Interview: SquareOneGames

In today’s video games, there are massive amounts of content to explore. From the basic beat the game to the more random “hit a guy with a salmon”, the variety of things you can do is enormous.

If you like me and love to get everything out of a game, trophies and achievements will cross your way sooner or later, but what do you do when you get stuck in a tough part, can’t find that last damn last collectible or you just don’t have the slightest clue on what you actually should be doing? You will probably try harder, but eventually, if you don’t succeed, you will resort to a guide.

Big sites like IGN have their own dedicated personnel for creating these guides, but what if all this could be done by one man only? This is SquareOneGames.

Hi, and thanks for taking the time for this interview.

1. First things first. How did you end up starting a YouTube account with the purpose of making guides or was that your plan in the first place? And where does the name “SquareOneGames” come from?

Well, I’ve always been a trophy/achievement hunter, not to mention a video editor for about 10 years, so it was natural for me to look to youtube as a platform to create my work.  I also noticed that other channels never really created videos for “all” the trophies/achievements… they seemed to only handpick the ones that would bring in the most views.  This always felt like a cheapened experience to me, because somewhere out there is a gamer that may need help but may not be able to necessarily find it.

SquareOneGames actually originated from a video I saw on youtube from another channel called L1Games.  At the time Muzz, the channel owner, was in the process of opening up a video game store and was using youtube to chronicle the events.  In that particular video he had been given some bad news from his realtor that the location he really wanted for the store had fell through.  Then he uttered these words… “It looks like we’re back at Square One.”

Road to Completion - SquareOneLogo

At the time I had been trying to come up with a name for about a month, but nothing was working.  I knew I wanted to create a channel where everyone was accepted, everyone had a voice, and everyone could be part of the discussion.  This idea is so backwards from where youtube is today because it seems to always come down to views, and very little interaction.  “Square One” is a phrase often associated with going back to the beginning or starting over and that’s why I decided to call my channel “SquareOneGames.”

So many channels post only the videos they know will bring in views, because at the other end of those views is money.  I don’t look at youtube this way… I post videos as more of art form and it’s not really about the views for me, but the interaction.  To me, the video is just a catalyst for conversation and while others are looking at their views, I’m reading and responding to comments.

2. The interactive hubs and voice overs are one of the key elements that distinguishes you from other guides. How did you make the decision to include them and how much extra time does it take to make them?

tomb raider - interactive hub 2

Outside of youtube I am a web developer, graphic designer, and video editor, so naturally I am inclined to create experiences that are interactive.  One night I was watching Spider Man 2 on Blu Ray, skimming through the menus, and that’s when it hit me… why not create this same experience for youtube?

in the beginning they were quite a struggle, because I didn’t know of anyone else on youtube that did them.  The first one was for a game called Syndicate and it took about 8 days to produce, and it was not my best work… I’ll admit that.  However, over time, I learned more about youtube, and the annotation process, which allowed me to cut my preparation time to less than 3 days.  I am currently working on a new Interactive Design Template that is scheduled to launch sometime in 2014!

3. How do you choose your games? Do you go for the big blockbuster titles by default or does personal taste affect your choices?  

My personal taste is always a determining factor for my trophy/achievement guides.  It’s very tough for me to play a game all the way through to completion unless I personally enjoy it.  The other issue is time.  I have a career outside of youtube that always keep me busy and trying to balance my career with my hobby can sometimes be quite difficult.  I work about 14-16 hours a day between the two and hardly ever take any time off.  The guides I put up are so time sensitive that it requires a lot of long nights with controller in hand and my finger on the render button.

4. What guide are you most proud of and what game’s guide was the most enjoyable to make?

My favorite so far is Darksiders 2.  This is the game I feel I’ve covered the most on my channel.  There are over 80 videos in this playlist and I literally cover everything in this game.

darksiders 2 (custom unlock thumbnail)Unfortunately, this was before I had my professional studio microphone, but my laptop microphone got the job done.

