Games Meet Metal: Blast Beats and Boss Battles with Metal Jesus Rocks!

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Blast Beats and Boss Battles with Metal Jesus Rocks!

(Another week, another interview. This time we travel back to the land of Youtube and the hills of Seattle to speak with Metal Jesus Rocks! He's a former employee of Sierra, a collector, and he loves him some evil metal tunes!)

First blatantly obvious question: how did you get into gaming in the first place? Like wise, when did you decide to become a collector?

My first console was the Atari 2600, but it wasn't until I saw the beige Commodore 64 and its amazing games that I really got hooked on collecting.  Going from simple games on the Atari to complex RPG masterpieces like Pools of Radiance and The Bard's Tale on the C64 was a real leap forward in the early 80's.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and it was when I saw people selling their consoles on Craigslist for cheap that I decided to get serious and really grow my video game collection. I started adding a bunch of stuff I never owned in the past, like the Gamecube, N64, Saturn, Genesis, etc.. I was always a PC gamer since I worked at PC game developer Sierra On-Line during the 90s. So, all these mid-90 and early 2000 console games are new to me! Currently I have about 2,000 video games stashed away in my Man Cave / Game Room.

Second blatantly obvious question: how did you come to love all things metal?

My cousin gave me a KISS album (yes, a 12" vinyl record) back in junior high school (mid-1980s)…and I was hooked. I know KISS is not really "metal" …But still, the band KISS kick-started my passion for heavy guitars, long hair and all that things LOUD!  Later, I discovered bands like Pantera, Dream Theater, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Opeth & Testament and that just solidified my love of all things GRRRRRR!

Out of everyone I've seen on Youtube, I think you have about the most cheerful disposition. How do you stay so damn happy?

I'm happy because I'm talking about video games, for crissakes. :)  How rad is that? It's amazing to me that I make 10 minute videos about a subject I love and people actually like to watch!   Overall, I'm a pretty positive person anyway, and honestly, video games and music are an art form that I am passionate about. Yes, I get annoyed with game companies like Sony & Capcom occasionally and the stupid shit they do, but I choose not to dwell on it. Game collecting is fun and I look forward to it every single day. 

Also, here's a hint if you are pissed off: cue up Fucking Hostile by Pantera or Angel of Death by Slayer and crank up the stereo. Those songs always remind me that somebody is having a worse day than me.    :)

It's pretty obvious by your many vids that you love playing some guitar. How did you get started?

When I was in college, I was flat broke… living off of $2 a day and no money for anything extra. I needed to find a hobby that I could do that wouldn't cost a lot. And then I had an epiphany: I could buy a guitar and amp once, and I can play it for the rest of my life!  My dad was a amateur musician, playing trumpet & drums… so I've always been around music and it just seemed like a perfect fit. I bought a crappy Fender knockoff, shitty amp and never looked back.  Now my band gets together once a week, we chug beers and have a great time pretending to be rock stars in our own minds. When you look at hobbies, playing guitar is really a great one and other than occasionally buying new strings, it doesn't really cost a lot.

Like Batman has his Robin and Butthead has his Beavis, you have your Drunken Master Paul. How did you two meet, and is he really a drunken master of anything? Beer? Judo? BOTH?!?!

Paul & I met while working at Sierra On-Line back in the 1990s and we have been best buds ever since.  Paul actually *IS* a total badass and loves a tasty microbrew, which makes him a true drunken master. He is a 4th degree blackbelt in Filipino Martial Arts (Arnis) and he teaches it two times a week. That style of martial arts is designed to prepare you to be able to fight with anything you can find: a stick, a knife, flashlight, petrified turd or whatever. The other thing it teaches you is to shrug off getting hit, even if it's the head. I've seen Paul spar with other students and he is definitely a badass mofo. The irony is that he sucks at fighting games!

You've mentioned a few times that you worked at Sierra back in the day. Did you get to work on any of the classic PC games that they're known for?

I beta tested tons of Sierra games, like Earthsiege, Tribes, Lord of the Realm, Aces of the Deep, Front Page Football, etc… but my 15 minutes of fame came when Jim Hicks was looking for somebody who was a heavy metal rocker dude with long hair and could play guitar. He was the movie producer for an adventure game called Shivers 2, which is Sierra's version of the point and click adventure games like Myst and Riven. 

Shivers 2 is a game that takes place in a weird deserted town where this rock band named Trip Cyclone was shooting some music videos, which contain clues to solving the game and many of its puzzles. It's kind of a silly premise, but it was fun to make. The producers assembled a fake band including me on guitar,  and we headed over the mountains into Eastern Washington which is dry and flat, and we shot a bunch of dusty music videos where I got to walk around like a real rockstar.

I still keep in touch with a bunch of people who were in old Sierra games, including my buddy Drunken Master Paul who was an extra in a fetish bar scene for the game Phantasmagoria 2, plus he did voice work on a bunch of games. Also, my friend's faces appeared in many game manuals and strategy guides, and so much more. Sierra was great about grabbing who ever was standing in the office hallway for quick walk-ons for their games!

Out of your whole collection, what has the greatest value, both dollar wise and sentimental?

H.E.R.O. by Activision is an old platform game for the Atari 2600 and early 8bit consoles which I just loved as a kid. Last year, the owner of the web site donated to me an UNOPENED copy of the game in the box, which really took my breath away. That box is 28 years old! How the hell did it not get opened?!

I have some pretty hard to find Sierra coffee mugs, mouse pads, etc… that were in our office building, as well as tons of weird Sierra stuff. 

I also have a brand new, unopened copy of the game One-on-One Julius Erving & Larry Bird for the Commodore 64 (1983). This is kind of special because they were huge basketball stars at the time. 

However, probably my most rare thing is a ICO (PS2 game) wire bird cage Sony sent me back when I was reviewing games professionally.  It was a promo gift and it is very, very difficult to find online. I have never seen a copy show up on Ebay.

What's in the future for you and your channel?
To keep my subscribers from not getting bored, I have a bunch of random stuff planned for my channel. I plan on doing more Sierra guest appearances, cover local retro gaming expos, classic PC game reviews, Game Party videos, Pickup videos, I Hate U episodes and also live music. I've also had a bunch of requests for Metal Jesus Rocks t-shirts, hats and beer koozies so I'm looking at providing merchandising for fans who want to support the channel and look stylish doing it.

Thanks for the interview!
 - Metal Jesus

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