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  1. Recently, I had a chance to sit down and pick the brain of up-and-coming YouTuber Rumandapples of the Rumandapples Show. You can follow him on Twitter (@everythingisrum) and on YouTube. I first met Rum when I worked at Gamestop; he was an honest customer who wanted to speak to an honest employee. I stepped-up and the rest is history, and ever since I have been tuning into his shows. He probably doesn't remember this, but it happened—I promise. "Back in the day being a gamer meant you were a social outcast and gamers came together to avoid judgment, to enjoy something collectively with others. Now it seems that gamers are the ones casting judgment over others." Ciel: So let's begin by having you tell me who Rum is, that is to say what motivates the Rumandapples Show? What is it all about? Rum: The Rumandapples Show was originally a one time deal. Due to people becoming interested in the show I realized I should press forward with it. It continues to evolve as I do along with it. My motivation is basic and unexciting, to be quite honest; I enjoy talking about video games and giving my honest opinion. I give my honest outlook on the gaming industry, community and the games we play. I never wanted to be the guy with a million subscribers or fans with nothing to say. I only want to be myself. It is very boring, I know. Ciel: Your honesty is something I have always liked about your show; its why I listen to it in the first place. It never comes off as whining or entitled. A lot of broadcasters have this problem. How do you manage to stay objective and level-headed despite the general disappointment you may feel toward a particular product, company, and so forth? Now I say listen because unlike a lot of broadcasters you refuse to "show" yourself—which we will get into later, I promise. Rum: How I stay objective is that I try to look at things from multiple perspectives not just mine. Not sounding whiny or entitled is pretty easy. I do not put all my stock into video games it is a very small part of my life that I have been very blessed with being able to reach people who enjoy my thoughts and opinions. Yes it is not easy to covey disappointment without sounding like a cry-baby, but it really comes down to having a good reason why you do not like something. Ciel: And I think that's it. Your videos, that is to say your opinions, seem less driven by impulse. You do not rush to make a video, get hits, and move on. So I'm wondering what the process is like for you then in regards to writing and preforming for your show. Rum: I refuse to show myself simply because my personal life is no one's business. That is not said in malice. Besides, does what I look like have any actual impact on what I say? No, it does not. My videos are not made on impulsive decisions. I take lots of time to look over a new game or something happening in the industry, it really comes down to what I have to say and do. I think this provides validity and substance not just for me, but for others as well. Ciel: Now I know you have an opinion on those that do show their face. And I have to ask, what is it? Putting you on the spot here. In other words, how do you feel about people who show themselves? I am under the impression that they rely more on their 'presence' as stars or whatever rather than the content they present. To me, showing yourself allows you to be lazy. Rum: I think for some people the way they convey themselves is from a more visual presentation standpoint, others will use their so called "silly" or the tired-ass 'random' aspect to draw in people. This way of doing things does not contain substance; it is all just flash-in-the-pan nonsense that people lose interest in over time. I try to keep my focus on what I am doing and where I can go next in the years to come. Ciel: Before I touch on a question raised there, I want to address an issue you're always talking about as I think in some way, it ties into this whole YouTube, media phenomenon. In Episode 48 (look at me, doing my research) you briefly talked about your love/hate relationship with gaming. And I'm right there with you. So I have two questions. What is by your lights a bigger issue: games or those who play them? It seems like a happy Rum is a sort of rare thing and you are always somewhat disappointed in either a company for ethical reasons or disappointed in a game for a variety of reasons. So what is it that keeps you coming back—that gives you hope that gaming can get better? Certainly neither of us would complain about something if we did not care about it. I guess the bigger question I'm asking is: why do you care? Other than of course, it being an interest of yours (because ultimately you stand to lose only a hobby). "Hah! Nintendo most likely would hate my show and me. I think any company would hate someone like me..." Rum: The issue is both inside the games that companies are putting out these days and the gamers who play them. When it comes to the games we get, you can