Let’s Interview: Top Hat Gaming Man

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an interview, hasn’t it? After all, the previous one (with Slopes Game Room) was back in late November. What happened?

Well, personal life and stress happened I guess. But that’s all irrelevant now, since we’ve now got another interview with a popular YouTuber! This time, the ever so British gaming wrestler Top Hat Gaming Man!

Yeah, you heard that last bit right. In addition to touring the world and making video game videos, he’s also been involved as in pro wrestling under the name Rich Parliament! It’s… quite an interesting backstory really, and very different to that of other internet game critics I’ve seen online.

But hey, enough of that for now. Let’s begin the interview!

1. Namely, with the standard personal background question these things always have. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Well my name is Richard, I am 30 years old and hail from London England. I own copious amounts of video games in which I have been collecting for many years. I am currently enjoying the finer things in life which consists of drinking fine wines, travelling the globe, all whilst playing some of the finest handheld games history has to offer. I document my bizarre life through my YouTube channel known as ‘Top Hat Gaming Man’.

2. And for that matter, how did you get interested in video games? What was the first game you ever played?

I was born into it, moulded by it, whilst many may not have ever played a game until they was already a man. It is hard for me to pin point my first game as I have literally been playing them for as long as I can remember. I have memories of my Father taking me to play the Arcades on holiday in the Mediterranean on holidays in the likes of Spain and Greece, whilst I also remember playing them in the local pubs in London on Sunday afternoons. From the moment I was born there was also an Amstrad CPC464 in my house hold, so I use to play with that a lot at home too.

3. Onto a bit of a personal question now. What’s the whole deal with your wrestling career? Cause from what I see, it seems your YouTube character is based on your wrestling alias in some sense…

Ah Yes, my ring name is Richard Parliament. I am well known for being the UKs only wrestling politician. I competed up and down my fine country for nearly a decade. Whilst many may not necessarily agree with some of my practices in the ring, there is nothing better than giving an uncouth ruffian, a bloody good thrashing! I have competed for the likes of TNA, don’t you know!

4. And where did the ‘archetypical’ British gentleman theme come from? It’s carried through into your gaming video persona as well…

You see here in England in my opinion there is nothing more important than keeping up appearances young man. If you can dress the part, can talk the part, you will be the part.

5. It also seems you’ve been wrestling less and less recently. Do you have any intentions to return to that field?

If you was to follow British Wrestling, you would have seen that my key agenda was to use it as a political platform to help get Britain removed from the European Union. After many years of campaigning, the moment I achieved my goal, I felt it was time for my own Brexit. Ever since the referendum back in July, I have been travelling around the globe enjoying a well earned break.

However in the short five months I have been gone the entire British Wrestling landscape has been changing. You see now the country has its sovereignty returning, British Wrestling is about to have the biggest boom period since the 1980s.

Indy Promotions are now drawing huge gates and a YouTube promotion known as What Culture Wrestling is now drawing huge houses and getting big views on Youtube. Now combined with all of this on New years day World of Sport Wrestling is returning to ITV, which is forecast by some to receive viewing figures seven times higher than Raw will get in the United Kingdom.

With all of this going on WWE have noticed how lucrative our current market is and are launching their own exclusively British Promotion WWE:UK. A great wrestling war is upon and it will be interesting to watch them all fire shots at each other from afar. As for myself, I will wrestle full time again, as and when I am ready. Lets see who is still standing at the end of this. Then I will choose which of these promotions to sign for….Yeaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!

6. Finally on that note, do any of your fans from your wrestling days also watch your gaming videos?

There has recently been some cross over as I have now started marketing my channel on Facebook. However I am sure to garner more cross over appeal soon as I am set to release a video about exclusive British Wrestling games over on a much bigger channel than the one I operate.

7. Onto gaming stuff and YouTube now. What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?

This is quite a tough question as there are so many factors that lead me to doing this. Firstly I have always been into gaming and always been into production since I was very young. I even studied video production in college when I was a teenager. Back then things were much more difficult, we use to edit on mixer boards and use computers with very limited space. It was always fun creating content back then, but there were no platforms to show it off on like the likes of YouTube today and it was a laborious task even managing to make anything with the more limited technology. Today I feel anyone can make content, now that computers are so powerful and that editing is so bloody easy. There are so many online tutorial videos about, that everything is easy and accessible.

I was a big fan of a lot of YouTube gaming channels, however as much as I was a fan. I noticed there was a massive hole within the YouTube retro gaming community. There were not enough strong characters and instead the scene filled with prototypical nerds, mostly American, on the whole, all talking about the same sort of stuff. After watching a lot of creators, the whole thing all sort of started to look rather sycophantic to me and I just began seeing the same opinion and information regurgitated time and time again.

