Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Interview with Sean Velasco of Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight exploded on the scene a few months back with it's enormous Kickstarter efforts, becoming one of the first game ideas to raise a surprising amount of money (As of writing, the project has over $300K raised), receiving an absolutely enormous boost in fundraising after publicity efforts with the Two Best Friends and Game Grumps of YouTube fame.  In this interview, I talk to Sean Velasco of Yacht Club Games (and the voice of Skullmaggeddon of Double Dragon: Neon) about the project's origins, the kickstarter rewards, and other questions.  I'd like to thank Mr. Velasco for his time and wish him the best of luck with the project!  

1. Where did the idea for Shovel Knight come from?  Did you look at the games you wanted to imitate first?  Or did the idea of a "Knight who fights with a shovel" come first?
Sean Velasco: We started with the idea of an 8-bit game built around a single mechanic. Most of our favorite games NES games were built around a single mechanic, or a couple: jumping on enemies' heads, pogo stick bouncing, whipping and jumping, jumpin' and shootin', etc. We wanted a down thrust to be our main mechanic, and we built all the ideas around that. Flipping! Stabbing! Digging! We were talking about a shovel. So we went with it, and Shovel Knight: The Shoveling Knight was born! 

2. The biggest inspirations seem to be Mega Man and maybe even a little Duck Tales, but are there more inspirations that you guys had?
Sean: Our down thrust definitely has some Zelda II inspiration. We were inspired by the collected great works of the NES, but we have also been citing things like Mother 3's emotionally engaging story, and Dark Souls' intense risk-reward structure and combat. We feel like these games are the gold standard, and so we have their greatness in mind when we are developing Shovel Knight. However, we are making Shovel Knight it's own game, with totally unique story, mechanics, and visuals. Don't expect too many direct influences, or for anyone to say "it's dangerous to go alone, take this!"

3. How did you get the famous Jake Kaufman (also known as "Virt") to do the music for Shovel Knight?
Jake Kaufman (aka Virt)
(Check out his incredible Double Dragon Neon album in the links below)
Sean: I've collaborated with Jake on over half a dozen games; at this point I can't imagine working on a game without a Jake soundtrack! Getting Jake to do something usually involves getting him excited about it; with rapid arm movements and passionate babbling, you can usually fool him for long enough to get some songs.

4. Shovel Knight has gained a lot of press for its success on Kickstarter?  How did you decide to use this new crowd funding tool?  How did you come up with the rewards, like the "Official Dirt" and "Director for a Day"?
Sean: We spent a lot of time thinking about rewards that would be awesome for backers, and not too expensive to produce or manufacture.  This idea of inexpensive but fun rewards led us to think: what if an envelope of dirt was the $100 pledge reward? After the laughter died down we thought it might make a funny addition, so we went for it. As we had hoped, people really loved it, and now we have more than 300 envelopes to send out! 
The Director for a Day and our other collaboration-style rewards are about transparency, and bringing other people into the process. We love making games and we want to share what we do with everyone... this is just the first step! Part of the Yacht Club plan is to help inspire and teach future developers.
The Bosses of Shovel Knight (an a fantastic reference to Mega Man)!
5. Can you give us a window into the team's reaction to see that the project had been funded?
Sean: At the end of our crazy Kickstarter, I would say there was electricity in the air, but we also wanted to pass out from exhaustion. It's tremendously gratifying and still sort of surreal that we are now working in an our own office, at our own company, on our own game, for a legion of wonderful fans. So I'd say we still feel how we felt on the day the Kickstarter succeeded: both wired and tired!

