Interview #019: Bobby (A.K.A. The Nintendo Guru)
There's nothing better than getting to know more about fellow Nintendo Enthusiasts! As many of you are already following, The Nintendo Guru is one such fan! So when the opportunity presented itself to speak with Bobby, I was so excited. Have you been following his content? Check it all out below!
Thank you Bobby for speaking with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
You are asking me to talk about me? This is a dangerous request (laughs). I am 44 years old and I reside in New Jersey. Recently separated and currently working through a divorce, I work a full time job as an office sales for a masonry supply company.
What was the first console and game you remember playing?
The first home console and game for me was the Atari 2600. The game was a pack in that came with it. If memory serves me it was called Carvinal or Circus. It was like 90 something mini-games which mainly were co-op games. I remember my uncle bringing it home and my cousins and I were in awe. My parents watched as my brother and I begged for one. We left my cousins and my dad went to Sears, a big department store which recently has seen financial issues and began shutting down, to buy our family one.
What is your fondest childhood video game memory?
I would have to say playing Metal Gear on the NES with my cousin and my best friend. I want to say I was in 8th grade and it was a Saturday. We were making great progress finally in Metal Gear and working though the game. We hit a snag and at that time when you got into trouble there wasn’t an internet to help you. So we did what every kid at the time was doing - we called The Nintendo Hotline.
This was a phone number you could call and get help or tips from gaming counselors. The hold times were absolutely ridiculous at the time, but we held for hours trying to find out where the next key card was at. Finally, we got through and they helped, but they didn’t give you the answer flat out. They would give you clues. My cousin got frustrated and started to argue with the counselor. He was like, “Listen man, I have been on hold for a long time and I don’t have time for your riddles. Just tell me where the key card is at!!” The counselor wouldn’t budge and we eventually figured out the clue and were able to continue on.
That day was just a blast as we would just hang out all day home alone eating pizza while our parents were out of town. Just a lot of fun.
Before we get into The Nintendo Guru, let's quickly chat about The Geek Guru. Your first foray into YouTube, this channel was created back in 2013. What was your hopes and goals with The Geek Guru?
WOW, I am shocked! You definitely did your homework. I like it (Laughs). So me getting into YouTube at all was the push from my then wife. She was making YouTube content at the time and felt very strongly it was something I should get into. At the time, I had a dream of opening a comic book / collectibles shop and calling it “The Geek Gurus”. I had a Twitter and everything already set so I just went with The Geek Guru. My slogan was “Geek Definitely; Guru I don’t know”. The idea was I really wanted to make podcasts, but I had no idea how to even start the process. So I just thought, I’ll make videos. At that time I was making videos that were “Geek” related. As time went on, I quickly realized I was doing more and more Nintendo content.
In 2016, The Geek Guru became The Nintendo Guru. Why was that?
As I was saying, I started doing more and more Nintendo content...thanks Amiibo (laughs). I also was doing a podcast at that time called The Geek Cast with my friend Toby Thornton, who I currently do the Nintendo Playstation Podcast with. Toby wasn’t able to be on the show one week and I asked Justin Masson of the Nintendo Dads to come on. After that show, we spent an hour talking and chatting and he said to me that my brand is rather confusing. You are the Geek Guru but you do Nintendo Content. I think you should re-brand yourself, so with that I went downstairs and sat down with my wife. At that time I had about 1,000 subs on the Geek Guru. So a re-brand meant walking away from everything I had spent the last few years building. However, after that conversation with her, it was very apparent what needed to happen and I re-branded.
What is it about Nintendo that you fell in love with?
Nintendo, to me, is a lot like Disney - it's the place kids go to dream. You see the world from an all new perspective and if you think it (dream it), you can do it. So as a kid, here I am playing these video games and when the SNES released, Nintendo just started really firing on all cylinders. They were putting out things no one even saw coming, like Mario Paint. Nintendo, back when I was a kid, was a company who didn’t give you what you wanted. They gave you what you never even realized you wanted and I liked that about them.
They were bold and not afraid to take risks. I like that today, when I jump into a Mario or a Zelda game or any Nintendo game really, I just get mentally transported back to that time. I am 15 years old again playing games with my cousin and my best friend. That’s what I look for in games!
Can you take me back to the best time of my life? Sony and Xbox are companies that make impressive and gorgeous looking games. However, they don’t make me feel like a kid again. That’s just what I love about Nintendo.
Coming back to The Nintendo Guru, your channel contains so much content that there is definitely something for everyone! You've got: Nintendo Talk, If I Ran Nintendo, reviews, live streaming, and more. Could you briefly breakdown each segment for those who are new to you?