So I started a YouTube channel to try and bring something new to the table, whilst at the same time I think I just wanted to flex my production skills for the first time in a long time.
On top of all of this, YouTube has given me something productive to do, whilst I have been away from the wrestling ring.

8. And why the whole ‘travel round the world’ aspect? It’s certainly a unique idea to record video game reviews in every country you travel to…

I am 30 years old, I realised I wasn’t getting any younger and there were still things I wanted to do in which I was yet to achieve. So I put the necessary things in motion to allow me to quit working for a year and pursue more leisurely goals. I do not feel anyone lies on there deathbed then looks back and thinks to themselves ‘you know what, I really wish I spent more time at work’. I want to lay on that death bed and think ‘what a ride that was’.

9. So on your journeys, what are the best new games you’ve been buying/playing? Have you reviewed them yet?

I’ve played so many games on this journey many of which I have talked about on my channel, so a tough question to answer. I did play through both the Yokai Watch Games which were great fun, I have yet to talk about those on my channel, however I am sure I will.

10. How about the worst? Any you bought recently that you regret paying for?

I do not buy a great deal of brand new games, so I cannot regret buying any games really as on older stuff it is hard to lose any value on a purchase anyway. I got Mario Maker 3DS the other day, I couldn’t bring myself to play that for more than 15 minutes for some reason. So Mario Maker?

11. Generally, you seem to stick to older games more often that not. Are there any current generations you’re enjoying at the moment?

The 3DS has seen a fantastic life over the last few years, I think the library for that thing could be as good as that for any handheld system previously and to be honest I have found myself enjoying more games on that over the likes of the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U.

12. How about in the future? You’ve made a video about the Nintendo Switch and what not. Are there any games for those consoles you’re really excited for?

Indeed the obvious ones really. Zelda, another 3D Mario and most exciting of all the almost guaranteed first ever big screen full Pokemon game down the line.

13. With the recent comments about the NES Classic and ‘fake’ nostalgia, you seem to believe that the US ‘canon’ has basically taken over the gaming world. So, have you considered making a few more reviews for classic games not released in the US to counter this? Like the ones you might find on the ZX Spectrum?

You have read my mind, now I am back in the UK for a short break, that is going to be the main theme of the channel for a few weeks, at least until I resume my travels. I will reveal to you now the name of my next big video is ‘Why the NES Flopped in Europe’. It will tell our side of the story from that era.

14. Let’s talk YouTube in general now. Which of your videos are you most proud of so far?

I like my one about Xenoblade Chronicles, I just love that game so bloody much and I felt Bryce Canyon in Utah was the perfect back drop for it as it looks like the landscape from the game itself. I had a lot of fun making that one.

15. How about the other end of the spectrum? Any reviews you don’t feel too proud of? Or even games you just couldn’t make an interesting video about?

I hate my Bootleg Pokemon Go Cards Video. It was meant to be pointless filler and after I made it, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to upload it or not. I just showed off some crap trading cards I found and for some bloody reason it is my most watched video! 13,000 views and counting. It just shows the mentality of most people on YouTube if they want to watch crap like that. The whole thing makes me feel sad about humanity and how low brow there taste must be compared to mine.

16. What about other people’s channels? What other YouTube channels do you follow or think make interesting videos? Why?

There are loads of Americans ones but everyone hears about them all the time, so I will talk to you about some of the British Channels I like. Check out Slopes Game Room, a fantastic channel in which makes documentary style videos about entire game franchises. Guru Larry, who covers videos about more obscure game facts, and Kim Justice a channel which has a big focus on the old micro computers. All these channels are great viewing as they do not feature the old youtube regurgitation problem too much.

17. A quick YouTube business question now. How have you monetised your channel? And is the pay now good enough to live on? Because I remember watching a video where you said that you spent a lot of your life savings on traveling and filming costs…

To monetise a YouTube channel you simply click the monetisation button. In terms of earnings I have had a positive start. I have only been on YouTube 10 months thus far and to already be earning anything at this stage is a miracle in itself. It is a long road ahead yet, but its a start.

18. And have you considered any other ways of monetising your videos? Like say, in case YouTube encounters any issues?

Sure, I have some donations coming in thus far from my Patrons over on Patreon. The help and encouragement they are giving me to build the channel is very humbling.

19. How about other video platforms? I know a few (like Slopes Game Room and the Lonely Goomba) are considering VidMe at one point… so have you considered anything like that?

If I get some free time, I may dabble with it. It is always worth experimenting.

20. Either way, your channel is getting surprisingly popular now. Did you expect it to? What are your hopes for the channel in 2017?

