Hellbent Games Founder and CEO Chris Mair is one of my favorite people to hang out with on the road. We have so many common interests and our conversations can go in all sorts of directions. Obviously we’re both videogame nerds, but we also share a love for pro-wrestling, hair metal, and guitar. The last bit made him the perfect person to kick off my four-part “Guitar Heroes” series.
In the conversation about, Chris Mair and I talk about all things guitar. It was especially cool to hear about how studying jazz guitar has helped his career as a game designer and the head of a game studio. Other guitar topics covered include:
Award winning author John Foster (Leech, Rooster) dropped by to chat about Saturday Night Live with me. Before we got into the meat of the conversation, John spoke a bit about his latest book and what’s coming next. Also among the appetizers is a little rant on how much I hate when people say, “SNL isn’t funny anymore.” It’s such a lazy and thoughtless thing to say. It’s something I’ve been hearing from stupid people since high school and I hate it. So. Much.
With four cast members leaving (Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney), I fully expect some morons to say, “Saturday Night Live isn’t funny anymore,” throughout next season. The thing is, SNL is always funny. Sure, it has peaks and valleys like anything else, but writing, producing, and performing a live sketch comedy show is extraordinarily difficult. And for the most part, everyone involved with the show pulls it off.
Beyond that, SNL is always the funniest when you’ve invested the most time into it. For most people that’s usually in their teens or 20s. There are elements of emotional investment and nostalgia when people remember when SNL was best to them. Saying, “SNL isn’t funny anymore,” is inaccurate at best and flat-out dumb at worst. It may not be as funny to you as it was in the past, but humor evolves and mainstream tastes change.
At the end of the day, SNL is always funny.
Anyway, getting back to my wonderful conversation with John Foster, we spoke about:
Former Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) editor Ray Carsillo and I hit it off the second we met. We’re both East Coasters, named Ray, pro-wrestling fans, NY Yankees fans, comics nerds, and videogame nerds. How could we not get along?!?
One of Ray Carsillo’s more recent projects is the Geeks Who Like Sports podcast. It’s a very cool show that mixes sports and videogame fandom. Ray is a very smart and opinionated guy, so it’s great hearing his takes. His co-host, Lee Elias, is also a loud East Cost dude, so things can boisterously entertaining on Geeks Who Like Sports.
With so many nerdy hobbies in common, it was great catching up with Ray Carsillo. Some of the things we spoke about in the video above include:
John Keefer served as GameSpy.com’s managing editor while I worked there. He was an excellent boss that became an excellent friend. Last year, he had a major health scare, but has recovered nicely (except for the COVID-19 hiccup just before we streamed this chat). I haven’t spoken with John in a few years and it was fantastic catching up with him using the power of Grayskull the Internet.
Some of the things that John Keefer and I discussed in the video above include:
Longtime videogame PR professional and former GameTrailers TV host Marcus Beer is one of the most passionate football fans that I know. This made him the perfect person to talk about Championship Sunday 2022. The 2021/2022 Premier League season was absolutely thrilling, with so many spots left until few weeks of the season and the winner of the season coming down to the last day!
Some of the Championship Sunday 2022 tidbits Marcus Beer and I spoke about include:
For nerds of a certain age, Big Trouble in Little China is one of the most important movies of all time. This John Carpenter cult classic did not do well in theaters but became hugely influential after heavy cable rotation and changing sensibilities. Jose “Fubar” Sanchez dropped by to talk about why this movie is beloved by geeks all over the world.
Some of the aspects of Big Trouble in Little China that Jose and I discuss include:
My excellent colleague and friend Paul Semel dropped by to share his thoughts on Moon Knight on Disney Plus and Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Although we both enjoy many of the same nerd things, our tastes also vary. With that in mind, I didn’t expect him to enjoy Moon Knight as much as I did. Although he said it was his least-favorite Marvel series on Disney Plus, he enjoyed it more than I expected him to.
Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was received similarly. Paul Semel also enjoyed, but not as much as I did. He tends to be more cynical about entertainment in general and doesn’t enjoy secondary comics characters as much as I do. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the Starbrand and Nightmask comics, while Paul could not care less about characters at that…level, for lack of a better word.
It was excellent catching up with my friend, pro-wrestler, and greatest man that ever lived, Austin Aries. He’s one of those guys that makes you go, “Damn. We’ve known each other way longer than I thought!” One of my goals with RPadTV 3000 is to introduce you guys and gals to some cool people and I absolutely did that with this conversation. I love that the podcast had very little to do with pro-wrestling and gave you some insight into the man behind the gimmick.
Some of the topics Austin Aries and I chatted about in RPadTV 3000 episode 10 included:
After a hilarious debut in The Suicide Squad (the good James Gunn one, not the pile of garbage starring Will Smith), John Cena returns as Peacemaker on HBO Max. While the character was great as a supporting player in a movie, could he work as a lead in a prestige series? The answer was a resounding yes! To review and discuss Peacemaker season 1, I asked Tal Blevins (former IGN editor) and Paul Semel (former Maxim, Bikini) to join me for a very special episode of RPadTV 3000.
Tal Blevins, Paul Semel, and I talk about our favorite characters, scenes, music, and aspects of Peacemaker season 1. While we all loved the series and were floored by John Cena’s performance, we had different takes on it. For example, Paul and Tal believe that this was a star-making performance for Jennifer Holland. While I enjoyed what she did in the series, I wasn’t as impressed by her as my two esteemed (and smarter) colleagues were.
This might come as a shock, but many of my friends are Star Wars nerds. Two of the biggest Star Wars fans I know are veteran videogame journalist Paul Semel and former videogame journalist Chris Baker (Official PlayStation Magazine). When I thought about dedicating an episode of RPadTV 3000 to the first season of The Book of Boba Fett, they were there first people I thought of for guests. Thankfully, they agreed to swing by!
The Book of Boba Fett has been getting rave reviews and venomous criticism in the corner of the Internet that I hang out in. Some fans love it for adding more high-quality Star Wars content to Disney+. Others hate it for fleshing out Boba Fett’s story and taking away from the mystique that made him so cool in The Empire Strikes Back.
Now here’s the part where I warn you that there will be spoilers ahead. Now turn on your spoiler shields and lock your S-foils in attack positions!