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Earlier, MakeUseOf sat down with Mike Matei of Cinemassacre to talk about its origins and Mike’s general responsibilities with the site. The interview was long, so it was split into two parts. Here’s part two; enjoy!
Mike’s Activities, Continued
MUO: Art is obviously one of your talents. How much time would you spend on the title cards used in older episodes? Will there be more of your art on Cinemassacre?
Mike: Up until episode 100 of The Angry Video Game Nerd, I did title cards to appear at the end of the intro. In the earlier episodes, I drew them very quickly. As the show progressed and grew more popular, I decided I should put some actual effort into them and make them look good. At that point they would take anywhere from 3 days to a week to draw.
For example, the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” title card (from Episode 94) took me about a week. Anyway, after that I decided to stop doing the title cards once the show reached episode 100. This was for the following reasons.
First, the title cards are unnecessary. The purpose of a title card is just to show the name of the subject at hand. If we want to do that for a game or movie review we can just use the box cover to the game itself or the movie poster. There’s no reason for me to spend a week doing completely new drawings when there is already pre-existing artwork that can be used.
Second, I have so many videos to edit for the website, I don’t have time to be spending half a week drawing a title card that only appears for 2 seconds anyway. For Cinemassacre, I edit Monster Madness, which is 31 reviews in the month of October. I also edit James and Mike Mondays. That comes out weekly, so that means 52 of those videos in a year.
Just those alone is 83 videos a year for me to edit. On top of that, I also edit other game reviews, Top Tens, movie reviews and so on. If I spent half my time drawing those title cards, these videos would never get done.
All that said, that doesn’t mean I won’t be doing drawings for Cinemassacre anymore. I just want my drawings to have more of a purpose. I also do the drawings for You Know What’s BS. With that show, I’m not doing title cards, I’m illustrating events that couldn’t otherwise be depicted.
For example, in one of them James wanted to have a vampire getting his head cut off. That would be too involved to film for a simple web video, so the only way to do it quickly is to just make a drawing. In situations like that, I feel like my drawings serve more of a purpose.
MUO: You’ve had a real-life guest as well: Lloyd Kaufman. He’s a pretty big name – what was it like having him as a special guest? Do you plan to ever feature famous people again as guests on Cinemassacre content in the future?
Mike: Lloyd Kaufman was great. We weren’t sure if he’d be willing to actually sit down with us and play NES, but he couldn’t have been more approachable and fun to work with. As for other future famous guests, only time will tell! I always thought it would be funny to get Jackie Chan to guest star in an episode about “Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu,” but I doubt that would ever happen!
MUO: The AVGN Movie is coming out soon, which is super exciting! What have your roles been during production?
Mike: I didn’t do too much concerning the movie because my responsibility was to keep the web content going while James worked on the film. I did help out with a few aspects of the film though. I did the audio syncing for the whole film and helped out with some of the miniature model effects shots. I gave some notes on the script in some of its early drafts and a few other things. It definitely has been cool to see it all come together.
MUO: Can you give us a fun fact or insider moment about the movie? Did anything extraordinary happen behind the scenes?
Mike: The only fun fact I can think of that involves me is that I designed the concept art for the monster in the film. The guys that actually built the suit did an amazing job bringing it to life. I never thought I’d actually see that thing in the flesh when I drew it on a piece of notebook paper in college!
Lots of cool things happened behind the scenes, but that’ll all be in the bonus features on the eventual DVD. Much more exciting to see it that way.
Mike’s Gaming Mannerisms
MUO: You seem to be up on newer consoles more than James. Do you still prefer retro games over modern ones? What is your favorite game genre?
My favorite gaming genres are: platformers, side-scrollers, puzzle, beat ’em ups, maze, shooters, tower defense, racing and strategy.
As for fighting games, I love Smash Bros. style fighting, but have never been very good at traditional fighting games (like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat) because I can’t remember or perform combo moves whatsoever.
My least favorite gaming genres would be sports, stealth, and point ‘n’ click.
As for first-person shooters, I love Doom and Wolfenstein, but I can’t stand stuff like Call of Duty. FPS games totally depend on the theme for me. If I’m shooting up zombies and werewolves, I’d probably like it, but if I’m wearing camouflage while drawing around in the dark, I’m going to hate it.
MUO: What’s your favorite system and why?
Mike: It’s hard to choose one, but it would either be the NES or Atari 2600. I’m all about playing skill-based games. Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania and Kaboom! are some examples of my favorite type of games. Those are the games that separate hardcore from casual gamers.
Also, you asked for my favorite “system”. But I don’t want to leave out arcade machines. Games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Galaga are what gaming is all about to me. There’s no BS with those games. Simple concepts that you can pick up in a minute, but test your skills to the fullest.
MUO: What are your top three favorite video games of all time?
Mike: That’s too hard of a question because my opinion can change daily based on my mood. But I’ll throw out three I love just for kicks:
- The Legend of Zelda (NES)
- Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (PC)
- Kaboom! (Atari 2600)
MUO: Besides video games, what are some hobbies/activities you enjoy?
Mike: Drawing, reading comic books, watching old cartoons, projecting 16 mm film, going on theme park rides, antiquing, psychic readings, and collecting all sorts of vintage stuff.
MUO: What has propelled you to continue putting out content over the years? Do you ever see yourself quitting?
Mike: Making videos is a ton of fun. It’s an endlessly creative process that’s rewarding on a lot of levels. I also just enjoy sitting around video editing. It’s funny, most people think of me as an illustrator that sits around drawing all day, but that’s really a false impression.
Most of my time is spent video editing. I consider myself to be a video editor first before anything else. I love the process of seeing a video come together, it’s like the satisfaction you get when putting together a puzzle. The overwhelming response from the fans has made it even more exciting to release new content and I would never want to quit, it’s too much fun!
MUO: Finally, what are your goals for the future?
Mike: To make more videos for Cinemassacre.com!! How’s that for some shameless self promotion? ;)
That’s All, Folks!
Many thanks to Mike for answering these questions. Hopefully, you enjoyed getting to hear a bit about one of the all-time greats of gaming videos.
In the mood to watch the AVGN after reading this interview? Dave has detailed his top six Nerd videos – check them out first!
Did you learn something new about Cinemassacre? What’s your favorite episode of the AVGN? Do you have any more thoughts about what Mike had to say? Let us know in the comments below!