Today we are delighted to welcome Miketendo’s Mike and Jack and we ask a good few questions in relation to them and their dedicated Nintendo Site.
SwitchWatch – In typical interview fashion, granted we know you guys quite well, would you be so kind to begin proceedings by introducing yourselves to our readers? What is your involvement with Miketendo64? Who are you guys and what do you get up to when not working hard on the Miketendo64 site?
Mike: Hello All! I am Mike, co-founder of Miketendo64. I take care of the administrative side of things and also help cover news and feature articles. Every now and again, I also contribute to the list of ever expanding reviews. When not running Miketendo64, I work as a waiter in a restaurant. Though the website is in a position to maintain itself financially, part of my salary goes into paying for our incredible Giveaways. We are not a huge site but we do like to give back to our followers for their support whenever we can. Not many other media websites have as many giveaways as we do and that is something we are particularly proud of.
Jack: Oi oi! I’m Jack, aka the I, the ME and the DO, behind Miketendo64. Like Mike, I am also a co-founder and his brother, so don’t hold that against him. With Mike ensuring we have a site every month, I take a more direct approach and make sure the site has something posted on it. (Sometimes I go really crazy and make sure 2 things are posted.) Seriously though, I’m the guy who manages the team, puts in all our review and interview requests, and am the general ideas man. So things like Theme Weeks and a lot of the debate like stuff we post on Twitter is by me, most of the time. When not doing anything Miketendo64 related, I am a builder in the construction industry as that earns more than freelance writing does. But I’m also an on-and-off scuba diver and novelist who tends to sleep for 3 hours a day. (Time that could be spent sleeping, is time that can be used for writing or playing games.)
SwitchWatch – Guys you have been running Miketendo64 for a while now over two years as we understand. What prompted you guys to start the site. What was the moment that made you go for it?
Mike: It may sound cliché now but it was my thirst for information about Zelda: Breath Of The Wild that inspired me to start up Miketendo64. It was initially a small blog where I could share news of what little information I could find out about the then “New and exciting” videogame. Though our official launch was May 5th, the day of conception was actually May 4th (May the fourth be with us, right?).
Jack: The idea to do Miketendo64 was entirely Mike’s idea, (as was the name,) so I wasn’t actually involved with that, but having worked on and off as a freelance writer since 2008 and no current gigs, I was happy to hope aboard and help Mike out in any way I could.
SwitchWatch – How many of you run Miketendo64 and how did you guys come up with the name?
Mike: I run the website with my brother Jack. He came on board shortly after the blog launched and has had to put up with me since. Well, to be fair, he had to put up with me a long time before the website too! Jack is a hard worker and Miketendo64 wouldn’t be where we are today without him. We both have hectic work schedules but we make the website work. Apart from us, we have over 30 collaborators that contribute to our website. It is very ambitious of us but because none of us does this full time, a team our size is kind of necessary to be able to provide a constant stream of content.
As you may have guessed, the name Miketendo64 is a combination of my name and of my favourite console of all time, the Nintendo 64. I have had consoles before but the Nintendo 64 was what really opened my eyes to the world of videogames. I just loved Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye and of course, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time.
SwitchWatch – What is it like trying to organise so many writers to write for you, what are the challenges?
Mike: Jack is a Master Juggler. Along with his own line of work, he manages the team and issues review assignments. It isn’t a cakewalk but everyone is willing to lend a hand when they can. We all have other work commitments aside from Miketendo64 so having a fairly large team has its benefits as well as there is always someone on hand to help out with news and reviews.
Jack: As you would expect, it can be both easy and hard. It all depends on what’s happening in that week and who’s available. Like Mike said, there are more than 30 contributors, but none of them do this full-time, so one week I could have 5 team members waiting and willing to do something and other times there could be everyone and no one. Between school, work and a social life, it can be hard to organise everything all the time, so it’s all about being adjustable and flexible. Having spent years on the site working with a smaller team, I’m well used to being awake all night, every night, to ensure 20 reviews are posted to Miketendo64 in a given month, as well as having news posted. But when the team is available, it’s more of a case I sit back and focus on the news, features and behind the scenes details. Although, I don’t sit back all that much, because with having such a big team, I constantly need to be on the ball with regards to who is reviewing what, when the embargo lifts and ensuring they have what they need for a complete review. I also need to keep up with the eShop on the daily basis and send a lot of emails.
