With an ever-increasing amount of game reviewers out there it’s hard to pick out many of them amongst the giants such as IGN and Gamespot who dominate the net.
So it’s with great pleasure that I sat down (figuratively) with one of the most respected home-grown reviewers out there and one of my personal favorites.
I am of course speaking of Zeitgeist, a name now famous on Youtube with his current number of subscribers sitting at a whopping 56,586!
You can check out his channel at:
And his website at:
He offers some of the most balanced and fair reviews around, so do yourself a favor and go check him out!
So here we go and I hope you enjoy this interview.
Wolf: You’re a home-grown reviewer which is an impressive feat! So what advice would you give to the others out there trying, or wanting, to follow the same path?
Daniel: Reviewing video games sounds like a dream-job to most gamers, but it’s a LOT of hard work. I’m a computer programmer 40 hours a week for my day-job and spend at least another 40 on top of that running my game review business. I’ve made it as far as I have with two tricks, massive self-promotion and massive cross-promotion. When I first started reviewing I just reviewed the games I already owned and then new titles as I’d pick them up. With each video review I made, I posted on Twitter, to my Facebook friends, emailed the guys I work with, uploaded the video to tons of websites, and spammed various gaming forums until I got my accounts locked! Luckily, that netted me my first thousand subscribers. From there, I started asking other video reviewers on YouTube like MagusX1 and UltimateChance for advice. While they didn’t provide much in terms of advice, they did enjoy my videos and gave me a shout-out, which further increased my subscriber base. So, as I said, it’s all about self-promotion and cross-promotion.
Wolf: We all know you as Zeitgeist, but surely you have a real name?
Daniel: My name is Daniel Williams haha.
Wolf: Obviously you’re a gaming geek to do a job such as this. But everyone has a real life (except me) so what other hobbies do you have outside of the gaming world?
Daniel: On the weekends during the spring and summer you likely will find me on my boat on the lake here in Des Moines, Ia. I’ve got some good friends that also have boats and we pretty much live on the water on the weekends! After a summer of debauchery, I typically become a cave hermit and geek out to games all winter long. So that’s about it!
Wolf: As a reviewer you receive plenty of free games! So what was the first every review copy of a game and were you proud of the fact?
Daniel: Well, the first title that I received for free was actually a downloadable title, and that was the “Tales of Monkey Island” series by TellTale games. My first physical copy, I think, was “Darkest of Days” by 8 Monkey Labs. I get asked a lot about how I get my free copies of my games, so I’ll just address that as well. Most big-name reviewers and websites get their games for free to review because it’s beneficial for the publishers to get their games into the reviewers’ hands. I’m not quite large enough to be lucky enough for the publishers to be throwing games at me, so I’ve established professional business relationships with all of them and still ask for copies of the games I want to review. It was very difficult in doing this initially as you have to prove who you are and that you are getting thousands of views every day. But once you make the relationships it’s a lot easier to score the freebies!
Wolf: Are you a family man? Married? Kids? Dogs? Cats? Or is your true love gaming!?
Daniel: I’m pretty sure that my girlfriend and family would say I’m the anti-family man. Marriage and children are not in my forseeable future, not because it’s not been offered by any means, but because my life is simply too busy to dedicate to that kind of thing right now. Not until my game review business is my full-time career will I be able to dedicate my remaining time to a family. On the other hand, I do have a female cat named Leroy Jenkins and a female puggle named Jeffy, and they get a LOT of my attention!
Wolf: Now for the obvious question, what are your top ten games from any platform?
Daniel: This is actually a very tough question, one I struggle to answer, especially being that I play SO many games and seldom have time to go back and replay the ones I love. Instead of pulling a top-ten, I’ll give you a series of games that I enjoy or have sucked up lots of my time over the years, in no order: Any of the “Final Fantasy” games (I love that franchise), “Starcraft 2”, “Halo 2 and 3”, “Lost Odyssey”, “Diablo 2”, “World of Warcraft”, “Warhammer Online”, and Adventure games like “Tales of Monkey Island” and “Sam & Max”. Really I’m just a gamer; I like pretty much all types of games except for Sports games!
Wolf: Kinect (or Natal as some still know it) has divided much of the Xbox 360’s community. What’s your take on this shiny new piece of tech and its games?
Daniel: So far I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen of Kinect. Personally, I don’t care too much to be physically involved with the games that I play, that is, I don’t want a work-out when I’m pwning noobs on Call of Duty. I also don’t care that the device seems to be tailored towards casual gamers instead of those of us who follow gaming religiously. I want a controller in my hand as I game, which is why I currently favor Move over Kinect. I’d love to see Kinect be a peripheral that is an extra in a game, that is, I don’t want to see games designed FOR Kinect, but rather, I’d like to see regular games with controllers utilize features of Kinect in addition to their regular game-play. Only time will tell.
Wolf: Over the years gaming has changed and evolved. Now we’re heading into motion control and digital downloads. Is there were you pictured gaming heading or do you think it will still go in another direction?
Daniel: Digital downloads is absolutely where gaming will continue to go, and that’s where it needs to go. With the broadband capabilities of today’s technology and massive storage capabilities of our hard drives, there is no reason we shouldn’t be pushing this medium forward. Granted, there is something to holding a physical copy in your hand, but that’s something I think is just going to go away.