I think I’m most proud of my Uncharted 3 “Road to Platinum” Guide.  This series is all about taking players through a game, showing them the fastest and easiest ways to earn every trophy in the game in chronological order.  Now, while I would love to take credit for this ingenious idea, all of the credit goes to a subscriber of mine named Sanad111.  Late last year I actually created guides for Assassin’s Creed 3 and Medal of Honor Warfighter using this same formula and everyone seemed to enjoy them quite a bit.  This series has undergone quite a bit of changes since then and, when Battlefield 4 launches, it will make it’s way back onto the channel under it’s new name “Road to Completion.”

5. What game(s) are you looking most forward in the future (winter 2013/2014)?

I was really looking forward to Watchdogs to round things out for 2013, but now that it’s delayed until Spring 2014, my choice would probably be Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag.  I’ve always been a fan of the franchise and the Pirate Theme this time around has me pretty excited.  Batman: Arkham Origins and Battlefield 4 are high on the list as well.  For 2014 I’m looking forward to Titanfall and Destiny for sure, along with InFamous: Second Son.  However, the gamer in me really wants to see what the Indie Scene has to offer as we head into this new chapter of gaming.

6. Seeing your updates on facebook talking about 14 hours worth of capturing gameplay and editing videos, is there another life for SOG or is it just based around guides?

I work all the time, it’s both blessing and curse.  I’m actually a pretty social person by nature, but when you’re trying to grow a community you have to give up certain aspects of life in order to see the results.  My thought is that one day I’ll reach the plateau and I can take some time off, but climbing the mountain takes work… some are willing to do what it takes and others are not.

the last of us (detailed editing 2)Another issue is youtube itself.  Youtube is a lot like the Wild Wild West and there are a lot of channels out there doing whatever it takes to grow their channel, even if that means participating in shady practices.  I, for one, don’t believe in doing things like posting content before the street date, adding illegal tags to my videos, or manipulating my audience in any way.  This puts me at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the youtube search engines, making it harder for potential viewers to find my content.  This is probably the most frustrating part about what I do… knowing that I’ve put so much work into producing content, yet no one can find it because another channel has manipulated the system in their favor.  This is why I have to work long hours.  I have to put in double the work when a game launches because other channels have already started to post content days ahead of me… my long hours are not spent getting ahead, they are mainly spent catching up.

7. Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? Still making guides solo or perhaps with a team whilst expanding to new territories?

Well, I hope to have some help in the future.  This channel was actually founded on the principle that it would take a minimum of two people to run it, one editing and the other playing.  The guy who actually started the channel with me, BABakerboy15, had to leave last year due to College so it would be nice to have that help back.  I could get videos out much quicker and cover more games than I do now if had that tag team duo again.

I do have some big plans going forward that will completely change the way I interact with my audience.  It will streamline my workflow as well, which would help me get videos up a bit quicker, even without additional help.  I also have plans to launch some new shows in 2014-2015 dedicated to various things like how to edit video, how to work with graphics, and I’ve even been thinking about doing Reviews – but in a new and unique way.   My ideas are almost limitless, but my issue will always be time.

8.You have free word. Would you like to say something to our JAM fans?

Yeah, thanks for taking some time out of your day to check out what we’re doing over at SquareOneGames.  I would also like to thank you for having me as a part of your website, it’s a honor to have even been asked.  If you ever want to stop by and say “hey” to us on youtube, we’d love to hear from you.  So to all you JAM fans out there, keep on playing games and be good.AC4 - Video Display

Thank you for the interview!

SquareOneGames is a YouTube channel dedicated to bringing gamers top quality guides for completing games 100%. He also brings Let’s Play’s and daily videos talking about the gaming industry. The channel offers a wide variety of games to choose from and with the interactive HUB you can quickly find exactly what you were looking for. It’s almost a crime seeing the work he puts into these videos, yet the amount of subscribers he has doesn’t show that.

Let’s make that change! You can find him on YouTube <- Click it, you know you want to!

I’m a frequent user of his guides and they have helped me tremendously on my hunt for the mystical Platinum trophies, so remember…

SquareOneGames is Platinum Stig Approved!

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