It is hard to say, I would say I never ‘expect’ to achieve anything, however no matter what I do I try to work hard to get results. I am trying to fill a niche, however it is a case of whether I can successfully combat the YouTube algorithm and be able to fully do so. In 2017 I would just like to continue to grow my channel. I have a few collaborations lined up with various YouTubers who are much bigger names than myself, so hopefully that should give me some decent exposure too.

21. Finally, if someone is interested in starting their own YouTube gaming channel, what advice would you give them?

It depends on the reasons why they want to start a gaming channel, however to be successful the overall arching themes appears to be consistency, quality content, regular uploads, decent thumbnails and making your videos a decent length whilst at the same time trying to keep the audience engaged.

And that wraps up another interview! Did you learn anything interesting here? Do you want to see more of Top Hat Gaming Man’s work (gaming related or otherwise)? If so, check out his channel on YouTube and follow him on Twitter today!

Let’s Interview: Slopes Game Room!

Well, it’s interview time again at Gaming Reinvented! And in keeping with our recent trend of interviewing YouTubers, this one is with another YouTube creator who’s growing in popularity.

Namely, DJ Slope of Slopes Game Room, whose videos about video game history and Disney tie ins have been getting more and more attention to the point they’ve been featured on Nintendo Life! And with his channel growing in popularity (from 2,000 to 16,000 subscribers), that’s certainly a massive improvement since he was featured on our underrated YouTubers list!

So let’s find out about a bit more about him and his work, in our exclusive interview with Slopes Game Room!

1. As per usual, a quick personal question to start. Who are you as a person? What’s your background?

I’m Daniel Ibbertson a 33 year old retro gaming – YouTubing – EDM loving, Marketing Manager, Dad and husband

2. And how did you get into video games?

I can’t exactly remember the 1st game I ever played (which should give a good idea as to how long i have been playing them)

All I can say to this is that for as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with games and computers

3. Were there any games you liked then that you think don’t hold up too well today?

Ahhhhh plenty, almost all the Amstrad CPC games. Back then I was just excited to get a game no matter what it was like to play. There are some hidden gems for the system but there was a time when I thought games like Bridge It (which is possibly the 1st game I ever played) was a real solid game.

But hey, you also have stuff like Night Breed, Basil the Great Mouse Detective and Bridge It!

4. Or for that matter, any games you started enjoying more once you replayed them as an adult?

I remember not enjoying Castlevania Symphony of the Night… WHAT WAS I THINKING!

Castlevania Symphony of the Night

5. What games are you playing at the moment?

I hardly play games as much as i would like now, most the time i am editing and other than playing the games I review, right now, i am playing Stardew Valley and I’m looking forward to playing through GTA5 again on PS4.

6. Onto your YouTube channel now. What inspired you to start a retro gaming YouTube channel?

It’s like starting a band I had been into several other artists and wanted to create something that was in my opinion the best of what channels like Larry Bundy Jr, Lazy Game Reviews and the Gaming Historian was producing

7. What about the name? Where did DJ Slope and Slopes Game Room come from anyway?

Well I’m a DJ so that’s that part covered but the slope part came from the movie Shallow Hal.

8. Are you a video game collector as well as a video creator? If so, what finds are you most proud of?

I was a video game collector but sadly I have sold the majority of my collection to fund my channel 🙁

Knuckles Chaotix, my 32x and the multi mega are my best finds 🙂

9. But let’s talk about the actual videos now. What inspired you to start your series about Disney movies and video games?

I am a huuuuuuuuge Disney fan, seriously big in fact its my only full collection (all on blu ray unless not available).

My house is covered with Disney artwork and theme park attraction posters 🙂 mix that with my live for video games a voila

10. How about the untold history videos?

Its what gets me most excited making videos like that because 9/10 they are stories you have never heard of.

The Johnny Turbo video is likely my fav vid I have ever done

11. So, how do you research them anyway? Because they’re a lot more detailed than most gaming history videos are, and some of the subjects are quite obscure franchises little has been written about online…

I just keep going until I have enough information for 1 good video.

Sometimes it’s just 1 blog post but most the time I open u p tabs for every game try and find anything about development then try and find interviews with the main guys who worked on it. And finally I check Retro Gamer Magazine to see if i can find any extra bits from that.

Its time consuming but 100% worth it

12. And what about the fact videos? How do you choose what games or systems to create videos on?

I don’t know lol I just do whatever comes to mind. Sometimes i may find out aa really cool fact and then think AWESOME! Lets go find 99 more!

13. Were there any games you wanted to make a video about, but dropped? Like say, because there wasn’t enough for an interesting video? Or because you simply had a better idea later on?

