Why I Love Talking About Retro Games [Podcast E01]

Hello and welcome to the first ever episode of the Retro Break podcast. I’m so excited to be starting this and the year is off to a fantastic start already. I’ve actually been planning to do a podcast now since about 2015, so this isn’t something that I’m rushing into. I’ve actually got over a year’s worth of content already planned out for this podcast.

But in this first episode, I actually wanted to start with how I actually got into retro gaming in the first place, how I ended up making videos on YouTube, and then why I’ve actually decided to start making this podcast as well as making videos. So there’s a lot to get into in this first episode, and I’m also going to share some of my ideas for what the podcast might become over time.

I really hope you enjoy this first episode. And for those of you watching on YouTube, this will actually be mostly an audio podcast. I’m actually going to try and get it uploaded to Spotify and Apple Podcasts and maybe Google Podcasts as well, and hopefully I can find some sort of service that does all that for me with the audio.

Without further ado, let’s get started with episode one. So to understand why I do what I do, we’re gonna have to go right back to the start in 1994 when I was two years old and my parents had just bought a Nintendo Entertainment System. Of course, the SNES had already been out for a few years, but I always seem to be slightly behind the curve on the latest generation of consoles. I think I got my SNES in around 1996 or 1997, which is actually after the N64 came out. And then a few years after that, I got the N64.

But when I was a kid, what I realized was that better graphics didn’t make a better game. Most of my favorite games were actually either on the NES or the Game Boy, even when I had the N64 and even when I had the GameCube a bit later on. So I was constantly throughout my time going back and playing games from across the previous three or four generations without even realizing it. I was just realizing that the games were really fun and that is what really mattered to me more than the graphics, more than what was new at the time and what was old. I didn’t really have any concept of new and old at the time. I just knew games were games, basically.

So I was jumping between things like the original Mario and Mario 3 on the NES up to Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island on the SNES, and then Mario 64 and the N64 all within a few years of each other and not really understanding that one came after the other. I just thought that they were all different games at the time and I absolutely loved all of them with exactly the same amount of enjoyment.

And of course, when I was a kid, I also had other consoles like the Mega Drive, the Master System, the PlayStation One. But once again, I didn’t really compare them between each other. I just thought that they were another way of playing some great games. And as well as the different gaming consoles, I also had a lot of magazines at the time as well. And I would just pour through them every single night before bed. I would actually grab myself a bowl of cereal and go up to my bedroom and read through a magazine before I went to sleep, and I did that every single night for at least like five or six years all throughout school.

And thanks to reading those magazines back then, I have a really really deep understanding of what games were out at the time, which games were worth buying and which ones weren’t, and sort of different people’s opinions on different games and how they sort of related to my own opinions on the games as well. And I actually think that through reading those magazines, that is where my interest in game collecting actually came from. I would like I said, I would pour through these magazines constantly every single night.

And I would actually have a notebook or sometimes I would actually highlight the games that I wanted to get in those magazines or write them down. And then anytime we were ever on holiday as a family or or any time I ever ventured into the shops with any pocket money or at Christmas or birthdays or anything like that, I would always refer to this list of games that I really really wanted. And luckily I did manage to amass quite a big collection through these various different methods of getting games before I actually had a job to fund it myself.

So by the time by my early teens, I already had a really good collection of games. I actually remember writing it all out in my notebook and taking it to school to show people all the games I had at the time. And obviously they didn’t care anywhere near as much as I did, but I just loved the fact that I had these games that I’d been reading about for so long across so many different generations and I really really enjoyed myself with all of these games. I didn’t care what was new and old. I just cared about reading other people’s opinions on these games and skipping forward a little bit and then I’ll go back again, reading the magazine reviews and reading the different articles in there and hearing people’s different opinions about what they’d played kind of spoke to me on a really deep level.