6. Shovel Knight had a huge boost in funding after having some play through videos from let's players like the Two Best Friends and the Game Grumps?  Did you contact them, or did they contact you?  How did you decide which people to send the game to?
Sean: The Two Best Friends did some playthroughs of a couple games we had worked on in the past, so we contacted them in hopes of getting them to look at our new game! Luckily, they were really excited about it and did a hilarious video, as did the Game Grumps. It was wonderful exposure, and we also had several Twitch TV players play the game, like on Destructoid's Mash Tactics. We tried to find people and groups that would be genuinely into the game we were making, and give them the opportunity to test it out. They generally responded really positively!
The Best Friends Zaibatsu enjoy Shovel Knight, and so will you!
7. You plan to upload Shovel Knight to the PC, but also the Nintendo 3DS, a decision that stands out to a lot of people?  Why did you choose to release it to the 3DS?  Can you give us a hint at what stipulations and restrictions Nintendo has for its store?
Sean: We grew up playing NES games, and Shovel Knight is firmly rooted in that era in the 80's. Supporting Nintendo on the Wii U and 3DS was a no-brainer as our heritage systems! On top of that, Nintendo consistently delivers fun and inventive hardware that is always game-centric. We are a gameplay-first company... so we chose Nintendo as a lead platform. That said, we are cross-platform gamers and want to release on all viable platforms!

8. When can we expect to see Shovel Knight released? 
Sean: We're hoping to get Shovel Knight out by Holiday 2013. After that, we'll be releasing our stretch goal content with a couple of free updates a few months down the line.

A possible reference to Dark Souls?
9. What are your plans for after Shovel Knight? 
Sean: It really depends on how Shovel Knight does! If it sells well and we can be a thriving studio, the sky's the limit. Shovel Knight 2? Super Shovel Knight? Shovel Knight 64? Something totally original? We don't know... let us finish this one first!
Let the digging adventure begin!

Yacht Club Games' Website: http://yachtclubgames.com
Yacht Club Games' Twitter: https://twitter.com/YachtClubGames
Yacht Club Games' Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YachtClubGames
Sean Velasco's Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/SeanyfaceYCG
Game Grumps' Shovel Knight Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcP3yp6w7Pw
Two Best Friends' Shovel Knight Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77elof_AZbk
Virt's Double Dragon Neon Album: http://virt.bandcamp.com/album/double-dragon-neon

Monday, July 29, 2013

Album Review: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience

Hey Guys, this is Jackson, one of Ben’s co-hosts from Natural Double d20s. With my specialty being music and music reviewing, I figured this blog could use some discussion on this medium. This will be the first in a series of music reviews I do for the blog. Enjoy!

If 13 year old me – the age I was at when JT released his last album – knew I was a fan of a Justin Timberlake, he would enter an existential crisis. However, I have grown up and matured since then [or would like to think so], and so has Timberlake. The 20/20 Experience (1 of 2)[1] represents Timberlake’s most complete work to date, a fully realized artistic piece. Timberlake takes the maturity and intelligence that he put into FutureSex/LoveSounds and develops them further, to create the masterful work on the disc.

This is not to say the LP is without flaws; it has several. Despite this, it is still laudable as a whole body of work and represents a great artistic direction for Timberlake to take up. The flaws I find with the album are probably just based on my own musical sensibilities, so take them with a grain of salt.

One of the strongest features of The 20/20 Experience is that it is filled with the sounds of old R&B and Soul. As a friend noted to me as we listened to lead single “Suit & Tie,” the song sounds like classic Marvin Gaye. Indeed the song drips with the same soulfulness and melodic richness that filled Gaye’s 1972 masterpiece, What’s Going On. The harp is the heavy lifter on this track, as it is that specific instrument that gives “Suit & Tie” the Marvin Gaye, What’s Goin On sound. Timberlake’s artistry and charisma lends itself extraordinarily well to the Marvin sound, and is one of the classic sounds JT aims for on the LP.

Throughout the disc, JT hits Motown-style falsetto, bringing one of American pop’s most classic sounds to the foreground of the music. JT seemed to be highly influenced by Motown, as two of the albums strongest tracks – “Pusher Love Girl,” and “Suit & Tie” – sound like early and late, respectively, Motown tracks. Howver they are not purely Motown, this is Timberlake’s modern take on classic R&B and Soul, with Motown remixed with electronic music and backing vocals. I was quite frustrated by these songs when in comparison to some of the disc’s weak tracks like “Tunnel Visison.” In “Tunnel Vision,” specifically, Timberlake’s over-produced voice almost blends in completely with the repetitive electronic backing music; making the track sound generic amongst a trove of distinctly original gems.