SwitchWatch – We understand you also take part in YouTube, Has this always been a focus or more of a side project for Miketendo64? Do you prefer making videos or writing articles.
Mike: I enjoy making videos and have fun doing them but with a lot of people doing the same thing, it gets harder to keep up with the crowd. YouTube has changed a lot and it is getting harder to become a popular YouTuber. When YouTube first came along, there was a niche for everything. A lot of videos then were like homemade movies or cell phone quality videos but now they have taken a whole new turn. Some are like proper TV shows and the SFX in YouTube Videos can make any B-movie director lower his head in shame. Writing is a much more comfortable medium for me, but I will still upload videos from time to time.
Jack: For me, the videos are a means of having fun and being yourself. When you’re writing an article, there’s no voice, it’s just words on a web page, being interpreted to the reader’s preference. But with YouTube and videos, you get to be more than just words, you get to be a face and an actual person with a personality. People get to see how your eyes light up and you smile as you genuinely react to something incredible. They get to feel that sense of joy, or sadness, with you and it’s just a shame we don’t get to do more of that. But, we can’t because, you know, life and death, happens.
SwitchWatch – We understand that you have other hobbies in writing other than writing for Miketendo, Can you tell us more?
Jack: Well, as a novelist, I like to write. I always have done, even when I was young. I wrote my first novel when I was 13. (312 pages.) I rewrote it when I was 16 and when I was 21, it was published and doubled in size. (648 pages.) It was a spy novel called Phoenix Rises. Only, I don’t just write spy novels as I have written various other genres as well. From a YA fantasy inspired by The Legend of Zelda: (Rise of the Elohim: Spirit of Iris & Rise of the Elohim: The Eye of Mares) to Horror that would make your skin crawl and blood curdle (Wait and Bleed), I write what I want, when I want. (Even romance.)
My best piece of writing though, is my latest work, A Work in Progress. It’s about a writer who on the cusp of fame, lost his parents in a plane crash. Being early 20’s, he throws his life and dreams down the drain. 3 years later, Sam is a mess and what’s worse, is he knows it, as does Rosy. Wait, who’s Rosy? Rosy, well, she’s the prostitute Sam paid to act as his therapist during his dark times, so he has someone to talk to. They have a weird relationship and they both know it, but compared to everything else that happens in the book, their relationship is normal.
But, A Work in Progress is something I will never forget, it’s a contemporary fiction that acts as a readable Californication, based in London. It will make you laugh, make you cry and it’s just so raw that it’s impossible for it not to affect the reader emotionally. As well as that, I also write poetry and song lyrics but the latter is only for my eyes. Nothing I write though, can be found by searching under my actual name, as I use a nom de plume, but if you do want to look at the few, many, many things I’ve written, the author name to look for is Rocky Rochford.
SwitchWatch – You guys have reviewed so many games! Out of all the ones you have played which did you enjoy the most and do you get any spare time to enjoy games other than reviewing them?
Mike: Any spare time I have to play games comes out of sleep time, usually when the missus is away or a sneak out of bed early. The perils of being a grownup are the same as when you are younger. There is still someone telling you to do chores like tidy your room, take out the trash, go to school/work. Fortunately the Switch has been a videogame playtime lifesaver. During short breaks, I can get some game time. I can also sit in the living room and play while the other half watches TV. I used to do a similar thing with the Wii U but I couldn’t take it with me when I left the house.
Jack: There have been a number of great games that I have been able to review and absolutely loved and if I had to name one, I’d pick Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It is simply incredible, but once the review was done, I had to put it down and never played it again until a quiet period in February occurred and I wasn’t sleeping, so I would play it then. When I was trying to do anywhere between 15-20 games a month, there was no time for playing games I wanted to play, but now that I’m trying to stick to 6 a month, there is a bit of time now, which has given me a bit of time to play Xenoblade, Hyrule Warriors and ARMS. Believe it or not, but ARMS is actually a good game, it was just a shame Splatoon 2 was released almost immediately after it.
