Sunday, March 6, 2022

Graphically Impressive: An Interview With minimme


10 years ago, game reviewers like The Angry Video Game Nerd, Somecallmejohnny, and Classic Game Room were the shows people flocked to see someone discuss retro games.  In the years since, a new generation of YouTubers has arisen to start their own shows where they review and discuss the games they grew up with.  One of those people is Peter, who you probably know better as minimme, a.k.a., that channel with the Cars game reviews.

With over 208,000 subscribers, minimme has garnered popularity for its videos, which focus on licensed games and lesser-known titles from the sixth and seventh generation.  His style is best described as "laid-back but informative."  His videos are a great way to learn about the forgotten titles of the past, but there are many unanswered questions to the man behind videos about "Quantum of Solace" for the PS2 or "Speed Racer" on the Wii and DS.

I had the chance to speak with Peter and discuss the origins of his channel, how he honed his unique style, and more importantly, why he photoshops himself and Tony Hawk onto the game characters.  I want to thank Peter for taking time out of his schedule to do the interview.

1. What led you to become a YouTuber?

During high school, I was really into video games and game reviews.  At the age of 16, I watched a lot of YouTube shows like Classic Game Room and an Australian show called Good Game.  I liked those two shows because they were very laidback and in the case of Classic Game Room, I loved how Mark Bussler, the host, reviewed a lot of games people had never heard of.

Those two shows spurred me to start up my own YouTube channel.  I also did it as a way to practice public speaking since I wasn't the strongest public speaker.  Although now, public speaking isn't much of an issue.

2. Who are your influences?

I already mentioned Classic Game Room and Good Game.  Those two were the biggest influences.  Another one was a YouTube channel called Super Bunnyhop.  I really like the host's delivery style.  It's very clear cut and straightforward.

3. At what point in making videos did things start to click?

I started making videos in 2012, back when I was 16.  Those first videos were awful and I have since delisted them.  I made a handful of videos throughout 2012 and 2013 but dropped off in 2014 an 2015.  My creative energy tanked and I didn't start making videos again until 2016.  I decided to do a list video called "Five GBA 3D Games" or something like that.  Either way, that video took off and decided to a follow-up video not long after.

As I continued, the views started skyrocketing.  They went from around 400 views on average to upwards of 20,000, my subscriber count also went from the hundreds into the thousands.

4. How do you decide what games to discuss?

I don't have a spidey-sense when it comes to deciding the games.  I play a handful of games from a list I make, and of those titles, if any of them strike me as unique and easy to write about, I make a video out of them.  I don't do games that would make for a generic, boring video.

5. Were there any videos you had planned but chose to scrap?

There were plenty of games I started but then quit because I got bored or I thought was terrible.  Recently, I played The Saboteur.  That game has a cult following because it was Pandemic Studio's last title, and it's an open-world WWII game that utilizes a black and white art style.  I played it for five hours and thought it was terrible.

For some reason, it wasn't clicking for me, and since I didn't want to stir up a hornet's nest by making a negative review of a beloved game, I decided to can it.

6. Are you surprised by the success of your channel?

Yes.  When I started making videos again, I initially thought I was going to do only list videos since those were so popular.  Instead, I decided to take a dramatic shift and focus on obscure or forgotten video games.  It brought a lot more attention to the channel than it would have gotten had I stuck with the list videos.

7. Why do you think people are so interested in seeing videos on licensed games or forgotten games of the 6th/7th generation?

It's gotten to a point where nostalgia dominates the market.  Back then, people didn't care as much for these kinds of games.  They received a short review by IGN and were thrown by the wayside.  Now, that people are older, there's an element of interest in wanting to explore the older console generations and see what weird oddities they can dig up.  

I also think it's because games are costing more to make and are so similar.  Developers and publishers are less likely to try something new when they can rehash the same thing over and over.  Companies were more experimental and willing to take risks.

8. In your opinion, what separates a good licensed game from a bad one?

It's how much time they spend in development.  A lot of movie licensed games were rushed out to meet a deadline, and you notice it in a lot of games.  I think when the games aren't tied to a release date or receive a lot of input from the filmmakers, then you have something that's better.

A good example is the Avatar game.  The developers worked on that game for three years and though it's not perfect, it has a lot of polish and interesting ideas.  Another one is King Kong, which was made by Michel Ancel and had Peter Jackson's involvement.  

With those games, you can tell a lot of work and passion went into them, and the result is something better than what we normally got with most movie-licensed games.

9. Do you think licensed games have gotten better or worse?

They've gotten way better.  You need to remember that for every good one, there's at least 10 bad licensed games.  Time, money, and technology have played a huge factor, and as a result, we've gotten some gems like the recent Guardians of the Galaxy game, plus there are upcoming titles like the IO Interactive Bond game.

Licensed games generally get a bad rep, and rightfully so, but they have an underdog value to them, even if they are terrrible.

10. What are your thoughts on long-dead franchises and older games being revived through remakes and remasters?

Personally, I think it's easier for companies to remake something familiar than something new.  You don't have to spend as much money plus it's a name people remember from when they were younger, and those die-hard fans will come out of the woodwork to sing the praises of a series if it's announced it's getting a revival.

It strikes me as laziness.

11. How has the gaming industry changed?

The gaming industry as we used to know it is a lot different now.  Budget games no longer exist, and by budget games, I mean titles like Secret Service or Serious Sam.  They were made on the cheap and released for $20.  If they were lucky they became their own franchise, like Serious Sam, but many didn't.  You saw a lot of weird titles fly under the radar, titles that gained a niche following by those who played them.

Indie games have replaced budget titles.  The AAA gaming industry is slowly becoming more consolidated, and because budgets are increasing, companies aren't taking as many risks.  They would rather play it safe than be original.

12. If you weren't making videos, what do you think you'd be doing?

It's a question I never want to think about, but I probably would have tried doing something with my degree in programming, like become a game designer.  Either that, or do something with cars because I'm a big fan of automobiles.

13. What advice would you give to aspiring YouTubers?

When I'm working videos, I always ask myself is this something I would click on, watch, and enjoy.  You want to make videos that satisfy you on both a creative and personal level, in my opinion.  You also want to try grabbing people's interest, albeit not in a clickbait way.

If you're a smaller channel, you have a lot more freedom with a smaller audience because you can try different things and see what sticks compared to bigger channels like mine.  You want to make videos that clearly have a lot of effort and passion into them versus something that feels like it rolled off an assembly line.

Bonus Question: Where did the idea come from to photoshop yourself into the thumbnail?

Ha ha.  They started as a Photoshop battle with friends to see who could make the dumbest looking thumbnail.  I'm not sure how the Tony Hawk thing happened.  I just liked "Where's Waldo-ing?" him into images as an Easter egg.

No comments:

Post a Comment