What originally brought you to NA/VGS?
I became a collector the day Nintendo announced the Wii Virtual Console and said old Nintendo games were going to be $5. Since the average unwanted physical Nintendo tape at the time was like $2, this was an outrage. This was before even Oblivion Horse Armor. The world placed zero value on digital goods. Shortly after I was bouncing between GameTZ and DigitPress hoarding up Nintendo games, and eventually NintendoAge. Every game I bought for less than $5 felt like I was sticking it to Nintendo.
I spent a huge portion of 2006-2009 just constantly circularly refreshing DP, NA, GTZ, AtariAge, and Ebay new listings. There was so much forum chatter about old video games and wheeling and dealing that I couldn't even keep up with how many posts there were. It was really the golden age of forums. Facebook and Discord servers can't compare.
I came to VGS once NA implemented banner ads.
Where do you hail from?
The southern US. Don't live here. It's hot, humid, and miserable. I need to move to New England or Colorado or something. Gimme some cold mountains.
What do you do for a living?
I collect and talk about vintage video games. But to make money by selling my labor I do software support, which has left me jaded with technology watching already-working things get needlessly worse, needlessly more complex, and needlessly more invasive. It makes me want to cuddle up with some simple NES games and talk to guys on one of those old timey internet forums.
Spouse? Kids? Exotic and disgusting pets?
Lil chihuahua named Ponyo. He's the cutest dog on VGS, although I do love fox's pom pom.
Top 10 favorite games
- Super Mario 64
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Metroid Prime
- Ninja Gaiden III
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Mario World (Not great if you compare it to SMB3)
- Cruelty Squad
- Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Metal Gear Solid 4
Those are mostly obvious Nintendo picks. I am not a clever man. Yes Metroid Prime is better than Super Metroid, I don't know how they did it, it just is.
Ninja Gaiden III is secretly the easiest NG game because you get a huge ass sword and enemies are dumb AF. That game is just flow city once you know it.
Cruelty Squad is the antithesis of everything I hate about modern games. It's short, it isn't constrained by imitating reality, and it doesn't treat you like you've never played a video game before. It rips off the best aspects of a dozen games but is unlike any other single game as a whole. It's the most fun I've ever had with an FPS and it was made by a weird gen z artist following an FPS tutorial, not some seasoned game dev. It is the greatest piece of outsider art video games have ever been graced with.
Cruelty Squad feels like one of those games where I've heard the name, but couldn't for the life of me tell you anything about it.
...er, wait, is that the game you just completed a short time ago and were raving about? Because I immediately researched it after hearing all of your superlatives, and it sounds like an absolute trip.
Yes it's the game I was very recently raving about, ha. I always feel like modern games are a bloated march to the credits. After a 20 hour campaign or huge open world, I don't really care about any individual part of the game. I'm probably going to beat it and never play it again. Cruelty Squad is, I dunno, 2-5 hours long if you're blazing through it but it's full of fun new ways to play the game, new ways to challenge yourself, lower times to get, secrets to find, meaningless crap to explore. It reminds me more of a Goldeneye or SM64 than anything, where I care about and want to find every nook and cranny of every level. It also does this thing where it tries so hard to make it seem like no effort was put into graphics, level design, etc. when obviously every little thing was obsessed over.
The Hobbit is one of the only books I've read more than once. The older I get, the more I appreciate something concise, as epic as LOTR or Stormlight Archive is.
I'm reading (listening to) Stormlight Archive 1 as we speak. Rank the series, go.
I dunno on Stormlight Archive. I love Brandon Sanderson but I feel like I'm getting lose in the obscene scale of the universe after 5000 pages and we're not even halfway through. I've got to re-read them. I'd probably rank my enjoyment as 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 because I feel like I need to take notes. I would've probably called TWOK my favorite book before I got lost in the scope of this series like a dummy.
Ever read The Silmarillion? Mistborn? Other nerd crap?
I've read basically everything by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, and about half of RA Salvatore. I burned out hard on Wheel of Time because it's soooooooooo boring. Been waiting on George RR Martin to see if he ever finishes his thing. Patrick Rothfuss is a frustrating author who wrote one amazing book and completely failed to follow up on it. Dungeon Crawler Carl is a better series than I expected since I don't usually like stupid comedy, the audiobook has a kind of love it or hate it narrator and I love it. I didn't get far into Malazan, similar to Stormlight I feel like I have to get into hardcore pay attention mode when I'm listing to it.