SwitchWatch – What’s it like to balance a site like yours but also having to work full time. Do you hope someday to do this full time or is it more of a hobby?
Mike: Hobby is a nice word but passionate obsession is probably closer. As much as we would like to do this full time, our audience is not big enough that we can leave our other jobs and dedicate fully to Miketendo64! That sounds bad but the same goes to YouTubers and other bloggers that want to take the next step. It all boils down to having a big enough audience that read/watch your content.
Views DO matter. Almost every YouTube video has ads in them now, Blogs and websites have a strong ad presence as well. These ads are what help keep the content creators afloat as more views on these ads means more money. Getting paid for these ads allows content creators like ourselves to keep creating more great content. It also helps to maintain website costs and ease the strain on personal finances. Unfortunately, some people succumb to using click-bait content in order to boost views. This helps them earn more money but at a price. Eventually, people will tire and lose faith in the content and the creator. They will also be less inclined to look and follow other content creators and think them to be yet another hack looking for a quick buck as opposed to someone who genuinely writes good honest content and doesn’t reel people in like a fish by using a big juicy rumour as bait.
Jack: Although I do work an 8-10 job, for 5-7 days a week, Miketendo64 is something of a day job for me already. On the days I am able to get sleep, when I wake up, I’m straight on phone, checking the latest news, finding out what I need to cover. When at work, I turn my phone off so I can unplug for a few hours, but most of my thoughts pertain to “what can I put on twitter today?” “What should I do to try to engage our audience?” “Don’t forget to contact so and so for a review key/interview request.” Miketendo64 is pretty much on my brain all day, every day, so it is most certainly not a hobby. Some days, 2 hours before I would have to leave for work, I’m on my computer covering news, before I have to get ready and begin my day in construction.
SwitchWatch – Being as though we’re well aware of your Nintendo Present, what was your Nintendo Past like? Any favourite consoles, games and memories you care to share?
Mike: Like I mentioned earlier, the Nintendo 64 is my favourite games console. I used to have a PS2 with my brother Jack and our sister Ashleigh. When we were moving to Spain, Jack, Ashleigh and I had to decide on which console to bring with us and we were short on space. We ultimately decided to stick with our PS One as the PS2 was on its way and was the first to offer backwards compatibility and the Gamecube couldn’t play N64 carts. This was a huge mistake that I have since regretted. We bought a PS2 and it lasted about 10 months. It stopped reading discs so we bought another and again, another 10 months later and it gave up the ghost. Discs and disc readers were very sensitive and a little scratch on a disc would render it unreadable. We never had this problem with the Nintendo 64 and even today, you can load up a 20 year old cart and play like it was yesterday. I have since picked up a N64 along with other retro Nintendo consoles, to make up for wandering off the path towards the “Evil” PlayStation. I’m just kidding of course. Or am I?
Jack: I think Mike has said more than enough for the both of us, but the Nintendo64 was a legendary console that had plenty of incredible games that I still remember fondly today.
SwitchWatch – You guys do some excellent features like Interviews and giveaways, what do you enjoy the most other than reviews and would you ever expand to review other things like books or movies?
Mike: Jack and I have spoke about this quite a few times over the years. We thought about expanding into including PlayStation, Xbox and PC games but we would need an even bigger team than what we have now and we many more hours in the day. Books and movies we have considered, one of my first reviews for Miketendo64 was in fact on a book titled “Legend Of The Hero” It was a book published by FanGamer. It was an unofficial guide about the Legend of Zelda series and covered interesting facts and descriptions on the weapons, characters and monsters that you can encounter in Hyrule. We have also reviewed a number of Nintendo themed merchandise as well. Regardless of its nature, as long as it is Nintendo themed, we will certainly cover it and possibly review it as well.