The generic-ness of some of The 20/20 Experience’s songs is, as one might tell, my foremost complaint. With songs like “Pusher Love Girl” and “Mirrors,” a much more modern (“neo”) soul sounding, killer track, Timberlake proves that he is capable of making very distinct music.  And yet, he throws in stuff that I could find on any sort of electronic or modern R&B record. The overproduction of these tracks steals all of JT’s charisma and charm, one of the major elements that make him a great entertainer and artist. My other complaint is that JT seemed like he had too much material to try and put on one record. Either way, many of the seven-minute plus songs on the LP will have one-and-a-half to three minute outros that are a bit aesthetically different from the rest of the track. Sometimes this is quite frustrating as I found the last two minutes of “Strawberry Bubblegum,” to be much more enjoyable and interesting than the first five – as a breakdown, the first five suffer from the same overproduction as “Tunnel Vision” and others, while the last two represent the neo-Motown sound that pervades the LP. For me, this creates a feeling of disunity across the album, and the sense that, with some of these tracks, Timberlake was throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck.

Overall though, it is a good album [how can you not like an album where JT refers to Jay-Z as a “ho”?]. It is not a great album, but certainly represents a great step forward for Timberlake’s artistic ability. He took a gamble diverting from his old “pop” sound, and I believed that gamble paid off. However, I believe that JT has not yet realized the full potential of the music he is now making. JT has a lot of good ideas on this album, and I hope that he takes some of those ideas and runs with them. 

Key Tracks: “Pusher Love Girl,” “Suit & Tie feat. Jay-Z,” “Spaceship Coupe,” and “Mirrors.”

Rating: 7.5/10

-         - Jackson Sinnenberg, whose reviews can usually be found on The Rotation, WGTB Georgetown Radio’s music blog.

[1] The follow up album due out in the fall will be called The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An Interview with Ethan Nicolle, the Co-Creator of Axe Cop and Bearmaggedon

Ethan Nicolle (Left) and his young brother/the writer of Axe Cop, Malachai
If you know anything about webcomics, you have probably heard of the Internet sensation known as Axe Cop.  Created by Ethan Nicolle and his young brother Malachai one Christmas night, Axe Cop is a brilliant adventure into the mind of a young boy and the heroic and sometimes sociopathic hero known only as Axe Cop, as he cuts bad guys' heads off.  The comic's childish and zany humor has garnered praise and millions of hits, making it once of the most well known webcomics.  So much so that it has even become a television show on Fox's Animation Domination HD block.  The show features Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation, Patton Oswalt, and other comedy stars.  But, unknown to most "Axe Cop" fans, Nicolle is also the writer and artist for another comic named "Bearmaggeddon, " which tells the tale of a young man and his friends fighting for their lives in a apocalyptic situation full of mutated bears.  In this interview, I ask Mr. Nicolle about the origins and workings of Axe Cop, his thoughts on Bearmaggedon, and the Axe Cop television show.

Axe Cop
Riding dinosaurs is a regular occurrence for Axe Cop.
For the uninformed, can you let us in on how the comic started?
I was playing with my little brother, Malachai one Christmas and he said he wanted to play "Axe Cop", which was his way of turning a toy fireman axe into a tool for fighting bad guys instead of fires.  It was one of those moments where a cartoon character instantly appeared in my head, and even though Malachai was not intentionally inventing a character, everything we did during that play time inspired me to draw a one-page comic and post it online for friends.  During that visit I did 4 or 5 comics with Axe Cop in them and the stories kept building on each other.  I eventually made an Axe Cop web site as my way of "practicing" web comics and unexpectedly the comic went viral.

How do you write a comic with Malachai?  How do you keep track of all of his thoughts, the characters he creates, and make it coherent?
I really let him go nuts and I ask him a TON of questions.  Sometimes I get him to give me multiple possible outcomes and plotlines and I pick the ones that fit together the best. I take notes, record video, record phone calls and just build up material. I make sure all the content is from him, but it is heavily organized and presented by me.  It is a very natural and fun way of creative partnering that is a great exercise in creativity for both of us.  He creates entire worlds verbally then I have to take all the crazy things he has said and create it visually, and figure out how best to tell the story.  

