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Interview: The Blue Owl Plays

Welcome to Friday Night Smack- I mean FineTuning347 Special interview! Today my guest is the mad hatter going by the name The Blue Owl Plays! He has made the Video Game Crossover Mashups which features the famous Jim Ross does video games, Games In a Nutshell, music videos and even Let’s play with a twist! This is how the interview played out!

3.47: So how did the name come about?
The Blue Owl Plays: Years ago, a friend read me one of those internet things where you give two pieces of personal information about yourself and get things like a jedi name/superhero name/etc. One of them was to decide a gamer tag, which the combination was favourite colour and favourite animal, and voila, my gamer tag was The Blue Owl. When it came to starting the channel, the username “TheBlueOwl” was taken, but I knew that I wanted to start all of my gameplay commentary videos with “Hello and welcome to The Blue Owl plays (game name)”, so “TheBlueOwlPlays” became my username.

3.47: So you happy to hear about the new star wars films?
TBOP: I’m going to lose all my nerd street cred here, but I’ve never watched a single Star Wars film, so I’m pretty indifferent about the new film. I’m not sure why I never got around to watching them, although I imagine a lifetime of people saying “Luke, I am your father” whenever I told them my name probably put me off the series on a subconscious level.

3.47: Yeah that can be pretty annoying! I’m surprised to hear you not watched any though! You mention superheroes earlier, what’s your favourite one?
TBOP: Without question, Hit-Girl from the Kick-Ass series, I’ve always preferred non-superpowered tech-based superheroes. A spear wielding, foul mouthed, cocky purple haired teenager running around chopping bad guys to bits? What’s not to like!

3.47: In a perfect world I would love a woman like that! Have you just seen the films or have you read the graphic novel as well?
TBOP: I plan on picking up the graphic novel in the future, so far I’ve only seen the films, I hope it’s another example of “Scott Pilgrim Syndrome” where the source material is twice as good as the film.

3.47: Well let’s hope they end the final film like the book! So you do let’s play as well, what games are you currently working on at the moment?
TBOP: I’m trying to move away from the “traditional” Let’s Play style and make more compact commentary videos, I’m currently working on a video called “Mirror’s Edge in a Nutshell” which is based around summing up the entire story of Mirror’s Edge in a few minutes. It’s gonna be a time consuming project but I’d love to do that for some other games. I’m also planning on some more single episode Let’s Plays where I give away a copy of the game I’m playing. I have copies of FTL, Super Meat Boy and Portal 2 as well as a few other games to give away. I plan on starting work on those videos once the Steam summer sale is over.

3.47: I was going to ask about the Steam sale! You got a video with £50 and a bit of change on the table making its way to the computer! How much have you spend on the sale so far?
TBOP: Luckily I’ve managed to save myself from poverty so far, as any sale veteran will tell you, only focus on the flash and community choice sales (saving the daily’s for the last day). The only games I’ve bought have been State of Decay and Gunpoint, I think the cost was about £6 for both of them. (I’d also like to clarify that no money was harmed in the making of that video, it was relocated to a lovely new home in my local supermarket)

3.47: I’ll let everyone know they went into a charity box!
TBOP: (Laughs), yes, a charity, the “Luke is hungry and wants food” charity.

3.47: So you’ve been able to restrict yourself! That’s good to know!
TBOP: I’ve only restricted myself so far because I know what the last day of the sale will be like, that’s where all my money will likely go!

3.47: Are there any games that you start and regret it?
TBOP: Remember Me was a big disappointment, the game, visually it had a beautiful cyberpunk feel and the setting of a futuristic dystopia where memories can be relived, edited or deleted was incredibly interesting and I was even able to overlook the fact that people in Paris all spoke English but the gameplay was depressingly linear. Follow the arrows then rhythmically tap the mouse buttons to fight, I’d had enough of that after half an hour, that game only needed a tiny bit of exploration to be brilliant, but instead it just felt cramped, I still haven’t finished it and probably won’t.

