Joining The Switch Effect on today’s Industry Interview is Paul Murphy, Executive Editor of Switch Player Magazine. Have you been a fan of Nintendo’s newest console and want to get the inside scoop, read reviews, interviews and more? Then Switch Player Magazine is where it’s happening! Founded first as a website in 2016 and now includes a monthly digital/print magazine that that coincided with the release of the Switch, Paul and his team have put together the ONLY dedicated Nintendo Switch magazine on the market. Plus, you can have it sent to your house; just like the old days when Nintendo Power was still around! With issue #9 just hitting mailboxes and issues #1-8 still available on their website, now is the perfect time to sign up!
Paul, thank you for speaking with The Switch Effect. Before we dive into Switch Player Magazine, let’s get to you know you a little bit better. What was your first console/game you owned?
The first home console we had in the house was the Game Boy around 1990. Although technically my mother’s, I did play my fair share of Tetris on it! The first console that I actually “owned” as my own was the SNES, which I was bought in 1992.
What is your happiest childhood memory regarding video games?
We didn’t have much money when I was a child, so I didn’t get too many games. It meant that we (my siblings and I) played the ones we had quite extensively. Super Mario World is one of the few games I’ve played to 100% completion, all exits, silly masks and everything; same with Link to the Past. I still remember how chuffed I was to get all of the seashells.
A Nintendo Switch magazine? Yes please!
Prior to Switch Player, you actually ran The Vita Lounge. This was a website dedicated to Sony’s PS Vita. Can you provide some insight as to what got you interested in running a video game website?
I dabbled in a few things online, prior to The Vita Lounge I actually registered and ran The 360 Lounge with the aim of covering The Xbox 360. Running it with real-life friends it didn’t really work too well, but taught me a lot about PR and approaching gaming companies whilst I refined my approach. This application and hard work paid dividends with TVL.
I’ve always been fascinated about gaming and in particular, writing about games. There was no internet when I was a child, so all of our gaming news was derived from print publications which have ultimately left their mark on me. Specifically with TVL it was apparent that it either wasn’t being covered effectively by other fancies or in the case of the mainstream media, not at all. I saw an opportunity to make a site that actually might get people reading. I didn’t realize it would be as popular as it was.
Did you think that as 2017 draws to a close, you would be the owner of two video game websites and a magazine?!
Although I own TVL (and it will stay online indefinitely) it’s essentially just a review resource these days. A legacy website, I daresay (Vita joke there, folks!). TVL has been running for six years in 2018, so it’s not a surprise that I own multiple sites; the surprise is that they are visited. I still can’t believe that people visit either, and seemingly enjoy the content written there.
Let’s talk about Switch Player Magazine. The first issue debuted in February 2017 when the Nintendo Switch was one month away from release. Can you share some background as to how Switch went from a concept to a physical (and digital) magazine that Nintendo fans all over the world are now enjoying?
As noted above, magazines were left a huge imprint on my personality, and I was also a moderator for the relaunched Official Nintendo Magazine in the mid-2000s. I also had an affinity for fan-produced magazines and I suppose I always dreamed that I’d one day make my own, something I realized with TVL’s magazine. Switch Player, although its own venture is essentially an evolution of TVL. Because the magazine was a staple element of our coverage it was inevitable that we would follow suit. Well, once we’d decided to cover the Switch – that was only decided about a month after reveal!
Although we do maintain an online presence, it really is the magazine that is our crown jewel. The difficulty with the magazine was when we went from the initial cycle to a monthly one, setting up the routine that we now follow. Thankfully I have a team of outstanding people that really put the work in to make it happen!
Each issue is packed with content!
Who makes up the Switch Player team?
In addition to me we have Charlie, who is the editor-in-chief and my chief ideas bounce off-er. We speak every day about ideas, editing and direction and I’ve also met him many times in real life too. He’s a solid chap. There’s Jhonatan who does all of the art and production for the magazine. I sent him really, really bad paint images and storyboards and he makes them pretty. He’s a genius.