Loads of times. I have probably 10 unfinished scripts. However, from time to time I find a really juicy article or interview that fills in the gaps, which is exactly what happened to Metal Slug.

14. On the other end of the spectrum, which of your videos are you most proud of and why?

Johnny Turbo: The worst mascot ever -SGR and The fucked up inspiration behind Ecco the dolphin are probably my favs. Due to the nature of the videos not being covered by anyone else and getting to work with so many YT heroes of mine 😀

15. You also seem to have done a few collabs with other popular YouTubers (like Guru Larry and Kim Justice). How do you choose who to work with?

I have crazy amounts of people backed up that I plan to someday work with but I only like doing so if it fits within the video.

I hate forced cameos 🙁

16. How about favourite YouTube channels in general? Who else’s videos do you like watching?

So so many…

And sooooooooo many more

17. A few general channel questions now. How did you monetise your channel? Did you join a network or decide to go it alone here?

Yes, sadly I’m with a network :@

As soon as my 2 year contract is up I am leaving at the earliest possible chance. An absolute ball ache! (probably shouldn’t get too into it, no idea how much they might kick off)

But yes I monetize and also have a Patreon too. Which I hope to take on alone eventually

18. Similarly, I’ve noticed you’re also selling merchandise via Spreadshirt. How is that working out at the moment? Does it make as much money as YouTube monetisation or Patreon?

I have never sold a single t-shirt lol so therefore I make 100% more on YT and Patreon currently.

19. And what’s the deal with Extra Slope? Just some extra videos about miscellaneous stuff?

Yeah, pretty much that lol. The plan was to put weekly lets plays up but sadly i dont have the time currently. So I just upload as and when i feel like it 🙂

20. Either way, did you expect your channel to get so popular? Or for gaming sites that Nintendo Life to start featuring your videos?

Hahaha never, although I will say I actually contacted them originally!

It’s all part of learning to promote your own channel. You cannot expect to just wait for people to find you, that would be very lucky.

With that said, I never expected to be shown on quite as many websites as I have… (Reddit helps too)

21. Finally, what advice would you give any aspiring YouTubers wanting to start their own gaming channel on the site?

GO FOR IT! Don’t be worried that there are soooooooo many other gaming channels out there, but instead see them as people that come to YouTube and therefore could potentially find YOUR content!

Be sure to look up how to promote yourself properly and make the very best content that you can! 🙂

And that’s an inspiring message everyone can learn from. Try your hardest, promote your work properly and you’ll go far. What a perfect note to end the interview on!

So what did you think of it? Did our interview teach you anything interesting about Daniel Ibbertson, Slopes Game Room or the videos found on the channel? If so, post your thoughts on Gaming Reinvented or social media, and make sure to subscribe to Slopes Game Room today!

Let’s Interview; The Lonely Goomba!

With well over 130,000 subscribers and many hundreds of thousands of views per video, The Lonely Goomba is one of the most popular Nintendo focused channels on YouTube. And well, with recent collab videos and crossovers with such other stars as Gaijin Goomba, Haedox, Guru Larry and the folk at GameXplain, his popularity is only getting better from here.

So let’s interview him! Here is our exclusive interview with the Lonely Goomba!

1. So a personal question to start with. Who are you? Who is the Lonely Goomba when he’s not making YouTube videos?

I’m just a guy who lives in the middle of nowhere. I try to keep my identity secret, since there’s a lot of crazy people out there. So I shall leave it as that.

2. And how did you get into this YouTube thing anyway?

Well, I hated my job. Working nights in a crappy factory. So I saved up a ton of money over the years, left my job, and decided to give Youtube a try whilst living off my savings. I guess it was a “all or nothing” kind of thing. If it failed, I’d be at step one working a crappy job again.

Had nothing to lose really. I don’t fully recommend doing that approach though, I just got lucky it worked out.

3. What about video games? What’s your history with Nintendo and their franchises?

I’ve pretty much been playing Nintendo games my entire life. Starting with the SNES, been hooked pretty much. Since then I’ve owned every Nintendo system, even the incredibly shit Virtual Boy.

These days I still mostly stick to Nintendo, which is probably why I never play games anymore. Make more games Nintendo!

4. For that matter, what are your favourite games and series? Do you have any?

I think my favourite series is probably Kirby. There hasn’t been a single bad Kirby game, and they’re still getting better. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, they’ve all had bad titles, I don’t get excited for them anymore.

But when a new Kirby game is announced, there’s no worry of “Will it be good? Will they mess it up?”, it’s gonna be good, so don’t worry about it.

5. Oh, and what games are you playing at the moment by the way?

Some obscure JRPG that never came out in my country. Radiant Historia. It’s pretty good, but I’ve made the rookie mistake of leaving it alone for a few weeks and now I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.

