GAMING GURU ADAM KORALIK: INTERVIEW
Adam Koralik is the guru of retro gaming. A YouTube personality, he delivers the history of video games along with all the latest news. This includes overviews of every console generation, working through his vast personal collection, and a special series focusing solely on the Dreamcast; Sega’s final console which still has a large community of followers and interest. We spoke to Adam during the COVID-19 worldwide lockdown…
ADAM KORALIK: IN LOCKDOWN
THE J: Where are you located at the moment?
AK: I am currently at home in the wonderful city of Chicago, Illinois, USA!
THE J: What games are getting you through this period?
AK: It’s been a wide mixture of entertainment, work, personal matters, and projects I’ve needed to get around to for years that have kept me busy during all this. That said, I have beaten quite a few games in this time. Off the top of my head, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty World at War, Call of Duty WWII, Wolfenstein Old Blood, Wolfenstein New Order, Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed 2, Shenmue 3’s DLC. There were more, but, this has been going for quite some time now.
ADAM KORALIK: ON YOUTUBE
THE J: How did you make the step from being a fan to fronting your own YouTube channel with over 100k subscribers?
AK: Don’t know if it was a step so much as jumping over a canyon. I’ve been on YouTube for 11 years now. I never really planned for that. Long story short, I just wanted to make content, and eventually I got past that mythical number. Definitely cool.
THE J: Do you work on the channel full-time? I know you’re involved with other channels and have your own production company?
AK: Essentially yes. I used to work on several but I decided to focus on just this channel as well as side projects. Unfortunately, due to the current lock-down, that has taken a big hit.
THE J: How has the landscape changed for you since it began? Have you had to change with the times?
AK: I’m a dinosaur on YouTube, I haven’t changed my format up much since the beginning. I even get noticed, both positively and negatively, for that in the comment section.
ADAM KORALIK: RETROGAMING COLLECTOR
THE J: What is your most prized possession in your gaming collection?
AK: As far as rarity and value, my Divers 2000 Dreamcast. As far as personal value, my Japanese PS4 limited edition copy of Shenmue I and II. I personally got this signed by various key people of Shenmue I and II throughout the years, traveling around the world to do so.
THE J: A lot of your fans send consoles and games in to you, how cool is that?
AK: Can’t say that was ever expected, I constantly try to turn that down. But it still happens even when I actively try to deny it. It’s definitely generous, no one has to do that. I can only guess to the individual motivations, but it seems most people think of it as a way to “give back.” Though I personally never felt I gave anything for them to have to give back to in the first place.
“THE MEGAZORD OF CONSOLES”
THE J: Which console had the neatest and most complete kit?
AK: If you’re asking, what game set looks the neatest to me, box art and all, I believe I’d give that to the original Xbox. While I like unique cases like the Sega Saturn, they’re known to break quite easily, don’t store well, and aren’t consistent from region to region. The original Xbox has a basic but effective design that is uniform across all regions, and store quite nicely. As far as consoles, I have a soft spot for the Megazord of consoles, the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive combo with the Sega CD/32X. Model 1 of each, of course.
THE J: Are you a fan of emulators?
AK: Not personally, but I like that they exist so people have access to games that would otherwise get lost to the sands of history.
ADAM KORALIK = SEGA DREAMCAST
THE J: There’s no doubt the Dreamcast is your favourite console of all-time, what makes it so special and relevant to today’s generation of gamers?
AK: I don’t know if I can say the Dreamcast is relevant to today’s gamer necessarily. But what makes it special historically is that not only was it the end of an era, being Sega’s final console, but it went out on top. Kind of like Heath Ledger. His best project killed him, kind of the same thing in a less dramatic way. The Dreamcast is so well remembered because it wasn’t the usual failure for reasons of poor marketing, poor games, poor… everything. Sega did just about everything right. They simply ran out of money.
What can keep it around is the ability for people to continue to make new hardware and software (games) without requiring permission from Sega. One of the, albeit small, contributions to the console’s demise was also the thing allowing it to hang around. The ability to read unsigned code, allows developers to make new Dreamcast games, even now in 2020.
Get over to our Instagram feed today for Adam’s Top 10 Dreamcast games
ADAM KORALIK: ON NINTENDO
THE J: You hated the Wii but liked the Wii U – what was the difference?
AK: What’s the difference between North and South Korea? A lot. The Wii was not meant to be a game console, it was meant to be a gimmicky add-on for the GameCube. To Nintendo’s marketing team’s credit, they brilliantly repackaged and repurposed it for a new market. But that market wasn’t gamers, it was old ladies, little kids, and all your friends who don’t normally want videogames. It became the Wii Bowling machine, a party device. A dedicated game console, it was not.
The Wii U on the other hand, did everything a next-gen Nintendo console SHOULD have done, but the marketing department failed miserably to deliver that message and suffered the sins of the father, in that by the time the Wii U was out, the Wii’s name was trash. The core gaming audience had been told repeatedly, the Wii is for your grandmother, not you. So we didn’t stay. While your grandmother developed no loyalty for Nintendo in the same way they couldn’t develop loyalty for Candy Crush. For them, it was a fad, flavor of the month. I firmly believe had the Wii U been called something entirely different, and Nintendo hadn’t tried to appeal to the same non-existent base, that the Wii U’s story might have been very different.
NINTENDO’S MOVE TO MOBILE GAMING
THE J: How do you feel about Nintendo’s move to mobile gaming?
AK: Smart way to keep getting grandma’s money without needing her to buy a Switch. 😛
In all seriousness, it’s actually a good move to get money out of users they know full well won’t acquire a Switch, but continue to make Switch exclusive content that they know mobile users wouldn’t likely care about. If they did, they’d get a Switch.
CELEBRATING RETRO GAMING
THE J: Which is the best event for a retrogaming fan to attend?
AK: I’ve been to a couple in the UK as a guest. My favorite was Play Expo Blackpool. Highly recommended. In the world, that I’ve been to, nothing beats Portland Retro Game Expo, in Portland Oregon, as far as retro gaming events goes.
THE J: If there was one title you feel deserved better recognition, and you feel had the depth for a series of games but it never happened, what would it be?
AK: Insert stock Shenmue answer here. 😛 [Ed – see this YouTube playlist for more information…]
If that doesn’t count, Conker’s Bad Fur Day desperately needs a sequel… a real one. Conker’s Pocket Tales doesn’t count.
THE J: My Dad got my ZX Spectrum from his attic recently but where do I begin to restore it?
AK: YouTube! A lot of the guy’s I knew in the UK that did that type of thing have since retired I’m afraid.
THE J: Sad times…
ADAM KORALIK: THE FUTURE
THE J: Going forward, are you excited for the PlayStation 5?
AK: In the sense that I’m curious what the hardware and experience will be. As of now, there’s no killer title that has me foaming… yet.
THE J: What does the future hold for Adam Koralik?
After that, hopefully some version of normal. Need to make more videos, and get back on the road to keep trying my best to bring unique content to an already entertainment over-saturated world.
THE J: Thanks Adam – and keep up the good work!
AK: Thanks for having me on, keep on doing what you do!
For more expert opinion (yes, even better than ours – but equal to Adam’s!) read our fantastic interview with the guys from the Retro Hour podcast:
And for more retrogaming fun, you’ll enjoy our Top 10 games lists for some of our favourite consoles from yesteryear: