One thing that has been a nice bonus from starting this blog is chatting with other retro game bloggers. juicygamereviews.com is one of our favourites and successfully combines retro reviews with current news and videos of extremely high quality. Despite being only launched last year, they have almost 3,000 followers on twitter and the YouTube channel has almost 4000 subscribers. We managed to catch up with its founder Gemma to find out what inspires her and what tips she has for other bloggers.
What inspired you to create Juicy Game Reviews? And what keeps you going?
I like this question a lot. Without getting too personal, having a purpose in a chaotic world keeps me sane and my real job is very stressful so this is my outlet. I started Juicy Game Reviews on June 2nd 2014. I’ve always enjoyed writing as an art and ‘gaming’ is my hobby, my passion, my ‘get up and go’ so it appeared to make sense to have a website. I like the idea that I have control over it and I can tailor it the way I want. Prior to starting back on Youtube in March 2014 I kept saying to Jess “I need something to change, I need more in my life than a regular job” My Youtube and Juicy Game Reviews go hand in hand.
What keeps me going? I love talking to other gamers. It’s my perfect world day to day. Each day I’ll post across all of my social media and chat to other people about their views on gaming topics. It’s awesome. I’ve met some amazing friends all over the world. In fact, we’re flying to the U.S soon and I’m meeting two people that have supported me for years. I think that’s great and it certainly keeps me going.
One Christmas my mum brought me a ZX Spectrum. I never expected a ‘computer’ at all but I can still see it as I walked through the living room door that morning. She didn’t even wrap it so it was literally sat on top of a bunch of presents. To my knowledge that was the only computer in our house. Unfortunately she died a few years later but if she was still here I’d want to know what motivated her to get it. I like to think she’s partially responsible for my gaming passion 🙂
What were the first games you owned/have fond memories of?
‘Horrace Goes Skiiing’ and ‘Skate or Die’ on the ZX Spectrum. These were the first two games I ever played or at least tried to play! The Speccy took a god’s age to load and would more often crash than succeed. Nonetheless, these two titles hold dear memories. The first stage of Horrace Goes Skiiing was about guiding him safely across a busy road before taking to the slopes. As a 5 year old I was rubbish at getting him across the road. I used to freak out because I couldn’t do it. Once on the slopes the goal was then to get him down without crashing. I beat the game a few times but I’d play it over and over.
Dizzy 3 Fantasy World was another personal gem of mine in 89. The notion of collecting items to progress to the next level fascinated me about Dizzy. As an adult my gaming taste evolved in to a love of RPGs. Having as much control of a game within an open world is my idea of a good night.
Which other retro consoles did you own as a child?
In 1991 my step sister had a Mega Drive for Christmas. Moonwalker, Altered Beast and Sonic 1 were the titles that kept us quiet that year. Whilst I didn’t officially own it, I played it so much from waking to sleep.
After the ZX Spectrum I didn’t own a console until the SNES. I got the Allstars boxset for Christmas one year. I used to pack it away after each use in fear of it getting broken or dirty! It’s crazy what us gamers do but it makes me laugh looking back. The SNES is my preferred retro console today and despite owning most consoles, this would be my preferred.
There is a LOT of content on the site, how long have you been doing this?
I started on Juicy Game Reviews on June 2nd 2014 so it’s almost one year old. I’m a perfectionist and I’m never happy though. I’m always trying to tweak it and make it a better experience. I wished I had the time and energy to post more. I wished I could do it full time.
One thing we really like are your YouTube vids – how long do they take to make, from inception to the finished article?
Thanks. First off, I want to say that I love doing YouTube. Yikes, from start to finish? Let me tell you the procedure so it’ll add context:
Set up and filming an episode (let’s say it’s a 10 minute episode) – This can take me one hour to record as I do numerous takes.
Uploading footage to my iMac – 20 minutes
Editing – cutting, adding overlays, special effects, adjusting audio, adding music – AT LEAST 3 hours for one video.
Thumbnail – One thumbnail takes me an hour.
Exporting the final cut to desktop THEN uploading to Youtube – One hour due to adding the description and tags etc
Overall, it’s an average of 6 hours per video. Longer episodes can take me 8 hours. I film on weekends mostly.