3.47: Yeah I agree with you I really wanted to like the game but it did feel bland! I think this is the problem we have with most games though. For myself Murdered Soul Suspect could of been a bit better but it felt like it lost it’s way.
TBOP: Certainly is a problem with a lot of triple A releases these days, too much focus on spectacle shots for the trailers and magazines and not enough focus on the gameplay. Murdered Soul Suspect looks like it has a nice idea behind it, but if the Zero Punctuation review posted earlier today is anything to go by, it didn’t know what it wanted to focus on.

3.47: Exactly which is a total shame! Side note do you like bacon?
TBOP: I think on the internet it’s a law that you have to enjoy bacon, so I am legally required to say yes.

3.47: (laughs) I don’t why they would make something like that! So how much room did you clear off your hard drive after you and Pete were playing Super Meat Boy?
TBOP: Ah, I can’t remember, I think I just deleted about an hour’s worth of footage, or moved it to my external hard drive, that was quite the fun end to a video XD


3.47: (Laughs) It was pretty unexpected! You did leave the channel for a while because you felt it wasn’t fun any more. Do you feel it put you off gaming for a bit as well?
TBOP: My plan was to record multiple videos and then come back with regular and consistent updates, but then life got a little hectic and I kinda forgot about the channel and gaming for a while. When I came back to it I thought about what I wanted to do with it and realized I wanted to focus on funny, heavily edited videos more than Let’s Plays, so I threw myself into working on the projects I had half finished (such as the Steam Sale and WWE commentary videos) and now I’m in a stage where I could upload two videos a week for the next three weeks before having to work on anything else, which is a comforting thought.


3.47: I can’t deny it those Jim Ross does video games is just pure gold! I remember someone showing it to me and I was crying! How did it all come about?
TBOP: Thank you very much! Well, Jim Ross mashup videos are nothing new, but I’d never seen any based off video games, except for a few that only used a single clip and were about 20 or so seconds long. So the idea of making a minute and a half video filled with different voice clips and different games was in the back of my mind for a while.

Then, I uploaded my Democracy 3 video on the same day the game was released;  I think it got about 2,000 views within the first few days (Being topical means views, who knew?). Based on that video’s success the idea of joining a partnership network and being able to monetise my videos came to mind. I wanted to join the Curse network (www.unionforgamers.com), their 90/10 split and no lock in made them the best network for small channels in my opinion. However, in order to apply for membership, you needed 8000 views in the last month if you had below 1000 subscribers (I had about 100 subs at the time). I thought the Jim Ross mashup idea had potential, so I made a quick video as fast as I could, in the hope that I might be able to get the 6000 views I needed by the end of the month to reach their application requirements.

I spread it around to a few wrestling focused Facebook pages, http://www.facebook.com/wrestlingmemes and a few other pages shared it, this was a huge help and resulted in the video receiving 10,000 views within the first night. More than enough to allow me to apply to Curse (I did and was accepted) but the views just kept coming in, things calmed down at around 70,000 and the views have been gradually climbing since (had quite a shot in the arm since the second episode made it to the front page of reddit.com/r/gaming). The fun I had making it has caused me to gradually move towards more edited gaming videos rather than Let’s Plays.

3.47: So it isn’t so easy and simply then. Wow so that video got you some pretty high views! And like you said you were featured on Reddit front page! Do you look back on it now and think I created a monster?
TBOP: It certainly isn’t. My channel is a year old and I think I’ve been incredibly lucky with how well it’s done in this time, I’ve been tiring to “make it” on YouTube since I started vlogging back in August 2011, only now have I attracted a (for me) large-ish audience, and even with that I have no idea how many of them will regularly view my content.

3.47: It isn’t and I think a lot of people may think it is!
TBOP: I was certainly one of those people.