just look at the laundry list of remasters, remakes, constant franchising where it is not needed. Additionally companies give us games that look great but lack anything worth replaying a second time. With gamers I think we just need to readjust our attitude towards others in general. Back in the day, being a gamer meant you were a social outcast and gamers came together to avoid judgment, to enjoy something collectively with others. Now it seems that gamers are the ones casting judgment over others. There is no simple solution to the problems in gaming. We as consumers need to remain critical in order to get the best possible game that $60 can buy. Anyone who has a job or has real bills to pay understands my feelings. Gaming companies need to stop treating gamers like wallets with legs but that cannot happen unless we respond to companies and not buy into their horses**t they call advertisement. What keeps me coming back to gaming is hope. I hope that gaming gets better. I do not think what I say or my opinion is going to change anyone“s mind, but at the least it might help them see a different side of the sphere and maybe look into it for themselves To answer your other question on whether me being happy about a game is rare, you're right—it is rare when I am satisfied with a product. Maybe I am getting old or maybe I just look at the bigger picture differently. Gaming could make me happy if people stopped buying into hype. If people and companies stopped this day 1 DLC nonsense. The overblown amount of money companies spend to promote a game is notworth half that much, etc.. Ciel: On that note, do you care to join me in a moment of complaint over the new and 'free' Battlefront DLC? I am not sure if you have heard but players will be getting 'free' DLC a month after Battlefront launches. This DLC is the planet from the new film... which... also comes out a month after the game. Meaning this 'free' DLC that they are using to help promote the game and themselves is already made—and probably already on the disc— and is only being given to gamers a month later as to avoid spoilers for the film. I am sure "space battles" will be paid DLC as part of the premium package battlepack-ghost protocol-grabbag that you can only get if you pre-order the game and the season pass. "Gaming companies need to stop treating gamers like wallets with legs, but that cannot happen unless we respond to companies and not buy into their horses**t..." Rum: The free DLC is nothing more than lackluster way to promote the movie that most people who buy Battlefront are likely to see anyways. The game is not going to drive people to theaters at least it won't for me. It would not surprise me one bit to see a paid DLC option to gain access to full fledged space battles that used to be free in previous installments. Ciel: Speaking of potentially stupid company moves. Where do you stand on the whole YouTube/Nintendo debate? I made a blog post about it that ended rather inconclusively, and my primary concern was the hypocrisy of the whole "greed argument" and YouTubers calling out "greedy Nintendo" when in fact them not being able to post Nintendo videos results in less hits, less views, and ultimately less money. So the greedy guy is calling out the greedy guy and the whole thing confuses me to no end. Rum: I can understand the “greed argument†to a degree, and while Nintendo should of at the least adjusted their stance on YouTubers using their games to make their own content, I think that it is kind of sad Nintendo does not see the obvious assistance that free promotion, via YouTubers, can provide. This could make sales for their products go up considering all the money issues and commercial failures Nintendo has been having. Nintendo is an odd one to say the least. Ciel: I mean, I am sure you can talk about Nintendo; you just cannot show Nintendo products. YouTubers assume that the only way to 'advertise' a product or talking about it is to 'show it.' See what I mean? Lazy. But hey, I will digress so we do not linger here. I am pretty sure Nintendo would have no problem with your show. Rum: Hah! Nintendo most likely would hate my show and me. I think any company would hate someone like me due to the fact that I am a very hard apple to please when it comes to video games. But I talk about Nintendo all the time on my show and I do not require Nintendo footage to do so. A lot of people tend to follow trends or look at what they know is successful and that“s not the way to go. You have to be yourself and enjoy what you do; people pick up on bulls**t they can sense it. Ciel: What is Rum's favorite game? Do you prefer to talk about products you like or things you dislike? There always seems to be this undertone to your videos that is trying to steer gamers away from their habits. Habits of which have made me cringe when people call me a 'gamer.' Habits that make me say, "I play video games—a lot, probably more than a 'gamer.' But, I am not a gamer." Your show advocates for a sort of image change if you will, but