I can relate. I'm in Malazan 6 right now and it's the most confusing shit in the world, even if you do stay on top of it. Gave up the first time with Wheel of Time after 5 books too.
Which one will get released first: the next George RR Martin book or the Rothfuss book?
GRRM won't finish ASOIAF. I don't even know if Rothfuss wants to write book 3. I didn't like book 2 so I'm calling him a one hit wonder until proven otherwise, no matter how amazing the way he writes is.
There Will Be Blood, the modern day Citizen Kane. What a film bro answer. Primer is my other hipster answer.
I asked @JamesRobot this same question: how many times did you have to watch Primer to get it?
I've seen Primer many times but I never could've figured it out on my own. I only fully "got" it while watching with a huge like 11-timeline chart in my hand, and even then I love that even though tons of the movie fits into place, it still leaves things unanswered (Why/how did Mr. Granger time travel?). Tenet is pretty sweet if you just watch it as a direct sequel to Primer too.
Favorite musician, song, album
- Iron Maiden? Excellent!
- King Crimson - Starless. A song so perfected it was delayed off the eponymous album. Songs under 8-10 minutes long are garbage. I came to listen to a song, not the trailer for a song.
- Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls. A maiden album with THREE songs over 10 minutes long. YES.
Rank all the Maiden albums. Go.
Book of Souls
Brave New World
Dance of Death
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
I dunno I like a few songs on all the other albums but don't feel as strongly.
Ever play that Maiden game? It was a FPS or mobile game, or some fuckin' thing.
No I never played that Iron Maiden game, lmao. I remember when it came out though. But like all mobile games it looked awful.
Future game you're looking forward to the most?
The only game I am really looking forward to is Super Mario Wonder. I dunno, it's probably going to be the best game of all time. But I just like Mario games, even and especially the "new" style ones. I haven't even finished TOTK yet. I don't need new games.
When is Metroid Prime 4 coming out?
Hopefully MP4 gets delayed to be one of those "Bad version on the old Nintendo console, good version on the new Nintendo console" games cause I don't like Switch. Am I calling Gamecube Twilight Princess bad. Maybe.
Collect anything besides games?
I've never stuck with anything like video games, so I deliberately try to not get involved in collecting hobbies so I don't have to go through the hassle of selling everything off when I lose interest. I used to collect Magic and comic books and I have a decent sized pinball collection.
What's the worst game you've ever played?
Marky Mark Make My Video is a strong contender because the gameplay is barely more than watching a couple music videos while controlling awful effects. But it's probably the somehow even more boring Color a Dinosaur, a game with the word color in its name but of course you only really have 2-3 colors most of the time. Color a Dinosaur is especially egregious because it's somehow strictly worse than its already awful predecessor Videomation.
What are you playing right now?
Diablo 4. It's kind of waste of time but I paid like $70 for it and I like Diablo in theory so I'm at least going to beat the story.
Price piece in your collection?
I don't even know what a price piece is. But from context probably this 1/100 prize Famicom disk given to winners of Nintendo's first contest. It's Famicom Golf with a unique, very difficult course and is or is very close to the rarest Nintendo game. I've got the 35th place winner's prize.
Favorite Werewolf memory?
Puppy and Gloves claiming Dr. Toad and Dr. Toadette and both being coroners so town voted them both off. I was a wolf that game so I was just watching that chaos. Jeeves is a game design genius.
SNES or Genesis?
SNES, but maybe just because I didn't have one as a kid. All my Genesis games were single-session games and I was always jealous of all my friends lengthy RPGs and such with save batteries.
PS1 or Saturn or N64?
PS1 is probably the best system ever made and I'm not even a super big PS1 fan.
DS or PSP?
DS. Longer/3D games are bad on handhelds. The ability to snap shut immediately is the also best.
PS2 or Cube or Xbox?
PS2 is probably the best console ever made. I already said PS is the best console ever made, but PS2 plays all the PS games so let's change my answer.
