Interview with Haunter

Interview by Setsuna. Flavor by Setsuna. Art by Nastyjungle, Fatecrashers, and Birkal.
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It's 11:35 in the morning and I wake up in what appears to be a plane seat, except that I don't remember having taken any flight in the first place — I'm confused. Right in front of me, there lays my MacBook, I open it and a note pops up. The note reads:

"Yesterday I had an amazing time at the club, and the girls you brought with you were better than any other I had ever seen in my caveman life. So cute that I decided to put a sleep pill in your drink, get you a flight ticket to Italy, and take the girls with me. You do this Interview! Haha. -Mekkah"

"You caveman, you sure have done it this time!", I said to myself. As the plane touches down in the Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli, I get a mysterious text message that only had four words in it, "I'm waiting for you." And as I walk out of the airport, a black, armored limo parks right in front of me and the door opens slightly. I get in and two men wearing dark suits greet me by telling me they're part of my interview's security detail. At this point I am no longer sure that the person I'm going to meet with is someone from Smogon, but I can't go anywhere anyways. After a while on the road, the car stops and in front of me there's a mansion surrounded by trees and security cameras in every corner. A third man shows up out of nowhere and goes...

Haunter

Hello, I am the person you know as Haunter. You must be Setsuna, 5' 10", dark hair, from the East Coast in the US, programmer of cyber sec...

Setsuna

Wait, hold on there! That's enough — you're right, I'm the person you are describing. How did you get all that information?

Haunter

You don't need to know that. But please come inside, I've set up a place for you to feel comfortable during this interview.

We take a couple of chairs by the pool as I get my notebook out of its case and get ready to start the interview.

Setsuna

Alright Haunter, thank you for having this interview with us. Let's get us started with the basics... What's your name, age, location, education, occupation, and all those things that are mostly unknown about the person behind the Smogon username Haunter.

Haunter

It's a pleasure to be here. My name is Nello, I'm 28 years old, and I live in a little town near Naples, Italy. I have a law degree and I'm currently doing my legal practice, while also continuing my studies.

Setsuna

Law? That's interesting. What made you go for a law degree in the first place? Or is it one of those things that you've always wanted to do since you were a kid?

The moment he mentioned he had a law degree, all the security that I've been encountering since I landed in Italy started to make sense. Haunter has probably got some enemies...

Haunter

I actually wanted to do medicine and become a doctor, but when I had to choose I went for law as it is one of those degrees that open up many "paths," such as becoming a lawyer, notary, judge, and so on.

Setsuna

Hmm, I see. Since I've known you for years, I was hoping for an answer along the lines of... "I always thought getting into law school would be cool, but actually the ladies over here in Italy love lawyers, and since I consider myself a Casanova in every sense of the word, I obviously went for that law degree". But I guess the Haunter doesn't want to reveal that type of information to the public.

Anyhow, it's good to know that we have someone in the Smogon Staff who can take care of all of our legal affairs. You know, we're constantly dealing with cases involving COPPA, and at some point those kids we axed will probably want to get some revenge.

Haunter

Haha, well I have to say that doctors have a notable charm as well, but honestly my choice wasn't influenced by the opportunity to be more attractive towards girls. And I've actually never considered myself a Casanova, but...

Haunter is suddenly interrupted by the horn of several cars entering the property.

Haunter

Speaking of girls, my friends just arrived. I'm hosting a party tonight and you should come, I'm sure they will appreciate the extra company. But we can talk about this later.

Anyways, back to the original subject. Of course you can consult me if you have any legal issue, though I'm only kinda expert of "civil law" systems for the most part.

Setsuna

I'll keep that in mind, but I hope you're not too expensive! Since I just mentioned Smogon, how exactly did you find the site and get into Pokemon in the first place? I'm sure our audience wants to know about this.

Haunter

I heard about Smogon on an Italian, Pokemon related site. Then joined Smogon in 2007 but was barely active until late 2008. The reason I got into Pokemon in the first place was because of my younger brother. I used to help him play Pokemon Sapphire and later Emerald, then I learned about the competitive aspects of the game and loved it!

Setsuna

You have certainly been around for quite some time, and not so long ago you were promoted to a forum Administrator. Perhaps you can tell us a little about how your career at Smogon University has been until now — you know, first badges and promotions, acquaintances, stuff like that.

