“…A game just needs to be fun for me to invest time into it. Gameplay is important to me because I play games to have fun. I don’t like when story is center focus over gameplay because a game can tell a good story, but lack everywhere else. Finding a balance is important.”
There are poseurs and there are writers. For our thirteenth blogger interview, I had the pleasure of getting to know a member of the latter category: writer Drakulus of his self-titled blog. I was truly inspired talking with this gentleman about how he has overcome his past through writing, through focusing himself. We also touched on issues concerning the big three game companies (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintend) and how they compare, as well as gaming history and the Holy Grail of WordPress: blog monetization. He even asked me a question! Mind blown. I hope you’re just as blown away by this conversation as I was, inspired to do more, reach for more, write more, and set some goals. Stick around! You might learn something.
If your conscience so pricks you, feel free to check out the original post “Introducing Blogger Interviews” to sign up for an officially sanctioned Well-Red chat with yours truly. No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds.
“It’s about time for another interview! Sorry for the delay.
Busy with babies, and all that. My fellow blogger Drakulus has volunteered his time. Thanks for being with us! To start off: do you consider yourself a gamer and how long have you been gaming for?”
“Thanks for having me. I do consider myself a gamer and I’ve been gaming since I was in diapers. When I was about 10 months old my mother introduced me to the NES and let me play Super Mario.”
“Starting at 10 months! That’s awesome. NES is the ultimate classic.
Do you still have that NES? Do you go back and play a decent amount of retro games, or have you successfully ‘graduated’?”
“The NES wasn’t mine so I don’t have it . I have no idea what happened to it. The only console I own at the moment is the 3DS. I also have a PC. I still play the old Super Mario, Street Fighter, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, and Castlevania games, but most of the time I’m playing more modern games.”
“Well I hope that NES is in a better place, somewhere out there in console heaven.
You still play a significant amount of classics, so what do you think is the appeal and value of retrogaming in today’s modern era of more immediately impressive games?”
“I think old games are important because it shows how far the gaming industry has grown since the NES days. Old series like Super Mario have stood the test of time and continue to wow audiences today. It’s really impressive. I think new game developers should reflect on the success of these older game series and learn from them.”
“Yes! Anything specific you can think of in terms of what developers
can learn or adopt from some retro games? For me, I’d say difficulty and challenge. Not saying there are no difficult modern games but it’s nothing compared to the challenges of yesterdecade.”
“Difficulty, creativity, and just don’t be afraid to be different. You don’t have to make what everyone else is making just because it’s popular.”
“Amen to that. Let’s talk about tastes. I sense we share some similarities here.
What do you look for in a game? What does a game need to show or do that makes you think you’ve got to play that?”
“My two favorite genres are strategy and RPG games. I love a good story, but I also love being challenged and strategy games are the hardest games around. But a game just needs to be fun for me to invest time into it. Gameplay is important to me because I play games to have fun. I don’t like when story is center focus over gameplay because a game can tell a good story, but lack everywhere else. Finding a balance is important.”
“I love both strategy and RPGs!
What are some of your top favorites in those genres? Of all time, of course.”
“Civilization is hands down my all time favorite strategy game. It’s relaxing, has great multiplayer, and I can conquer the world with Gandhi. RPGs is much harder for me to answer. If I had to choose one series it’ll be the Elder Scrolls. I love exploring everything, finding new secrets, and having my own unique adventure every time I boot the game up. I have very fond memories of Morrowind in particular. Giant mushroom trees, a floating city over the water, becoming a werewolf for the time. I also love when when both of my favorite genres are combined into one. Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics are such great games. Dragon Age, The Witcher, and The Elder Scrolls are my favorite RPGs of this generation while Phantasy Star, Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic, and Zelda are some of my favorite older RPGs. My favorite game of all time isn’t even an RPG or strategy game though.”
“Ah then which are your favorites of all time, top three?”