What were your favourite video game shows growing up?
I used to watch GamesMaster every week. We had no internet back then so I hung on to this 30 minute with bated breath each week. I can’t remember any others. I remember we wrote to show and asked for the Sonic 2 cheat. We got a letter back with the whole cheat written out on fancy paper. I wished I had that letter. I remember jumping around the living room with my brother. *laughs*
You mention that you met your partner (now wife) Jessica through blogging and YouTube, which is a great story, would you like to tell our readers more?
Absolutely. I’ve been on Youtube since 2010 and my channel was going pretty strong at the time. I saw her comments on my videos and thought “I like the way this person writes”. There was a lot of depth and thought in them. I checked her channel out and subbed. Eventually I commented on a video in which she talked about Retro Gamer Magazine because I collected it. It went from there really. We followed one another on Twitter and became really good friends. Now we’re married and reside in England together. All from YouTube or rather all because of gaming (hooray! – Ed).
Does Jessica help you with the site?
As far as the site goes I maintain it all myself. Sometimes I’ll ask for her opinion then disregard it *laughs*. Her background is marketing so she advises me on how to promoting Juicy Game Reviews so I pick up little tips along the way. She likes to think she’s responsible for it all but it’s my baby *laughs really hard* She’s a good advisory overall.
Do you prefer games now or retro ones (90s)?
EEK! That’s a tough one. Retro and current gen are so different that I don’t think I could make a final conclusion. I honestly couldn’t live without today’s games or games that I grew up with. However, if someone held a gun to my head and asked me to choose I’d have to go with retro gaming (double hooray! – Ed). It’s holds the most nostalgia with me and there’s more games to choose from. My retro gaming collection walks all over my PS3 and PS4 collection.
Which consoles do you currently play on?
I play all of my consoles. I recently did a video about my top 10 consoles of all time. I play the NES, SNES and PS4 the most. I’m totally neglecting Jess’s Wii U though so I’ll start to devote more time to this. When Zelda comes out I’ll be on the Wii U all of the time (as good a reason as any! – Ed).
I believe the gaming industry is the strongest industry within the technology/entertainment bracket. Look at GTA V. It roped in more money from sales than any film ever did. That’s amazing for the industry as a whole and a huge testament to the devotion of gamers. I’ve always said that no matter how poor the economy can be, the gaming industry always seems to thrive. So some gaming studios close but other studios open. The indie portion of developers seems to be thriving at present. I get a lot of requests from indie developers to play their games in beta and write reviews. What that says to me is that the industry is thrives at all levels. It’s not just at the top level, it’s all across the board.
In the early/mid nineties it was all about Sega vs Nintendo (until Sony came along). These two were the giants. It felt like other consoles didn’t matter outside of the Mega Drive and Snes. It’s slightly more broader now as we’ve got a stronger handheld market than we did in the 90s. The 3DS is going strong which has made gaming portable and more social. Often at events I see people playing in the Street Pass area. Whilst it’s not my thing I totally respect it.
Have you ever been tempted to go into video game design?
100% YES. I have zero training in this area but I’d love to learn. Overall, I wished my whole career could be in the video games industry. I doubt that will ever happen. Seriously. (you never know… – Ed).
What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to start their own gaming blog?
Make sure you have LOADS of time. Any kind of site needs a lot of TLC. Write with passion and take feedback. Time is crucial. It’s a huge commitment.
You mention earlier that you have a regular job, how do you successfully juggle both this and maintaining a blog/producing videos?
Juicy Game Reviews, YouTube and managing my social media leaves me no free time at all. I have a full time job that’s within a professional field and highly, highly stressful. My routine is to come home, have coffee and sit at my desk until 10pm. If I’m lucky I’ll have a night off and play some games. It’s totally worth it to me. I adore this hobby and maybe one day I’ll be able to do it full time. It’s doubtful at present but I’m hoping. It’s an amazing community and I’m happy to be a part of it (agreed – Ed).
Which video game character would you mist like to go for a drink with?
Lara Croft. No questions!!
You can follow Gemma on twitter @JuicyGameReview
Visit the site here www.juicygamereviews.com
And subscribe to her YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/thegebs24
– Adrian & Dylan