Here is our interview with David Deangelo, a programmer at Yacht Club Games, the creators of Shovel Knight. We tried to keep the text interview spoiler free, but for anyone looking to hear all of David's detailed thoughts we have the full 2 hour interview in audio format, as well. 

Ben Ruiz of Team Colorblind, the developer of Aztez, answers a few questions for us. 

A choice in Wolfenstein: The New Order still sticks out as a text book example of how to do a poorly designed choice in video games. 

Sunsoft and Clockwork Tortoise made some of the best licensed games of their era in: Batman The Video Game and The Adventures of Batman and Robin.

How cutting the fat helped Zelda return to form. 

Resistance 3 is a forgotten gem of gen 7, and you should hunt it down. 

What is your title at GameTrailers?

My title is Associate Creative Producer, the reality is at GameTrailers we are not a lot of people and we all do a lot of things and our titles are just goofball titles that our mother company Viacom gives us. ‘Cause like, I don’t know, “Associate Creative Producer”, what even is that? What does that mean that I do? Basically, I just make Videos, you know?

Is it just the Final Bosman, or do you play a role in GT Timeline, or GT Countdown, etc?

So I’m a producer on Pach Attack and a producer on GT Time, our new podcast. I’ll produce other shows like Not Funny GT, and basically I will do a lot of writing for the GT Countdowns and contribute other people’s videos

How did you get started at GameTrailers?

I was a lowly production assistant for GTTV on Spike for 2 years. And It was February of last year and Sony had just run that one weird trailer where they said, “We’re about to announce something” and we got excited because we thought the PS4 was coming. So we had a big floor meeting. I’m not normally invited into these, but at this point its like “Lets go all out,” and “Lets invite even quiet Kyle over.” So I got to sit in on this meeting, and I never got to sit in on these so this was so cool for me to be in the meeting. It was all run by Geoff Keighley and hes like “All right guys, I need some ideas, we need to get people excited about what's coming in February.” The idea for like a “Do’s and Don’t’s” for this press conference came up, and it was like “Hey, does anyone want to do this?” and there was silence so I said I could do that video and someone said “Sure.”

I think it was Geoff and he said “Run with it.” I had never done a video for GameTrailers.com before, I was honored. So I wrote up a script and everything and I remember I brought it to Ryan Stevens, who is Head of Editorial for GameTrailers. He looked at it and said “I don’t know if Brandon Jones is going to read this well, it has a lot of your personality in it.” And I said “No no, I want to be in the video”, and he looks at me ands he says “This is a bad idea.” [Laughter]

He said “I don’t know man, I don’t know how good you will be on camera” And I said I think I’ll be okay, I think I can handle it. Ryan is a very frank person and honestly I appreciated that about him. ‘Cause, I mean, basically to everyone in the office I was just “The quiet guy” up until that point. So I grabbed one of the editors, Anton, and we just kind of slapped this “Do’s and Don’ts” video together. It ended up being a big hit and it’s probably still the most successful video I’ve ever made in my life so it was a really cool thing.

What was the original idea behind The Final Bosman? Was the Do’s and Don’ts video a stepping stone to The Final Bosman?

It was definitely the first stepping stone because that video did well. Then the event happened and Sony showed off the PS4 so I did a response video. Then it was kind of this thing where its like “Do we let Kyle Keep making videos?” It was honestly not a thing of “Kyle, keep making more videos.” It was like “Hey everybody, please let me make more videos” and there was some push back for a while to be honest. But I kind of just went for it. I wanted to make more videos. I came up with this dumb title “The Final Bosman” and basically kept the same format.

Its a beautiful title.

Thank you! It just works. It just works for video games. It took a lot of just me pushing forward with it, like “No, this is happening, I want to do this.”

 Was The Final Bosman always the official title, or did you have another name in mind?

Oh, it was always The Final Bosman. I’ll tell you a funny story.

When I first did that “Do’s and Don’ts” video I said at the end “Hey everybody this has been Kyle Bosman, thanks for watching.” and I talked to my parents afterwards and they were so proud. My dad says, “It would have really made your grandfather proud to hear you pronounce Bosman like that” and for some reason that meant so much to me and im like “Fine, I’m going to hit that S hard for the rest of my life.” Because apparently that is the correct pronunciation anyway and everyone else calls me “Bozmen”, but from that point forward everyone is hitting that hard S.