nothing that is too overbearing to the point of being paternal. Do you feel like it is more effective to discuss what is wrong with gaming or what is good about it? Rum: To pick one game as my favorite is unfair to some great games out there. I enjoy retro titles like Flight of The Amazon Queen, Full Throttle, Contra and the like. When it comes to current games today? The picking is very slim but I can say that Sunset Overdrive is something I can manage to enjoy because it is pretty much human pinball with guns. Oh, and Payday 2. I do not intentionally try to talk about all the negatives in gaming but they are very apparent and I feel many of the topics I talk about are ones others do not care to discuss. The last thing I want to come off as is paternal. I think the audience I have enjoys me picking at the things gamers do that make us all look like jackasses. When it comes to effectiveness it is a mix bag really. All in all, I always go by the formula of my honest opinion because whether someone agrees or not they will appreciate and respect the honesty you put into it. Ciel: Do you feel that the reason people do not discuss the topics you do (or even in the way that you do) is because they have a larger audience to lose? Most people start on a gimmick and fail to deviate. The apple cores of the world—the apple nation if you will—is no doubt growing and I think that is because you have a human presence that most 'educated' gamers are able to relate to, are able to have meaningful discussion with. You certainly provide some type of insight and your videos generate a decent amount of thought. Understanding this, what does the future of the show look like? Do you envision a large Rum and Apples website where apple-cores can get together or are you more inclined to leave their discussions to YouTube, Twitter, etc.? Rum: I am sure with some very successful YouTubers that have cultivated a certain gimmick they cannot deviate from because they will lose subscribers but that is their own fault. They decided to convey themselves with an on-screen persona that does not allow them to touch on certain topics. My thought was always f**k a gimmick, why bother? It is just a character; it is not really yourself. If people like or dislike me, let them do it because of my real thoughts and opinions not something I doctor up because it will get me views. I love my apple cores; they are not only vocal and opinionated, but they are very intelligent to boot and I don't say that to make myself feel good; it is just a fact like the sky on Earth is blue. They tell me when they disagree, when they agree, and what they feel. It is good to inspire discussion and debate about the things we love in a neutral forum where you can get your point across and the discussion does not turn into adults arguing like five-year olds. When it comes to a website of my own, it is not time just yet. I get featured on GTN Gaming Tech News, Blackout Media, and now this lovely interview piece with Game Podunk. When enough people start asking me about it, I can then seriously consider making one. Ciel: I mean I could easily keep you here, but I think with that we will kind of wrap it up. Is there any sort of final thing you want to sign off with? What's up next for you? What topics in the gaming world are currently of interest. Rum: Thank you for the interview first and foremost; I am actually surprised anyone would want to. Secondly I want to thank the applecores who believe in me and continue to be a source of inspiration. What is next for Rumandapples? I will continue to do the Rumandapples Show every Monday and “Across The Pond†with @Roshu666 every Friday and of course I still host the Hour of Blackout Podcast. Other than that I have been asked to play some games lately so I will be tossing that on my channel as well. Gaming topics in general: I want to see what happens to Nintendo in the long run, Konami and their strange idea to continue the Metal Gear Solid series even with the original people responsible for it gone by next year, how cyber-crime will continue to be handled in the future (i.e. swatting and ddosing). I could go on forever... Ciel: Awesome. Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time. Rum: No problem brotha man.
  2. Last Spring, a Kickstarter for an alpaca-themed game called Alpaca Party was brought to our attention, and now—several months later—we've had a chance to interview the studio behind it, Meow Puff Games, as represented by Jessica Zamora (aka "izzybird"). _____________________________________________________________________ GP: So I heard you guys really like Alpacas; what brought about this love for the furry critters? JZ: Alpacas are super cute and they're pretty weird, so we instantly loved them! Also, they aren't just for looks (like a cat); they can be shaved for riches! But not really in real life because there's a lot of reality that ruins dreams, BUT in a game you can totally live off of alpaca wool riches. The simplicity is part of the fun [in my opinion]. :3 GP: