Kinsey Burke, aka Kinszilla, is a YouTube personality we’ve been watching on the Metal Jesus Rocks channel for years now! She also has her own channel vlogging about video games and beer – the perfect combo – and has recently been snapped up for the job of her dreams; producing video games in Kyoto, Japan with Chuhai Labs! Through the power of the Internet we caught up with her before she sets sail…
KINSZILLA – THE INTERVIEW
THE JOURNALIX: Where are you right now and how did you end up there?
KINSZILLA: I’m currently in Seattle, WA! I’ve lived in the city for over 10 years, it’s an awesome place full of excellent food and even better music. But I’ll be moving to Kyoto, Japan soon!
THE J: How has the last 12 months been for you?
KINSZILLA: Actually pretty good considering being in quarantine! I got a new job at Chuhai Labs as a Producer about 6 months ago! It’s a small game studio/publisher in Kyoto, Japan led by the legendary Giles Goddard! So I’m super excited.
THE J: You also got married! Congratulations! ?
KINSZILLA: Thank you! A quarantine wedding was super weird, but it was fun! Just 5 people at Gas Works Park in Seattle and of course it rained A LOT but it was still amazing.
Surprise! We did a thing 💛 pic.twitter.com/BVO1kR7gXU
— Kinsey Burke (@KinsZilla) December 20, 2020
We needed to get married so he could come to Japan with me, we’re both very excited (and a little terrified!)
PURSUING VIDEO GAMES
THE J: You’ve always pursued a career in video games; working at a store, conventions, podcasts and then the huge success of being a part of MJR crew with your own channel – and now as a Producer with Chuhai Labs in Japan. You’re living the dream, right?
KINSZILLA: Hahaha I WILL be once I get to Japan ?! I’ve been pursuing a career in games for about 10+ years, always doing it as a side hustle while working a non-related fulltime job. I’m just incredibly excited that it finally paid off and I can focus on ONE JOB for once! So many rad people helped me get here and I’m incredibly thankful.
THE J: Do you ever get recognised? How have you coped with the celebrity side of being a YouTube personality? ?
KINSZILLA: I definitely get recognised at gaming events, it’s really fun to connect with fans! I’ve only been recognised in “real life” a few times and it’s still weird! It’s like I have 2 lives sometimes, especially when I was working fulltime at a soils laboratory and was recognised! The “celebrity” side can feel so weird to me and unfortunately it’s not always positive. I’ve had my fair share of threats and harassment but for the most part it’s been positive.
THE J: Will your channel continue? We LOVED watching your trips to Japan in the past! ?
KINSZILLA: It will definitely continue! Once I’m settled in Japan I’m going to start making videos again, I even just ordered a shiny new camera! I’m really looking forward to sharing my Japan experiences with everyone. People tell me ALL THE TIME that the Japan videos are their favorite, so makes me even more excited for the move!
THE J: You’ve always been obsessed with Japan – what is it about the culture that makes it so cool? ?
KINSZILLA: Hahaha I have always been obsessed with it! It started with my grandparents, they used to go there all the time and tell me all about it. It seemed so magical to me when I was little. My grandfather was also a pilot for Japan Airlines so they would always give me little things like old posters, JAL bags, freebies, just random stuff that I treasured. When I was in Jr High and highschool I was REALLY into anime and manga (and video games of course, but that was like, my whole life haha).
I started reading manga when I was maybe…. 13? I use to buy it in Japanese even though I couldn’t read it. I took Japanese in highschool and ALMOST continued it in college (big regret!) but it didn’t fit into my science heavy schedule. Even though the culture has its flaws (I’m pretty progressive on social issues), I always thought the culture was so rich and fascinating! Also the food is BOMB.
THE J: Will you be able to resist not spending all of your wage on growing your collection out there?
KINSZILLA: Haha this will be TOUGH! Especially since I can’t take very much of my current collection! Since I have to furnish a whole new house, being a little broke should help…. at least at first! Then all bets are off.
THE J: I’ve recently bought a Hyperkin Retron HD console which plays all regions NES and I’ve been looking for a game for a reasonable price that will give me a big slice of Japanese culture – but doesn’t require me to speak fluent Japanese – any tips…?
KINSZILLA: I usually tell people to try for puzzle games, Schmups, and beat em’ ups they think look fun! These you can usually stumble your way through. Famicom games are usually pretty cheap too, so you could buy a lot online and try them out! I started playing import games by buying ones from my favorite animes! At least I already know the story a little hahaha
THE J: What’s your opinion on this type of console – do you prefer the authenticity of the original? ?
KINSZILLA: I like the authenticity of the original, but it’s not always convenient. Most of these retro clone consoles are HDMI and that can make things sooooo much easier! I say if it gets more people to enjoy the classics, go for it! It can also be more affordable, especially the systems that take the place of several different consoles.
THE J: Furthermore, what is your opinion of emulation?
KINSZILLA: Pretty much the same as the retro consoles! If it makes classic gaming more accessible for people, do it! Yes, collecting the original hardware is awesome and I love it but it’s not practical for everyone.
THE J: Are there any retro video games you feel are so unique and inspire you to make new games today?
KINSZILLA: I’ve always been really inspired by clever writing and interesting characters, which makes me wish I grew up to be a better writer! I’ve always been fascinated by RPGs and epic adventures, I remember playing Zelda and early Final Fantasy games and being completely blown away. My dream is to contribute to an RPG, in any capacity!
THE J: There’s a scene in High Fidelity where Rob is ordering his record collection – not alphabetically, but autobiographically… How do you arrange yours?
I've started the painful task of pairing down my game collection for the move…. Oooooof this is more difficult than I thought. pic.twitter.com/F0Qpbzf0tr
— Kinsey Burke (@KinsZilla) January 12, 2021
KINSZILLA: A funny thing about me is that I’m super organized at work but terribly unorganized at home! I only put my games in alphabetical order recently and it didn’t exactly stay that way! So I guess… Alphabetically by artist?
THE J: Have you made a decision yet on what goes with you to Japan?
KINSZILLA: OOOF! I’ve been working on it but it’s so difficult! I’ve sold some games and gotten rid of A LOT of clothes and shoes, but I’m definitely not there yet!
THE J: Have you ever been to the UK? We’re based in sunny Manchester!
KINSZILLA: I’ve been to the UK but it’s definitely on my list! For Manchester I’ve heard a lot of music related things! Manchester produced a few of my favorite bands; Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths… so many greats from there! And of course… Manchester United!
Given this obvious passion for music we asked Kinsey for a Top 10 playlist and she has kindly obliged!
“This was hard so they’re in no particular order!”
KINSZILLA: This was fun! We can definitely call this part one 🙂 Thanks!
THE J: Thank you!
Did you see our interview with SEGA MEGA FAN Adam Koralik? Go further down the retrogaming rabbit-hole…