Wolf: Can you recommend us an under-rated and overlooked game for the Xbox 360?
Daniel: I have TONS of them on my review site, but if I had to choose a couple, let’s go with “Infinite Undiscovery” and “Magna Carta 2”. Yea, I’m an RPG nut.
Wolf: How long have you been gaming and what got you into it?
Daniel: I’ve been gaming since I was 5 years old, so what, I guess 24 years now. My parents got my brother and I an NES and we’ve been going at it since. It seems that my life revolved around gaming until college where I pretty much gave it up entirely as I focused on my studies (and parties), and then picked it back up immediately afterwards.
Wolf: It’s a nice to think that the gaming community would a be a place where we all get along together. Sadly we know this isn’t exactly true. What do you think of the online community in games?
Daniel: I absolutely can’t stand the online gaming community. There is nothing more annoying to me than someone hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet and posting blasphemous and outrageous things that they would never in their right mind say to someone in person. It’s come to a point where I don’t even participate anymore. When I play games online, I play ONLY with my real life friends, and we ONLY communicate in private channels or Ventrilo servers. I don’t have time to deal with the online gaming communities’ immaturity when it comes to communication.
Wolf: In your time gaming surely you’ve “owned” a few people and been “owned” yourself.
Whats your proudest moment of “ownage” and whats your most shaming moment of being “owned”?
Daniel: While I may not have specific examples, I can think of some situations that make me pretty proud and it directly ties back to the previous question. In games where public communication is unavoidable, and your opponents start running their mouths, to me it’s the best feeling in the world to put them in their place and beat them in a match without even talking back. Love it love it love it! Along those same lines, it does not feel good at all to be beaten by someone running their mouth the entire game!
Wolf: What’s the most frustrating moment you’ve encountered in a game?
Daniel: Being a reviewer, I play all kinds of different games. While generally I really enjoy playing the games that I get to review, every now and then one comes along that I think is just terrible. The one that comes to mind the most is “Order of War”. While received quite well by the gaming community, I absolutely hated that game, and as such, gave it a poor review, as my reviews are completely subjective anyway. I get a lot of hateful comments on that video, but that’s life. So to answer the question, it’s got to be playing through games that I’m not enjoying for the sake of being able to complete a review.
Wolf: Story telling in games has come along way since the days of Space Invaders.
Do you think games can now stand alongside the likes of books and movies?
Daniel: Absolutely and I allude to that many times in my videos. To me, Story is one of the most important aspects of today’s games, and if the game doesn’t stack up to it’s competition story-wise, it loses a lot of respect with me. In my past I may have played games just for a bit of entertainment here and there, a few minutes to pwn some noobs, or rack up some points, but today I enjoy being told and participating in a great story!
Wolf: Watching the video of your new office you’ve got quite the set-up going. Any other plans to improve it in the future or things you want to put in there?
Daniel: Well I did get a bunch of gaming art hung everywhere and most of it I found on DeviantArt.com. I just printed pictures out on photo paper and hung them all in nice frames. The room looks GREAT now! In my next house I’d like to have an even larger office where I can keep my green screen and more importantly, lighting for my videos set up all the time. As it stands now, I have to set up all of my lighting rigs every time I make a video, and tear it down afterwards because I just don’t have room for all of that.
Wolf: What other reviewers beside yourself do you like to read or watch?
Daniel: I don’t typically read reviews as I’m a video reviewer myself, so I would much rather watch someone else. Other YouTubers that I watch regularly are UltimateChance and AngryJoeShow!
Wolf: What is your favorite film(s) and book(s) if you have any and why do you love them so much?
Daniel: Haha, well I’m not much of a reader, but I do enjoy a lot of movies. I think my favorite movies are “Braveheart”, “Gladiator” and “300”. Yea, they are all kind of the same genre, but that’s what I like! Oh… and “The Hangover”!
Wolf: Almost there now! If you could have access to go and see any game in developement and get the exclusive first play, which game would it be and why?
Daniel: I think I’d like to see what Blizzard’s secret next-gen MMO is. They’ve been hiring developers and artists for that game for a while now, so I’d love to raid their office and see what their up to! I played “World of Warcraft” for 4 years and it ruled my life. I loved it before they started catering it towards casual gamers. I liked that my tier 1 and 2 raid gear gave me an advantage in PvP over others who didn’t dedicate the time to earn the gear, but once they started making it so easy for everyone to catch up, I lost interest. So I’d like to see what Blizzard has up its sleeves to top its massive MMORPG!
Wolf: C’mon, tell us a joke. You must know a few?
Daniel: I only know naughty jokes and there’s no way I’m willing to give them up in an interview. We’ll leave it at that haha!
Wolf: It’s the final one! What parting words to you have for both these readers and all those who read your site and watch your video’s?
Daniel: If you aren’t already following me on Twitter and Facebook, get on it! Zeitgeist Game Review is on the verge of becoming a massive online gaming community of reviews, previews, trailers, walkthroughs, news and everything you want to know about gaming, PLUS an interactive gaming community! I have daily discussions on my social media networks and I want YOU to be involved. Get in there, let me know your thoughts, opinions, questions, comments, everything about gaming! Remember question 1? Self promotion!
I’d like to thank ZeitGeist (or is it Daniel?) for his time in this interview and hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.
Now, what are you waiting for? go Subscribe to him! go! GO! GO!