Reviewing games in entertaining ways and keeping an audience is hard enough, but reviewing hardware too? That is its own beast entirely. It takes more research, tools, and mechanical prowess to properly review a piece of PC hardware, and Lazy Game Reviews, or LGR for short, has all of this in spades. LGR specializes in all things Retro PC, his videos take a look at not only games, but also hardware. Whether its a graphics card, joystick, or an obsolete memory storage method LGR will tackle it with everything he’s got presenting the history, specs, context, and anything else his research digs up. To review performance he sometimes goes to some impressive lengths to get it up and running. Above all of that I think my favorite thing about LGR is watching his face alight in practically childhood glee as he talks about the tech or game he is reviewing. He is passionate and loves what he does, and it makes his content so engaging and fun to watch! A few of this other trademarks include his sense of humor and his voice, a comforting deep tone inviting you to get lost in it.
I think one of the greatest appeals of LGR, is his ability to talk about very technical things in a way that is relatable and entertaining. I usually feel like I have learned something after watching one of his videos and that is not something I can usually say from a review based channel. He shows and talks through the process of installing and getting a piece of hardware setup. He does a very good job at keeping the video moving through efficient editing and engaging commentary. The sheer amount of information provided in each video goes to show how much research goes into the process, its impressive and definitely the place to go look if you have an interest in retro PC gaming.
Here are some of my personal favorite LGR videos, enjoy!
LGR was kind enough to answer a few questions about his channel and process. Gives a good insight into the man behind the videos.
- What is your favorite video of yours? Why?
Can’t say that I have any particular favorite video, but I am the most proud of my LGR Tech Tales series as a whole. Those by far take the most research and work in general to produce. I think they’re the most valuable videos I make in terms of educational content that hopefully stand the test of time.
- What got you started in doing video based game reviews?
Boredom, mostly! I was making other types of videos long before gaming stuff, but it wasn’t continually engaging for me. But when I made my first game review I felt a spark of enjoyment that I didn’t know I wanted, and it kept me occupied during kind of a down point in my life.
- Did you learn to shoot and edit to do YouTube or was that something you already knew how to do?
I’m completely self-taught, other than taking a semester-long graphic design class in college. I thought I wanted to do graphic design since I was all about drawing and painting and computers at the time, but soon figured out that wasn’t the case. Still, I used some of the lessons learned with Adobe imaging software and applied it to learning Premiere Pro, and I just taught myself the rest by trial and error.
- What has been the best part about doing your channel?
Being able to have a career doing what I love is pretty unbelievable. I was genuinely lost as to what I wanted to do with myself before LGR. My mid-twenties were a crapshoot of dead ends. Finding a sense of purpose and a joy in working hard was a first for me, and that is pretty immeasurable in value to me.
- What are some of the biggest challenges of doing it?
At first, the biggest challenge was being able to make videos regularly while still working a full time day job. I didn’t start making money from LGR YouTube videos until 2013, yet I still made one or two videos every week without fail. It was a personal challenge more than anything, and it made me feel satisfied in ways my other jobs never did. Nowadays, the challenge is not working TOO much and not feeling overwhelmed with everything. I find it very hard to shut off my brain, it’s like I’m constantly working.
- What video games are you playing these days?
The games that you see on LGR, mostly! Typically if I’m playing a game, it’s for the channel. Most recently it’s been This Is The Police, a sort of time management strategy game about running a police department in the 1980s. It’s compelling without being overwhelming, and it’s something I can pick up and put down easily due to its design. In that respect I’ve really been enjoying turn-based strategy and RPGs of all kinds in recent years. Games that let me start and stop with variable amounts of time in-between play sessions really fit my routine.
- Do you recommend them?
- How long have you been doing Youtube?
I’ve been on YouTube since 2006, but I started my current LGR thing in 2009. Or 2008, depending on what qualifies. So yeah, nine or ten years or thereabouts!
- What are your current goals? (if applicable)
I make it a constant goal to improve one little thing with each video I make. Lighting, camerawork, small edits, font choice, audio quality, thumbnail creation, gameplay cuts, just any little thing can always be improved. As long as I can keep improving wha I do incrementally, hopefully it keeps building up into better and better work over the years!