Obviously your Kickstarter was successful, what was that process like for you? Did you have any stand-out experiences during the funding period, or after? JZ: It was pretty stressful; you put yourself out there and it's scary to think of not only failing but doing so publicly AND with a permanent archived website. GP: Did you have any stand-out experiences during the funding period, or after? JZ: I remember seeing one woman backed up for ~$300 (I think?) and we were so surprised because it wasn't someone either of us knew [in real life]; which is totally crazy!! GP: Would you consider Kickstarter for your next project? JZ: YES!!!!! We would definitely want to utilize Kickstarter again! Honestly, I feel like it was our intention all along to get to a point where we can make a larger scale project (which requires more money), but we wanted to prove to the world/internet that Meow Puff Games can deliver a small scale project first. Because seriously, there are so MANY Kickstarters out there that have screwed people over; as a backer, I'm more hesitant to hand out help now because of them. GP: Congrats on your Android launch! When can iOS users expect to join the Alpaca Party? JZ: Excellent question!! (This a standard I-Don't-Know response, hah!) Right now we are waiting for Apple to respond to us regarding IAP contracts, so we're probably looking at a February release. I'm not going to rant about Apple, it does take longer and the barrier to entry is a pain, but I really do believe the quality on the App store is higher than on the Play store. (My [point of view] does not represent all of Meow Puff Games, and only represents myself Jessica.) GP: Have you considered any other platforms? JZ: Alpaca Party is definitely a mobile/tablet-designed game so in that regard we have considered Windows phones, but we don't have any devices to test on [at the moment], and since there are so few Windows devices it's not really worth the amount of effort. GP: During my visits to Japan I've become aware of the Alpaca phenomenon that seems to stem off the Alpacasso plush toys. Did these influence your art style at all, or was it something else entirely? JZ: Yes! I actually own three Alpacasso plushies!! (one is really big X___x) They're so cute and I love their adorable faces! These alpaca definitely inspired our kawaii-themed alpaca art, along with a mixture of our artist's own person flavor! Our amazing artist is Nicole Rusk, feel free to check out her portfolio! http://nicolerusk.com/ GP: Since your game is available in both English and Japanese, I was wondering how much Japanese involvement you had with the development of this game? JZ: I studied Japanese in high school and visited Japan during that time, and I've pretty much always been one of those lame people who loves Japan and video games since I was a kid (*laughs*). Although, I haven't practiced in years so most of the localization credit really goes to Google Translate. GP: Have you ever played Paca Plus? (Check out our review here) Greatest dating sim ever Y/N? Have you played the sequels that have unfortunately not been translated into English (yet!)? JZ: (*Laughs*) No, I haven't played Paca Plus! I don't know what that is, but since you said it was a dating sim I am highly intrigued. Is it better than the pigeon dating sim?? (Is anything?!) [Editor's Note: For the uninitiated, Jessica is referring to the one and only Hatoful Boyfriend] I also haven't played the sequels, but I will look into the first one and get back to you (*laughs*). Note: This is a screenshot is from Paca Plus, not Alpaca Party GP: What's up next for you guys after this game? Perhaps Alpaca Party 2? JZ: After all the loose ends are tied up for Alpaca Party (iOS release & Kickstarter goods) I believe we will take some time to focus on our day jobs. (Alpaca Party & Meow Puff Games are side projects for now; that is, until we can accumulate enough funds to support our indie studio full time.) Our next game is a ways away; however, we will be turning in our cute alpaca and breaking out a super cool, badass shmup (shoot 'em up)! So look forward to that! A big thanks to Jessica for the interview and her time! Be sure to check out Alpaca Party on Google Play right here! And if you enjoyed this interview, leave a comment below letting us know what you thought!