It was kind of like they have a voice and they’re actually able to tell other people what they think about these games and which ones are worth getting or which ones aren’t worth getting. And I always thought for the longest time that I wanted to write for gaming magazines because I really wanted to tell people about the games that I’d found out about and I wanted to share my knowledge with other people. But obviously over time magazines became less important.

And at some point I also got myself a video camera and a laptop of my own, and I thought that I wanted to do this on the internet instead, which was really picking up a lot of steam compared to magazines at the time. So around 2007, I set up my YouTube channel. And then for the next few years, I would do random videos on and off talking about some games that I liked. But most of the time when I was talking about games, it was actually with my friends from school and with people at college that I was going to around that time as well.

So actually, before I get into that, the first time I actually knew that I wanted to talk about games as a part of my life – obviously it’s not my career, it’s not my job. I still have a completely separate full-time job that I’m doing this is literally just for fun. But the first time that I knew that I wanted to do this for fun, to talk about games to other people, and to get them to experience the same joy that I feel was actually in school when we were doing a presentation for class once. I actually did my presentation on the history of Nintendo. And I’d never worked so hard on homework in my entire life before.

I really loved making PowerPoint presentations. I actually used to do that for fun as well in fact on my main channel I actually did a video about that a few maybe about a year ago now where I showed off some games that I used to make in PowerPoint. But another thing that I used to love doing in PowerPoint was writing about games and then actually presenting that, whether it be to them to my class at school or whether it be to my friends and family back home. They must have thought I was crazy, but I used to love making these slides, getting screenshots off the internet and putting them into PowerPoint presentations and then sharing my love of games with everyone out there, whether it be online, whether it be friends and family, or through school or whatever.

So that is kind of where it began. And also before that as well when I was in primary school, we actually had a black and white camera that plugged into the VCR and I used to talk about games on there all the time. I really hope that we’ve still actually got some tapes. I know my parents have still got loads of stuff in their loft from when we used to live in the old house, which is where I actually filmed some of my first ever videos that I haven’t actually seen in about 20 years. So one day that might be really interesting to go back and have a look at. So fingers crossed maybe they still have some of them and maybe I can share them with you in the future.

I remember trying to hold up my Game Boy to this black and white camera and you really couldn’t see anything at all but I would still talk about the games. And I would actually use the scanner that was plugged into our Windows 95 or 98 computer and put the Game Boy face down on the scanner to try and get screenshots to add into these PowerPoint presentations. So even way before YouTube was even a thing, I was still really obsessed with sharing my love of retro games.

And then one Christmas, I think it was 2008, my parents actually got me my first camcorder. It was a really really tiny little Sanyo camcorder with a little flip out screen, and I think it was actually only 480p. It wasn’t even an HD camcorder. But that really got me excited for making videos. And I did a lot of it back in the early days on YouTube, of course. They’re nowhere near as polished and I didn’t really know how to express myself properly back then either.

But I knew that I was having a lot of fun doing it and around that same time as well 2008/2009, I actually got my first job and I actually got my first spending money that I could actually spend on my own things. And luckily around that time as well, I’m sure a lot of you who are watching or listening to this know, but there was a lot more game shops back then than there are today and they used to sell retro games as well, which was just absolutely fantastic for me. I honestly think that 2007 or eight was the perfect time to get into video game collecting. It was before a lot of the prices went crazy. It was before a lot of the shops unfortunately got shut down, partly due to the financial crisis that came later that year or early the next year. And obviously that was when GameStation kind of disappeared off the face of the earth, which was such a shame. Honestly, GameStation was just my favorite place to be.

I even did my work experience in GameStation a few years earlier while I was at secondary school. I was actually talking about this earlier today with my girlfriend, actually, but doing my work experience in GameStation actually put me off wanting to get a job in a game shop. It was that boring honestly, I literally had nothing to do. They just had me alphabetizing the shelves or just delete and save files off games that had been traded in, and that was literally it. I was too young to use the tills and they couldn’t really get me to do much else, so honestly that kind of put me off working in a shop even if it was a game shop. I just that illusion of the game shop being the perfect place for me was just shattered, so that’s kind of why I didn’t end up going there to work after after school.

