actually got a feel for GMing inside the platform that I really, uh, really got addicted to the game.
Zoey: How do you feel GMing in a platform like Aexia differs from GMing for family and friends for D&D?
Shinkurex: It's... a lot more visual. There are things that I would have to do with the theater of mind in my family groups with D&D. I can say "Hey, you see a tavern... in it, there's a burly tavern keep washing cups, uh, at the bar. " With Aexia, instead of saying that, I can literally embody that character and play off as the burly tavern keep that doesn't really care that you're here, just that you have good coin.
Zoey: Is there anything else that you'd like people to know about you?
Shinkurex: YouTube and Twitch. I haven't done it in a while... but, you know, that is an area that I would love to do it again.
Zoey: So like content creation and streaming?
Zoey: I think a lot of people are interested in that. And really the hard part is doing it and doing it regularly and getting over that, uh, feeling that the first few videos, the first few streams, they're, they're, they're empty. You're talking to yourself.
Shinkurex: Fair enough.
Zoey: But it can be hard like that. I've, done a few streams and... when you're talking to a wall for a while and there's little audience engagement. That's what I struggle with.
Shinkurex: Yeah. I have that problem too. Uh, for sure. It's one of those things that, I mean, I guess, what do they say? Consistency and just making sure you talk all of them.
Zoey: It's about time we wrap things up for today. Any parting words for the Aexia community?
Shinkurex: I would say, you know, get out there, explore, have fun, create. It's a great platform to get, uh, to hook other people into RP in general. So if you've got friends that are even curious about what you do, by all means show them Aexia and get them into a short game that's running.
We'd like to give a huge thanks to Shinkurex for his contributions to the Aexia community. Interviewing him was a pleasure and it's always fascinating to take a peak behind the curtain. We wish him luck in his game jam competition and hope to see him enjoying many more roleplays in the future.