GC is the "most Nintendo" console ever, with a ridiculous number of sequels and new franchises. It is hard not to like it.
And Xbox was there too. I have an Xbox set by the way. I think I made the wrong choice here.
360 or PS3 or Wii?
Meh, none of them really but Wii had Mario Galaxy so I'm going Wii.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek, easy. The standalone nature of each episode/movie lets the brightest stories shine on their own. The majority of Star Wars is cramming new stories onto and around the beloved original trilogy, and the whole of the story is forever of weighed down by that stupid bullshit like midichlorians, Jar Jar, Palpatine's million star destroyers, etc.
Next Generation or the original series?
I used to watch TOS on repeat while playing Lord of the Rings Online (i.e. wasting 100s of hours of my life) so TOS.
The original movies or the TNG movies or the JJ Abrams movies?
The original movies, and forget "even good, odd bad". They're all pretty amazing. You've never seen a movie like Star Wars: The Motion Picture. You're in space. Things are slow, methodical, and philosophical. I was bewildered the first time I saw it but now I absolutely love it.
What member of the Breakfast Club are you?
I'm home playing Nintendo games. How much of a screw up do you have to be to get all-day Saturday detention. That doesn't even sound legal.
Yogurt or greek yogurt?
Greek I guess, but idk have you seen the prices of yogurt lately. It went from $2 for the fancy brand to $2 for any brand.
Sell me on your podcast in exactly... let's say, 13 words.
A biweekly reminder to collect with intention but tempts you with random obscurities.
Wine, liquor, or beer?
None? Wine? I like a couple wines and beers but the vast majority of alcohol isn't very delicious. Like all those IPA people are just drinking garbage seltzer and pretending right?
What's the worst beer you've ever had?
I have no idea. Once beer people start saying beer words like "stout" and "sour" I know I'm in for a bad time.
Coffee or tea?
Oh shit, coffee. I forgot that I can't dunk on people who like garbage beer because I like garbage bitter black coffee. Turns out your brain makes anything taste good if it has drugs.
A big old sushi sashimi boat
I like those restaurants that serve you raw steak and a hot volcanic rock to cook it on. Every bite is the perfect doneness and temperature.
Hobbies outside of gaming and hoarding?
I like backpacking, competitive pinball, podcasting, and Youtubing but I'm somewhat less extreme at all of them.
What's your biggest "pinball competition" moment?
Qualifying to play it the top division at Pinburgh, the biggest pinball tournament in the world. I got demolished but got to play in the finals with the pros you see on TV. You guys watch live streaming pinball right? If you go to any big events you frequently rub shoulders with the best players on earth, which is pretty neat.
Twilight Zone, which is a little like saying Super Mario Bros. 3 is your favorite Nintendo game. After the success of Addams Family they gave the designer a blank check to make the most tricked out game ever, and he used every cent of it.
A more interesting answer is Flash Gordon. I want something very challenging, hard to control, and with the most distinct shots. Easier and newer games can take too long to play, especially on a good game. It's more fun to be able to lose at any moment.
Do you own any pinball tables?
I have around 10. I'm trying to downsize a bit because they're taking up multiple places of prime collection real estate. I topped out around 13 including 3 in my kitchen before my wife moved in because, you know what they say, "Your wife doesn't want 3 pinball machines instead of a kitchen table ".
Is she a gamer? What was her reaction to first seeing the kitchen?
She gets super deep into very specific games. She won't touch Minecraft, but will drop 1000 hours into Animal Crossing and Pokemon Go and many more into Wasteland 3, Divinity Original Sin 2, Diablo, and Stardew Valley. She doesn't like old games so we're not going to chill out and play Donpachi or Ninja Gaiden together. Her favorite game of all time is Wasteland 3, maybe she's unique in the entire gaming world for that opinion. It's a great game, but like, the BEST? Man. And I cleaned up the kitchen before she moved in, I'm not a madman. I'm already a collector with too much crap, I can only make her put up with so much.
That's pretty cool. If I tried to get my wife to play Divinity she'd probably annul our marriage that day.
She likes running around picking things up and Divinity is kind of the ultimate game for that.
