Interviews

A Royal Interview with KingK

As I’ve mentioned in a few different articles I’ve written I watch a lot of YouTube. I honestly probably watch more YouTube than other streaming services combined. I love video games and one of my favorite things to do regarding video games is dissecting them, analyzing them, and discussing them so naturally, I watch a lot of YouTubers who do just that. There are a few I consistently watch without fail but I’m not above admitting I might not have discovered everything there is to discover that I may enjoy on YouTube so I’m also constantly looking for new channels to add to my list of subscribed channels to soak up even more of my limited time. A month or so ago I came across KingK and within a few weeks I had watched all of his videos and I’d highly recommend you do the same. He covers a wide range of topics and he does so a deeper level. There’s nothing wrong with lists or quick videos but if you want to dive into a video game to learn more about it or just hear things from a different perspective, this is your channel. KingK has gone into incredible depth on the 3D Zelda games but he has also done so on other games. My favorite example of this was his video on Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary. His video went into details that other channels fail to dive into. It also stirred up a lot of nostalgia and reminded me why I loved that game so much as a kid, whether I picked up on the little details or not. After checking out a few of his videos I already knew I wanted to interview him so I reached out to him on Twitter and luckily he agreed. It was a fun conversation and I look forward to KingK’s videos even more than I already did before.

Josh: What inspired you to start your YouTube channel?

KingK: There are a bunch of reason. I stumbled across YouTube around 2010 or so, back when I was just 13 years old. I found a let’s player who goes by the name “Chuggaconroy.” He was let’s playing Super Mario Sunshine at the time and it was super interesting for me to watch. To this day I’ve seen every video from him and he’s my main inspiration, especially since I learned he was doing it full-time. I have a ton of other inspirations too. MatthewMatosis got me thinking critically about games, and channels like Jim Sterling’s and TotalBiscuit’s got me thinking about the industry. I suppose you could say after years of watching, I finally decided I wanted to make a name for myself. I felt I had a hand to play that would be unique enough to justify my existence on the platform. I would hope people are sticking around because of that.

J: What process goes into choosing the games you cover?

K: It’s quite simple: I don’t have one. My mind is pretty scattershot. When I’m focused on something it’s very clear, and that’s part of the reason I never struggled with high school. But when I don’t have a focus, my mind wanders from place to place. As is the case with deciding on the next project. Most of the time it’s on a whim. I try to write down a plan for new videos or new retrospectives, and it feels good to get it all down. Yet, I usually end up ignoring it. The Zelda retrospective was all on a whim because I was so excited for Breath of the Wild that I was playing a lot of Zelda. So I figured I could make a cool series out of it. If there’s a process, that’s it: I just pick whatever I’m thinking the most about at any given moment. I just beat Persona 5 the other day, and I have a ton of ideas for a video. That’s just a few examples.

J: What has been your favorite game to cover so far?

K: The Pokemon Sun and Moon video was particularly fun to work on. It was a very different from a lot of my other work because I made it to gush about how awesome it was. I didn’t necessarily have to think hyper-critically like I did with the Zelda videos, which I do enjoy doing for the record. I think I just function the best on YouTube when I’m particularly passionate, and the height of that passion was definitely working on Sun and Moon.

J: What’s the next Zelda game you’d like to see get the remake treatment?

K: Skyward Sword makes the most sense to me. It’s the only 3D Zelda without a remake, and I think it would work wonderfully on the Switch. Playing it on the go would be exciting in and of itself.

J: Is there a 2D Zelda that you’d like to see remade into a 3D Zelda?

K: For the longest time I would always say “Zelda 1.” It was an incredibly ambitious game, but it feels archaic nowadays. However, I think Breath of the Wild swooped in and made that a reality for me. So if I had to give a new answer, I’d say Minish Cap. Just imagine what they could do graphically with the size changing mechanic. I can just imagine how cool it would be!

J: What are some of your favorite episodes that you’ve done?

K: I mentioned this before, but Pokemon Sun and Moon was fulfilling to work on. Outside of that, Breath of the Wild was particularly daunting because it was the largest video I had ever made. I was surprised I could keep up my enthusiasm, especially considering I had just gone through the entire series.

J: Which of your videos do you think best represents the intentions and quality of your channel?

K: I would say Pokemon, my Zelda retrospective, and my AM2R videos are what I’d pick to best present what I’m going for. I love video games, and I want what’s best for them. Though opinions are subjective, that won’t stop me from offering mine. I have a lot of weird ones, so it’s especially important I express that viewpoint. I want to express that Breath of the Wild isn’t 10/10 quality because I love Zelda and want to see the series improve. I try to not when something does improve, as I did in my Pokemon Sun and Moon video. Of course, I also disagree with companies on several occasions, like with AM2R and Nintendo. In that case, I was criticizing Nintendo so they could learn from it, which was the same goal with my Nintendo Switch video. What I hope to express in my videos, whether people notice or not, is that I love the gaming industry and want to see it improve. But I only have my frame of reference to call upon. That’s why I’m glad I have colleagues who are willing to add other perspectives.

J: You stated in your Wind Waker HD retrospective video that it was and is your favorite Zelda game but what are some of your other favorite games outside the Legend of Zelda franchise?