Jack: Books and Film reviews is something I have considered, but not something I have time for. As for my favourite things, I really like doing the Interviews above all else and making connections with developers and publishers, but handling our Twitter account is just as rewarding. I get to interact with our followers all day, every day. They listen to us, we listen to them and when we can, we do many, many giveaways, to give back to all those who have supported us from the beginning and those we have picked up along the way.
SwitchWatch – What are your top 5 games?
Mike: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Banjo-Kazooie and the original Goldeneye.
Jack: My five most memorable games that don’t involve Zelda, would have to be: Pokémon Snap, Dino Crisis 2, Final Fantasy X, Endless Ocean and Bayonetta 2. But in all honesty, my top 5 games are mostly Zelda ones and they are, Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Link’s Awakening. (If only Hyrule Warriors was canon and I would have included that.)
SwitchWatch – What are the games you are most looking forward to for the future?
Mike: I am really hyped for Smash Bros on Nintendo Switch. I am very much looking forward to Metroid Prime 4 and Pokémon Let’s Go on Nintendo Switch as well. I really like the console and it has given me a new appreciation to handheld gaming. I was originally put off on handheld quality because of how games look like on the smaller screen but the Switch gives and incredible experience both in handheld and in docked mode and the fact that I can play home console quality games anywhere I go, is a Win-Win!
Jack: The next Zelda game for Switch and 3DS, but until such a game is announced, Bayonetta 3 is more than enough for me!
SwitchWatch – What are you future plans for the site?
Mike: To get bigger and better yet still maintain the quality of smaller media sites. We are a dedicated website of gamers for gamers. We don’t want to mislead our followers with clickbait titles. We have always believed in quality over quantity and that is why we try to provide the maximum amount of information on a singular page or at the very least, on as few pages as possible. We are not about clicks or views but about our followers continued support. That is why we do so many giveaways, it is our way of being able to give back to our followers for putting their faith and trust into Miketendo64.
Jack: Having thought about this long and hard, I just want to bring back the fun. Yes, news will be news but this industry is about games. Let’s not just write and read about them, but let’s actually play them. Let’s talk about them with each other, like gamers and not someone typing furiously at a keyboard, for the sake of clicks and profit. Let’s put the Game back into Gaming news.
SwitchWatch – It’s been a pleasure having you guys. Is there anything you’d like to say to our ourselves and our readers? The final word is all yours!
Mike: I would like to thank you all for the taking time to read this interview. Thank you SwitchWatch for the opportunity to talk about Miketendo64. It has been an honour and a pleasure to be able to follow you and help support your site since its creation last year. Miketendo64 has grown and flourished because of your trust and faith in us and the support we have had from our followers. Our mission is to continue to grow and expand. To be the very best like no one ever was, (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself) To everyone that follows us, We love you all. You make us who we are. Miketendo64 isn’t just a website, it is a living breathing community of gamers that share the same love for videogames. We can be bigger, we can be better and that is with your continued support. Share our news and reviews, read our features, engage with us. Let us know your thoughts We may have a team of 35+ but we have a worldwide family of thousands. I am Miketendo64, you are Miketendo64. We are Miketendo64. Until next time all, Keep On Gaming!
Jack: Life is an enigma, wrapped up in uncertainty. As much as I want to do this for as long as I can, tomorrow it could all go up in flames, and all be over. Nintendo closes their doors and give up game development. The off switch to the internet is flipped, or a brain aneurysm I never knew I had, bursts and it’s Game Over Jack. It’s a morbid thought I know, but all it takes is the time taken for a single finger snap and it will all be over. (I’m not stealing that from Thanos and Infinity War as I actually did a short film called Death has a Sound, based around finger snaps.) But, as quickly as it can all go, I do not regret a single moment of all this. I have worked hard for Miketendo64. It is work I am proud of and not something I would willingly walk away from. I don’t do it for me or our team, I do it for everyone who has helped us along the way. You guys make all this possible and for that, I am thankful. It is all of you, who is the Hero in our story. So thank you and Play on!
SwitchWatch – Thanks, guys! It’s been an absolute pleasure having you and we look forward to you continuing to deliver fantastic content. To read the interview that Miketendo carried out with us check it out on their website