So, that might be the pre-mature end of my Radiant Historia adventure.

6. Onto channel stuff now. Why did you choose the Lonely Goomba as your username? It’s not a common word used in critic names…

It’s just a name I randomly made to join a gaming forum many years ago. I guess I thought the premise of a Goomba feeling loneliness was interesting. So yeah, it was just a username at first. Then I thought the premise could work as a YouTube channel.

7. How about the concept? What inspired the idea of an average Goomba giving his opinions about games from a random Mario level?

Well the concept changed a lot. It started off as a lets play channel (the videos were never made public), but I sucked at it. I was so nervous I got drunk just to talk in front of the mic. So that was pretty much a disaster.

So then I decided to make it scripted, but the original script and Goomba was a positive happy review. But again, I sucked at it. I realized, I’m a pretty grumpy person, and re-wrote the script, ripping into the game and only focusing on the negatives. It was much more fun to write and record.

So I wrote it, recorded it, and made the entire video in a day. Probably an hour or so, and then I made the second video immediately after on the same day. And thus is the story of Lonely Goomba.

8. Heck, how do you choose games to cover? Because there’s quite an assortment of random titles you’ve made videos about by this point.

Most of them are games I played as a kid. So I just go through my backlog of actual games and see if they work as a video. Other than that, I usually just browse gaming lists or watch videos of bad DS games and see if any ideas come into mind before playing it fully.

So if say, there’s a licensed game that I know people will enjoy watching, or is relevant at the time. (Like SpongeBob or Powerpuff girls) I’ll try to pick one of those games. But more often than not, just a random game that pops into my mind.

9. You also seem to have a fair few guests in your videos too, with Haedox, Guru Larry and Gaijin Goomba all appearing in videos. How do you choose who to work with?

Well, it’s hard to just randomly go up to someone you’ve never talked to before and ask to guest star on a video. So, I usually approach people I’ve either talked to before, or we both like each other’s work. I don’t tend to collab for the sake of it, only when it seems like a natural fit for the video.

10. In recent years, it seems you’ve said a fair about the repetitive themes in modern Mario games. Are you a bit tired of the series and the New Super Mario Bros inspired direction it seems to be going in?

Honestly, I’m completely done with the Mario series at the moment. Like I say in my videos, they’re fun games but there’s nothing to get excited about, just some decent platforming and then it’s over. I’m worried Mario has pretty much reached it’s peak and there’s nowhere left to go or innovate with.

Noticing the new Mario on the Nintendo Switch looks more promising though, but not getting my hopes up.

mario switch town

11. However, you also seem to quite like Paper Mario Color Splash, which surprised a few people. What made you grow to like that game more after actually playing it?

Well, it’s not easy defending a game a ton of people hate (without actually playing it). I went in expecting to hate it, and rip into it. I planned to do a video about that game. But I cannot call a game bad, when it’s very well made.

I understand Sticker Star is hated, and for good reason, it’s a fundamentally bad game. Color Splash fixed every single issue with the game, it’s funny, perfect pacing, fun, more creative levels and scenarios… it really got the spirit of Paper Mario back.

It’s just a shame Sticker Star was so bad, no one wants to give the franchise a fair chance.

12. And how was it being in that GameXplain episode with Arlo and Josh Thomas?

I was so nervous to be honest. I live in a noisy house so I had to make sure there would be no noises / talking in the background. That and the planned recording time kept changing.

And then I was with Josh Thomas, who’s very very vocal and opinionated. It was pretty hard to get a word in I’ve gotta say. But, despite that, was a ton of fun. It goes so fast, I had a lot more to say but the topic changes before you get a chance to say.

Still, I enjoyed it so much I’d like to be invited back one day.

13. On a less game specific note, how does it feel to have reached more than 130,000 subscribers on YouTube? Did you expect to get such an incredible number of subscribers?

Feels good man. Although I haven’t been counting them much lately. I somewhat miss the days of when every new sub was a massive achievement, now it’s impossible to keep track of it.

But I also appreciate more people like my videos, so, the more subs the better really.

14. How about the monetary side? Is the channel your full time job now?

Well, at the moment I’m living off Youtube and still the money I saved up from my previous job (I saved up a ton so it’s still there).

I’m in the process of moving out so, we shall see what happens. If I need a real job to survive, I’ll still make videos. If I can survive off Youtube, I’ll probably make twice as many videos in order to keep the channel sustainable.

So, I’m just clinging on basically.

15. I’ve also noticed that (unlike a few YouTubers), there’s no Patreon for your channel. Is that something you don’t have any interest in having?