“That’s incredibly hard for me to answer… If I had to choose 3 it would be The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher, and Zelda. Can’t leave Zelda out of any all time best list in my opinion.”
“Agreed! Zelda stands out in the sea of games, somehow.
Out of so many titles, which Zelda game is your most favorite? Maybe that’s not as hard a question. Haha!”
“Ocarina of Time is my favorite followed closely by Breath of The Wild. Ocarina of Time would easily make my top 10 games of all time. I’m… still debating if Breath of The Wild would show up in that list or not.”
“A little while back we were talking about JRPGs, you and I.
You like RPGs but not JRPGs? Is that accurate? If so, why?”
“Dislike is a strong word to use. I don’t dislike JRPGs. I just played a lot of mediocre ones that soured my view on them. The Final Fantasy 13 trilogy comes to mind. I’m slowly getting back into the genre and I’m even planning on buying FF15 when it eventually releases on PC.
“I’m also about to get into Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and I’m a huge Dragon Quest fan. I have parts 7, and 8 on the 3DS and I’m in love with them. Some of my favorite JRPGs of all time are Lost Odyssey, Phantasy Star II, and Dragon Quest VII.”
“Ah I see, that’s very understandable.
I can see your point with FFXIII, and FFXV was one I may have even liked less. What about classic JRPGs, like we’re talking mid-90’s when these were at their peak? Played many of those? I have yet to play a single Dragon Quest game. Should I get into the franchise?”
“I’ve played a ton of mid-90’s JRGPs. I’ve played all of the classic Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger, and I even enjoyed Jade Cocoon. The Legend of Dragoon ruled my childhood. I played through The Legend of Dragoon countless times. It still holds up as a pretty great game in my opinion. You MUST play Dragon Quest. If you have a 3DS I recommend both VII and VIII. They’re both really great games and since you love JRPGs I think you would really enjoy them.”
“I actually do have a 3DS which is currently collecting dust.
It was given to my wife as a gift but she’s not one to play too many games and I’m not much of a handheld gamer (minus the Switch). I appreciate the recommendations! Is Dragon Quest a series where you can just jump right into the middle of it or do you need to start from the beginning if you’re coming in blind? Also, what qualities make Dragon Quest a worthy series of games to play?”
“It doesn’t matter where you start in Dragon Quest since each game tells a different story. Dragon Quest is like a lighthearted version of Final Fantasy. Its characters, gameplay, art style, and world sucks me in. It’s like I’m experiencing what made the 90’s JRPGs so great all over again. The new Dragon Quest remakes also have some extra features added in them too.”
“Are you aware of the Dragon Quest games coming to the Nintendo Switch?
Does that at all sway you toward getting Nintendo’s newest console hybrid, or are you comfortable with PC and 3DS?”
“That’s actually a funny story. I had a Switch, but gave it to my mother because she couldn’t find one. I’ll get another one eventually, and yes I really want just about every JRPG that’s been revealed for the Switch so far.”
“Wow! What a humanitarian!
I don’t know if I’d have the virtue to do that, even for my mother. Those JRPGs look pretty good, don’t they? Since we’re on the topic of genres, what are some of your least favorite? Any games you automatically won’t play because they fit into a certain category?”
“I find enjoyment in every genre to be honest. My favorite FPS game is Borderlands 2, my favorite music game is Guitar Hero, my favorite sports game is Madden and I’m still pissed at EA for not porting it to PC, my favorite Indie at the moment is Salt and Sanctuary, and my favorite third person shooter/best games ever made is the Mass Effect trilogy.”
“Ah a jack-of-all-trades! Let’s switch gears to your blog.
I’ve been wanting to ask you this for a while: how did you come up with the name Drakulus? Any significant story or underlying meaning there?”
“I’m a bit of a Dracula nut and one day when I was thinking about what I would want to name my blog it just popped into my head. I owe my name to the greatest vampire of all time.”
“I’m sure he’s smiling at that off somewhere in his coffin. Is this your first blog?”
