An Interview with Mike Matei from Cinemassacre/Angry Video Game Nerd

An Interview with Mike Matei

We have a treat for you today. An interview with filmmaker, editor, illustrator and performer Mike Matei. Mike has helped write, edit, guest star in and illustrate for the Angry Video Game Nerd series from the beginning. Note: You can now buy the Angry Video Game Nerd Movie through Amazon. If you use our Amazon link at the top of the page, the site benefits and the money goes to hosting fees.

He continues to work with his friend James Rolfe on web series like James & Mike Mondays, Monster Madness movie reviews and many more. What does he do? Where are things headed? What are his thoughts on video games and web series? We’ll cover it all. Read on!

ROBOTS PAJAMAS: You encouraged James Rolfe to make the Angry Video Game Nerd videos at the beginning and now you write, edit and even star in videos for Cinemassacre. Do you think you would have ended up making film and videos if James had never created the Angry Video Game Nerd? If not, what would you be doing with your time?

MIKE MATEI: I definitely would have gone a different route. Before helping James with web-videos, I wanted to get into the underground comic scene. If I never met James, I probably would have stuck with that.

mike matei illustration for Castlevania 2 review AVGN
RPJ: We haven’t seen your artwork in videos recently. Are you still illustrating? Have you ever considered making a comic?

MM: This isn’t true at all! I just recently did all the drawings for the new wave of You Know What’s Bullshit videos. Check out this one for example:

If you’re speaking of the AVGN title cards though, I stopped doing those at episode 100. I figured the episodes never really NEEDED title cards in the first place. And if I spend a week working on a title card, then James & Mike Mondays and Monster Madness would never get edited. So I think my work editing is a lot more important.

RPJ: What’s a typical day for you? What’s an example of a good day?

MM: I pretty much edit videos all day, every day. Between James & Mike Mondays and Monster Madness alone, that’s 83 videos a year. Then there’s lots of other ones I edit as well. A good day for me is when I get ahead enough on editing that I can take a break for a while. I will say though, I do save Saturdays to spend time with my girlfriend, and we always go out and do something cool. Like visit flee markets where I search for more video games haha!

RPJ: While the Angry Video Game Nerd plays terrible games, the ongoing James & Mike Mondays videos feature a mix of good and bad games. Are there any video games that make you angry or frustrated you as a kid?

MM: There were a ton. I mean, that’s what the Angry Video Game Nerd series is all about.. The majority of those games were stuff we played as a kid that pissed us off.

As far as James & Mike Mondays, it does give us a chance to play some good games for a change, which is nice. But we also play bad games. We basically just play whatever we want for that show. Sometimes I stumble upon a bad game, like Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure for example, and I want to show it to James to get his reaction. So when we play bad games, it’s usually me just wanting to get a rise out of James with some crappy thing I found.

And he’s done the same thing to me as well. I had never played Color A Dinosaur, and James was eager to show me that one. So it goes both ways. We’re always torturing each other with shitty games for a laugh!

RPJ: Cinemassacre, many YouTube channels, Red Letter Media – all of these produce shows independently on an ongoing basis. Harry Knowles of Aint it Cool News had a Kickstarter a year ago to produce a few episodes of his webseries, asking for $100,000 (and getting it). Do your videos cost this much? How do you pay for Cinemassacre’s webseries?

MM: The Cinemassacre web-videos typically aren’t too expensive to produce for the most part. It’s pretty much just us sitting on a couch playing a game or watching a movie.

There are costs involved however. Sometimes it can be pricy when we want to play a game that’s rare and expensive. For example, the Zelda CD-i stuff wasn’t cheap. And there are some games we’d like to do for James & Mike Mondays we don’t own that are pretty expensive. Other stuff that costs is camera equipment, lights, computers, and editing software. Some fans have expressed a desire for us to do videos in 4k. That’s another thing that wouldn’t be cheap if we decided to make that jump. People can always support us with the fan funding option on our YouTube page.

RPJ: Looking to the future, where do you anticipate Cinemassacre going? More Board James? Movie reviews? Something completely new? Have you ever discussed what kind of shelf-life AVGN has?

MM: There will always be more bad games, so AVGN could go on forever. The same goes for movie reviews. There’s a never ending amount of horror movies we could do reviews about. Honestly, we have more things to make videos about then we could ever get to in our lifetime. Beyond reviews though, I know James has plans for other original films which will be exciting to see.

RPJ: Monster Madness is one of my favorite things you do on Cinemassacre. Have you ever considered doing another ongoing series of themed reviews? If time wasn’t an issue, what would you want to do for that?

MM: Well, right now we are doing the Nerd’s 12 Days of SHITSmas, which is an ongoing series of themed reviews. And we’d do more review-series but the thing is, Monster Madness itself takes us most of the year to put together, to get ready for October. There’s a limit to how much content we can produce at once. If we had the time though, probably something like a Sci-Fi-A-Thon.

RPJ: You and James enjoy a lot of the same movies and games. What’s one that you love that he doesn’t care for or you can’t convince him to try?

MM: Well, I don’t think he really wanted to play Double Dare (NES) when I showed him that. But once we got to the end, and he saw the obstacle course, I think he understood why I wanted to show him. The controls on that are absolutely absurd.

Even though he wasn’t into that one, he played anyway. I think we’re both game to try anything at least once.

RPJ: Do you have a favorite game developer these days? What about of all time?

MM: These days I guess I’d have to answer Rockstar. Because I love Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. My all time favorite video game developer would either have to be Nintendo or Atari. I mean, nothing really compares to those. This question just got me in the mood to play Demon Attack. Thanks

RPJ: Hypothetical scenario: a video game publisher hires you to oversee production of a video game. What do you create?

MM: Well, that depends if you mean for me to oversee a preexisting franchise or something entirely new. But I’ll answer it both ways.

If I could work on something that already exists, I’d want to oversee a Zelda game. Without a doubt. I’d want it to be the launch game on a new console from Nintendo. And the console would have to have better graphics then any other system on the market. The game would be a more adult themed Zelda. Think of something like Dark Souls. The old Zelda games like “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” and “Ocarina of Time” were pretty dark in theme. I’d have it be like that. However, that doesn’t mean the graphics themselves would be dark. I would want Hyrule to be filled with color. And the game would alternate between overhead 2D and 3D. But would mostly be overhead 2D.

Now if I could make any game I want in the world? Hmm. How about Grand Theft Auto: Disney World.

RPJ: Thanks for your time, Mike.

  • lewmar

    Mike is awesome. Would love to meet him and James in person someday! :-D