I have a Patreon, I just don’t like promoting it much. Patreon has such a bad rep due to it being misused by certain people so I feel self conscious and nervous asking for money.

16. How about an official website? Because there isn’t one of those linked from your YouTube page either.

No one really uses websites to view videos. Sites like Normal Boots and Hidden Block, people just watch it straight from Youtube these days. So, wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

17. And have you ever considered partnering with other YouTubers as part of a group? Because I know Gaijin Goomba joined the Game Theorists, JonTron used to be part of Game Grumps and other video makers have joined Channel Awesome. Have you ever thought of getting involved in something like that?

I’ve thought about it. My dream team is Arlo, ItsaDogandGame and me. The super trio of animated characters.

18. On a similar note, what other YouTube channels do you watch on a regular basis?

I’ve kinda got bored of Youtube lately, especially gaming channels. (Which I used to exclusively watch). So now I watch H3H3 Productions and RedLetterMedia, and that’s about it. Always on the search for something new though.

19. Do you have any interesting future plans? Like games you want to make a video based on, or non video related projects you might be interested in starting at some point?

Well, an idea I’ve had in my head for a while, and I’d say is quite likely to happen, is to introduce serial elements to each episode. I have a story arc planned out, with each episodes ending leading onto the next video. The only issue I have is how to find an excuse to play DS games during each episode.

But yeah, that is the likely evolution of the channel.

20. Finally, what advice would you give new YouTubers who want to run a successful channel?

Just make a video. Everyone’s first video will be terrible so just get it over with. I started Youtube with no animation or video editing skills. I had no idea what I was doing (and it shows), but if you just keep at it, and try to improve something each video, you’ll end up with a pretty swanky channel by the end of it.
And that concludes another interview. It was an interesting one for us (especially in regards to stuff like a story arc in Lonely Goomba videos), but what about you? Are you a fan of the Lonely Goomba’s YouTube channel? Did you find the interview interesting to read?

Post your thoughts on the matter at the Gaming Reinvented forums or on social media today! And if you want to see more from the Lonely Goomba, go ahead and subscribe to his channel too! It’s well worth it!

Let’s Interview; Mors of Super Mario Flashback!

Yesterday, we had a slightly ‘different’ interview on Gaming Reinvented. Why? Because it was with Shesez about his Boundary Break videos rather than a fan game or ROM hack. What’s more, it was a deliberate choice, since we’re trying to move away from offering mostly fan game and ROM hack interviews.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t offer any fan game interviews at all. And today, we’ve got a new one. This time, with Super Mario Flashback developer Mors!

So what’s Super Mario Flashback? Well, to put it simply, it’s a 2D collectathon Mario platformer that has Mario going through past eras and collecting stars from worlds like 1-1, Donut Plains and Cool Cool Mountain in the process. Think Sonic Generations, except Mario based. And well, entirely 2D instead of partially 3D.

Here’s a trailer for it in case you haven’t heard of the game before:

But enough background details for a moment. Let’s get to the actual interview!

1. Well, let’s start this interview off in the normal way then. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hmm… I don’t really like talking about myself, but I guess I gotta do it.

I’m 18 years old, I’m from Turkey and I’m currently studying game design. That’s really it.

2. How about your interest in the Mario series? What games made you interested in this franchise?

When I was very little I had a Famiclone with a 10000-in-1 cartridge. It didn’t have too many great games, but it had the original Super Mario Bros., and that’s how I learned about Mario. Later I learned about emulators and played the rest of the games, and I loved them. The one I enjoyed most has to be Super Mario 64, I just love that game.

3. And what about fan games? How did you discover MFGG or Mario fan games in general?

When I was about 8 or 9 one of my dad’s friends gave me a program called Game Maker 5.0. Since I was pretty young, I couldn’t really do much with it. I think about a year later I learned about YoyoGames Sandbox and I started to spend most of my time there, downloading games and making bad edits of existing examples. I also came across several Mario fangames there, and some of them were made by a guy called Hello. If I remember correctly one of his games had a link to MFGG. I liked MFGG and decided to submit a fangame I made with one of Hello’s engines. It was pretty terrible, and it got terrible reviews, but I didn’t give up. 2 years later, at 2012, I decided to join the forums and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I learned a lot about both fangames and general game design and met some great people.

4. So what inspired you to start making Super Mario Flashback?

It was Sonic Generations. One day I thought it would be cool if Mario visited the levels from the other Mario games, and decided to make a little fangame based on that idea. But this fangame wasn’t actually Flashback. Instead, it was a completely different SMB1 styled fangame. But I scrapped it quickly after starting.

