John Riggs.

John Blue Riggs…

YouTuber. Professional radio DJ. Video game enthusiast/repair man/developer. BIG WWE fan. Cool Dad. Breakfast cereal historian… Yes, that last one is just as true as the others! But it’s his passion for video games that first brought him to our attention and the reason he visits UK shores for the first time for a panel at the OLL ’23 event this weekend. We had the pleasure of interviewing him ahead of the expanding retrogaming convention…


THE J: You’re a radio DJ by profession on KFFM – is there a chance you’ll move full-time to your gaming YouTube channel?

JOHN RIGGS: I’m still a radio DJ, though radio has changed since I started 23 years ago. It’s all being a multi-format creator so I’m on the air but also spend a lot of time writing local articles, posting them on our social media and more. All media is multi-media now.

THE J: Was it the “Open Cart Surgery” feature on your channel that helped launch it?

JOHN RIGGS: My original focus on YouTube was basically show-n-tell on stuff I was nostalgic about so my first several videos were talking about things like speak n spell and other stuff from my childhood.

The video game content got more views so I stuck with that. Then I figured I’d be different by showing different game hacks I’ve been working on, and doing tutorial videos on how to do your own hacks. I’ve always cleaned and fixed games so figured I’d record myself doing that and that’s when I started to see more growth.

I didn’t really acquire it, it’s just stuff I’ve been doing since the 90s. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but it seems to work most of the time.

THE J: Do you still offer a service of editing games and personalising them?

JOHN RIGGS: I do, though I can’t take a game like Mario or Zelda and replace those characters to sell as Nintendo wouldn’t like that. But I do have my own homebrew (Yeah Yeah Beebiss II) that I can personalize as needed.



THE J: You have actually created your own video game but not just that – released it on a bunch of older consoles! How exactly?!

JOHN RIGGS: There are so many retro indie and homebrew communities that are a world of knowledge when it comes to making new games for older systems. I mostly sell them at conventions in person but I can ship online as well. I also sell several using the Whatnot app.


THE J: How did you become a part of the Metal Jesus Crew? And when was it made official?

JOHN RIGGS: There was never an initiation or anything, we’re all his friend and would hang out with him on occasion, helping him with his videos. One day he just kind of said he was going to ask the ‘Metal Jesus Crew’ and it stuck.

THE J: You predominantly discuss NES – is this your favourite console?

JOHN RIGGS: NES is my favorite system of all time. I grew up with arcades and the Atari 2600 but I was that perfect age/demographic for NES. I love a lot of game systems, though.

THE J: I went from ZX Spectrum to SNES so need some guidance on what essential NES games I need in my collection, what do you say?!

JOHN RIGGS: We never had a ZX Spectrum but I think you’ll find many games on both platforms, or games that are similar. My essentials would be Mario 2 and 3, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Contra, Castlevania and maybe Mega Man 2 and Duck Tales.


THE J: We’re writing a feature about all the different ways to celebrate and access retrogaming, whether that be collecting, social media, events, emulation, reboots, remakes, retro-style releases or retro collections… Did I miss anything out?

JOHN RIGGS: Looks like you have anything I could think of. Not all work for all as some people don’t like going to events just as some prefer physical media over emulation. Fortunately, there’s access to anyone who needs for most of this.

THE J: Being a collector here in the UK, are there any region variants you recommend I should pick up?

JOHN RIGGS: I do love seeing the different box art from other countries. Mega Man 1 has an iconically bad box art here in the United States and it looks like the one in the UK isn’t much better, but the Japanese box art looks great. Not sure if it’s collectible by those standards but I love seeing what I can find.


THE J: Will physical releases eventually become obsolete?

JOHN RIGGS: I think there’ll be a time when AAA physical games may be obsolete in our lifetime, but there will always be fangroups making those physical games on older systems or companies like Blaze who made the Evercade to make a new system to collect for. Even if it all games go digital, we have 50 years worth of physical video games we can still collect.


THE J: What is your most prized possession when it comes to your collection?

JOHN RIGGS: Mine is my loose copy of Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom for NES. When I was hunting for games in the early 2000s it was one game I could never find without just going to eBay. My girlfriend at the time bought it for me for Christmas.

We’ve been married 21 years.

THE J: That’s a beautiful story!

THE J: You spoke out online against discrimination in the LGBTQ community, referring to your own personal experiences… Are you seeing positive change or is there still a long way to go?

JOHN RIGGS: There will always be haters in anything you do. The love will always outweigh the hate. There’s always a long way to go. It’s one of the things I love about video games — they don’t discriminate. Video games don’t care about your race or religion or pronouns or school grades; everyone is welcome to play video games.

THE J: Like most gamers, it appears you trade your games to grow your collection – do you have any tips?

JOHN RIGGS: That is the tip! Use your trades. Don’t spend any money if you don’t have to. Use your collection to grow your collection as needed.

THE J: Noted! And in terms of prices, are we at the peak?

JOHN RIGGS: Prices will always come and go, just gotta shop around and be patient. I think some games have reached their peak so you may see some games prices drop. Here’s hoping.


THE J: You claimed a year on from its release the PS5 was not quite living up to its billing, do you still feel this way?

JOHN RIGGS: I do as I still have it and rarely use it. I’m not the greatest spokesperson for it, though, as I honestly don’t play a lot of AAA games so newest games like God of War and Forsaken, they’re not really my thing. I’m sure they’re great, though. My PS5 will be used for PlayStation VR2, mainly.

THE JOURNALIX: What video games have you been playing lately?

JOHN RIGGS: I got into Oblivion. I revisit this game every few years and now that it’s on Game Pass on Xbox it makes it even easier.


THE J: You’re often visiting gaming events – where next?

JOHN RIGGS: I’ll be at OLL ’23 in April! My first time in the UK. Gonna spend a few extra days in town, too, since I’ll already be in the neighbourhood. But I do love to travel, I average 10-12 conventions a year.


THE J: You’re a huge WWE fan! Who is your favourite wrestler? I was always a fan of the “New Generation Era” (1993-1997)…

JOHN RIGGS: My first favorite wrestler was Bam Bam Bigelow but my favorite wrestler of all time is probably Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. He had a way of speaking directly into the camera without raising his voice like most other wrestlers that would yell to get his point across. I thought he was great.

Huge fan of The Undertaker soon as he appeared, too. I do love the New Generation era. Very underrated when people often compare it to Attitude era. The Bret/Owen feud was mindblowing for its time. 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon was insane to watch live when it happened on TV, too, showing (as they used to say) anything can happen.


THE J: You are also kind of obsessed with breakfast cereals! I still have very fond memories of eating my morning cereal watching Saturday morning cartoons, being the first downstairs before my sisters to open a new box and take out the prize included – was this just a British 90s thing?

JOHN RIGGS: Not just a British thing, it was a US thing, too. Cereal was that easy thing anyone could make for themselves so they could let their parents sleep in while watching cartoons all Saturday morning.

I’m just as nostalgic for cereal as I am video games. It was a huge part of my childhood. I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I had my own kids and going down the cereal aisle and not recognising so many cereals I started doing research on what I missed and all the great memories started to flood back.


THE J: And finally, what’s next for John Riggs?

JOHN RIGGS: Staying consistent! Attending more video game conventions, keeping up with posting videos on YouTube and streaming on Twitch. I have a new game coming soon to Sega Genesis / Mega Drive that will be ready later this year. There’s always something new coming up, it’s a good thing I love what I do so I don’t feel burnout like some.

THE J: Thanks John! See you at OLL ’23!



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