Haunter

I started my career at Smogon qualifying to vote for many suspect tests, starting with Latias's in November 2008. I got involved into the Rate My Team forum in early 2009 and I really remember those months as the funniest period of my stay at Smogon. I rated consistently literally for months before getting my first badge (Team Rater). Then I got forum mods in RMT with my long time colleague Bloo.

When Legacy Raider quit, I was appointed Team Rater badgeleader. Then I got Tiering Contributor and later Simulator mods. Last year, after two years of constant activity as forum moderator (and over 1500 given infractions) I was promoted to Super Moderator and later I got simulator Admins. Speaking of which let me take advantage of your paper to publicly thank Aldaron for trusting me to the degree of making me a server Owner.

Finally, in late 2011, Articuno64—community leader at that time—promoted me to forum Administrator. And I want to thank him too, as achieving such a notorious position on Smogon was, and still is, a great honor to me.

Setsuna

Yeah I clearly remember beating you so many times on the ladder during all those Suspect Tests... I even lost the count after a while. Also, 1500 infractions? Is this a new record that you want to set on Smogon? You scary Italian...

I had heard the stories about a group of around 500 Smogon users who broke the rules at least once but had never been punished, and then some time after that were infracted—all at once—by a Staff member whose name wasn't revealed to the public. I can't believe the person standing in front of me may be that Staff member.

Haunter

Haha, I think you're confusing me with Bloo... And no, I was just providing some statistics, although, thinking about it, "Mr. 1500 infractions" would probably make a nice custom title.

Setsuna

That's ridiculous. I don't think I'm going to publish this bit... It might just scare the kids. Anyhow, you mentioned Bloo a few lines above, and I know you two have been friends for a long time. But the public doesn't know this, so why don't you tell us what is your relationship with user Bloo and how does it feel to be trolled by him almost daily?

Haunter

Bloo was the first person I talked to on Shoddy Battle, we became good friends on the simulator and started to talk daily on the old #rmt channel on IRC. We often share the same view for almost everything that goes on at Smogon, and even if we often talk trash to each other, we reciprocally respect each other.

We've been working and having fun together literally for over three years and he's probably the person I trust the most on the website. I've gotten used to his constant trolls and, I have to admit that I missed them during his short leave of absence over a year ago.

Setsuna

That's very cool. I hear he's been trolling you a lot lately for your name change to Alucard — why did you ditch the old Haunter anyway? I get it, you feel you are old as hell and a name change makes you look "fresh". But let's just hear from you about this.

Haunter

Yeah I probably felt the need for some "fresh injection". Nah, I actually changed my name after mingot (speaking of trolls) changed it to Molestatore. I will change it back to Haunter sooner or later. And anything is trollable when the troll is Bloo, enough said.

Setsuna

Haha. You should just consider leaving it at Molestatore!

Haunter

Ehm, no thanks. :)

Setsuna

But enough of Smogon and Pokemon. What else do you do in your free time? Do you have any favorite activities like sports or things that you do regularly? Aside from maybe throwing parties at your house.

Haunter

I like riding sport motorbikes and I own one. I love football too (soccer for Americans), both playing and watching it. I'm just a regular guy for the rest, I hang out with friends, etc.

Setsuna

That's true, you are a soccer guy... Chelsea, right? You're an Italian old bag who follows an English team? That is so wrong, no doubt why Bloo trolls you so much about it. And don't you dare start lying to me now!

Haunter

Not really. I support Napoli, the team of my city.

Setsuna

Sigh... It's fine, Haunter, no need to be embarrassed about this.

Suddenly, a loud, evil laughter coming from somewhere inside the house is heard. "Mwahahahaha... Haunter, you will never escape from me." Haunter himself didn't seem to know where that was coming from exactly, but it seemed to me like he had heard this before.

Setsuna

Well, I don't know what that was, but it sure was spooky. Thank you very much for accepting to be the 20th candidate of our recurring the Smog Interview, Haunter. That should be all, for now. Although I have a feeling something might happen before I leave the house.

Haunter

Well somebody already told me that I bring bad luck, so watch your back! Nah, joking, it was fun!

As we walk toward the entrance of the house, the doorbell rings and Haunter goes to see who it is. As soon as he opens the door, he is shocked, his face is now pale... And the man at the door looks at him and all he says is:

Bloo

You think you will ever escape from me?

Haunter

It can't be...

Haunter trembles in fear.

Bloo

As I said earlier, you can't. Now go choke on your rotten Italian spaghetti, you worthless Italian trash can. And remember, Bloo > Haunter, forever and always. Mwahahahaha.

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