“I started in August of 2013. My very first post was a crappy screenshot of my Skyrim game . I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I built my entire blog around Skyrim and kind of branched out from there. I started blogging to keep my mind fresh, and keep myself out of trouble. I have a deep criminal history and I got tired of spending nights in jail so I just started writing. My wife, kids, and my blog keep me honest and I feel like a better person than I did a few years ago.”
“That’s a pretty powerful story!
I too find the craft of writing to be therapeutic and relaxing but your story is quite inspiring. Have you branched out into other writing projects beyond blogging?”
“Not yet. I have ideas for some things that I want to do. I’m even considering taking some Journalist classes at a college down the street from me so I can try and get a job at the local newspaper and go from there. I am putting ideas together for a book that I want to write, but I don’t think I’m ready to start it yet. I want my skills to continue to develop first, and I’m honestly a little nervous. I’m my own worst critic and half the time I think everything I come up with sucks while other people tell me it’s awesome.”
“Sounds like you’re a writer, alright.
I wouldn’t trust someone who is never nervous before trying to do something great, and writing is doing something great. What direction to you see your blog heading in now? Is it something you want to continue indefinitely or would you drop it if you became a journalist? What’s its purpose and what does it uniquely offer readers out there in the sea of the blogosphere?”
“I don’t think my blog is going anywhere any time soon. I really do love writing about the random crap that’s up in my head. I’m not really sure what direction I want to head in just yet. I have ideas, but I want to be sure before I do anything that’ll change the way I do things. I’m not under any illusion about trying to do unique things with my blog. There’s so many out there I don’t think you can ever be unique. I just be myself and that’s enough for me. I give my honest opinion on games, movies, and sports. That’s gotten me to where I am today and it’s also gotten me plenty of death threats too . I make some money off of my blog too and that’s always a good incentive to keep writing.”
“Sounds very much like you’re laying the tracks before the train
while at the same time you’re someone who likes to be sure about things. Paradoxical genius! I can tell your blog is robust for it! Did I just read ‘death threats’???”
“My blog is has done very well the last few years. I’m pushing 750k views with almost 400k visitors. I’m really proud of that. The death threats makes me smile because if I can make someone react that way about a topic then I think I’ve done a damn good job.”
“So just to get this straight
(because I speak my mind and I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of thing), you have had threats on your life for giving presumably negative and/or positive takes on entertainment? I mean, this is nuts.”
“I have thick skin. I refuse to let things like that bother me. I knew I would get some negative feedback from the gaming community for my opinions on certain topics and I have. It’s rare, but it happens and I doubt anyone would be brave enough to actually go through with their threats. They’re keyboard warriors. I put no thought into them at all.”
“I just can’t believe this world we live in sometimes…
Anyway, let’s go back to something positive (and of course I wish you the best of health): you have successfully monetized your blog? How’d you do it? Do you see a lot of cha-ching? Any tips for other bloggers out there looking to go down those lines?”
“I was put on a waiting list to monetize my blog. I’ve been writing for almost 4 years and I’ve been monetized for 2. I’ve made some decent fun money out of my blog. The way making money with WordPress works is by your advertisements. You’ll need a lot of views/clicks on your advertisements to generate an income. I’ve made a few hundred bucks doing this and I have an upcoming payday too. Just getting 100 or 200 views a day isn’t good enough to earn an income from your blog. You’ll need to get thousands of views every month to see any money coming your way. I’m averaging between 20-40k views a month and the money that I make isn’t enough for me to quit my day job and become a full time blogger even though I would love too.”
“Well it sounds like you really know what you’re doing!
You’re well on your way. So I’ve been thinking a lot on the three console giants right now, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. I wonder what your thoughts are on the console scene since you’re a PC user. Who would you say is … ahem… ahead of the game in terms of their rivalry/competition?”
