As I'm sure most of you know, I am a longtime fan of Cinemassacre, and all that they do! Both James Rolfe and Mike Matei have been major inspirations for me.
As soon as I walked into the Dallas Sheraton for SGC, the very first person I saw was none other than Mike Matei. We only spoke briefly, but he was a real nice guy. Throughout our conversation, I found out how much he really does for Cinemassace. I always knew he played a major role, both with writing and production, but I never realized he was the "Content Manager" of Cinemassacre. I've always had respect for him, but even more now! Without any further ado, here is my interview with Mike Matai. Hope you enjoy!
MIKE MATEI: "I grew up playing in the Atari 2600 and the NES. It would have blown my mind then to see how advanced graphics would become. While the graphics have advanced as far as they have, I don't think gameplay has as much. To this day, most of my favorite video games are the skill based arcade style games from the early 80s. While I do love a lot of modern games like GTA V and Mario Kart 8, it still can't compare to walking into an arcade in the early 1980's. There was nothing like that experience, and never will be again. Hearing that, a lot of people would tell me to take the nostalgia goggle off. But gamers who were there get what I'm talking about. It was the overall experience of being in an arcade, playing with friends in that special social setting, and challenging your skills to their maximum potential. Being in an arcade is so much more fun than sitting at home playing a console in the dark with a headset on. It's almost like comparing old horror movies to new ones. The classic horror films were campy and fun. New horror flicks (with some exceptions) are mostly all dark, serious and filled with torture. There's nothing fun about them. Basically, what I'm getting at is that there's a generation gap. And I prefer gaming the way it was."
MULLET: What game(s) are you currently playing?
MATEI: "It'd be nice if I had spare time to just sit and play some single player gamers like I could when I was a teenager. These days, if I'm playing a game, usually it's for a video. Most of the games I'm playing are the ones you'll see on James & Mike Mondays.
Other than that, on occasion I will play some short multiplayer games with my girlfriend. We were into Mario Kart 8 for a while. But lately we've been playing Family Feud on Sega Genesis. She laughs at how one of the contestants looks like George W Bush."
MULLET: Much like myself, I know you are a big horror fan. What would you say is your favorite horror film? I know that can be a tough question...
MATEI: "It is a tough question because I like so many. My favorite horror films of all time are the Universal Monster Movies. And I love all the classics of the genre like Texas Chainsaw, NOTLD and so on. One of my favorites that gets often overlooked is House of Usher with Vincent Price. It's slow moving, but Price is great in it.
I also love House (1977) for its sheer absurdity. There's too many to list. Really, just watch Monster Madness for the full scoop.."
MULLET: How/when did you and James Rolfe first meet?
MATEI: "I actually told this story in front of an audience recently at the AVGN 10 year anniversary event. So you can see my elaborate answer for this one on video. Check it out here -
MULLET: After numerous hit shows (e.g. AVGN, James & Mike Mondays, Monster Madness, Board James etc.) did you ever imagine Cinemassacre being what it is today?
MATEI: "It came as a surprise when AVGN took off originally. I never expected so many people to be into it when I uploaded the first four videos to our YouTube channel. That was the shocker.
I figured people would like Board James and J&MM though because both of those are similar in a lot of ways to AVGN. Board James is similar because of the late 80's early 90's nostalgia aspect. J&MM is similar because it's just us in a room playing (mostly) retro video games.
I'm most happy though that people enjoy Monster Madness so much. Working on that project gives James and I a chance to take a break from video games and focus on the horror genre that we both love so much. And it's great how its become a tradition. It's a lot of work, and takes most of the year with the writing and editing to get it ready for October. But it's worth it. The fans love it, and so do we."
MULLET: You have been providing the title cards for AVGN episodes for years now. Since the beginning, if I'm not mistaken. When did you first get into art & illustrations?
MATEI: "Well, you're sort of mistaken. I started doing them beginning with episode five "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". After episode 100, I stopped doing them so that I could focus on editing the videos. (like J&MM and Monster Madness) However, I still do the drawings for You Know What's Bullshit and various other videos on occasion.
I first got into drawing when I was about 10 years old. I was completely obsessed with the original Uncles Scrooge comics written and drawn by Carl Barks. Back then, all I wanted to do was draw for Disney or animate cartoons for Warner Bros. Later on, I went to art school and got a BA in animation. But I learned in college that I enjoy video editing more than I like to draw. So I'm thrilled to be doing that full time now. It's funny because, a lot of people don't like to video edit. Personally, I can't get enough of it."
MULLET: Besides illustrations, and behind-the-scenes help, you have played a number of characters in AVGN episodes. You guys always look like you have fun when you're filming. Which episode would you say you personally had the most fun with?
MATEI: "That's easy. Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout. I just remember laughing the entire time we filmed that. The line "Bugs Bunny's Birthday Beating" was something we came up with on the spot. It was so stupid, but hilarious at the same time. It was also hot as hell when we filmed that. Not because of the costume, but just that it was the middle of the summer, and the film lights get so hot. Even though we were dripping in sweat, it was still a blast!"
MULLET: There was a period of time, where I'm assuming James began production on the AVGN movie, that you began producing videos and reviews, and releasing them on Cinemassacre.com. Which I am a big fan of, by the way! I enjoy your descriptive style of reviewing. Your thoughts and opinions translate well to the viewer. Rather than playing a character, or providing help with production, we got to see the real Mike Matei. How would you describe your transition to "on-air personality"? Were you initially hesitant or did it come naturally to you?
MATEI: "I always considered myself a video editor and still do, so it's weird that I came into the spotlight.
Here's the thing though. James had to leave to shoot the AVGN movie for about five months. That meant there were going to be no new videos from him at all during that period. Obviously, it's a bad thing to have a popular website and then have no content come out for like half a year. So that's when it became necessary for me to step in and try making some of my own videos. I was nervous about doing it. People really only knew James, so I knew it would be a rocky transition and it was. People at least kind of knew who I was because of the AVGN character appearances, so it seemed like I'd be most appropriate person to appear while he was away.
Fortunately, some of the videos I did during that period were pretty cool. Like Top 10 obscure NES Gems, a review of the iPad game Draw Something and so on.
Once he returned from LA we started doing "James & Mike Mondays" which has really worked out. James likes it because he gets to play some good games for a change. He also likes it because it requires no work for him. I do all the editing and post it to the site, so it leaves him free to work on other things. Such as doing the post-production on the AVGN feature or other various projects."
MULLET: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming "youtubers" or film makers?
MATEI: "Be original."
MULLET: And lastly, what can we expect from Mike Matei and Cinemassacre in the future?
MATEI: "We plan to continue all the Cinemassacre web-series the fans already know about. From me specifically, when I get time between editing J&MM and Monster Madness I'll be focusing on my own game reviews. If there's anything in particular anyone wants to see us review, contact me!"
I would like to thank Mike Matei for taking he time out of his busy schedule for this interview. Be sure to follow him on Twitter, and for all things Cinemassacre-related, then be sure to check out Cinemassacre.com, as well as their YouTube Channel!