I'd vote for him.
Has Malachai’s story telling prowess improved as Axe Cop has gone on?  Has he become more in-tune with drama and narrative structure, or does he still seem as free form and fantastical as ever?
Yes, he has gotten a better understanding of why it is so helpful to a story to have a bad guy in it who is really powerful and has a motivation for evil.  It used to be a lot harder for me to get those kinds of things out of him because he really didn't understand why he would ever want bad guys to be any sort of threat if he had any say in things.  But he has even been writing stories lately where Axe Cop almost loses, but then he wins.  He has grown to appreciate incorporating a journey and a struggle, I think because he has seen that those are the things that make stories interesting through the process of creating Axe Cop with me.  He also has gotten a taste for plot twists.  He likes to surprise the audience by saying "but really it was...!!!"

Have you ever had to change the story because Malachai created something you found you couldn’t draw, like a character that had too much detail to properly convey?
No, like I said, I do not write the story down verbatim from his mouth.  I take lots of notes, ask lots of questions over a period of weeks or months and then I form a story out of all the material I get.  So I do edit, but I make sure all my raw material is from Malachai.  So I have never changed his story, but I have come to a place in the story where I feel like he could do better, so I will call him and see if I can get him to go another direction and usually that is no problem for him.  Unlike most adult writers, he is excited to reinvent his ideas rather than offended when someone suggests he could come up with something more original.  He truly loves the process and doesn't live for the final product.  For him, the best part is making stuff up.  I think for adults the part we focus on is releasing the creation into a finished product and selling it.  Malachai isn't distracted by those thoughts (or pressure to sell) as much.  That pressure is on me because I create the finished product, but he gets to write free of it and I think that is one of the great things about our partnership.

What do you think draws people to Axe Cop?  Is it the beautiful art, or the pure zaniness of it?
I think people are fascinated with the idea of going so in depth with a kid's imagination, and not holding him back or forcing him to tell stories we want him to tell that are nicer or sweeter.  I let him write stuff I know he will probably regret later because I know it will be fascinating to see how he makes Axe Cop change his mind on things.  It makes Axe Cop not so one-dimensional and it makes Axe Cop develop as the stories go on.  Axe Cop grows up in his own way with Malachai.  Most of the time people will let a kid tell a story for a short period of time and it will be cute and quick.  With Axe Cop we go in depth, I put real effort into the art and the designs.  I try to imagine and present the world as epic and crazy as it might be in Malachai's mind.  I think people are fascinated by that, and I think they are fascinated with how often Malachai creates Tropes and plot devices common in most adult-written action stories without even realizing it.

A common mistake.
How do you and Malachai deal with the fame of creating a culture sensation like Axe Cop?
Axe Cop is still relatively small.  It is pretty rare that anyone recognizes us on the streets.  It has happened to me a handful of times, because I live near Hollywood and Axe Cop is more known out here where pop culture is a big deal.  Malachai lives in a small rural town, so right now he doesn't get a lot of strangers who are aware of him or his work.   It will be interesting to see how that is effected by the TV series release, which will push Axe Cop into a much more mainstream position.  At conventions we are known, but it is isolated and it doesn't feel like normal life.  It feels like a special time, then we go back to the real world.

What inspired your artistic style?  It’s quite unique, but did you base your art style on any cartoonist in particular?
I grew up on SLG comics, Ninja Turtles, Calvin & Hobbes, Doug TenNapel, Ethan Van Sciver, the Far Side... I had a good mix of influences and luckily I never latched onto one style but combined a lot of my favorites into something I think is fairly unique.  I think I have a lot of love for more realistic/detailed art like that of Jim Lee, and also the more cartoony animated looking art like Doug TenNapel, so I combine the two.  The most obvious example is in my other web comic, Bearmageddon, where the bears look real but the humans look like cartoons.  This is done in Axe Cop too.  Some of the characters look cartoony, some look realistic.  I don't really know why I do this, I just like it and sometimes it just feels right.

