Video game journalism is an essential part of the video game industry. But who are the journalists you are trying to reach for your video game PR?
This series of interviews presents passionate human beings and experienced players in the video game press.
It is a pleasure to introduce you as our guest today: Grant E. Gaines, Managing Director of Just Push Start
Grant E. Gaines, Aka Admiral Vic, Managing Director of JustPushStart.com
Long time professional in Gaming Press Industry with a keen eye for audience development opportunities.
Hello Grant, as Managing Director of Just Push Start, could you describe to us what it entails?
My role is surprisingly simple. In addition to covering news and being the head reviewer, most of my time is spent playing games and ideally resulting in guides. A good number of these have helped a lot of players and I’m always happy to hear something I did helped someone out.
Can you tell us your background before you do that?
This has been a big part of most of my adult life, so I don’t know if I have much of a background prior to this. That being said, it showed me a very different way to express my love of gaming and that lead to me getting a degree in Public Relations.
You are also the lead site reviewer, isn’t it difficult to balance the two roles?
Sometimes yes and other times no. I’ve played enough things to have a pretty good idea of where a title falls and I try to maximize my time whenever possible. A lot of times I find a game fascinating, such as Enter the Gungeon, and before you know it I figured out half the secrets and wrote 10 guides.
What is the editorial line at Just Push Start, and why this choice?
I think the one thing that is consistently true for everyone at Just Push Start is that we’re trying to be the change we want. A lot of the things I cover are titles, concepts or even elements that I think more people should know about and ideally make some kind of difference.
As a video Game Website, what are challenges you face?
Figuring out what works. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking popular is good, when it really depends. There are a lot of sites, many far bigger than our site and they’re more than happy to have dedicated Destiny, WoW, ESO, Final Fantasy, Gears of War, Halo and so forth content.
The trick isn’t covering the most popular things, it’s finding the right niche that people care about. This is why our most popular and commented article was a guide I wrote on the Injustice mobile game. Things like my Disgaea and Neptunia guides have also out performed a wide number of things we wrote on Destiny, Halo, Final Fantasy and the like.
As a News and Reviews video Game Website, what are challenges you face every day?
As for this, the biggest challenge is timing. You look at Jan. 2020 and there weren’t too many big releases. Then, other months, like pre-delay March, have so many things going on that it’s a challenge to cover everything that needs to be done. It would be great is everything was steady but the reality is some days there is a single interesting thing and then the next there are 40 massive reveals.
How do you and your team organize yourselves to meet these challenges and move forward?
We all have a dedicated role and have take pride in our own thing. There are some people who hate reviews and guides, which I love doing, whereas others will gladly post news all day. It’s just finding a balance that can be tricky.
I’ve noticed that you like a lot of different types of games, where are the independent games in your heart?
There is a certain charm of making the most of what you have or implementing weird ideas in an interesting way. A lot of this can be seen with Dead Cells. You have a fairly simple concept but the fun comes from how it’s presented. Even if there are some duds, I have a lot of respect for anyone willing to take the time to make their dream a reality.
As an experienced critic, what are the main criteria you look for in a video game?
How enjoyable the gameplay is. It doesn’t matter if a game has the best story or graphics in the world, if it’s a pain to play, you can expect it to fail. There are only a small number of games that I can think of where gameplay is subpar, yet are remembered fondly, which is a stark contrast to the overwhelming number of titles that are, above all, fun to play. I can easily overlook a cheesy story or okay graphics if the game is as fun as Bayonetta, Vanquish or Enter the Gungeon.
If I ask you to name 3 games (for whatever reason), which ones would they be?
Lost Planet 2, Spelunker HD and E.X. Troopers.
I would like to thank Grant for his availability, his sound advice and for sharing some of his invaluable experience in gaming industry.