- How would you describe your own channel?
LGR is a relaxed YouTube series mixing up education and nonsense that all centers around the world of vintage computers and technology. Sometimes it’s serious, other times it’s bizarre, most of the time it’s a haphazard balance somewhere in the middle that has been described by my viewers as “entertaining in a confusing way.”
- What was the first video game you remember playing?
Crystal Caves by Apogee for MS-DOS! And/or Commander Keen: The Secret of the Oracle. I played both on a friend’s DOS computer around Christmas of 1991 and was instantly enamored with computers and video games.
- What/who your inspirations for your channel?
The biggest inspiration these days is my base of viewers, subscribers, and supporters. I just want to make videos that make as many folks as possible entertained and informed. I feel inspired to fill in the retro tech content gaps on YouTube and talk about things that are undeniably fascinating and obscure.
- Are there any other creators out there you enjoy watching and would recommend people go check out?
Absolutely! Channels like The 8-bit Guy, Techmoan, PushingUpRoses, BrutalMoose, Accursed Farms and many more are constant sources of enjoyment these days. They constantly inspire me to do better work through their own content and I never miss a video from any of them. In fact, I did a video recently talking to 9 of my favorite YouTubers and I recommend each and every channel featured there.
- I particularly like your reviews of obsolete, unique, and “odd” hardware, how do you find out and get your hands on this kind of stuff?
As with many things on LGR it comes from boredom, haha. Or really, relieving any potential boredom with endless internet rabbit holes, magazines, books, episodes of Computer Chronicles, late night eBay searches etc. As for acquiring items, many times I’ll just wander the internet until it shows up for sale somewhere, no real surprise there. I also go thrift shopping a lot, and the weird stuff people donate to Goodwills and similar stores is endlessly enlightening. I get a lot of stuff donated to me from around the world, which provides all sorts of possibilities I might never have known about otherwise.
- LGR is full of retro pc content in not only an entertaining way, but I have also learned a lot about the progression of PC gaming through your channel. What are the steps you go through to work towards being both educational and entertaining?
Mostly it’s just instinct and what I personally find both educational and entertaining. I aim to make the type of content I would go out of my way to watch. I’m a firm believer in “you can’t please everyone so you may as well please yourself,” and as long as I’m entertained I hope that means some other people will be too. And really, it’s always just a hope, not a guarantee. Sometimes my interests are just boring, haha. But I try my best and continually tweak my process in order to come up with content that I find personally fulfilling at that moment. And of course, I try to accommodate what my audience wants and combine that with my own desires. It’s a balancing act that changes all the time really.
15.1 Are there projects you’ve had to stop doing or delay because you couldn’t find the information you wanted?
Absolutely. There are easily more canceled/on-hold LGR videos than there are completed videos. Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting on finding physical copies of something, other times it’s because there just isn’t much concrete information to present. A shocking amount of old technology and video game knowledge is lost to time already. Beyond that, a bunch of information online is seriously incomplete, misleading, or downright wrong. This is especially true when it comes to tech history. So much of the real story is often wrapped up in NDAs or based on hearsay rather than facts. Or maybe it wasn’t written down at all since it wasn’t deemed important at the time, and in that case I try my best to contact people that were involved. But often that takes so much time and I have to move onto the next video due to scheduling constraints, so the project gets shelved indefinitely.
After the article was published we here at Marooners’ Rock had a follow up question about the Mad Catz announcement here was LGR’s response!
“As for the Mad Catz announcement, I find it a little confusing. From what I gather it’s a Chinese manufacturer (one that used to assemble items for Mad Catz) that bought the bankrupt brand and revived it, not actually a resurgence of the original Mad Catz team. So that leads me to believe that they are relying on the Mad Catz name for success, at least partially. And I’m unsure how much prestige that carries. Especially since, at the moment, they are not going to be making fight sticks anymore. And seeing as those were really their premiere product for a while, I don’t even know. Either way I’m curious to see where they go from here!”