FYIG Chats With Author of “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers” Patrick Hickey Jr.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.
 
I am the Assistant Director of Journalism at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn New York and the Chair of the City University of New York Journalism Discipline Council. Away from education, I am the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of ReviewFix.com and a Staff Writer for Old School Gamer Magazine. I am also the Story Editor and Lead Voice Actor for the video game The Padre, which is currently available on Steam. Once upon a time, I was also an Editor at NBC and a contributor to TheHockeyWriters.com
 
You recently released a new book called The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers. Where’d the idea for this book come about?
 
There’s a line in The Shawshank Redemption- “You get busy living, or you get busy dying.” I was 33. Had a beautiful pregnant wife and a job I know I could have for the rest of my life. But I had dreams. I’ve written every day since I’m 18 for over 50 publications, written and print. But I hadn’t written a book. I felt it was something I had to do. If you know me, you know any book written by me could only be about one of three things, pro wrestling, hockey or video games. As well, I’ve done thousands of interviews during my career- big ones like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Walker, Ultimate Warrior, Channing Tatum and smaller ones like indie musicians and Game Developers- it’s my favorite part of the journalistic process. So after some deep consideration, I decided to do an interview anthology featuring the developers of the games that affected me as a kid, teen, and adult.
 
How difficult was it to identify exactly who you wanted to interview and what games to include?
 
It wasn’t very hard at all. I have a hearty collection of games and connections on social media and I leveraged both. What games did I want to know more about and what games did they want to know more about? Then I decided there were games we both NEEDED to know about. After making those lists, I began to hunt down these developers and pitch them the project. That process was probably the hardest- as I said before, interviewing comes naturally to me and I have a huge appreciation for the medium. Finding some of these people and then getting them to answer me, that was the hard part.
 
I haven’t seen many people dive into sports games as much, but you have some great interviews on games like NHLPA ’93 and Mutant League Football to name a couple. What went into the decision to include games like those over other more “mainstream” games (not that I’m complaining)?
 
This makes me smile because one of the sequels I’m currently working on will be a Sports only book that will feature interviews with the developers and producers of the original Madden and a few different hockey games 🙂
 
Like I said the decision was to do a bucket list type book. Interview the developers of the games that affected me and sports games have always been my favorite genre. There’s a rich history there and it’s virtually unexplored. I’m super happy with those chapters in the book for that reason, so much so that it was a no-brainer to do a sports-only book.
 
How important was it to cover every era of video games as much as possible?
 
Super important. I wanted to make this book that gamers and readers could glean a ton of information from and understand what goes into creating a game and how much the industry has changed over the years. Sure, this is supposed to be an entertaining read, but I’d like you to learn something, too.
 
 
I know that I could probably never write a book of interviews because it would never feel complete enough for me. How did you get to the point where you knew the book was done and ready to go?
 
I never have felt that way haha. That’s why I have three more books- and definitely more in the future, on the way. I was literally polishing and adding up until the day the manuscript was due.
 
A few weeks after I submitted the manuscript, the developers of the PS1 classic Loaded got back to me and I didn’t waste any time. I’ve basically made up my mind that this is something I’m going to do for a long time.
 
What’s your favorite interview in the book?
 
Super hard question. I’d like to think there isn’t a stale interview in the lot, but the stories from James Riley and Rob Fulop on Night Trap and Michael Brook on NHLPA 93 really stand out the most to me. None is a huge Cult game that is so misunderstood and the NHL series is so iconic. Having them in the book means the world to me. Michael is an awesome guy too and he’s actually writing the foreword to the Sports book.
 
You’ve mentioned that you’re working on two sequels to this book. What can audiences expect from those? Are there any interviews that might have been cut from this book that might make it into the next one?
 
Right now I have been signed by McFarland to write an Adventure game book and a Sports book, but I have also discussed a Shooter book with them as well. I have ideas for two other books in the series as well.
 
I’m almost finished with the Adventure book, which will feature interviews with the developers of some amazing games the likes of the original Grand Theft Auto, Maximum Carnage, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, X-Men Legends, Pitfall and so much more.
 
The Sports book is coming along great too and has some great chapters already as I previously mentioned.
 
The Shooter book is the least far along but has Loaded and Turok The Dinosaur Hunter and several other big-name games attached so I’m excited about that as well.
 
In terms of leaving anything out in book one, there were sadly some games that didn’t make the cut as the stories weren’t there, but in terms of the games that are featured, I didn’t leave anything out. Those interviews are essentially unedited and completed. I wanted to give readers a real look inside the development process and what made the games unique.
 
Where can everyone purchase the book?
 
Everywhere. Amazon, Target, Books A Million, Walmart and you can even order a personalized copy on my official site here, http://patrickhickeyjr.com/minds-behind-games/
 
You’re the founder of ReviewFix.com. Tell us a little bit about the site and what types of content viewers can expect from it.
 
It’s essentially a platform for myself and tons of writers to cover the entertainment industry critically. Everything from Pro Wrestling and Theater to Video Games and Comics. It’s a lot of fun. 
 
You’re also Lecturer of English & Journalism and the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College. How do you find the time to juggle everything going on in your life in addition to having a family at home?
 
I’m also a voice actor for a few video games, an opportunity that came about following the release of the book. One of them, The Padre, is currently on Steam (trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5NyrWXJqyA) – I did the voice acting for the main character and the editing on the story for that one. Since we’re on the subject, I’m also writing the story for an upcoming game. 
 
But to answer your question- I’m a fighter with dreams. I will make them all come true because I only know how to perform one way. There’s no slacking or tanking on my end. This is what I want and I make time only for the people that are as likeminded or need a push to become so. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t dream and actively try to crush those dreams. I’m super lucky to have a wife that understands that as well. 
 
Let the readers know where to find you online.
 
I’m on Twitter @reviewfix and Instagram @Patrickhickeyjr Feel free to contact me. I love interacting with my readers. It’s another one the reasons why I wanted to do this. Who doesn’t love talking about video games?