Favorite coop game to play with the wife? Did you guys play It Takes Two?
Probably Divinity OS2 because it has such well integrated co-op but it's totally fine to just go off and do your own thing for a while too. She likes picking up every last item in ARPGs and I like blazing through maps for high level stuff, so we pull each other in opposite directions in a lot of games. We beat It Takes Two but it was a little nauseating.
She mostly likes games with isometric or top down perspectives we have played basically every single co-op campaign in a game like that, especially ARPGs. There are a bunch of genres that don't really have great isometric co-op games. I like creative crafting games, but all of the great ones are 2D or 3D. Project Zomboid is the only game in the entire genre we played for a long time, but how many random indie co-op survival crafting games have come out every week since Minecraft? It's crazy that seemingly no brainer ideas like "Isometric co-op Minecraft or Dwarf Fortress for people with motion sickness" isn't really a thing beyond some indie games like Necesse and Gnormoia that don't have that 1000 hours of unlimited playtime in them.
If any indie game devs are out there, more isometric non-ARPG co-op campaigns please.
[It Takes Two] Care to elaborate?...
She just doesn't like full 3D games. She doesn't like camera control in general.
Walk us through a day in the life of DefaultGen
Roll out of bed 5 minutes before work. Send emails for 9 hours. Then spend the rest of the with a cloud of existential dread pondering if I should play some games, organize my collection, work on publishing some cool knowledge resource, work on podcast ideas, work on Youtube ideas, or connect with friends. Idk how I ever had time to waste on social media or Reddit before I quit. There's too much stuff to actually do.
It's October. Are you going to watch any scary movies? Play scary games? Read Goosebumps?
I've been playing Realms of the Haunting, which is like an alternate reality Resident Evil. Rather than a third person adventure game with absurd controls, clunky combat, and funny voice acting and FMV, it's a first person adventure game with absurd controls, clunky combat, and funny voice acting and FMV. It reminds me so much of Resident Evil in spirit, I'm surprised it's not a more celebrated cult classic, but it's solidly from that era of 1994-1997 PC games where everything had completely unusable controls before developers figured out how to use mice with 3D video games.
I primarily watch horror movies, so I don't do anything special for Halloween. It's always October at my house. Good ones, bad ones, derivative ones, give it all to me. If a Ouija board movie or people trapped in a single set movie or kids find a Monkey Paw box movie with 1.8/10 on IMDB shows up on my feed, I'm throwing that crap on ASAP.
Quick, top ten horror films of all time.
Funny Games Remake (yes, both)
Dawn of the Dead Remake (I'm sorry a Zack Snyder film made this list)
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
Summarize Funny Games (either one) in 10 words.
Home invaders torture family with games worse than Night Trap
Worst horror movie you've ever seen?
The worst horror movie I've ever seen is the worst movie I've ever seen: The Human Centipede 3. I think the first one is kind of meh, I like how excessive the second one is, and this one seems like it was perhaps trying to intentionally be the worst movie ever made, and I think it succeeds. And it doesn't have any The Room so-bad-its-good appeal or anything, it's just the worst thing ever put to film.
What's the last great one you saw?
Possessor by Brandon Cronenberg is so, so good. I need that weirdo to make more dark vibey movies. Maybe it's more sci-fi with its anime-feeling corporate cyber assassin thing going on. For more a pure horror-y one, I absolutely love the recent Blumhouse Invisible Man movie. I just need these studios to keep crapping out low budget horror movies as quickly as possible because every once in a while we get a really great one.
Spoiler alert, Invisible Man may or may not have made my top 100.
Man it doesn't linger on the [redacted] either or try to explain it. It's just like "[redacted] for the plot, deal with it". I love that movie.
Favorite Halloween candy?
I just like Resse's cups, I am not an interesting man. Whatever novelty Reese's Big Ass Huge Boy 99.9% peanut butter, 0.1% chocolate coating cup they have is fine with me.
Who should I interview next?
I already interviewed him long ago. I don't know if the world is ready for the sequel. Also he'd probably tell you about the drunken bro hugs I was handing out or the beer I almost knocked in my own face with a basketball.
Oh god oh jeez oh man. @ZeldaFreak?