Where do you think the comic will go from here?  Do you think it will eventually end when Malachai can’t come up with stories like he used to?  Will you find someone else to come up with Axe Cop’s adventures?
I have some ideas but for now we are playing it by ear.  I think that if the TV show affords opportunities for more Axe Cop adventures to be created without Malachai and I directly involved, it would be interesting to see Axe Cop done by another young kid, maybe even one written by a girl.  I think that Malachai and I will write Axe Cop off and on for the rest of our lives.  That is my best guess anyway, I have no idea what he will want.  I think that the Axe Cop created by Malachai and I will go through a lot of changes and growth and stuff, and I think that would be fun to watch, but I think it would also be fun to involve other kids at some point who are around 5 years old to keep the spirit of Axe Cop alive.  So maybe have a couple different Axe Cop series going, one that continues on as Malachai grows, and maybe a couple others by other kids and adults, or maybe even written by adults in the spirit of Axe Cop.  People think that couldn't be done, but I think there is enough Axe Cop material our there now that a world has been set up and there is enough out there to create a profile of what the Axe Cop chaacter is like.  Malachai and I are not incredibly possessive of our creation, we like seeing other people's take on it.  I do think you would have to find the right artists and kids for the job, which would take some searching.
The man who will fix the economy by chopping its head off.

I've had nightmares like this.
Where did the idea for Bearmaggedon come from?
My friends and I had a couple different inside jokes about bears attacking a town and this guy named Dickinson Killdeer who is this bad ass mountain man.  Then one day the title "Bearmageddon" hit me and I started playing with combining these ideas into a story.  I worked on various scripts for the story for over half a year until I settled on the one I am now drawing.

You seem to do a fantastic job of creating the tense nature of an apocalypse movie, even making the various bear creatures to be an absolutely terrifying presence.  How do you keep this atmosphere present in the comic?  Was this inspired by any movies or books?
I appreciate that, because I really am trying to do that with this story and it feels good when people affirm that I am pulling it off.  I did study some of my favorite films that create good tense moments like that.  I really liked the tension in Spielberg's War of the Worlds, so I took detailed notes and wrote a whole outline of the film on note cards so I could understand how he built his tension and raised the stakes.  I did the same with Shawn of the DeadJurassic Park and Attack the Block.  These are all movies that involve a take over by creatures and follow average people through that apocalypse.  That is the kind of story I wanted Bearmageddon to be. I wanted it to be a little more comedic than a Spielberg film, but still have that tension.

If bears weren't terrifying enough, just add some tentacles. 
This comic is written by yourself, and you had to come up with characters’ appearances, personalities, and arcs all by yourself.  Did you find this to be harder than working with Malachai?
Writing the script was hard because I am trying to tell a story that has some meaning to it.  But with Bearmageddon I never have to rely on Malachai for content, so in that way it is a lot easier.  Sometimes Malachai is just not up for creating and I can't force him to work on ideas.  He has gotten much better at jumping into creative mode which is a skill I think he will cherish as he grows up, because I know a lot of adults who do not have it.  Also, sometimes I will have to talk to Malachai for hours to get a small amount of useful material for the comic.  I like the freedom and the ownership I have with Bearmageddon.  It is 100% mine and I do not have to work with anyone else or give anyone else credit (except the great coloring of course).

How planned was the comic?  Do you have a set arc for everyone, or are you playing this one as it comes?
Sort of both.  I wrote a full 120+ page script, but it was rough.  I had set a deadline for when I was going to start drawing the comic and decided however far along the script was, I would just start drawing it on that date so that I did not linger in writing mode.  I have changed a lot from the script, especially dialog-wise.  There are entire scenes I have cut and added in the process of making the comic.  For instance the entire scene currently being posted online right now was not in the script, but as I created the comic I realized it was needed, and the scene I did have before was not needed.  I do have an end in mind, but I am going to take as long as it needs to take to get there.  This will definitely be an epic, because we are not even halfway through the story yet.
This is one of the reasons I don't go to concerts.

Axe Cop TV Show
The show's official logo
How did the idea for Axe Cop, the TV show, come about?  Did you approach Fox, or did they contact you?
They contacted me.  More specifically, they hired Nick Weidenfeld to run their ADHD block on Saturday nights, and Nick had been a big Axe Cop fan for a while.  He had wanted to bring it to Adult Swim when he was there but it didn't work out.  He had been waiting to get his hands on Axe Cop for a while, he is very passionate about it.

