Interview #021: John Riggs
If it's broke, he can fix it! If it's cereal, he can eat it! He's John Riggs and hosts a highly successful and fully enjoyable YouTube channel (links below). In between his very busy schedule, John spent some time with us to answer a few of our questions. Come learn more and make sure to follow John on all his social media platforms.
Thank you John for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I've had a passion for video games ever since I can remember. I grew up with the classics and arcades and as much as I still love current gaming, I always find time to play older stuff, too. I'm most fond of the 8-bit/16-bit generation. In my personal life I have three kids, 10, 11 and 13 and work for a group of local radio stations as my day job which I love.
What was the first console and game you remember playing?
The first game I remember playing was Donkey Kong in the arcade, but I remember walking up to play it as if I had already played it so I'm sure I played something before that. First console was an Atari 2600. It was already out by the time we got ours around 1982. Some of those games I grew up with are still fun today.
What is your fondest childhood video game memory?
I just remember when I started getting more obsessed with the NES and especially when my dad got me a used TV just for the sole purpose of playing video games on it; I couldn't wait to play more. Just staying up all night playing video games because I could were great times. Before this, we had ONE TV in our house so I could only play a game if nobody else was using the TV.
Let's get social! Your YouTube channel boasts more than 58k subscribers and it all began on November 9, 2014 when you posted a video of you eating a 25 year old box of Batman cereal. I absolutely loved your reaction and and was just curious what inspired you to start creating video game related content?
My channel has gone through a few changes to where it is now. My original intention was just to showcase anything and everything I'm nostalgic about, then started to focus on just video games and breakfast cereal -- two of my biggest passions. Once views for video game content went up and views on my cereal videos didn't do as well, I just decided to focus on gaming.
For those who have been missing out on your channel, would you like to give a brief overview as to what they can expect to see?
My channel is probably best known as the one where I try to fix broken or non-working video games in what I called 'open cart surgery', but I also love showing off new technology, homebrews and even newer games that don't get as much love. My unboxing video do pretty well, too, but I think it's because I include my kids in those videos so that probably helps.
One aspect of your videos that I think is great is the inclusion of your children. As a father of two, my hope is that they share in this passion as they grow up. What does it mean to you to have them next to you?
My kids love being on YouTube because they watch YouTube. As kids ourselves, we always wanted to be on the news because then you could call Grandma to let her know you were going to be on TV. My kids don't watch TV so it's fun for them to be in a media format they enjoy, making them feel like they're a part of it. Since my kids are a part of my life, it's fun for me, too.
From cereal to fixing games to reviews, do you have a personal favorite segment you like to shoot?
I love doing those unboxing videos. My videos are never scripted, but since these include my kids we have to improv and work off of each other; makes it fun and provides real laughs for us.
Is there anything new coming to your channel that you could tease today?
I don't have much of a format or schedule outside of 'more of the same', but I am getting a couple of advanced review units of items coming out soon that I get to check out. The benefit of testing review units is to see if there's anything I can break so they can fix them in the final issue for people buy.
Ready for a little speed round?! Let's do this! They say you never forget your first! Do you remember the inaugural game you fixed as well as your first repro?
I don't remember the first game I ever fixed as I've been 'fixing' (mostly cleaning) games since the 80s. My first repro, however, was the famicom port of Space Invaders. I still have it.
Do you have a favorite console and game (does not have to be the same)?
My favorite console will always be the NES for it's selection and variety. They had to get creative with pixel art and color and sound limitations which I adore. My go-to favorite game of all time being Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, but my favorite video game changes from day-to-day.
How do you feel about the Nintendo Switch in comparison to their previous consoles and the current competition?
I'm an admitted Nintendo fanboy and love the Switch, but I also loved the Wii and even the Wii U. I do think the Switch is going back in the right direction to make it more about games and less about experience, though they still find ways to make you do stuff you can't do on other systems. I play my PS4 more than my Switch, but I have room for all. My Switch is my new travel system of choice and I play it almost exclusively in portable mode.
What is your favorite game on the system?
It'll be hard to top Super Mario Odyssey, but I'm a huge fan of indie games. I have far more games downloaded than I do physical copies for my Switch. I'm also looking forward to more Nintendo Online Classic games.
What game would you love to see released on the Switch?
If I could get Fire Pro Wrestling World on the Switch, that's all I'd ever need to play on any length of flight. I can play that game non-stop for as long as I need.
What are you currently playing?
I've been enjoying a lot of great digital games on Switch like Old School Musical, The Messenger, MagiCat and others. I'm also a huge PSVR fan. Creed is amazing! It's like I'm really boxing, sweating and all. Makes for a great workout.
As if you weren't busy enough, you also find time to stream gameplay on Twitch. When did you first begin and how have you been enjoying playing in real time with you friends and followers?
I only started streaming on Twitch when I got my PS4 and had the easy-to-stream button so I set my channel up that way. I know it's not as fancy with the rolling tickets and massive donations other gets using OBS and Streamlabs, but it's more convenient for me just to hit the Stream button. I love playing the Jackbox games because it allows me to play with others who are also watching the stream.
How often do you Twitch?
I try to do it about once a week, but I don't have a schedule. It's always just spontaneous.
Finally, I saw on your Twitter profile that you are an Autism Awareness Advocate. Are there any words you'd like to share on this topic?
I have a son with severe autism. Mostly non-verbal, receives a ton of services and is quite a handful. It's like raising a human Tasmanian devil. If you see him, he looks like any other boy his age because he is like any other boy his age, just he has autism. It's a faceless condition and, when he starts acting up in public others may think it's because we're bad parents or something. It'd be different if he had a physical condition to go with it (e.g., down syndrome), but since he looks typical most don't understand. I'm here to say I'm with you and you're not alone.
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