Austin Mackert – “Gameplay and Talk”

austinbaby

Austin as baby

When reflecting on the video game circuit on YouTube it’s easy to remember AVGN and the popular channels that saturated the platform. For me one of the channels that may have gone under the radar of most mainstream channels, is none other than Gameplay and Talk with Austin Mackert. A die-hard gamer that holds no bias when it comes to console or pc games, he is even avid pinball player. For me what got me hooked was his live feeds he would do on Thursday nights, and later his active streams on twitch. What started out for me was watching his gameplay to better achieve success for myself, later became an active gaming community that I thoroughly enjoyed participating in.

Q: What got you into making you tube videos?

The short of it is I was inspired by other video creators at the time (roughly 2007 to 2009), like Lukemorse1, Derek Alexander (Happy Video Game Nerd), and a host of video creators on Retroware TV’s web site. I did have what I felt to be a unique upbringing when it came to videogames, always being around them and always playing them, but then also collecting them after a point and experimenting with the less popular/more obscure games and consoles that a lot of people missed out on. With those experiences I felt I had something to offer that others making videos at the time may have not.

Austin’s console collection, circa 2000.

I had no prior experience with video recording, but since the standard at the time was simply shooting your TV with a camcorder, I invested in one and just went for it. It was pretty ghetto in the early days, but as I tend to tell people, you’ve got to start somewhere. The initial focus was just playing a game and talking about it (hence the name, “Gameplay and Talk”), giving my opinions but also talking about the gameplay and mechanics. About a year and a half in I got my first capture card and began toying with the idea of full playthrough recordings with commentary on top, and then that led into the idea of live Let’s Plays, and eventually live streams starting in 2015. I’ve been a mix of those later two formats ever since, with less of a focus on opinions and more of a focus on showing people how to play the games I show off. 

Q: What’s your earliest childhood memory with video games?

Playing the Atari VCS/2600 in my Mom and Dad’s basement in the early ’80s. They owned that console prior to when I was born, so you can say videogames were basically there for me right from day one. I distinctly recall being scared by the sights and sounds of games like Missile Command. Big, booming, and scary for a toddler.

There may have been earlier experiences that I don’t recall. For instance, my parents still have a photo of baby me in a Pac-Man shirt, and I probably wasn’t even 1 year old by that time. I can see it in the photo, but I naturally don’t remember the actual experience first-hand. (edited)

Q: was your brother or any other family friend an influence in you getting into gaming?

Nope, my brother didn’t exist for the first four years of my life (he’s the younger one) and my parents already had a 2600 when I was born, so the influence was there right out of the gate. When we moved from the city I was born in to where we currently reside (Fairfax, VA, roughly 1986 or 1987), I did meet neighbors and make friends with people that owned both the Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System, and both would have a huge influence on me. The NES in particular, as it was the more common of the two around here. (edited)

Q: One thing I’ve never been able to pinpoint is your interest in music, what are some of your favorite bands or artists? whether it be music or any other creative outlet for that matter.

I’d say I have a wide variety of tastes, in a limited sort of way, if that makes any sense. I generally prefer music that’s melodic and moody, often times depressing, a lot of times simplistic but edgy at the same time (you can likely thank all the videogame music in my upbringing for that).

Music is a big part of my life and it’s been a long journey forming my current-day tastes. These days I find myself bouncing back and forth between hard rock/heavy metal and electronic music (particularly trance, progressive house, breakbeats and the occasional drum ‘n bass).

Some of my current “all-time favorite” rock/metal bands are Zeromancer, Paradise Lost, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Eisbrecher, A Perfect Circle and Linkin Park’s earlier output. For the electronic side of things, there’s so much to pick from and a lot of artists that only have a small range of output, but Adam Freeland is pretty much the greatest of all time in my book, so his stuff gets a ton of rotation here. The Crystal Method never fails, and since I’ve also been playing a lot of BeatmaniaIIDX again and hearing a bunch of trance, I’ve been rotating and zoning out to a bunch of older trance mixes by Armin Van Buuren (via his State of Trance album series).

Q: Please with all due respect, Way of the Warrior is not that, “bad” of a game, why the hell do you hate it so much?

Hate” is a strong word. That said, I do not like the game very much. I find the framerate inconsistent and choppy, the gameplay unresponsive, the jump arc irritatingly tall, and the visuals generally ugly. Keep in mind I was raised on smooth, polished arcade fighting games, like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat II, Primal Rage, Killer Instinct 1 and 2, Virtua Fighter, among others. By the time I got around to playing Way of the Warrior, it was already one of the goofiest things in the genre (Shadow: War of Succession aside). Maybe one of these days I’ll put more time into it and it’ll finally “click”, but I doubt it.

Q: Were “shumps” or “shooters” a first love interest, or did it take you a lot of time to get into them?

That’s interesting to ponder, because when I was growing up, everyone played just about everything, and we didn’t really think of things as “genres” so much as whether the game was fun or not. It was honestly like that for me until the PlayStation and Saturn era, where I first gained access to the internet and stumbled upon dedicated communities for these “genres” (for example, shmups.com). Shoot ’em ups are absolutely one of my favorite genres today and I spend an excessive amount of time playing them (and have since the ’90s), but I wouldn’t say that was the case in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I had favorites all over the place, some were shooters, many were not.

Q: Future plans? goals or ambitions you want to share?

Just keep chopping away at this wood we call “YouTube”, and hope my channel continues to grow. I don’t have any major projects off the top of my head, but I’ve traditionally been pretty random and spontaneous with the things I create (that’s how my recent “shorts” video content came to be), so who knows what I’ll come up with in the future.

Gameplay and Talk – YouTube

Austin (@GameplayAndTalk) / Twitter

amackert – Twitch

Gameplay and Talk