K: My favorite game is Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. I played it a lot when I was a kid. It had a touching story, top notch 2.5D platforming, amazing music: it was everything I wanted in a game. Maybe it maintains that status of “favorite game” to this day in part because it’s so underknown. No doubt you or anyone reading this has any idea what it is. Other games include Kingdom Hearts 2Sonic Adventure 2 (I have a thing for 2’s).

J: What are some of your favorite YouTube channels? Are there any that inspired you to start making videos or continue to inspire you?

K: My favorite YouTube channel is Chuggaaconroy, as I mentioned. He’s so upbeat and you can tell he loves gaming. He pours his heart and soul into everything he works on. It’s endearing. I admire Joseph Anderson similarly for his work ethic, and I’m a fan of his writing style. Game Makers Toolkit is another inspiration. I love what he brings to the table and he’s definitely expanded my gaming vocabulary. There are countless other channels: Writing on Games, lambh00t, SuperGamingBrit, and so many more. Of course all of my friends who do this video stuff too. If you’re reading this, you know who you are. There are too many of you to fit in this interview and I’m not about to pick favorites. Sorry!

J: What releases are you looking forward to the most this year?

K: Almost everything. This year is looking to be amazing. I was already looking forward to Zelda, Persona 5, and Yooka-Laylee. None of them have disappointed. I’m looking forward to Super Mario OddsseySonic ForcesSplatoon 2, and a bunch of other games. It’s such a good year.

J: You stated your disdain for Sonic’s need to reference and reach back into his past on a regular basis, which is a fair statement, but are you looking forward to Sonic Mania at all? What are your thoughts on how Sega has been approaching the 3D side of the series in recent years?

K: I wouldn’t say that I’m excited for Sonic Mania, but I’m interested in playing it. I didn’t grow up with the 2D games and, truth be told, I’m not particularly fond of them. Though that shouldn’t be a surprise when I’m also not a huge fan of 2D Mario and similar games released in that era. As for 3D Sonic, you could call me a more optimistic fan. I feel like Sonic has had more ups than downs. I like what they tried with the Adventure formula, even if it didn’t work perfectly, and I genuinely enjoy Sonic Heroes and parts of Shadow the HedgehogSonic Unleashed is consistently fun for me, werehog included. Of course, that enjoyment extends to Sonic ColorsSonic Generations, and I actually like Lost World. Now, maybe the constant experimentation hasn’t been kind to Sonic. I can certainly admit it’s been rough in terms of crafting an identity for the blue blur. I just think it’s a bit extreme to say that Sonic has never been good, or that he can only be good when he’s classic Sonic. That’s part of the reason I’m so sick of nostalgia pandering. There’s even a hint of that in Sonic Forces, with the new trailer showing classic Sonic in Green Hill Zone. Do you know how many times that stage has been milked? Practically to death at this point. I just want the best for Sonic, but at this point, you can’t even find a consensus for an opinion so it’s becoming increasingly hard to see a bright future for Sonic.

J: Your Metroid videos were really good. As a fan who didn’t discover the beauty of the series until I played Zero Mission in 2012, it’s nice to see other people that are discovering the joys of the franchise as well. Do you think that Nintendo will create a new 2D or 3D entry in the near future?

K: You’d think they’d have to, but at this point I’m worried. It seems like even during its anniversary, Nintendo was content to completely ignore Metroid altogether. Still, the existence of Federation Force gives me hope that Nintendo still believes in Metroid enough to make games under the name. I’m sure we’ll get something one day!

J: Aonuma recently stated in an interview that the open world formula of Breath of the Wild will likely become the new model for the 3D entries. With some of the classic 3D entries being some of my favorite games, including Wind Waker, I do need to ask what your thoughts are on this. I was personally thinking it’d be pretty cool if Nintendo revisited the “retro” 3D formula at least on occasion but I am curious what your thoughts are on this bold and potentially polarizing decision.

K: Nintendo’s struck gold with Breath of the Wild. I think it’s a solid foundation for once. While I do enjoy the “retro 3D” design, even I have to admit that I don’t like everything attached to that. I don’t mind the linearity, but it’s nice to have this freedom in Breath of the Wild. It’s hard to say the magic will always be there in sequels, but I’d be more interested in seeing what they can do with this new Zelda by incorporating “retro 3D” elements that were proven to work. That’s the future for Zelda I desire the most.

J: You’ve been creating content for over two years and have amassed over 15,000 subscribers in that time. What are your plans for the future of the channel?

K: Well I’m working on Persona 5 videos right now. Sometime soon I want to get to work on a Metroid Prime 2 video. I also need to decide on a new retrospective, but I’m not sure what I want it to be yet. Really I’m just aiming to keep making content people can feel fulfilled watching. Maybe I’ll even open up a Patreon someday, who knows? [Editor’s Note: KingK ended up creating a Patreon in between this interview and it being published. You can find it here if you’re interested in contributing] This would definitely be the job of my dreams. Pay or no pay, I will be here to make YouTube videos until either YouTube dies, or I die.

I really enjoyed getting to interview King K and remain a massive fan of his channel. He goes into great detail and provides a great analysis on games like few channels do. Check out one of his more recent videos on Yooka-Laylee and consider subscribing to his channel and checking out some of his earlier work. There’s a lot of great stuff in his vault and from the sounds of it, there’s plenty of great stuff on the way!

 

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