The team is currently extensive; we have Liam, Reece and Oliver R-1 as well as our newest team members Oliver R-2 (confusing!), James, Alex, Ethan and John. All of these fine folks do an amazing job and really buy into what it is I hope to achieve. It really is a team project.
I also cannot talk about team without mentioning Kyle, who is now doing his own thing at Switch Tactics. The man is a machine and a great friend, and I really couldn’t have done any of this without him.
Being Executive Editor is no easy feat! Can you explain some of the rewards and challenges that accompany this position?
There are plenty of challenges. Primarily being a dad, a foster parent, working in a school and being a husband are a challenge, let alone actually playing games and running a site. It’s a difficult balance and one that’s made better by having such an amazing complement of folks
contributing to, to offset some of the burden. It’s also difficult having to critique other people’s work and sometimes say things which may upset them, as has happened before. Managing a project that you have high hopes and expectations means that sometimes you have to make hard decisions for the best, which aren’t always popular.
This does bring immense satisfaction, though, when you see the kind words and messages and the fact that thousands of people are enjoying it. I’d make this for one person; that people seem to crave and love what we do is incredibly humbling. That said, you should never rest on your laurels or be complacent and we are always looking at ways to improve.
For those who have yet to experience the joy of getting their latest Switch Player Magazine, can you quickly comment as to what they’re missing out on?
Print magazines are cool. They always have been and regardless of your tablet/iDevice/computer magazines don’t run out of battery, often come adorned with some amazing artwork (like ours!) and are an instant resource of information. If you are looking for game suggestions, sure you can look online. Click. Look again. Click. With Switch Player you can flick through and peruse at your leisure. Also, not all mail that comes through the post is cool these days. Bills, letters, appointments, junk mail. Get something cool through your letterbox each month! With the latest reviews we also have great, well-written features from some fine talent.
Issue #10 is arriving in December, but make sure to pick up the back issues!
Can you tease what readers can expect in future issues?
We are working on a redesign for 2018 to make it easier to read, with a more professional layout. We’ve enlisted the assistance of the legendary 1990s magazine designer Wil Overton with ideas as it was one of the biggest things we have been told needed work. We are also working on more
features as well as speeding up the release of that print edition. We are even looking at doing a letters page – and possibly prizes too (if we get enough support!).
We are also looking into community site contributions too, featuring sites – not unlike this fine one – and getting them in with a subject. We’ve featured Jack Longman from Miketendo64 a few times and would love to enlist the help of a few more and really make this a community thing.
Let’s “switch” gears a bit. We at The Switch Effect are obviously huge fans of Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch. We’re sure you’re in the same boat, but what are your thoughts on the system?
I love it. Handhelds have always been my system of choice (let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a handheld you plug in the telly) for convenience and practicality, not so much the taking outside. As a married man with kids I cannot command control of the TV, so the ability to play games whenever without interfering with what the others are doing is not only considerate (thumbs up for considerate dad!), but convenient for me. The Vita has been my most-played system ever and this first nine months for the Switch have smashed it. Many Vita owners would do well to have a look here; it’s everything they wished a Vita 2 would be.
It’s got so many amazing experiences already, I cannot wait to see where they take it – it’s genuinely exciting to not only own one but to run a site about it. Nintendo are smashing it right now and I’m looking forward to having to juggle everything to make it fit, let alone experience it!
What new games are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Assuming they make it, Metroid Prime 4 and Pokémon but the truth is we do not know enough about 2018’s line up. Plus I’m still struggling with how I’m supposed to play Skyrim, LA Noire, Resident Evil Revelations, Doom, LEGO Marvel 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 at the same time so many of these will roll over.
If the 2018 schedule is even half as good as this year it’ll be incredible.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for your time doing this interview and thanks to every single person that reads anything that my team or I produce. It really means a lot and makes all of the hard work and effort worthwhile. If you do love what we do, then please consider supporting us, if you have the means. It would really mean a lot.
Thank you again Paul for taking the time to speak with The Switch Effect. With issue #9 in the mail and #10 releasing on December 15th, we look forward to the next installment of Switch Player Magazine!