3.47: What the best advice you can give people who want to be like you?
TBOP: Well, first I’d like to make clear that I no way think I’ve suddenly “made it”, a couple of days ago I had 300 subscribers and my videos had been lucky to pass 100 views, I could very easily be right back to that stage if I’m not hardworking and lucky from here on out. Yesterday’s video could be a fluke, I have no idea what’s going to happen from here. Although, in terms of advice on how to gain views and hopefully an audience, upload regularly, try to keep your content consistent in terms of subject and quality and don’t be afraid to post your videos anywhere they might be welcome (Reddit is a good place for this, there’s usually about 4 different subreddits I can post a video to). But, the two most important pieces of advice I could give are to not only create content that you would watch, but to create content that you would show to other people, because that’s what you want people to do. Also, don’t expect your channel to go anywhere, don’t expect to be the next YouTube sensation and don’t expect to be able to quit your day job, you will be disappointed.

3.47: Yeah I think that’s a very important point! Personally I still do the blog for fun and that’s how I like it to remain. Like you said earlier about you having a break away from it, it does help to leave and come back with a clear mind!
TBOP: It certainly does help to take some time away if you’re getting bored or tired with something, you’ll re-approach it with a fresh perspective and fresh ideas. Exactly, ideally you should aim for things like blogging and YouTube to become paid hobbies, not jobs.

3.47: And before people start asking me how much do I get paid for doing my blog, I like to stress I don’t. I’m doing this for the pure fact of fun, nothing more than that. A lot of people have complained about YouTube changing it rules around, how has it effected you?
TBOP: Well, the things like contentID sweeping all gaming videos and meaning nobody can make money was worrying (obviously less so for me than for people who do this for living), but even I am making a small amount off gaming content, and I’m a small channel partnered with a fairly small network, so it seems like we were worrying about a lot of smoke with no fire. In terms of things like Google+ integration and the subscription boxes not always being perfect, yeah it’s irritating, but it hasn’t hindered my use of the site as a viewer or uploader. Although the removal of subscriptions from the front page was a terrible, terrible design choice, I’ve bookmarked my subscriptions page and treat that like the YouTube homepage, I’d recommend everyone does so if they haven’t already, I’m there for the people I’m subscribed to, not PewDiePie.

3.47: Yeah exactly and it goes back to the point you made earlier about people thinking it’s easy and they can just live on making videos on YouTube. It’s not the case at all! So let’s say Google gives you the keys to YouTube, what’s the line of business you’re going to take action on?
TBOP: Oooohhh now there’s a question, obviously the first thing I’d do is make every video on the front page one of mine, it’s the obvious choice!

But seriously…

I think a lot of things about how YouTube is set up are actually pretty good, the results being listed based on audience retention time and interaction rather than views was a welcome destroyer of the clickbait titles and thumbnails and retention and interaction are true measures of quality if you ask me. I’d put subscriptions back on the front page, I still forget that they’re not there any more since I’m so used to going straight to the subscriptions page and ignoring the “what to watch” bit. The early 2012 homepage design (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v624/Seph64/lol-internets/lol-youtube-linux.jpg) was probably my favourite, a nice triple column layout, personal info (subscriptions, new comments/messages) on the left, uploads from your subscribers in the centre, with recommended videos along the right. I’d have the “popular on YouTube” page they’re currently using as the front page as an optional second page (which users could set as their default if they wanted). Most importantly, I’d also add a “growing channels” section, a page that displayed the most successful videos from channels with less than 10,000 subscribers, I think there needs to be more support to build up new channels and new revenue creators for YouTube.

3.47: Agree with you on that one! Hopefully someone up there is listening! Do you still watch wresting now and how do you feel about it?
TBOP: I do, I feel like the product has been making some vast improvements, it’s great to see the women’s division slowly being given more attention, the breakup of The Shield has been handled brilliantly as well. NXT is an excellent wrestling show too, in that it’s a wrestling show first and an entertainment show second.