How much say did you have in the development in the show?  Did you retain creative control, or did the studio take over casting and animation style?
I had a lot of involvement on pretty much the whole first season of (6) episodes.  I had some involvement in the writing on other episodes written in anticipation of more being ordered, but there are also a number I did not have much involvement in.  I haven't been real involved in casting, but I will make recommendations and a lot of the guys who loved Axe Cop before the show deal were people I wanted to see make it onto the show, and they did (Offerman, Serafinowicz, Marino).  I get to make comments and notes on the designs, and most of the time my comments are "wow that looks amazing" because the artists on the show are wizards.

Did you work with the main voice actors of the show?  Can you tell us what people like Nick Offerman and Patton Oswalt were like?
I did get to sit in on some voice recording sessions and that was fun.  One thing I have realized in meeting and working with a lot of these talented comedians is that their personality really is their character.  Nick Offerman plays himself, he is a jovial man's man.  Patton Oswalt really is a somewhat hyper fast paced, talkative guy.  Jonathan Banks looks you deep in the eyes and talks to you real tough, like he does when he is a hit man in Breaking Bad.  I haven't had a bad experience with any of the voice talent.  Ken Marino, Peter Serafinowicz and Nick Offerman were already all Axe Cop fans lined up and excited to be a part of whatever Axe Cop became, so I had met and spoke with them before the TV show deal was made.  It's exciting to see all this talent on the show who is there because they are in love with the content. I think a lot of comedians have to act and tell jokes on shows that they don't always find funny.  I think one of the really special things about the Axe Cop show is how much people involved really love it, from the board artists to the actors. 


Nicolle's Personal Website: http://ethannicolle.com
Axe Cop Website: http://axecop.com
Bearmaggedon Website: http://bearmageddon.com
Nicolle's Twitter: https://twitter.com/enicolle

Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Interview with Bryon "PsyGuy" Beaubien

Super PsyGuy
There are few people on the Internet who are involved in as many projects as Bryon Beubien, more well known by his Internet moniker "PsyGuy."  With projects like his review show the "Super PsyGuy Super Show," two webcomics, a podcast, and the YouTube channel "Does A Thing," Psy's name is everywhere on the Internet.  He's even been included as a guest voice actor on various abridged series and other YouTube channels.   In this interview, I ask Psy about all his projects, his comedic influences, his Internet fame, and other topics.  I'd like to thank Psy for his time, and suggest that you check out all his links below.

Super PsyGuy Super Show

How did the idea for the show come about?
Some of my favorite content providers had been a little lax on game reviews, and I noticed a lot of more informational vs. entertainment reviews coming up.  Like DYKGaming, VGFacts, Game Theory, Game Exchange; I love those shows.  They're great.  They're not meant to be very funny though like some of the others that, well, it's hard to find an update from.  I'm not going to name names but you know who I'm talking about.  I don't really like Let's Plays as a main feature because I feel like it's lazy. I have my own channel for my Let's Plays when my friends and I doink around but it's just for shiggles. Long story short - I wanted to put a "funny" game review show out there. Where the only facts about the game is the name of the game and everything else is subjective.

I noticed a LOT of shows just have game footage and a camera. I didn't really want to do another one of those shows and I wanted something more visually interesting and I asked Frob if he would be up for drawing, animatic style, my review show. He was up to it and it all kind of just fell into place.  I would rant for a couple minutes and he would draw it. People think I'm funny I guess and Frob's a machine in churning out art so it worked out great.

Who influences your writing style and comedic timing? 
I really admire EgoRaptor and Jontron's ability to be funny out of the most mundane things in the world.  It's all meant in good fun, doesn't rely on references, and can stand alone, Little Kuriboh is extremely witty that he's very funny in regular conversation and can light up a room on his feet totally unscripted and create pure gold from nothing.

I also take after my father. His humor's super cornball but I love that kind of junk. 

How do you choose which game you are going to review?
Really, whatever feels good at the time.  I started off reviewing newer games because I had them, but I felt the need to talk about older games.  I try to do whatever feels like it could work or what my heart's into.  It's gotta feel right or I'll just be forced.

Have you caught flak for giving a poor review to a game which another person liked?
Yes. I pissed off a lot of people saying Sly 4: Time Lords in a Van was a giant piece of garbage.  I don't really care because the show is my opinion and that's just too fucking bad.

