Monday, June 7, 2010

Wait, who's behind Tiny Cartridge?

Two dudes, who knew? Eric Caoili and JC Fletcher were nice enought to answer some questions I had about one of my favorite video game sites Tiny Cartridge.

Tiny Cartridge provides a huge abundance of news on ds games, retro junk, and video game society. I love the site.

I decided to find out who runs it and did. Below is the interview.

First off please introduce yourselves and what your site is about.

Eric: I'm Eric Caoili, co-editor Tiny Cartridge and two other outlets -- alternative gaming blog and business-y MMO/Social Gaming news site

Though we present Tiny Cartridge as a hub of "Nintendo DS media, import news, retro junk, homebrew previews", really, it's just curious and obscure gaming junk -- usually DS-related -- that JC and I dig up during the day and share with each other over instant messages, like, "Wow, this is cool," or "Check out these assholes." Caught up in our arrogance, we believed others might find our missives interesting, so we created Tiny Cartridge to house all of those links and images/videos.

JC: And I'm JC Fletcher, and I also have a "day job" outside of Tiny Cartridge -- I'm a contributing editor to Joystiq. com. Like Eric said, we put stuff on TC that is basically what we've enjoyed seeing, which is usually DS-related but often not. If left to my own devices, I would quickly turn the site into a nonstop discussion of Mega Man and Takahashi Meijin -- the Hudson PR guy famous for hit ability to hit a button 16 times a second -- and I have learned to accept that about

The following questions are in a different format then the usual. If you’ve read some of my other interviews they aren’t that normal, just look at the J-Date interview of Greg De Stefano. I’m trying out a new way of questions by adding my thoughts and sounds of where I wrote them.

I wrote theses questions while in the park.

(Child crying) First off how do you guys make money on the (Charlie-someone yelling at dog) (Mom look at me) site? The ad for attract mode is for free out of your friendship with Adam Robezzoli? (eeeahhh-child screaming)."

JC: We don't! We use Amazon and Play-Asia affiliate links, but our earnings from that have, so far, gone back into the site. We like to use that money to buy contest prizes, among other things.

Eric: The Attract Mode button is something we put up just because Adam is a really great friend to the site and his store is rad; it's entire "video game culture" catalog seems relevant to what we're about and what our readers are interested in. He's a big supporter of Tiny Cartridge, too, so sharing a JPG file for his shop with our readers is the least we can do.

"Where do you get your information, you seem to have (ball whizzes passes past head) stream of knowledge (oh $h*t- ball almost hits someone in head) of all video game facts. Are the tipsters generous?"

Eric: I've amassed God knows how many RSS feeds, links to gaming news sites, and forums that I thoroughly check every day out of habit from my days. There's no one particular source (or two or three sites) that I go to when looking for Tiny Cartridge material; if there was, people would probably visit that site instead of us.

We really try to make sure that the items we put up haven't been covered to death already by our much more popular competition. I'm sure most other gaming sites take that same approach, of course, but as a small site, we really have to be mindful that what we publish is unique, otherwise there's no real reason to bookmark the site. Other than our charming mascot, Tiny.

JC: Our tipsters are generous, though most of the time, instead of links to cool things on the internet, our wonderful readers send us links to neat things they've done themselves, like art, music, WarioWare DIY microgames, and more. Often, it features Tiny, to which I say, "You're infringing on our copyright, and I've called our lawyers." Uh, I mean, "That's awesome and we love you."

"Any funny stories of Matthew Hawkins (video game journalist with fort90 blog)? (Soccer ball sound-freighted it will hit me in the head"
Eric: He shares so much great gossip with me about the game industry and other journalists... One of my favorite stories is about the time he met Andrew Rosenblum, who used to run that oft-mocked, amateurish web show GameLife years ago and was involved in some controversy after sending threats to an ex-girlfriend about killing a bunch of students before turning the gun on himself -- he was even arrested for that, I believe.

Anyway, before all that, Matt ran into him at Times Square one night and said something like, "Dude, I'm your biggest fan." Almost everyone made fun of the show back then, but Matt says he was genuine about his compliment, which I believe because he's the type who loves oddball productions like that.

Rosenblum must have taken it the wrong way, I don't know, but according to Matt, he started to "gently weep", rather embarrassingly. I don't know what happened after that, but I like that story as it is, ending right there. Scene fades to black, credits roll.

"Any hilarious stories you have (fuck you Trey-soccer player) (ah bitch my ankle-other soccer player) (two planes go by) involved in your site?"

Eric: This isn't really "hilarious", but one of the great things that has come out of the site happened when we made fun of some mistranslated sentences in a Japanese trailer posted for a prototype DS game called Space Agency by Audio Inc. and its head Akira Ueda, who's worked on really curious but under-appreciated titles like Contact and Sakura Note.

We jokingly posted a note offering our translation services to Ueda, and he actually contacted us to see if we could provide translations that made more sense for the trailer. We were really honored to have an opportunity to work with him even on just that small thing, as we're huge fans of his games.

"You're part of 4cr, what exactly is it?"

Eric: 4 Color Rebellion is another fun gaming site mostly focused on covering Nintendo news, and it's also where I started writing about games a few years ago. Though I'm no longer a regular contributor to 4CR, the entire staff keeps close and makes a point to promote the side-projects of its members/alumni.

That's why you'll see links on 4CR to Tiny Catridge, Jamie Love's blog Game Sugar, Shaun Hatton's old gig Toronto Thumbs, Nick Rumas' personal site Phantom Leap, and Vinnk's import shop Rising Stuff. 4CR was really instrumental in getting Tiny Cartridge noticed when it first launched, and I can't thank the guys there enough for helping us get that early momentum to turn our site into what it is today.

If you’re not in LA or even in California where are (baby screams) you located?

Eric: I'm conveniently based in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is a great location for someone covering the games industry, as it's a hotbed of video game activity -- lots of big developers headquartered nearby, major trade shows every other month, and whenever you get tired of it all and need to take a break, you can hit the beach.

JC: I'm located in Austin, TX, which has everything I want: a unique local personality, a game development community, and my house.

"What are the sites you look on?"

Eric: Attract Mode, Fort90, Offworld, and GameSetWatch, should all be staples of your video game blog diet. And hey, if you're interested in Nintendo DS stuff and/or lewd images of Splash Woman from Mega Man 9, check out Tiny Cartridge, too.

JC: If you're into weirdo game stuff, you should definitely check Eastern Mind frequently. 1UP's blogs (Chiptuned, Retronauts, etc.) are surprisingly niche-oriented. Inside-Games is a great site, even if you don't read Japanese. And, of course, you should read Joystiq.

Well that wraps up the interview. I would like to thank Eric Caoili & JC Fletcher for taking the time to answer my questions and let us all know who's behind Tiny Cartridge.