The pun helps, of course.

How long does it take to make one of your episodes?

Oh my gosh, it takes so long. So basically Sunday morning I have an inkling of what I want to do, but I always unsure, so all throughout Sunday I spend it in some anxiety bubble like “What am I even going to talk about this week?” Its not until basically Sunday night at 11:00 pm that I’m really typing out the words of the episode and it usually sucks at that point when I go to sleep at 1, or 2 or 3, and I wake up at 6:30 on Monday and I look at it again and I say “Oh okay, some of this stuff is good” and do rewrites, drive to work, we usually start recording at about 11:00am. At that point I’ve rehearsed it because L.A. has horrible traffic so I usually get like an hour and a half of rehearsal time. We record it and everything usually comes out okay. Some stuff is improvised - a lot of stuff is improvised to be honest. But yeah, a lot of it just kind of rolls out and we spend the rest of that day and all of Tuesday editing it for it to go up Wednesday morning.

 You said a lot of that is improvised. Will we ever get a Kyle Bosman bloopers episode?

[Laughter] There is some ridiculous stuff we cut because a lot of the time I’ll just go off and its like “Why did you keep going?” ‘cause sometimes there’s just a little nugget in there, but most of the time no, I don’t want you to ever see the garbage I spew out.

 Will we ever see the anger of Kyle Bosman?

Sometimes you see the anger, sometimes it peeks out, but generally there isn’t any.

 What is the one subject you love talking about on The Final Bosman?

So basically there is one where I got to talk about how great Jet Moto is, and Jet Moto isn’t a great game. Its a PlayStation 1 game, and its super hard. So it’s fun to talk about how good this game no one really cares about it, you know? And it's good to get it out in the spotlight because I feel like we only talk about popular ones. I feel like the way that games come out now, a game is old if it’s a week old. Like we are already over it at that point, and that bugs me so much cause people spend 2-3 years on these games and we get sick of them after a week and we don’t talk about them or think about them ever again. Its so sad.

So yeah, my favorite types of episodes are when I get to talk about old games.

Do you feel like we need more writers talking about older and forgotten games?

Honestly, I think part of the issue is if you write an amazing article about Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time its hard to get people to click on it. Part of the problem is what people will click on and so thats why I can’t really talk about Jet Moto every week ‘cause my show would just die.

Its something you have to sprinkle in and its sad because of the way we as people consume stuff. We just want the newest thing.

How do you feel about the internet community being so invested in the labels “casual gamer” and “hardcore gamer?”

Oh dude, I get called a casual gamer a lot. It’s funny. To be honest, because I don’t even care about the word “gamer,” it doesn’t bother me when someone says I’m not a hardcore gamer because to me its like, I’m out of this fight, I don’t even want to be a “gamer.”

It’s so weird to look down on a person because they don’t spend the time like you do, however theres “fly-by” people who aren’t as invested as you are. It’s the same thing as a person who likes the same band as you do, but not as much as you do and it always feels weird. Like “Oh, he likes them? Now it makes me feel weird about liking them.” I guess is where that feeling comes from. It is all silly. There’s room for everybody, more than ever.

How do you feel about games that get labeled as a “non-game” online (Gone Home, Journey, etc)?

Oh, dude… Oh, I hate that. Thats such a discrediting term because, to me, if you are having fun and interacting with this thing its still a game. The furthest I would go; I think there are such things as non-games, I’m going to go a little bit mean here. There are mobile games structured to get money, those aren’t as much games, to me those are non-games. And I still get in fights over that. They’re still games, just like anything in a casino is still a game. They’re not the thing that I love about games, I should say, they’re not what I come to video games for. It’s creepy to me that they’re in the same bubble with games that I feel passion for.

Do you think these labels are good or bad for the industry?

I think that, maybe a game like Gone Home should have it’s own label, it is different than Call of Duty. I guess “non-game” just has such a mean connotation to it, that we could find something better that's not insulting, you know? We’re going to need labels at some point though for whatever it is.