How did you and Frobman meet?
Uhhhh, Frobman and I met over twitter where he would draw basically every other tweet. I talked to him once - and his voice, for those of you that don't know, is totally monotone.  My podcast, Whachow, is full of a lot of over the top in your face personalities so he was a really good contrast voice to have. It went from there basically.

What games are you interested in reviewing?
Pretty much anything.  Except a lot of FPS and horror survival type games.  I don't, in general, like those types of games.  Even a well-made one I wouldn't know because it's not my thing.  I feel I would be a poor representative to tell fans of those genres if they would like it because I'm just making one of these ":P" the whole time.

Can you give us a small inkling of what games you like and don’t like?  To get a better sense of what kind of video game player you are?
My favorite game of all time is Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I love Mario, Kirby, and Mega Man. I'm a big fan of platformers.  I liked Banjo-Kazooie more than Sonic Generations.  I've liked Halo and Half-Life, and my interest just kind of wanes.  Maybe because it's not very cerebral?  I loved Portal 1 & 2.  I played [the] Metroid Prime [series], but felt 1 was the only real good one.  I hated Metroid: Other M, but Super Metroid is one of my favorites. I adored Pilotwings for the SNES and 64.  I bought an N64 just so I could play Wetrix properly.  Bomberman 64 was amazing, but I prefer Bomberman Hero. Newer games - like LittleBigPlanet was astounding but Metal Gear Rising: Revengance and Ninja Gaiden get extremely repetitive. I think that's enough.  Is that enough?  Sure.

What makes a game “good” to you?  A focus on story?  A sense of fun? 
You can totally miss out on story and still be fun, [such as] Sonic Generations. If you try to have story the story can just be weak and ruin the whole everything. Sonic Adventure 1, 2, Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog....ggggghh.  If it's an RPG it needs to be water right - like the first half of Tales of Symphonia. And not the 2nd half, because whaaaaaat the fuuuuuuck.  Gameplay is really the main key because that's why we're playing games: to play them, not watch a movie.

GG Guys

How did you and Dave meet?
Dave was a huge fan of mine from the olden days of my stuff from 1996 and pretty much begged me to collab with him, so I pondered on GG-Guys and poof.
This happened to me with the 3DS.  Nintendo is full of crafty bastards.
How do you come up ideas for each comic?
While playing a game I get a stupid idea and I go, out loud, "HA HA THAT COULD BE FUNNY." And then go, "OH. THAT COULD BE GG-GUYS FODDER." I write it down and send it to Dave. If he likes it, he draws it.  I've sent him several scripts that were total trash, mind you.  

The comic has not been updated since February, is the comic done, or is this just a short break before you and Dave start making more?
Dave and I have focused our energies on DoesAThing, an YouTube channel focused on the same "line" as GG-Guys, but with animated shorts. It's still video game characters doing something funny, but sans GG-Guys. Dave's talent lies with animation and I love the experience of scripting motion. Having too much on your plate makes all projects in your pool suffer so I only like to focus on one thing.


What inspired the decision to write a satire of superhero comics?  How do you pick what features of superhero comics to make fun of? 
I always wanted to write a "___man" story. batman. superman. spiderman. I thought of Beetles because I think beetles are f'n cool. Then I tried to pick a lot of genres I like. Power Rangers, Ratchet and Clank, Mega Man. I'm not making fun of any one comic but there are various tropes I like to poke fun at.
PsyGuy's own illustration of his character

Are you a fan of superhero comics?  If so, who do you like?
Spider-man and Batman. A couple others but that's really about it. Venom is one of my favorite characters period.

Where do you think the comic will go from here?  There seems to be a bit more drama and storylines developing.
Well I'm trying to keep a cohesive storyline. I'd like for it to feel like Firefly. Action adventure but it's obviously humorous.


This a radio show/podcast you do with your friends, can you tell us a little bit who is featured and how you came up with the idea to do this show?
I started recording people on Skype and slapping it online before the term "podcast" was even thrown around.  I just thought my friends and I would have some golden moments on Skype and I wanted to share those experiences with other people

Does the show have direction, or do you just introduce one topic, and then see where the conversation heads?
I pick several topics we can talk about that would usually spark conversation. Then we do SILLY VOICES to a god awful (OR AMAZING) fanfic.  Or script.  Or butts.