A year later, while I was still working on my old fangame Mario & Luigi’s Coin Chaos, I decided to start working on a side project that played like Super Mario 3D World and other 3D Mario games, but in 2D. But the main gameplay twist was going to be the metroidvania elements. I started working on it and made some decent progress, but then I realized it was too hard for me to execute a concept like that right. But instead of scrapping it, I decided to reuse the engine for a different fangame. I decided to give that “Mario Generations” idea another shot, but now with modern Mario. And that’s how Super Mario Flashback was born.

Super Mario Flashback 1-1

5. In said game, each level seems to be based on one level from each main series Mario platformer. Like 1-1, Donut Plains, Cool Cool Mountain, etc. Why did you choose these levels rather than others from the same games?

mario world area

flashback ouch

I wanted to be sure the game had at least 1 level from each popular Mario level trope, while also having some of the most memorable levels from the original games.

6. What about the star collecting concept? Where did you get the idea to mix Super Mario 64’s missions with the level design of the 2D Mario titles?

Making a 2D fangame with Power Stars was and idea I had for years. But I can’t say I remember how I got that idea.

7. How about the story? Is Bowser involved in this plot? Is there a final boss battle with him at the end?

Maybe… I can’t say more than that. 😉

8. A few people have complained about some missions being a tad hard. Do you plan to tone down any of them for the final game?

When you play something over and over again it becomes harder to tell if what you’re playing is hard or not. It was the same case for me. Since I play tested the third star of Mushroom Kingdom way too much, I became really good at it and I couldn’t tell if the race was hard or not. But after getting some feedback I toned it down a bit. But if it’s still too hard, I can tone it down even more.

lakitu race

9. Moving away from the game’s content for a bit, the art style gets a lot of praise here for how nice and clean the custom graphics look. How did you get all the sprites to look like they’re in one style?

When I first started developing Flashback, MFGG was full of SMA4 styled games and most people were sick of the style. So I wanted to make the game more unique than other Mario fangames, and started using Mit’s Super Mario Big Five-Oh oh style and the sprites he made in that style. When the fangame got bigger I realized I couldn’t sprite everything I need alone, so I decided to get some spriters such as Neweegee, Cruise Elroy, and Q-Nova. Without them, the game wouldn’t look as good and consistent as now.

10. Is the style of the game trying to look like it’s from a certain generation? Like say, as if it’s a GBA game, or late SNES game, or DS game with sprite graphics?

At first, I was aiming for GBA level of graphics with a higher resolution, but later I decided to not limiting myself with trying to fit a console’s style.

11. What’s in Extras? It just says it’s not available yet, so does that mean it’s going to be something interesting in the finished game?

It will have some extra DLC levels after the game’s release. These levels won’t have new art of music, but just new level designs. I’m planning to ask other fangame devs to make DLC levels too, kinda like what VVVVV did.

12. You can also seemingly send a tweet after finishing any mission. Is that part of a new strategy to promote the game on social media?

I did that once recently, but believe or not that was just an accident. Before that, I only tweeted my score to showcase the tweeting feature.

13. How about the ‘lab’ in this game? The pause screen has a disabled option to ‘return to the lab’. Does this mean E Gadd is in the game?

Yep. That’s the hub world of the game, and E. Gadd has a very big role in the game. But I don’t wanna give more spoilers.

14. I also noticed while playing that the new demo is very different from the old one in terms of levels, with the last one in Yoshi’s Island being completely changed. Was this in response to feedback that it was a bit confusing?

It got some negative feedback but that’s not the reason I changed it. I simply thought it wasn’t good enough.

15. And what happened to online mode? That’s in the MFGG demo, but not the SAGE one. Did you change your mind about it?

At first, I was planning to make Luigi and Toad available from the start in the online mode, but later I decided to make them only playable for those who unlock them. To do that I had to make it only accessible from E. Gadd’s Lab. Since the lab is not finished yet there’s no way to see it for now.

16. Yeah, I know this is probably getting silly now, but what’s with the ‘Tusk Buck’ stuff here? Will the game feature Microtransactions?

Tusk Buck is a type of currency that can be shared between several different fangames. It’s based on an April 1st joke on MFGG and it was supposed to be used in several different fangames. I’m saying supposed to be because I haven’t heard much from the other fangames that were going to use Tusk Bucks.

17. Moving on from features and changes, what was it like having your game shown at a Sonic fan game convention? Cause it seems like Flashback was one of the few Mario related games shown there overall. How much did the SAGE viewers like it?

People liked it much more than I expected, but I also think it was a bit overlooked. That’s expected, though, you can’t force every Sonic fan to play a Mario game right?

