By Peter Ward
What is your first gaming experience?
Jeez…it would have been long ago, when I was very young. Something on the Spectrum — probably something no-one would even remember these days like Monte Carlo Casino or Postman Pat. Not exactly the classics, I’m sure you’ll agree! But there were so many others from around that time — I first got a Spectrum +2 in 1990 when I was about 5, and the shelves of cornershops were chockfull of budget games or indeed old classic re-releases for a couple of quid. Not to mention all the games that were on the covertapes of magazines around that time! It didn’t take an awful long time for me to mass a whole load of tapes, that’s for sure.
What got you into games?
I guess I partly answered this with my first question! The ZX Spectrum was certainly very important, especially when I got around to playing games like Deathchase, or Skool Daze, or Dan Dare…there were many years of great games to pick up at that point! But alongside that there were also the arcades that really helped to drag me in — I used to drag my parents to Southend’s arcades every Friday night to play TMNT, or Simpsons, or SFII or so many others — like an excitable 6 year old on a pub crawl, only it was arcades and games! My parents kinda got sick of it and lied to me that the arcades had shut for the winter, which worked for a few weeks until my Dad accidentally drove me down the Seafront and I realised they weren’t shut at all. But I can’ t remember a time when games weren’t around. I’m sure my parents bought me the Speccy with the intention of me using it to learn code or something…
When and why did you start your youtube channel ?
I’d always enjoyed being a gobshite about old video games on messageboards — I never really stopped chatting about them, even during the odd period when I wasn’t playing that much. Specifically, in 2012 I was doing a Uni degree in Video Production and during my first year break, I thought I’d hone what I learned through doing reviews on YouTube, focusing on stuff like the Megadrive, Amiga and Speccy that at the time, didn’t have as much of an audience as say, people talking about Nintendo games they hated. People seemed to enjoy it for whatever reason!
What was the most difficult video to make and what hurdles did you have?
Oooh…tough one. The video I did on Sensible Software was the longest — a big old documentary, featuring Jon Hare himself. My camera equipment was kinda limited on the day and Saffron Walden’s a bitch and a half to get to if you don’t drive, and eventually I had to finish the interview using the last 5 minutes of space left on my phone but…well, it got done! The pint afterwards was quite satisfying. I’m very proud of the end result, even if its a ridiculous two and a half hours (editing myself down has never been a strong suite)
Who is your favourite youtuber and why?
Hmm…well, I try not to watch purely gaming videos — I have a pretty broad spectrum of interests which again, often tends to come out in stuff I make whenever I talk about old telly, or wrestling or what have you. It’s important for me to keep things a lil’ varied! For gaming folk, I’d have to say Game Sack on balance — they were quite influential in the beginning, as they did a lot of things that weren’t Nintendo in the polished way I was going for. Non-gaming, I like vids from folks like Strictly Dumpling and Mark Wiens…I enjoy vids about food, travel, cooking and so on. When I found these folks going around the world on a YouTube channel eating food and all that, I wondered if I’d backed the wrong horse!
What was your first experiences and hurdles when you started ?
Just trying to find what you’re really good at, which you can only do by experimenting a little. Nowadays I’m mainly known for documentary-type videos on gaming people and companies and so on, and it took me a good couple of years for me to find that out, almost by accident. Then came the vids about things like Ocean, Psygnosis, Peter Molyneux etc. that’s probably where the channel really started to take off in a big way.
Where would you like to be in 10 years and what would you like to be doing?
Making videos has always been my big passion, so that would still be involved in some ways. But hopefully the scale gets even bigger! YouTube’s the sort of place that moves fast and its hard to look beyond the next 10 minutes, so it’s important to diversify. I always want to be making videos, or writing though — that’s always gonna be my thing. I always want to be a gobshite, and it’s even better if I can get paid to be a gobshite.
My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?
TWINS! The Mega Drive is absolutely my favourite console — it was an absolute eye-opener back in 1991 thanks to Sonic and all that. And while the Speccy’s my first love…it’s hard not to say the Amiga. Much like the Speccy, I got into the Amiga very late when there was a lot of cool stuff to choose from over so many years, and I lost so much time to games like SWOS, Syndicate, The Settlers, Premier Manager 3. Again, totally changed what I thought games could do.
What is your favourite retro game?
Final Fantasy VII. Generic answer, but that was the first game I played properly on the PS1 in ’97 and it took me completely for over a year. I still go through the whole thing every couple of years or so.
Do you still game on the current consoles if so what’s your favourite game?
I mostly play newer games on PC these days! I have a lot of time for the smaller titles, mainly. Things like Downwell, or Spelunky, or Binding of Isaac: Rebirth — something that’ll really satisfy me over half an hour or so.
Whats the worst game you have ever played?
Jeez, that’s tough. I’ve seen some quite horrendous obscurities over the years. Dick Tracy on the Amiga by Titus is usually my stock answer as it’s quite staggering in its utter incompetence, but if I were to think about it I’m sure I could bring up something else like say, Highlander that’s even more inept!
Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?
Keep on keeping on and talking to the folks who made the world of games what they are today! Not including me, of course. Also, come to more events. In the words of Barney, catch me later and I’ll buy you a beer. 🙂
Kim Justice is a thirtysomething creator of documentaries about the history of games, particularly in the UK. She can often be seen staggering around gaming events “networking”, drink in hand. She has also previously written for Retro Gamer, Wireframe, and Retronauts.