Do you think the concept of a “boss fight” is kind of dying in terms of modern game design? Do you think it still has a place in modern gaming?

Oh man, yes! Yeah, I mean I guess we need to get more creative about boss fights. One that comes to mind initially in Metroid Prime is like the rock guy where you have to switch on your visor to see which rock to hurt. That was really really cool. I mean like Metal Gear Solid 1, its the highlights. The rest of the game is just everything between boss fights basically.

Boss fights are so good. I guess they are harder and harder to do these days, but we gotta keep those alive.

This is the most important question you are going to answer all day: what’s your favorite pizza topping?

Bacon. Its not like a particular pizza topping, like anchovies would be a good answer, but the honest truth, no jive answer is bacon.

 How do you feel about pineapple?

It’s alright, it requires ham. You can’t do pineapple without ham, I feel like.

 If you had your option of pizza places, do you go to a local place or are you one of the people who eats disgusting chain-food pizza?

I absolutely eat disgusting chain-food pizza. In L.A. there is not a lot of good, actual pizza to be honest. Its really weird. You can’t be snobby about pizza here because there is just no option.

 In & Out or Five Guys?

Uh, In & Out.

When you’re really excited to go to a food place, what’s the place that Kyle Bosman gets excited to go to?

My favorite restaurant in the world is Wendy’s. This is where we scratch into the surface of me. This is how shallow I am, my favorite restaurant is Wendy’s. I like french fries, and I like their cheeseburgers so much, and they have the best chicken nuggets in the world.

Do you miss the Pretzel Bacon Burger?

Absolutely, I have no idea why that disappeared.

What band do you listen to in your free time? Who do you love listening to?

Currently in heavy rotation still is the new Arcade Fire album. That’s one I don’t stop listening to, it’s really sad because like basically the way my car works I need to use a USB drive to listen to music and I haven’t taken it out to put new music on it since I downloaded that album. I just constantly listen to it and it’s just the best thing in my life for some reason.

Whats your favorite video game soundtrack?

Favorite video game soundtrack.That’s a super good question because I don’t typically listen to soundtracks alone. I don’t know. Oh my gosh, no jive, the answer is gunna be Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Thats like bacon on the pizza, you know? Its the lamest answer, and its typical. But its the music that evokes the most out of me, and when I’m playing that game I get feelings from the music alone. Its just a crazy thing, you know?

How delightful is Michael Pachter?

Michael Pachter is a delight. He is similar to how I am, he is exactly that person you see on the show. Maybe a little saltier, he swears a little more that we have to edit out. My favorite part of producing his show is letting Pachter be Pachter. We used to bleep him out and we used to cut every time he cursed and I like that about him. I like seeing him be Pachter, and so basically along my tenure its like “No, let him say what he wants to say” and its fun. Pachter is who Pachter is, which is funny. He is everything he shows you he is, which is so fun.

 Is he good at games? Is he secretly a master Street Fighter player?

No, absolutely not. He doesn’t care to be, is the funny part. If you asked him he’d say “No, I don’t care about that game.” Thats who Pachter is, you know? He loves this one Facebook game and he loves some first person shooters, but generally no he doesn’t like want to spend time on most games.

 What is the one insult you have gotten on the internet that makes you laugh the most?

That's a really good question. I guess being called a Microsoft fanboy was the most absurd one to me. When I did my first Sony videos, its like “Why is this guy being mean to Sony? Is he a Microsoft fanboy?” I get fanboy, more than anything. And to me like, “fanboy” is such a funny word. Its a word that like can’t hurt me, so its just such a funny word to receive I guess.

Gif or jiff?

It’s gif. Yeah, its gif.

How does it feel to see your face in gifs everywhere?

Yeah, to be honest that is probably the most famous I ever feel. I very rarely feel famous, cause like you know, I am very small fry still and I am always aware of that. But to have gifs? That’s the best feeling. When someone makes a gif, that’s like it. That’s the most pleasant thing, ‘cause I love gifs. I’m way way way into gifs and the best thing is seeing one of those in a completely separate conversation that has nothing to do with me and a person who doesn’t even know who I am uses that gif. That’s the best thing in the world. That’s my contribution basically. I’ll die and those gifs will remain.

