Any avid reader of Nintendo Life will know that for the past couple of years we had James Newton installed as editor, which came to an end earlier this month as he swanned off to Nintendo. Starting today we have a new man who will be taking on the role full-time; the undisputed, heavy-weight, retro gamer of the world: Damien McFerran.
We have only just (minutes ago) taken him out of his protective packaging, but we thought it would be good to ask him some questions, so you guys can get to know him a bit better.
How and when did you first start writing about games?
DM: It was quite a while ago now. I started writing reviews on a site called X-Sages, which is sadly no longer around. The site actually got pretty big at one point — big enough to justify an advert in a major North American video game magazine, at least. When that eventually folded I started writing for NTSC-UK (which is now called Bordersdown.net), and that consequently allowed me to get my foot in the door at Retro Gamer magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is your earliest memory of Nintendo?
DM: Getting a Donkey Kong II dual-screen Game & Watch handheld in the mid-80s. It was not only my first taste of Nintendo, but of video games in general. I have no idea what happened to that game, but I recently picked up one second hand from eBay, which I posted on our Instagram stream. Even now, I get a massive buzz playing it — it may be a relic of a bygone age, but it's still incredibly playable regardless.
What is your favourite gaming platform of all time?
DM: This is likely to cause a bit of controversy, but seeing as our previous editor James was a certified Sega nut, I think I'll be OK admitting that the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in North America) is the console I'd take with me to a desert island. It was my first serious love affair with gaming; I got a Japanese system in 1989 and was completely enamoured with the punchy visuals, slick arcade conversions and incredibly fast shooters and action titles. Nintendo devotees will be pleased to learn that the SNES and Game Boy are close behind, though.
What do you love most about video games?
DM: This is an incredibly difficult question for me to answer, because I have several reasons for my possibly unnatural affection for gaming. For modern titles - especially Nintendo ones - it has to be the enjoyment I get from finishing a tricky level, or the joy of discovery. However, when it comes to retro gaming, what I love is the ability to reconnect with treasured memories by replaying classic titles, or finding a gem from the past that you've never heard of before.
How did you first get involved with Nintendo Life?
DM: When me and Darren were working on Virtual Console Reviews, we decided to approach other Nintendo sites to see if they'd be willing to do some cross-promotion. Nintendo Life - then the sole preserve of Anthony Dickens - was one of the sites we contacted, largely because it looked so amazing. As if to prove the adage that it really is a small world, it transpired that Ant lived in the same town as me in the UK. I started contributing reviews to Nintendo Life, and eventually Virtual Console Reviews was absorbed into the site and the three of us became the world-beating team we are today.
What is your favourite part of Nintendo Life?
DM: The community, without a shadow of a doubt. Few sites of this size can boast such a vocal and supportive readership. I've been told by the editors of several other leading gaming websites that it never ceases to amaze them that we can have over one hundred comments on a post, yet all of those comments are friendly and mature. That tells you all you need to know about the community we have here — the readers genuinely love Nintendo, and they're here to share intelligent chat with like-minded individuals, and not to get embroiled in pointless flame-wars about topics like who would win if Sonic and Mario got into a fight.
What would you like Nintendo Life to achieve under your helm?
DM: I want to keep doing what we're doing — we're a very unique site, and we offer a wide and diverse range of content. However, I want us to reach an even wider audience than we do now.
What do you think the future holds for Nintendo?
DM: I think Nintendo's future is very rosy indeed. Out of the three main console manufacturers, Nintendo is the only one that has a unique personality. Games on the PS3 and 360 are often interchangeable, while Nintendo's first-party content is unparalleled in this industry. The success of the 3DS has proven that the burgeoning smartphone market doesn't spell death for traditional handhelds, and the forthcoming Wii U looks certain to build on the good work achieved by its predecessor, which — lest we forget — is one of the most popular pieces of consumer electronics ever made. Nintendo is a byword for gaming, and has built up an entire culture around itself — we're pleased to be part of that here at Nintendo Life.
How you can follow Damien
Thanks to Damien for taking the time on his first day to answer these questions.