Interview: Inside Gaming
“I skipped college life and all that stuff, so I’m living it now, which is great. We get drunk and play Dark Souls. Or we get drunk while playing Dark Souls. It’s all very bad.”
Playing video games is a huge part of Adam Kovic’s life. As one of the hosts of Inside Gaming, he reports on gaming news, plays games, edits videos and, occasionally, gets drunk. The best part is that it’s what he gets paid to do. As one of the biggest genres on YouTube, gameplay videos have grown immensely over the past few years and become the main occupation of its own, the top most subscribed person on YouTube ever being Swedish gamer Pewdiepie. So what is it like to spend every day playing games for a living?
I had a chat with the guys behind Machinima’s Inside Gaming on G4, gameplays and the size of their Drunk Souls-shots.
Inside Gaming, as explained by…Inside Gaming
Bruce Greene’s desk, in which Adam Kovic, Joel Ruben, James Willems and Bruce himself are all crammed around, is a familiar sight to thousands of gamers around the world. It is the setting of their Q&A videos, as well as the workspace in which the guys shoot their news show for Machinima, the show that has made them famous on the YouTube gaming scene. When I had a chat with them however, they weren’t filming any videos - instead, they were laughing at Joel’s arguably nerdiest moment during his years at university.
“In college me and my friends had a Smash Bros dojo. We actually had the room set up like a martial arts dojo and we would sit down on tatami mats on the floor and we had these codes of honour that you had to adhere to in the game, but it was still a competitive game and there were rules and traditions that you had to follow,” he said.
Through his game reviews however Joel got into the video game industry, and later joined the guys at Machinima, and with over 42 million views on their videos, it’s fair to say that Inside Gaming’s recipe for good gameplay videos works.
Bruce: “Originally, when Adam and I started it was just us playing and I had a lot of fun with those. Adam and I are very competitive with video games, so we’d usually yell at the game and yell at each other, but when we added James, what that did was give Adam the freedom to screw the game up as much as possible while he was playing.”
Adam: “That’s just how I play…”
Bruce: “And that’s exactly how you should play. And then that gave James the freedom to make amazing jokes because James is the funnier guy, and that also gave me the freedom to laugh at everything that’s going on. That is a weird recipe that I guessed would never happen, but it just did.”
If anything could describe Inside Gaming’s videos, it would be exactly that – a mix of Adam’s questionable gaming skills, James’ jokes and Bruce’s laugh. And with over 400.000 subscribers to their channel, their gameplay-style seems to be working in their favour.
Inside Gaming’s most recent gameplay video
All the guys started their video game career in G4TV, but despite working there at the same time, Adam and Bruce didn’t get to know each other before their time at Machinima began, a time Adam is more than grateful for.
“Bruce and I were there at the same time, but we didn’t know each other when we were there. But yeah, we all pretty much came from the same place. I was a talent booking assistant on Attack Of The Show. That’s actually where I interned at in college and from there I got a job, dropped out of college to work at G4, GREAT life decision by the way, and I booked people for the show…it was very unfulfilling.”
Having worked at G4 for almost 7 years, Adam decided the company was not working out for him, leaving it to join Machinima, which back then was nothing but a start-up company.
“Gaming doesn’t work on television. You can’t produce it fast enough, it doesn’t make any sense. I always knew the Internet would be the place where this stuff would eventually live and when I started at Machinima very early on my goal always was that I wanted this to be the dream of G4 that I had, but real, and that’s more or less what it’s become,” Adam said.
Inside Gaming Daily’s latest video
The career known as ‘YouTube Content Creator’ is a new and somewhat unfamiliar term to many, yet a job countless young people wish to have. With some of YouTube’s biggest names earning thousands of pounds on their videos, millions of people turn their cameras on themselves on a daily basis, hoping for large numbers of views and, eventually, the email from Google offering them a partnership and opportunity to get ad revenue. And despite the guys being employees of Machinima rather than self-employed video creators, they are still considered YouTubers – a job title that is hard to explain to many.
Bruce: “I’ll be honest. When people ask me what I do for work I say ‘I make videos on YouTube’ and they’re always like ‘what for?’ and I’m like ‘it’s about video games- really super nerdy’. If they wanna know more, I say that we report daily news on video games and the latter half of our day is spent playing video games, which sounds retarded, it sounds ridiculous, but that’s what it is! That’s the job. The other half of the job is making videos and putting them on YouTube. That’s what I say and I know it sounds ridiculous to a lot of people and it’s actually very hard to explain, so … usually I just say that I produce television.”