I love gifs, I should make it clear.

Lets say you achieved everything you wanted with The Final Bosman. Do you see yourself working closer to the creation side of the industry 5 years from now?

Isn’t that funny? Most of the time you can kinda sniff it on a person. Like “You clearly want to be making games” and they kinda act that way. Honestly, it is probably the reason some games get higher scores than others. We all want to be friends with the game designers. I don’t know, I think that, to me, that’s a nasty job. I would much rather play games than make them. Though I feel guilty, I still dream of making a game some day. Like there’s nothing I can do about it, I would love to make a game. I just don’t know if I could commit a career to it. Spending those 2-3 years on one product that a person spends this amount of time on, and then is the thing that everyone makes fun of on the internet. That is the hardest thing that I could imagine. Like I just said, I spend 3 days on one video, and then I get to make another one the next week. Imagine that anxiety filled Sunday being every living day of your life, I don’t know if I could handle it.

What kind of game would you want to make?

I’d want to make little games. I definitely would want to make a downloadable game that just serves as like an homage to other games I like. Someday I’ll make a Pokemon homage game, and I think it will be when I am 80 at this point and everyone forgot what Pokemon is. And it’s like me and my other 80 year old friends, and we’re all like making drawings together, and we put it together and some other 80 year old loves it we’re just like happy with ourselves. That’s probably the ideal scenario.

So that takes place very far into the future, of course. I don’t know, maybe I could like write a game. That would be cool, you know? You just get to write it, you don’t have to show up every day and tell people they’re doing their jobs wrong. Thats probably the hardest part too, it’s like “No, I don’t like how the jump works, fix it!” I don’t know if I could say that to a person.

If you could work at another gaming outlet, what would be the one you feel like you could be the most comfortable at?

I’ve actually thought about that before. I love GameTrailers because in this weird space I’m basically allowed to make any kind of weird video I want, and I don’t know if I’d have that kind of freedom moving to another place. It’s really fun, I’ve grown attached to all these weird people, too. I don’t know if I’d really want to. I think if I got fired, I wouldn’t go to another video game website to be honest.

Thank you for joining us.

Gentlemen, this was the funnest interview. That was really fun. Thank you for having me on. It is rare for me to speak to a person who like cares about what I do, so that was really nice in a weird way.

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For the full interview be sure to listen to the audio version here and subscribe to our Endless Brocast on iTunes.




And be sure to watch Kyle’s show The Final Bosman on GameTrailers.com

“Schwing!” The sound of Hiryu's sword slash is one of the most iconic sound effects from the 16-bit era, and with the recent release of Strider it seemed like a good time to look back at the classic Capcom action title. Strider originally released on Capcom's CPS-1, the same arcade board that Street Fighter II  launched on. It has been ported to many systems, including the Virtual Console, but for the sake of this Retrolog I will be looking at the Genesis version.

Strider was one of Capcom's biggest hits before the release of their flagship fighting title, Street Fighter II. At the time of its release, Capcom did not have many hits under its belt and in a way Strider was the start of their dominance after Mega Man 2 and Bionic Commando solidified them as a developer to watch. Strider was Capcom's answer to SEGA's Shinobi franchise and gave them their own character action game. Hiryu is a more interesting character than Joe Musashi and this was an important aspect of the game's broad appeal in a time when the Japanese craze was at the height of its powers in the west. After all, Hiryu deftly resembled a futuristic ninja straight out of an anime. Hiryu himself is very well animated and this allows the fluidity of his skills to really blossom on-screen.

Like ShinobiStrider is a side-scrolling action game, but it places more emphasis on platforming with a very flexible and acrobatic character. Hiryu can pull off a lot of slick moves like a sliding attack, can scale walls, and a cartwheel jump that never stops looking cool. Due to Hiryu's move-set, Strider has plenty of complex gameplay scenarios, such as riding a dinosaur while fighting off pterodactyls and an insane boss fight against a metal dragon which I completely adore. Hiryu's primary weapon is his plasma sword that looks so cool that you'll be pulling it out just for fun. He can also pick up temporary upgrades, such as one that increases the attack range of his sword. In addition, Hiryu is able to summon robotic animals to fight for him, one of which is a saber-toothed tiger.