18. Over the years, you’ve submitted quite a few games to Mario Fan Games Galaxy, with the later ones getting much better reviews than the first. What interesting things did you learn about game design and development during each of these projects?

I learned about the importance of planning. I used to just make games without thinking about the concept properly and come up with core gameplay ideas at the middle of the development. It seems like that doesn’t work at all.

19. And talking of progress and getting better, what are your plans for after Super Mario Flashback? Do you have any plans for even better games? Are you interested in fan games for different franchises? What about indie titles?

After finishing Flashback I’m planning to stop making fangames and start making indie games. Well, I actually already started working on one. It’s still very early in the development, but designing the core gameplay elements and the main character design is pretty much done. But of course, I’m not alone on this project. Character design, story and most of the graphics will be done by my friend Cake, and just like in Flashback Can of Nothing will compose all (or maybe most of the) music.

Other than that, I’ve always wanted to make a Sonic fangame, but I just can’t get any good ideas that can make it more unique than other Sonic fangames out there.

20. Finally, as a game developer, what advice would you give someone else wanting to try making their own fan game (or heck, just any game in general)?

I’m not an expert when it comes to giving advice, but please don’t rely on premade engines too much if you’re new to fangame development. When people do that, the result is usually a very typical fangame that has nothing makes it stand out. Instead, make your own engine or try to change things in the engine you’re using. Give people a reason to play your fangame.

And that’s advice everyone should follow, regardless of whether they’re making a fan game, indie game or setting up a non game related startup in general. Do something new and interesting, not just what everyone else is offering.

So that concludes our interview. Did you like it? Did you find out anything interesting about Super Mario Flashback after reading it? If so, post your thoughts here or on social media today.

You can also find out more about the game on Mors’ social media channels here:

Let’s Interview; Shesez of Boundary Break!

For the last six months or so, Shesez has been making some very interesting video game videos. Focused on secrets not normally seen by the player and covering everything from Smash Bros Brawl to Resident Evil 4, these videos have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. They’ve been on the Nintendo subreddit, mentioned here on Gaming Reinvented, posted on GoNintendo… heck, they’re so well liked that it’s gotten Shesez’s channel from 150 to over 9000 subscribers in half a year! Talk about an insane popularity boost!

And now, we’ve got an exclusive interview with him. So sit back, relax and see how those interesting Boundary Break videos originally came to be!

1. So, let’s start out as usual here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Shesez when he’s at home anyway?

Shesez is my online persona. In real life at home I go by the name Derrek who absolutely loves video games more than any other hobby.

2. And what’s the whole ‘Pencake and Wuffle’ thing about? Cause I remember your channel originally being a shared YouTube channel or something…

It all started when I told my then girlfriend at the time that I was planning to entertain on YouTube. That I had strongly defined opinions and knowledge about video games and I wanted an outlet to share them.

She then suggested we do a “boyfriend Girlfriend” channel. Which I was very interested in given that I didn’t see many channels like that back then.

Above: An example of what used to be on Shesez’s channel

However, the my goals and drive were stifled by creative differences. And when we had finally broken up, I changed the password, changed the name, and changed the identity. At that time I believe we only had 150 people subscribed which i thought was enormous and didn’t want to abandon hahahaha.

3. Either way, your channel became much more well known after the first Boundary Break episode was posted. How did you feel knowing you’d stumbled onto a successful formula for a series?

I felt I found a purpose for sharing videos to the gaming community. People we’re coming to see my videos because I offered something we’ve all wanted to see before. And I felt very thankful and privileged to be the one to deliver that content.

4. Some general Boundary Break questions now. Out of all the games you’ve covered, which were the most interesting to look at and why?

Melee definitely had the best content. Seeing “SMASH BROS” hidden all over the menus and how some of the stages worked, was incredibly interesting. It was that sort of detail you hope to find that for some reason we were never able to see.

5. How about the least interesting? The ones without anything too unusual outside of the typical camera view?

The Mario Kart episode was a real challenge. But by far the hardest to produce new and interesting content for was Pikmin. I combined two games, showed all beta areas, showed some fairly uninteresting content just to pad out a moderately sized episode.

6. Did you ever scrap an episode because it wasn’t working? Like, where the developers didn’t put anything interesting in the game (that you couldn’t see normally)?

I have! Pokepark Wii was the first example of this. There was just NOTHING going on with that game.

7. I also remember you saying Wii U hacking wasn’t quite there for a Boundary Break episode yet. Did that ever get fixed? Is there now a better free camera mod for Super Smash Bros for Wii U?

As far as i know there haven’t been any developments. I have tried commissioning modders but there doesn’t seem to be an interest there.

I think I just have to luck out and make a fan out of a very intelligent programmer hahahaha!

Continue Reading…