“The Nintendo fanboy in me wants to say Nintendo, but the Switch has yet to prove itself. I’m going with Sony here because of the great year they’ve had with games so far and the fact that the Playstation 4 continues to move units like crazy. I’m actually getting a PS4 later this year and I’m really excited about that. Microsoft isn’t on my radar. I used to be a huge fan of Xbox. I’m not anymore since I got into PC gaming. Once the Switch releases those nice looking games we’ve been seeing I’ll change my choice.”
“You and I are on the same thought here. As much as I love Nintendo,
Sony has put out a quadrilogy of consistently good consoles with a lot of variety, certainly the most variety out of the big three. I always root for Nintendo but they’ve got a lot of work to do. First month of sales looked stellar for the Switch, second only to the PS4’s first month, and Breath of the Wild sold like proverbial hotcakes, but there’s a long road ahead. What’s something you specifically want to see from the Switch that has not been announced yet? What can they learn from Sony’s success?”
“I can name a ton of things I would like to see on the Switch. A new Metroid, Monster Hunter, and Pokémon come to mind right now. I think Nintendo is doing a lot of good things right now. The only recent failure they’ve had is the Wii U. The Wii won the last generation of consoles. It outsold both the 360, and PS3 by quite a margin. I don’t think Nintendo needs to learn anything from Sony because they’re more creative than both Sony and Microsoft. Every new trend that Nintendo has come up with has been mimicked by Sony and Microsoft. One thing I love about Sony is the fact that they’re not afraid to give their developers freedom to create new IPs. That’s something I think Nintendo could learn from them. I love Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Zelda as much as the next guy, but I’m not against Nintendo trying to create some brand new classics for us to enjoy.”
“I’d add the NES Classic Edition as a recent failure,
but that may just be because I’m bitter about having to pay a gouger after they discontinued the beloved thing. When I think about Sony’s variety and the developers who make great games for them, I do think about the NES and how great a system it was because of its variety of high quality games. Did you pick up a NES Classic, or were you not interested, or could you not find one?”
“By the time I realized there was a NES classic they were sold out . I’m definitely getting the SNES when it’s available for preorder. The SNES is my all time favorite console. I have a question for you? What do you think of Project Scorpio?”
“AHHHH! A question? For me? Why thank you!
Well I will be the first to readily admit that I am not an Xbox guy, and I’m only dimly aware of Project Scorpio. I take it, as usual, that it’s an emphasis on graphics and such. It’s just that a lot of the games stereotypically featured on Xbox consoles don’t appeal to me very much, as anyone could tell from the kinds of games I typically review. I’m just not a fan of gritty shooters and online multiplayer, though I’ve played a few good ones over the years. I won’t be picking it up, nor will I get the PS4 Pro either.”
“I agree with everything you posted. The Xbox brand doesn’t have enough games to make me want their console and even if I did I could get all of their games on PC so there’s no point in it to me. I’m getting a Pro because I don’t own a Playstation and I might as well buy the one with more power.”
“Yeah, see I think that would make the most sense.
If I didn’t already own a PlayStation 4, I would just get the Pro but I don’t see myself doing the upgrade thing right now. You’ll have a good machine for a variety of games. I’m fine passing on most of Xbox altogether. I’ve got a 360 that’s mostly just sitting on a shelf looking like a gigantic bookend. We’re approaching E3 in a few months, do you watch it and are there any upcoming projects or announcements you’re looking forward to?”
“I usually don’t watch E3. I just catch the highlights or read about it later on since everyone covers it, but I think I will watch it this year. I want to see what Microsoft, and Nintendo are doing this year. If Pokémon isn’t announced for the Switch I’m going to lose it.”
“I may just lose it with you. They need to announce something BIG!
In lieu of looking to the future, would you share a final word of advice with your fellow bloggers?”
“The only advice I can give to my fellow bloggers is to be yourself. The views, followers, and comments will come if you have a good schedule, and be original. Hard work brings nice rewards. This has been fun. I even got to ask you a question.”
“Yeah! It’s been a pleasure talking with you
and I appreciate you asking me a question. Have a lovely day.”
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