I recently took the time to talk with Shawn Long of Nintendo Enthusiast, aka Youtube’s RGT 85. RGT 85 is one of the best retro gaming channels on YouTube and we talked about the retro scene and how his channel came to be and works. Have a read below.
JB: How did you get into retro game collecting?
SL: Retro game collecting was kind of a natural thing for me. I was born in 85 so I got to experience the golden age (in my opinion) of gaming as it was happening, but like most people my family couldn’t always afford to buy me the newest games and systems. So a lot of it is now I’m in a position where I can get the games or systems I always wanted to play when I was younger but never could, so it’s cool.
JB: What are some of the challenges with retro game collecting?
SL: The biggest challenge with retro collecting is by far the price. It used to be dirt cheap but as more and more people get into it the playing field is much more crowded. That pisses some people off, but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I like the challenge of trying to find a good deal or something you know? It’s a rush.
JB: You are a part of the Nintendo Enthusiast/Enthusiast gaming team and put videos up for them. What made you decide to start RGT 85 as a separate project?
SL: RGT 85 is a pretty interesting story. I used to do retro stuff on the Nintendo Enthusiast channel but it never got good views like most of my other projects so I kind of realized people didn’t really care that much about them that were subbed. I pitched an idea to Jason to kind of do more retro stuff anyways though, but we realized it wouldn’t make much sense to do stuff on like SEGA you know? Everyone else on the video team had a side project so I was just like “hey let me try one myself.” And the rest is history.
JB: What goes into the planning process for your videos? Do you have a step by step plan for each one? Do you wing them?
SL: As far as making a video goes it just depends on the project. Most of the time when it’s a discussion or whatnot I’m just winging it, all one take. Feels more natural and organic and I think that’s why people like me, because I can talk forever and not lose my train of thought or need to do splices. Bigger projects like Hidden Gems or Reviews are more of a planned out process for sure though.
JB: Your channel has grown significantly since you launched it. How has the experience of growing your channel been?
SL: Growing the channel has been pretty interesting to be honest. Since I had done vids with Nintendo Enthusiast Jason and I kind of learned what works and what doesn’t, and I’m friends with a lot of other YouTube people who have been kind enough to help me along the way with tips about like SEO and Tags and stuff. People don’t realize how hard it is to “make a name” for yourself or whatever in the community, because I’d say making the video is only 25% of the equation. Your tags, title, and marketing are far more important.
JB: Is there any game you have wanted to talk about, but felt for whatever reason, you couldn’t?
SL: One thing I don’t like to do is talk about things I don’t know. So if I’m not well versed in a topic or game, I’ll either study it and make myself privy to it or just skip it. Luckily my brain is like 95% random video game stuff, so it works out. Haha.
JB: What are some games that you feel are underrated 16 bit gems?
SL: There’s a ton of 16-Bit Hidden Gems. I’m actually doing a video on that right now for the Genesis, but I’ll mention one that no one ever talks about: Garfield – Caught in the Act. It was a later Genesis release, like 1995 I want to say, but the animation is some of the best on the system.
JB: Since you are a retro gaming fan, I must ask, at what point does a game system become retro?
SL: When something becomes “retro” is an interesting question. To me, I think if a system is over 10 years old, that’s retro. I mean it’s certainly not modern right? I know some people have the cutoff around the Dreamcast or whatever but I just feel like 10 years is an insane amount of time when you think of it in terms of gaming trends and games, so that’s good enough for me.
JB: What do you feel should be done to preserve classic games that are at risk of being lost forever?
SL: Emulation. There’s nothing wrong with it, you aren’t screwing over the people who made the game 20 years ago, so emulation is key. Thankfully though the theory that carts would stop working after 30 years seems to be a myth, and I think that “disc rot” is a bunch of BS too as long as you keep things nice and clean.
JB: What do you think of the trend of modern revivals of classic genres and games?
SL: I like the “new retro” stuff. Some of my favorite recent games have been of that variety. It just shows that all these “AAA” graphic intensive titles aren’t really what everyone wants.
JB: What are some retro series you would like to see revived?
SL: I’d love to see a vast majority of SEGA franchises like Shining, Streets of Rage, Landstalker/Timestalker, Phantasy Star (RPG style), Virtua Fighter, Vectorman, I mean there’s so many franchises SEGA just sits on and it’s like “What are you doing!?”
JB: Do you have anything you want to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?
SL: Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for talking to me! You can find me on YouTube at RGT 85!
Editor in Chief at Nintendo Enthusiast
Thank you again for doing this Shawn. You can follow Shawn on twitter at @ShawnLong85