At ThisWeekinLP we’ve recently had the pleasure of chatting with PNG, also known as Punk Nostalgia Gamer. PNG featured in the last weekly round-up of LP news with his latest PNG Podcast, and was more than happy to answer a few questions about his work style, his favourite videos to make, and his thoughts on the current issues with YouTube’s subscriber algorithm.
TWiLP: So, tell us a little bit about yourself.
PNG: I’m from the big Canadian city of Toronto, and I’m 25 so I’m getting much older. Lots of big YouTubers here like Matthew Santoro, Nicole Arbour, 3killabytes, Erika Szabo. Toronto is a big YouTube city for sure!
TWiLP: What inspired the name PNG?
PNG: It’s funny you ask because when I was starting my channel I was having trouble coming up with a name, but didn’t want to use my real one for anonymity reasons. I work as a web designer so I’m always saving JPG and PNG files, and I also have a heavy interest in punk rock, nostalgic things and gaming – so the name Punk Nostalgia Gamer came about. But I didn’t want people to think my name was Pat the NES Punk or Nostalgia Critic and I like the PNG abbreviation so it became that.
TWiLP: How long have you been making videos?
PNG: I started my channel in January 2016, but I started making videos in 2008 with high school and college buddies. We made a lot of silly comedy skits similar to what Smosh did – we had a lot of fun doing those. I used to guest on a semi-viral channel called Action 5 Productions which had this awesome series ‘Thomas the Waffle Ninja’. It no longer exists but it got me interested so in January I rebranded and started a channel focusing on gaming and punk content.
When I started making videos I wanted to share my thoughts, hobbies, and interests with people, and most of all I wanted to meet new people and entertain. I wanted something to give me purpose and make something positive.
TWiLP: So when it comes to making your videos, what is your process?
PNG: I have some pretty eccentric ideas, and I tend to go nuts and write down every idea that comes to my head. Every Tuesday is a podcast day and once a month is a record review. Aside from that I just make whatever I feel like.
TWiLP: What equipment do you use?
PNG: I usually film with a Logitech C920 cam or a cellphone if it’s a vlog. I edit in Adobe Premiere – I’m not really knowledgeable about editing but I love having a DIY approach.
TWiLP: What’s your favourite kind of video to make?
PNG: The ‘Quickest Review’ videos. They’re very easy to make and very similar, although I do get bored of making them at times and the joke does get old for me. But they are good fun and seeing the viewers laugh their asses of makes me smile. Also, some people at Reddit and a particular YouTuber I’m not going to name get furious at them. Feeding the trolls can be fun.
TWiLP: What about the PNG podcasts?
PNG: The podcast is always a blast to do, but it can be difficult to get new people on board and work out who is going to be on the show for each episode. I just want the podcast to be a party and I want everyone on the show – the process is usually that I just find cool, interesting people on twitter, develop friendships and send them an invite. Everyone on the show does research for a topic and we bring them all together for the show, and then we broadcast live. After that, my buddy Dave at Davespace gets mp3s of the cast and puts them on iTunes for people to download – it’s a great process and it works really well. Aside from that it’s all promotion and making connections. I also just really want to thank everyone who has been on the show – you’re all amazing and I’m proud to have you as friends.
TWiLP: So you’ve mentioned that you don’t get to make LP videos as much as you’d like – how come?
PNG: Well I work full time so the channel is a side project so I don’t have the most time to make content, meaning I have to be selective. I’m not very skilled at most games – I kind of suck actually. So when I play games I play to relax. I could play something like Overwatch and share the footage of me talking about how much fun I’m having, but I think that’s the issue; nearly everyone is currently doing that. Why would people watch me when there are thousands of others doing it better? So I only make LPs of games I am seriously enjoying, or if I think the footage will be funny. My computer also isn’t the best for livestreaming so there’s a lot of stuff holding me back tech-wise.
TWiLP: Any other thoughts on LPs?
PNG: I think Let’s Plays are great for getting people interested in new games they might not have tried otherwise, and they can be great for showcasing skill. My issue is that that there are way too many channels doing them right now and there’s an issue with oversaturation. Every second video in my subscription feed now is a livestream or a Let’s Play and they don’t stick out from each other. There’s a lot of horror games, FIFA, GTA, Minecraft, COD, Pokémon, CS:GO, Overwatch…I’m not really too interested in these games right now because I’ve played them all. I think they’re fun games but as a YouTuber, time is money. These LPs definitely have a market but right now I’m more interested in trying out new games myself.
TWiLP: Anything you really can’t stand in LPs?
PNG: If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s those channels that just have gameplay with no dialogue whatsoever, no creative spin or addition to make it interesting. I feel great quality LPs are the ones that show a great part of the game, or show the player having a great time or even ones that don’t stick to one game. Or even just ones that keep it short. I like seeing variety, quality, and I want to be entertained. Most of all I want to see people having a great time because I want to have a great time watching them. Let’s Plays are great! But in moderation.
TWiLP: So YouTube’s subscriber algorithm issues have been talked about a lot recently, any thoughts on this?
PNG: It’s really tough nowadays for smaller channels to get attention and exposure. YouTube tends to put a lot of the same channels at the forefront whilst keeping a lot of the creative, smaller channels on the down low. I know many great channels that have been doing this for years but they’ve been stuck in the same spot because they can’t get past a certain point of exposure. YouTube needs to find new ways to bring attention to new talent, especially people who are great and have been around forever. Give them a chance, YouTube! They’re great!