3.47: I won’t let I was pretty upset with The Shield breakup but hey if it’s best for business … What can I say! What was your reaction to The Streak ending?
TBOP: I feel like I’m the only one who feels this way, but I’m happy the streak ended and I think the perfect person was chosen for it. Undertaker was only getting older and slower, and with it being the 30th Wrestlemania, the time seemed right to introduce new eras and end old ones. The streak had became the biggest prize in WWE, would make their first loss after breaking the streak a huge one, possibly as big as the Undertakers’ loss at Wrestlemania. Brock Lesnar was already a monster heel, Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece and his UFC career was more than enough to make him a believable threat, now he’s the ‘final boss’ of WWE and an incredibly useful tool is building up their next big face (probably gonna be Roman Reigns) whoever beats Brock Lesnar will definitely be the next big thing. Well, that is, unless Lesnar’s momentum and the Undertaker’s legacy is sacrificed to have Cena win at Summerslam, I don’t think it will happen, but we all know how often Cena ‘overcomes the odds’

3.47: Who is/was your favourite wrestler? Any reason why?
TBOP: CM Punk’s ‘Pipebomb’ promo is what got me back into wrestling and for a long time me watching Raw was just “Let’s see what CM Punk is doing this week” so even though he’s retired now, I’d say he still takes my no. 1 spot. I wouldn’t say I really have a favourite, although the people I look forward to seeing the most are Paige, AJ Lee, Bad News Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan.

3.47: CM Punk is to me STILL the best in the world and I have to respect his decision if he feels he can’t go on. At the end of the day, no one but yourself can say how much you can take. I know people are saying he took his ball home and ran away with it, but I don’t see it that way at all. I’m also hoping Daniel Bryan doesn’t need a second operation as well but if he does, so be it. Looking at the list, I did notice no Roman Reigns! Do you think they are pushing him to the top too fast?
TBOP: I do like Roman Reigns, but I wanted to stop the list from getting too long, and he has shown the least character development since the Shield split. He’s clearly being built up to be the next big face, I think he can handle it but worry it might be a bit too much, too soon.

3.47: You recently released the Still Alive music video which was awesome! Have you got any more planned?
TBOP: Thanks! I don’t have any plans for more music videos at the moment, the Still Alive video (like with my Tenacious D video for The Walking Dead) was something I wanted to work on because I loved the game and just wanted to put my all into making a good music video for it.

3.47: Hey things can change you may want to do another one at a later date but either way nice job on it! I was really taken back by seeing the Mirror’s Edge video and thinking wow! How do you about Microsoft pulling the plug on Games for Windows?
TBOP: I didn’t know it was happening until now! I use Steam pretty much exclusively, so I don’t really have an opinion on this.

3.47: I guess for some of the people who are hardcore achievement hunters, it’s more annoying for them because now they can’t unlock those achievements at all. But yeah I think with a service like Steam, you can’t really compete with it! Speaking of Steam, how do you feel about the Steam box?
TBOP: I honestly don’t know what to think about the Steam Box, I won’t be getting one so haven’t been following the updates on it. I worry it may confuse people a bit too much, as I suppose it’s targeted mostly at console gamers, who seem to enjoy the simplicity of consoles, they may not know which box they should get or why. It’ll be ideal for those who only have laptops and want to get into PC gaming though, although I don’t know if that will be a big enough market.

3.47: And how do you feel about the Android consoles like Ouya?
TBOP: I think Ouya has proven that Android consoles are not good ideas, if it can be ran on your phone, why would you want to run it on a console instead? It just seems to be trying to bridge a gap between two sides that are quite content to be apart.

3.47: How important is feedback to you?
TBOP: A bit, I read every comment I get and will reply to the ones that I feel I have something to say to, ultimately I’m going to make what makes me happy, but if someone has an opinion on how I could make it better, I do take their opinion on board if I think it’s valid.

3.47: To me feedback is always important and like you said if they are saying ways to improve then fair enough but if they are not, then yeah I pretty much switch off if it’s just them been very rude. What’s your favourite song at the moment?
TBOP: I don’t think I have just one favourite song, mostly because I only listen to music as background ambience, so here are some artists I enjoy: Gorillaz, Solar Fields, Bossfight, Tycho and Placebo off the top of my head.

