I recently had the chance to chat virtually with John Riggs, a self-proclaimed video game surgeon, wrestling fan, father and an all-around good dude. He also happens to have a large and growing following on YouTube and Twitter. Never heard of him? Well, take a moment to learn about this retro aficionado.
NJB: Tell everyone a bit about yourself. Who are you?
RIGGS:I’m the 6th of 7 kids growing up in my house. My brothers were always fighting and my sisters were always doing their own thing so video games were a nice escape for me. It was my number one passion along with pro wrestling and anime. Game enthusiast aside, I have 3 kids, one with autism (high support needs) and I work full-time for a group of radio stations as our creative services director.
NJB: Your YouTube channel, JohnRiggs (Rigg’d Games with John Riggs) has an impressive 69,000+ subscribers. What made you want to start a YouTube Channel and what are some of the videos you are most proud of?
RIGGS:I had a friend that, since 2006, kept bugging me to start a youtube channel. It wasn’t until I met Metal Jesus and he gave me a few pointers to get started that I started making video more often. I’m always most proud when I actually fix any game in Open Cart Surgery, a video series on my channel where I take broken games and get them working again.
NJB: What is your favorite system of all time and why?
RIGGS: The NES is what I’m most passionate about. I grew up playing Atari, but most of those games were point-based. I loved the story telling and music through limitations. The variety was nice, too.
NJB: What is your favorite video game of all time and why?
RIGGS: My ‘go-to’ answer is Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. I loved it when it first came out, I loved exploring the caves and moving from town to town at my own pace. I was never a fan of turn-based RPGs so this combined a little of what I do love about RPGs with action.
NJB: You seem to incorporate your daughters into your videos often. I’m a father of two young girls myself. What are some of your favorite games to play with them?
RIGGS: My oldest is the gamer, but sticks with 1st party Nintendo games like Mario, Kirby, Yoshi – stuff like that. My younger daughter and I still play a lot of 1-2 Switch and Super Mario Party.
NJB: What do you think the future of retro game collecting looks like? What systems do you think will become more popular to collect for?
RIGGS: It’s not going anywhere. We have more video game conventions and swap meets than ever before. Modern gaming may be all digital in the future, but there’ll always been an appreciation for the classics.
NJB:How did you and the MJR crew come together? You can tell in the videos you guys are having a blast together.
RIGGS: Sure, he has a channel with over half a million subscribers, but Metal Jesus is really just another collector from the Northwest. We’d see each other at the local video game conventions and meet-ups. I started talking to him about great famicom games and he mentioned I should come on his channel to talk about famicom games. I guess it was successful because he asked me to come back. Fortunately, I was already friends with the other crew-members so it worked out well for all of us.
NJB: What advise do you have to share for anyone who may be thinking about starting a YouTube channel in the future?
RIGGS: Same with collection, do it for you. Do it because it’s fun.
NJB: I think your open cart surgery videos are fascinating and have taught me a lot about how cartridge based systems and games work. How did you learn how to diagnose and repair old games?
RIGGS: I never did! haha I’ve been ‘fixing’ games since the 90s when I’d take care of my own games but then a local video store always had a pile of returned games that were claimed not to have been working. I offered to fix them up for them and, in return, I got free rentals out of it. Just like my ‘Open Cart Surgery’ videos, most just needed to be cleaned.
NJB: I know you’re a big fan of professional wrestling. Lately, it seems frustration is growing with fans of the WWE. Do you think AEW’s recent success will continue?
RIGGS: I think AEW has a place just like ROH, DEFY (seattle-based) and anything else. It’s a great platform and healthy alternative to what WWE is offering. I’m still a WWE fan, but I’ve been following more NXT than anything.
NJB: What are some of your favorite YouTube channels?
RIGGS: I’d be remise if I didn’t mention Metal Jesus Rocks, of course. A lot of my channels are from my friends in gaming who some of them only have a few hundred subscribers. But I also love Nintendrew, Scott the Woz and Bobdunga for great videos about gaming topics, My Life in Gaming, MadLittlePixel and RoXolidProductions for other tech-type channels I follow. Boundary Break also completely fascinates me.
NJB: Where can people go to stay up to date on all your latest work?
RIGGS: If you search John Riggs on YouTube, I’ll pop up. My Facebook page (john riggs: rigg’d games) is always active and I’m @johnblueriggs on twitter and instagram.
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By: Dennis Burkett