Absolutely! That’s what I strive for. When I think about making new content my first thought is, “Is anyone else doing THIS”? If the answer is yes, I try to change the idea as much as I can to not be like anyone else.
Nintendo Talk LIVE is a weekly LIVE show/podcast I stream via YouTube where I sit down with a random guest and we just talk about anything Nintendo. I prefer getting into their history and why they love Nintendo, but really anything is on the table when we start.
IF We Ran Nintendo is a podcast that, when we started it, Sean Capri and I were already doing other shows and we wanted a show that was SO different from what everyone else was doing. So, we also were in the Wii U era and Nintendo could do nothing right. The biggest thing was everything Nintendo did was “stupid”. So we thought, "What would YOU do if YOU ran Nintendo?" because no one answered THAT. We always said, "We aren’t even qualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone a billion dollar business" (laughs).
Nintendo Guru Daily is a daily (Monday through Friday) show where I take the top Nintendo stories of the day, talk about them, break them down, and give my opinions on them.
The Nintendo Playstation Podcast is a show that evolved from the Geek Cast with Toby, where I cover the Nintendo side of things and he covers the Playstation side. We chose this because at one time Nintendo and Sony were in talks to release the Nintendo Playstation. Each week I bring a Nintendo Topic, Toby brings a Playstation topic, and we just go from there.
In my return I brought in Game Reviews. So I work with my friend Tim Aulph to try to provide game reviews on the channel. It's just something to add depth and content.
Co-Op Kings is a new stream/show I do with my friend Jams where we both stream at the same time. If you go to his channel you can see his game screen and if you come to mine you can see mine. Either channel you can hear the audio (We added a multi-twitch channel where you can go to a webpage and see both channels at once). The idea came from Nintendo Online and adding NES games and “Pass the controller” features. We liked this idea where we could “couch co-op” via the internet.
There is so much more too. I do random videos, I do a call in radio style show with Patrick from NintenTalk,called Red Shell Radio, where people can “call in” via discord. I have Breaking Bells which is a podcast based on Animal Crossing that I do with Sean Capri’s wife Chelsey. I don’t know where I find the time, but I love all that I am doing.
As if you weren't busy enough as it is, you also co-run If We Ran Nintendo podcast. Tell us about it!
Well like I said, If We Ran Nintendo was a show I started with Sean Capri. He had come on The Geek Cast and we did a show where the topic was “If We Ran Nintendo” would we bring back Nintendo Power and if so how? By the way, we felt it would be the name of the Online service and mix it with club Nintendo and an achievement system (Laughs). However, at the time we created it, Nintendo was struggling and it allowed for so many great topics and how we could make up fantasy ideas of what we would do if we ran Nintendo.
With the Nintendo Switch now over a year and half old, what do you like most about it?
So when the Switch launched, I had a job where I could bring it to work with me and on lunch I would play through Zelda. A year ago that job changed to what I do now and with that I don’t have the ability to game on lunch breaks. So what I loved about the Switch has changed a lot. Now, I love the diversity of games. We have so many 3rd party and indie developers here that are creating some amazing content and everything is so different. I truly enjoy what I am playing and I also still love the gaming on the go when I am able to do so.
What improvements would you recommend to Nintendo?
(Laughs) Oh you mean IF I ran Nintendo (Laughs again)? Truly, I think they are doing so much right, right now it’s hard to say. However, if I could change one thing it would be how they offer voice chat. I would find a way either in this iteration of the Switch or the next and put voice chat into the console so we could have a party chat system with our friends.
After the most recent Nintendo Direct, what announcement got you the most excited?
Animal Crossing...Period. I have been wanting a home console version of Animal Crossing so badly and this is the best of both worlds. When I had it on the Wii, I always wanted to take it with me. When I had it on the 3DS, I always wanted to play on my TV. Now I can do both? SIGN ME UP!!
What game were you hoping to see revealed that wasn't?
If I have to pick a game I want that wasn’t announced I would have to say Mario Golf. I love that series and would love a new game added to the franchise. I think it’s in the works, but it will have to happen. OH!! Also a new Punch Out game. We need that!!
What game(s) are your currently playing and what are you looking forward to?
I am playing Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, Dead Cells, The Messenger. Those are great games and I do need to get back to Octopath soon! I am looking forward to Final Fantasy IX and can’t wait for that game.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share today?
I just would like to thank you for asking me to do this interview; it really was a lot of fun. Anyone looking to find more of my content, click on the links below. Again, thank you so much for this JP'S SWITCHMANIA.
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