Joel: “I run a YouTube channel, that’s what I say.”
Adam: “Yeah, and then they go ‘but what do you do for work?’”
During their years at Machinima, the guys have not only been able to play games for a living, but travel, meet fans and host events. Some of their fondest moments includes a road trip where they barely spent time apart, and Bruce and Adam getting to host Inside Gaming Daily on the E3 stage live.
From their trip to Germany, one of their favourite memories.
One moment Bruce still laughs at however was when he tried to ask a question about Titanfall to a former co-worker of his, but failed to do so – and fortunately for his fans, decided to share the moment.
“That was not my best moment. I was so tired, I had no idea what it was I said. I was stone cold sober by the way, and I just had no idea what I was doing, what question I was asking and I was also very excited about Titanfall. I had worked with Abby for years, so I should have been able to asked her a normal question,” Bruce said.
Inside Gaming’s live streams have also been a great success, playing a range of games from Grand Theft Auto to Dark Souls II – or ‘Drunk Souls’ rather. For it was during this stream that the guys, like so many other gameplayers before them, introduced alcohol into the equation, taking a shot of Vodka every time their character died – which, for those familiar with Dark Souls know, is a difficult challenge. The aftermath was even more traumatic for Bruce.
Bruce: “They forced me to put rollerskates on and rollerskate around the office immediately after that gameplay, that’s not a joke. I had to test these rollerskates out.”
Joel: “What they’re not telling you is that the size of these shots were tiny.”
Bruce: “Oh shut up! We took like 12 shots of Vodka.”
James: “Here’s the thing. They were probably like half a shot. We had 13 total. So we took like 6-8 shots in an hour.”
Bruce: “That’s A LOT of shots.”
Adam, who plays Dark Souls outside of the stream, said he was usually better at the game than what the stream suggested.
”Any gamer can tell you there’s a lot of pressure having let alone two people watching you. Now multiply that with 1800. There’s lot of pressure to play a game well while someone’s watching you. When I get frustrated and I’m dying on Dark Souls it’s because people are watching me,” he said.
Besides their streams, one of their most popular gameplay series is The Cunt Life, a Sims- gameplay series, where they played as wannabe-actor ‘Cunt’, followed up with The Tunt Life, where they play as his “son”. The death of their beloved character from the first series was in many ways a blessing however, as his name became quite an issue with Inside Gaming’s co-workers.
Joel: “You should hear our sales team say it, they can’t even say it here. They’ll say “ the uhm, the uhm…Sims 3 gameplay videos…”
Bruce: “The best thing to happen was Tunt – now we can say the word.”
The game, which was introduced in one of their Steam Roulette episodes, was not the guys’ first pick of games to play, and was played simply as a joke. The fan response however was unexpected, and the guys have over 20 gameplay videos where they play both The SIms 3 and 4.
Bruce: “ James knew it so I was like “alright James knows the game so I feel like we can fake our way through it.” He still doesn’t know the game by the way, even though he’s played The Sims. I don’t think anyone thought it would go on for this long and become…what is it, a series, a show?”
James: “I ‘m still not sure what every button does…”
They all agree however that The Sims has had its finer moment, and the fans agree. In many ways The Sims could be one of the better games to make gameplay videos from, not just because of the fact that no player plays it the same way, but that it has unexpected glitches and weird mechanics that makes it highly entertaining.
“The best thing about The Sims is that the AI is so awkward that all we have to almost do is let Adam ruin the gameplay so the characters will do stupid things and James will make fun of the game. It’s perfect,”Joel said.
The guys took a break from The Tunt Life, but recently started posting gameplay from The Sims 4, introducing the new character Munt, and it looks like no matter how much the guys dislike the game they will continue to play it for at least a little while longer.
Adam: “The Sims is so incredibly random and we have no control over 90% of what’s happening, so we’re just watching madness unfold and it’s getting crazier and crazier with the whole thing that you can just keep on going after your characters die. I think we’re just gonna keep buying expansion packs.”
Joel: “And the only expansion pack we can’t get is the one that we want the most…”
Bruce: “Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats! She cancelled it, totally discontinued.”
James: “Probably cause she heard we were gonna try to get it.”