When it comes to video games, an easy way to win me over is with variety, and Strider has that in spades! There are only five levels, but over the course of the game you travel to a Communist city, an Amazonian jungle, an airship, and two more that I will not spoil for you. The enemies you fight get very creative like the previously mentioned metal dragon and a metal gorilla, and both of those appear in the first two levels. There are plenty of mini-bosses sprinkled throughout the game, and each encounter feels fresh because of the superb level design.

Strider features very good presentation and is another one of these 2D games that still looks good today. Each of the levels has its own distinct soundtrack, and tracks run the gamut from baroque, rock, classical, and many more. Strider was famous for the diversity of its music and having an all-female cast of composers, and the music is very, very good even with the Genesis' sub-par sound chip. The tunes are almost perfectly in sync with the action on screen, which adds a cinematic element to the gameplay that was uncommon in that era. In terms of graphics, Strider shines just as brightly as any other game from both a technical and artistic standpoint. The detail added to all the unique environments in the game is astounding and every aspect of the pixel art is unique. Strider is one of the best examples of a perfect combination of different elements coming together to form an utterly brilliant and cohesive whole.

A lot of these classic side-scrolling action games served as precursors to huge franchises like Devil May Cry and God of War and none carry the same level of influence as Strider. Strider was a very progressive game in several aspects, particularly in the music and variety of the whole package. The best version of the game is still the arcade release, but the Genesis port will suffice.

Strider is another timeless classic from the late 80's/early 90's. I recommend this game to anyone and the fact that it is not a difficult game (relatively speaking) makes it more inviting than something like Ninja Gaiden.


Platform: SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive
Release: 1990 (JPN)
Publisher: Capcom/SEGA

Enter Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden, one of the greatest side-scrolling action games of the 8-bit era and possibly ever. Ninja Gaiden is the first in a trilogy of games that first released on the Nintendo Entertainment System and is the one I'll be taking a look at for this Retrolog.

Arguably Konami's most classic title, Gradius is one of the first modern shoot 'em ups ever released and the first that used the famous “Konami Code.” Playing the Nintendo eShop port of Gradius on Wii U is both depressing and very fun. It is fun because Gradius is an amazing game that, as cliché as it sounds, stands the test of time, and depressing because Konami will unfortunately never reach such heights again.

You pilot the iconic ship Vic Viper and collect upgrades as you progress through the game. The longer you play without losing a life, the more upgrades you collect, and the stronger your ship is; this adds a hefty dose of tension to the mayhem. In 2014 it is refreshing to play a game where your deaths actually mean something and the game is not afraid to punish you for losing. If you die, you go back to having the vanilla ship from the beginning of the game, a mechanic that would carry over to Konami's other games such as Castlevania.

Shoot 'em ups are generally considered very difficult games and this is absolutely true for Gradius. The game is not long at all and can be finished in 15 minutes, but if you keep having to restart, you will be playing for a very long time. However, the game is never unfair. The screen is never filled with an exorbitant amount of bullets like in modern games, and the game gives you the tools you need to succeed. One of my favorite aspects of shoot 'em ups are that the player and his enemies are on an even playing field. Both take just one hit to die (except bosses, of course). When you die in Gradius (and you will die) it is never the “game's fault.”

It still looks pretty good for a game from 1985. Great pixel art never goes out of style and that seems to be a running theme of Konami's old games. Castlevania, Contra, Parodius, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, Sunset Riders, and many more are still visually pleasing today. However, there comes a cost for Gradius's visuals and action and that is significant slowdown. Sometimes, the game seems to be running in slow motion. It is unfortunate that the eShop version did not correct this but that is par for the course considering Konami's present incompetence. The game is not as good musically as it is visually. Tracks largely consist of musical loops, and this is particularly disheartening when you consider how intricate the songs in Castlevania are.

Still, Gradius is almost 30 years old, and is still immensely entertaining and well-designed. I have not played it in years and I am ecstatic that it is every bit as fun as it was back then. If you have never played Gradius or are looking for a solid shoot 'em up to kill some time on your Wii U, I highly recommend getting this.

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: 1986 (USA)
Publisher: Konami