A Wha-Chow Panel
Wha-Chow has become so popular that its panels now have long lines at conventions.  Did you expect this level of acclaim and success?
It does? Where are these panels and why haven't I been in them. I've done Whachow live a couple times but the only long lines I've had is because I've had Egoraptor featured and the room was super small.  I actually feel like the show is very small.  Our facebook has less than 2k likes and I feel it's audience is very niche.  It's fine.  But I don't think it's very successful when compares to, like - Little Kuriboh, Egoraptor, or anything else really.

Does A Thing

How did this idea come about?
Dave: Whoa Psy I need money. 
Psy: Fuck! Let's make a youtube channel where you animate short projects! 
Dave: Okay! I can't write! 
Psy: I can! Dave, Okay!

The videos always defy expectations in what they present.  You would never expect “Morrigan Does A Thing” to feature dolls and Supernatural slash fiction.  How do you come up with ideas for what “thing” each character does?
I just try to come up with funny scenarios for various characters. That being said, going forward, I'm trying to make a huge jump to focus on something that relates to the game the character is from vs. just throwing a video game character into a situation and have them be replaceable. Like, for Morrigan does a thing - you could literally take her out and replace her with ANYBODY - and all the jokes still work. That shouldn't happen. For Wario does a thing, it needs to be Wario because of his "Wah". That's about as "far" away from the source as I want to go. It could still be in his universe since Waluigi and Yoshi's are there - and the Wario games don't take place in one specific spot so it still follows the Wario games' logic. And Sonic Does A thing. It HAS to be Sonic or none of that works at all. Street Fighter does a thing is something I don't really appreciate because I tried to cash in on the Harlem Shake. Ha ha. Who knew that would die out in 2 days? Not me! With that's out now, I'm most happy with Spyro does a thing. Relates to the game, the joke is about a game mechanic - it's very true to the source.  That's what I like. I think people will really enjoy Crash Does A Thing, coming out either this month or next - as it follows VERY closely to the source material.  Except Luigi makes a brief cameo, but whatever.

Are there any characters you are really looking forward to making “Does A Thing” videos for?
Bomberman. Without a doubt.  Silver should be good.  Team Rocket.  Goku (yes, Goku).

Internet Fame

How do you balance so many projects at once?
It's easy when you're the writer for a bunch and you spend a couple hours writing content that takes months to produce. I love writing so I just kinda DERNK around in my hobby and everybody else does the hard stuff and I get the credit, YAY ME.  [For example, there is] the SuperPsyguy Super Show; ignore the fact frob does all the work, MY NAME'S IN THE TITLE, OH BOY.

Having an Internet presence like you do brings you in contact with not only a lot of fans, but other online creators as well.  How have your experiences been with both groups?  Any horror stories or awesome tales?
Horror stories would include both of them mixing together at once. I've had several internet celebrities on my podcast so people think I'm best buddies with these people so they try to be friends with me thinking I can shoot a message to EgoRaptor and have him care or JonTron or WHOEVER, and it's like - no dude. Usually most content creators are very gracious. It's been a little easier recently because DoesAThing is finally putting some weight to my name and when people LIKE your stuff it's much easier to be yourself and not worry about being a total asshole.  I worry a lot.  When I was first hanging with Little Kuriboh, I was having World War II go off in my head because I didn't wanna say something so stupid he didn't want to deal with me.  And now we're pretty close buddies.  I'm pretty sure I've touched his butt.
Horror stories are those fans who think they're a big deal but they don't do annnnything online. They're only way of being self expressive is to be an annoying twat. Wouldn't recommend that route kiddos.

PsyGuy's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SuperPsyguy
Psy's YouTube Channel Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/superpsyguy
"Super PsyGuy Super Show" YouTube Channel Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/tSPGSS
"Does A Thing" YouTube Channel Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/DoesAThing
Wha-Chow site: http://whachow.com
PsyGuy on an episode of the Abridge Series, Nullmetal Alchemist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkKMz0cRemY