Today on Gabbin’ with Gamers, The Switch Effect sits down with Mike, creator and star of The Honest Gamer. To be fair, Mike is also a part of The Switch Effect, but he did free up his calendar to give us this interview. Aside from hosting The Honest Gamer blog with reviews, opinion pieces, and other content, Mike also hosts a YouTube and Twitch channel that focuses on Let’s Play, Reviews, and more.
Mike, thank you for speaking with us.
I’d like to thank you as well for taking the time to interview me, as well as everyone on The Switch Effect team for welcoming me on board!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, my name is Mike. I’m an avid gamer and I own every major console back to the Atari 2600. Outside of gaming, since we’ll be talking about that for the rest of the interview, I’m a proud, married father of a now, almost, 14 months old, and a step-father to an 8 year old. I do a ton of reading as well when I’m not gaming, and you know…long walks on the beach.
Can you tell us about how you got into gaming and collecting?
Oh God, I’ve been gaming as long as I can remember, way back to when I was like 3 or 4. I didn’t really get into it until about 6 or 7 years ago, around the time I got into collecting as well. I really got into gaming when I picked up my PS3. I hadn’t actively kept up with gaming so I never really got to watch things grow and expand through each generation. So I went from Mario Kart and Crash Bandicoot to Grand Theft Auto IV and Dead Space…it was quite the jump. As for collecting, I was hanging out with some friends who went on a run one day to a few retro gaming stores, had my dad dig out my old N64 (which I’m currently working towards a complete U.S. released library) and as they say, the rest is history. I guess I’d just always assumed that with all the newer generations of consoles, all the old ones faded away. But when I saw all those stacks of cartridges…
What was the first console and game that you owned?
NES was my first one. Had one at my father’s house and my grandmother’s house. I spent a lot of time with Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt…damn dog.
Do you have any fond childhood memories based around gaming?
There’s a few. Receiving my N64 on my 8th birthday (along with Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 and F-1 World Grand Prix, all of which I still have to this day. My brother and I had placed a 20 dollar bet on a custom season in an old NASCAR game which I won. Some sad ones too, like the night my brother and I forgot to save our Gran Turismo 2 file after grinding out races for hours. I could go on and on.
Were any of your family members enthusiastic about gaming?
Not a whole lot. My mom never grasped the concept and my brother was really only into racing games. My dad (who I lost couple of years ago) always put an effort in though. He would always sit with me and play some Duck Hunt or Ice Hockey on NES, or the F-1 game on N64. Nobody in my family though really was on the same level of love for gaming that I was.
The Honest Gamer showing off his latest pickup!
Let’s jump forward a bit. Here’s one to get you thinking. If you weren’t collecting games, what would be your hobby?
Easy answer: books. It’s easy because I probably have about as many books as I do video games. I love reading, any author any genre, as long as it can hold my interest. Between my wife and I we have a pretty big movie collection too, so I guess I’ve always loved things that can create a really vivid alternate reality. Something good enough that it can actually pull you in.
As you’re aware, technology continues to advance the gaming industry. Have you been a fan of these changes?
I think for the most part, yeah I’ve been a fan. Nothing really comes to mind that I’ve been overly sour about. I know there have been some things that have been commercial flops, but for me personally, I’ve enjoyed all the new steps forward. I haven’t been able to try my hand at any of the VR stuff yet though so I can’t really weigh in on that one just yet. One day though.
Where do you think technology will bring us in the future?
I’m a huge Assassin’s Creed fan, and I can totally see there being something close to an Animus for fully immersive gaming. I think after the VR stuff gets honed and perfected that’s got to be the next big star in the sky.
We at The Switch Effect are obviously big fans of Nintendo’s new console. What are your impressions of the Switch?
At this time I’ve only had it about a week with not a huge library to go with it just yet, but I love it. It’s definitely an odd feeling having the screen and entire console in your hands. We had a storm roll through a couple days after we got our Switch, so whenever the power flickered off I had 20+ years of experience telling me to just stop because the games about to go bye-bye…and it didn’t. That will take some getting used to.
Which new games are you looking forward to the most?
Definitely Metroid Prime. I haven’t gotten to play through a lot of the series but I absolutely love the games and hopefully I can be caught up in time for the new one. Also Rocket League. I currently own it on PS4 but I think it’ll be a great game on the Switch. I’m not a fan of owning the same game on multiple consoles, but I might break that rule this one time.
Can you tell us a bit about your Twitch account, which are always enjoyable. What interested you in starting a social media account?
I got into Twitch around the time I started my YouTube channel as a way to help get more gameplay videos (you can export streams directly to YouTube). I started watching streamers, ended up getting involved on one channel in particular and the community they were building and I just loved the sense of fellowship that it brought. It’s been great meeting other people who shared the same love and passion for gaming. So that was what really lit the fire for wanting to put some real effort and time into streaming and the people I’ve met along the way make it so much fun. I’ve made some great friends, and some who feel even more like family, through Twitch.
As for my channel itself, it’s a small one but it is growing bit by bit. I am what is labeled as a Variety Streamer, meaning I play all sorts of games instead of just focusing on one or two. So I tend to just play what I love and enjoy.
What would you say makes your videos unique and different from others?
Probably what I actually just said in my answer above, that I play what I love. There’s a lot of streamers who are competitive in the games they play (something that amazes me because I’ve tried some of those games and I’m just godawful). Then, there are others who will only try and stream what’s new and “hot”. What I think what stands out from my channel is I just play to play and have fun. I don’t care how often I die or how long a game takes me; I just like to relax and talk with whoever is in my chat and have a good time. It’s something that, at least for me, is hard to find but those are the channels that I tend to follow. I like seeing people who are just having fun and not trying to be #1 ranked or break some sort of gaming speed record and that’s what I try to bring to my streams every time: fun.
What is the best way for our readers/followers to keep up with you?
The best way is probably through Instagram or Twitter (@honestgamermike). I am becoming more active on my Twitter account, and my Instagram is a combination being an account for my blog/streams as well as an insight into my personal life (aka lots of pics of my son). I also use an app called Discord; it’s something a lot of streamers use and I am constantly active in that. And if anybody else uses it they are more than welcome to join my server by clicking this link: https://discord.gg/TvYfXRh. It’s available on mobile, desktop and in a web browser for anybody who has never heard of it before. And obviously my Twitch channel.
Last question now that I’ve run you through the gauntlet. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I think the only thing I haven’t really gotten to touch on was my physical game library. I much prefer physical copies over digital and have built up quite literally a library. I’d say it’s close to 2,000 games now from current gen all the way back to Atari. I mentioned that I’m working towards a complete N64 set but I’m also working towards a modified PS3 library as well, and I have a series on my blog covering all those PS3 games as I play them. I’m going to have to make some room for Switch games though. I will admit I’ve never been this excited about a Nintendo console before and I really can’t wait to see what they bring to the table.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with The Switch Effect and for our readers to learn more about your gaming passion.