3.47: Yeah that’s fair enough! I think at the end of the day we need when we are working on things to keep us motivated! Good list of groups you got there as well! What’s your favourite movie?
TBOP: Another hard one! Like music, I usually watch films in the background whilst working on something or playing a game, if I had to pick a favourite, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is something I’ll probably never get bored of (The real world with video game logic? Sounds like heaven to me)

3.47 reads the answers … then

3.47: I don’t think I can say anything more than that! Are there any film reboots that you are thinking why would you do that?
TBOP: I don’t really follow the film industry, but aren’t they making another Dumb and Dumber? If so, I think that’s a terrible idea, the original films were filled with 90’s humour, and I’m not sure two men in their 50’s could really pull it off these days, I certainly could be wrong though.

3.47: What’s your favourite video game?
TBOP: Mirror’s Edge, with Team Fortress 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker also being high on my list.

3.47: After seeing the trailer at E3 for the new Mirror’s Edge, how hyped are you for it?
TBOP: I’m incredibly excited for Mirror’s Edge, so far everything they’ve suggested seems like amazing additions (non-linear levels, quicker combat and faster pole climbing), I’m really liking the more-modern design, I can’t wait for the game.

3.47: Any games that you wish they got the HD treatment or would you rather they stayed in the past as you remember them as?
TBOP: I’m fine with any game getting the HD treatment, I’ll always have the old game if I don’t like it, although I do wonder why Wind Waker was remade, the cel shaded graphics aged amazingly and I didn’t think a remake was necessary, especially when you consider how Twilight Princess’ realistic graphics have been showing their age. I’d like to see Red and Blue get another pair of remakes, Kanto would look great in 3D.

3.47: Apart from making videos, what else do you do in your spare time?
TBOP: Graphic design, an old hobby of mine was making posters, logos and other forms of visual media based on the world of Pokemon (lukecarvill.deviantart.com), I should really get back into that series sometime.

3.47: Just had a look and noticed you had a Link costume done! How long did that take to make and do you still use it when you go to anime/comic cons?
TBOP: A incredibly long time was spent on the Link costume, about a month I think. To make matters worse the sword broke at the end of the first day (thank the heavens for duct tape), that particular costume has been retired, the sword is broken, the shield too small for me and the costume was made out of felt, which made it a little un-wearable after a while.

3.47: What can we expect from you in the future?
TBOP: Along with far too wordy answers to interview questions, you can expect videos!

My short-terms plans are
1) Finish editing a vlog to put up tonight
2) Upload the first episode of my “Games with Fitting Music” series
3) Upload the first episode of my Games in a Nutshell series
4) Upload the third episode of WWE Commentary on Video Games
5) Start running game giveaways from my channel, hopefully one every week or two
6) Become incredibly rich and famous beyond my wildest dreams
Hopefully, you can expect to be entertained by my methods of procrastination from “real” work

3.47: That sounds awesome man and I can’t wait! Final question! Anything you like to say to your subscribers?
TBOP: Seeing as my subscriber numbers have quadrupled over the past few days, I think the only thing I can really say is “Nice to meet you, would you like a cup of tea?”

3.47: (Laughs) Well I guess if you’re serving you have a cupboard full of earl grey!
TBOP: With the amount of tea I think it makes sense to stock up

3.47: (Laughs) Ladies and gentlemen The Blue Owl Plays! Dude thank you for doing this and making me laugh so much!
TBOP: Thank you very much for interviewing me! Hopefully they’ll be more laughs in store for the future.

3.47 would like to say a massive thank you to The Blue Owl Plays for spending the time doing the interview! Until next time guys!

The Blue Owl Plays Links
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Deviantart.com

And for the sake of madness, here are both mine and Luke’s WWE funny favourites!
Flash Lesner
S-S-SuperSlam!!!

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