And I went on to college to study game design because around that time I actually thought that I wanted to become a game designer. Because obviously I loved games, I loved thinking about how they were made. I’d made my own games in the past already using things like Flash and PowerPoint, and I really wanted to try and do that for myself but obviously that didn’t quite pan out. But the one thing that stayed true through everything, through all of those years, is wanting to talk about games and really get my experience out there and tell other people about how I feel about them. So that is kind of my background in why I play retro games, why I want to talk about them and also kind of why I started this podcast as well.

I do really want to talk about my experience with my game design courses at college and university a few years later as well. But I’ll save that for a future episode. But after I finished uni and I came back home to start work, that is when I realized that I really wanted to take YouTube more seriously. I’d started an office job which honestly was incredibly boring. So for a lot of the first year in my office job I actually spent it coming up with ideas of what I wanted to do on YouTube. And thanks to that downtime in my actual job at the time, I think that’s one of the reasons that I can say that my YouTube videos really started to take off around them.

And if you have a look at my main Retro Break channel and look at the latest video, the one that I uploaded at the end of last year, the one that was I think it was called “Five Years – Thank You For Five Years of Weekly Uploads,” basically when I started that five years of weekly uploads was around the same time that I started my job or a few years after. But it’s when I really started getting momentum and traction in it and I really knew what I wanted to do. And obviously I’m still right at the start of that journey and I’ve got so many more plans. I did share a lot of them over on Patreon but I’m not really here to plug other things, so check that out if you want, but that’s not really the point of this podcast.

The point is that I want to talk about games and I don’t really want to be limited to just talking about games on the main channel because as that’s getting bigger and bigger, I feel like I have to be more careful about how I structure videos, how long they are, how to keep the viewers’ attention span, and make sure that it’s a worthwhile watch for all my subscribers. And that’s kind of why I started this podcast or why I’ve started this second channel if you’re watching on YouTube. And that is to sort of just spill my thoughts out there into the open without any worry whatsoever about how long this is going to go on for or whether it’s what people actually expect from the channel.

So I’m still going to be doing my regular weekly uploads, fingers crossed at least, over on the main channel. And then this podcast channel, I’m not going to stick to a certain time frame. I’m just going to try and release them whenever I have a spark of inspiration or whenever I’ve got a free half an hour or something. I might even record these during the lunch break or something. So let’s talk a bit about what this podcast is actually going to be…

So I’ve got so many ideas already, obviously. I want to talk about my own personal experiences. But as well as that, I also want to get a few guests on the show – I want to sort of interview people in the community or people who are in the games industry as well. I think that would be really interesting.

I also want to kind of do laid-back versions of the retrospectives that are going to be on my main channel, so just talking about my memories of certain games or talking about certain series that I want to try and collect for. And as well as that, I also want to talk about game collecting a bit more laid back as well – so the prices of games, the best places to buy games, talk about my experiences of going to these gaming markets without having to make a full video tour.

So there’s going to be loads of really interesting discussions on here, hopefully. I’ve also got a few kind of oddball ideas that I want to talk about as well, but I won’t ruin all of the surprise – I want to save some of it for the future. And I’m also really hoping to get a really nice setup soon as well because if you’re not aware, I’m actually moving house very soon and I’m going to make it as easy as possible to release and upload these podcast episodes.

So I really do hope you’re looking forward to it. Subscribe if you’re here on YouTube or follow if you’re on any of the podcast platforms. That pretty much is it for the first episode. I really hope you stick with me – let me know what you thought about this one and let me know as well what you’d like this podcast to become in the future because I’m still in the creation process, I’m still planning everything out, and I’m really excited for it, obviously. But I also want to make sure that all of you watching and listening really get a lot out of it as well.

I really want to go deep into some of these topics, so thank you so much. That was the first episode of the Retro Break podcast, and I’ll see you all very soon for episode two. Thanks for listening, goodbye!

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