  3. Meet the Podunkers 2 is the return of the much beloved blog series I started many moons ago with the intention to feature members of the community, a sort of gamer spotlight if you will. Hopefully we can make these a regular feature again! Today“s interviewee is the long lost blogaholic, Dan "FrostedSloth" Curtis! What's the first game you've ever played? My first ever game - that I can actually remember that is - was Mickey Mouse's Castle of Illusion on the Sega Megadrive. That's the Genesis, for all you American types. What a game that was; it still holds a special place in my heart to this day. I can remember distinctly playing it on a Christmas morning when I was but a wee munchkin, and never, ever being able to actually finish it. As an adult one of my produest accomplisments was finally mastering it. Describe your current gaming setup. I have my own designated games room in my house. Technically it's the spare guest room, but I've basically taken over it with my gaming stuff. Inside I have all of my gaming collection - a huge box filled with games stemming back from the PS1 onwards - several cool geek posters and an excellent Sonic made out of felt that my friend made me, a chest of drawers covered in arty ripped comic books, and all of my consoles. Currently I own a PS3, PS4, 3DS, Wii U, Xbox 360 and still have an old original Xbox, PS2 and Wii kicking about somewhere. I've also got loads of Guitar Hero controllers (I know, retro, right?), headsets and various other stuff that I forget. I'd say I've got several hundred games in my collection ranging from stuff like the original Crash Bandicoot to the things that released this year. Name the one game that changed your life, that is, what's the one game that made you into the gamer you are today? Got to be Final Fantasy 7. This was one of the first gaming experiences that truly blew my mind from the very start. To this day I can still play through FF7 and love every second of it. Great soundtrack, amazing villain, brilliant characters and everything else all combine together to make one of the best experiences available on any platform. Funnily enough, this wasn't even my game. My dad, who used to game, bought it for himself to play through. That lasted all of two days and I quickly stole the game for my own purposes *insert best evil laugh here* This game is also responsible for my love of the JRPG and I'm really hoping FFXV makes amends for XIII. What is your all-time favourite game EVER? Again, probably FF7. If it had a direct competitor from the modern era, it would have to be Batman: Arkham City. I've always loved Batman, so when Rocksteady made one of the best Batman games ever, I was always going to love that too. I think I've played through it about six times now, and it only came out a couple of years ago. What's your story? How'd you end up on Game Podunk? What brought about the return? Our story begins on a snowy Christmas eve. The snow, beautiful and white, whirled outside the windows as a young Dan Curtis stumbled across an advertisement for bloggers on VideogameJournalismJobs.com, followed through the link and began his blogging career. In all seriousness, that's what happened. Minus the snow and Christmas. I was at university at the time studying for my degree in magazine journalism, and as a side project I wanted to get involved in game writing before I went out into the big bad world of work. At the time GP was one of the only sites out there offering actual money for quality content, so - not quite knowing if I was good enough to fit the bill - I started blogging. What happened next was pretty unsuspected. My work was promoted to featured status extremely quickly, and I also established a rapore with the current overlord of GP, NashKirb. This then lead eventually to me becoming a GP Editor, taking control over site development, articles and working closely with everyone's favourite lovable GP rogue, Jason Clement. Unfortunately as my university career was wrapping up at this point I had to consider my next move in life, so - with an extremely heavy heart I might add - I had to leave GP for another site which was promising regular steady payments. That turned out to be a load of rubbish, and after discovering this, I moved on to my own project, ManaTank.com. When I was looking for a job and had time to work on it everyday, MT went from strength to strength. Then I got one of those job things, the people I worked with made the site into something I didn't like, and I cut ties. Since then I've been working as a content editor during the day where I write words for a network of websites. I also write on the side for WhatCulture.com, but part of me always wondered what was happening over at GP. I'd been investigating every so often for a while what was going on at GP, but - on a whim - I decided to just bite the bullet, make a return and see what was going down with everyone here. I'm happy to see so many familiar faces still kicking around on GP, and have been welcomed back with open arms. In the future I hope to help out around here when I can (and I'm much more experienced now than that fresh-faced idiot who was still at university!). Be honest, how much did you miss us? I honestly did miss everyone. When I worked for GP it was one of the most tight-knit working communities I'd been in, where everyone worked extremely hard to make GP the best it can be. Like I said before, it's great to catch up with some old friends and to see what's happened over my abscence. Anything else you'd like to add? Dan Curtis is back! Watch this space to see what happens. ...If Jason will let me help, that is What did you think of the return of MTP? Who remembers Frosted?
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