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Australian Gamer

March 7, 2009

Every week at least 20,000 listeners will hear the voices of what some have called “comic genius” and “the Roy and H.G of Australian gaming”. Yug and Matt from Australian Gamer have been at it since March 2005, and will be hitting up their 160th podcast next month. I had the chance to have a chat with Yug and talk about what AG has become, what the past 5 years have presented, and what’s beyond the horizon.

So Yug tell us about yourself, what do you do?
Most people would mostly know me as Yug, I co-created AustralianGamer.com with my good friend Matt many years ago, my role being that of Graphic Design/PR/Events. Currently during the day I work as the community manager for Sega Creative Assembly upcoming game StormRise, which you can check out at StormRisers.com. Apart from that, we’re starting up weekly training sessions in preparation for the first season filming of GameDamage, and I’m also opening up a video game bar here in Brisbane.


GameDamage hosts Yahtzee (from Zero Punctuation), Yug and Matt (from Australian Gamer)

A number of readers may not know exactly what Australian Gamer is all about so in your opinion what is Australian Gamer?
I don’t know anymore. It used to be a video game comic/rant driven site. Then it seemed like it was to become a typical news/reviews gaming portal. I think ultimately AustralianGamer.com is first and foremost a community driven entertainment gaming website – we don’t review every game, we aren’t always reliable or on time, and we certainly lack an overall sense of professionalism. Perhaps that’s exactly what makes us stand out from the crowd of other more stiff gaming sites.

What brought you and Matt Burgess to start Australian Gamer back in 2005?
I wanted to draw more cartoons, and Matt wanted people to care about the things he complained about. A mutual frustration at the release date for Dance Dance Revolution on the Xbox continually slipping made us think perhaps we could create something sizeable enough where we could directly question publishers and find out ‘why’ things like this happen.


AG Melbourne Gamers Meetup

Obviously next month as mentioned you’ll be recording your 160th podcast, how do you feel making that milestone?
Disturbed. Do you realise that means there’s almost 80 HOURS worth of audio files featuring Matt and I just blathering on? I feel completely humbled that so many people get a kick out of what we do.

The Australian Gamer Podcasts are entering into their 5th year now, so how has it changed from when you and Matt first started off?
The intro music is different … I think that’s about it. Oh, and when we started out, we were using Singstar microphones plugged directly into my mic port in my computer via a very very dodgy connector cable. Now we have some equaliser setup that I pretend to know how to use, and microphones with those sock things over the top of them to stop the popping. We’re very professional.


Recording Podcast with Romi Jade Olive, Producer at Krome Studios

Looking back now, what have been some of your favourite moments since you started?
Anytime where I made Matt get genuinely angry due to my stupidity. There was actually a podcast that never went live where Matt threw the mic on the floor and stormed out because I kept calling him ‘Matthew’. I’ve also enjoyed the podcasts we do with more people, Yahtzee being the obvious recurring special guest, but even the developers and industry people we’ve invited on. Oh, and we did that interview with Uwe Boll … that was fun too.

Did you ever expect Australian Gamer to be as big as it is now?
Yes and No. I don’t think you start something like this without the image in your head that it’s going to take over the world … and while we haven’t done that, I think what’s been most surprising is the amount of respect and recognition we now have in the industry, and the opportunities that have opened up because of that.


Matt, Yug, and Yahtzee Live at the eGames 08 expo held in Melbourne

So what are your plans for the future with Australian Gamer and your other endeavors such as GameDamage?
All other projects kind of feed into each other really. GameDamage is now starting to get back off the ground again now we have some clear direction, I’ve started a new business with my friends Pras Moorthy and Yahtzee to open up the gaming bar (The Mana Bar) in about 3 months, and my role at Creative Assembly will probably kick on for as long as they’ll have me. AustralianGamer will continue to be a haven for gamers of all types, we’ll be involved with GenConOz, SupaNova, GAME ON and eGames again this year, and plan to continue our tradition of claiming the title of ‘most social gaming community in Australia’.

Well that’ll do us, thank you for your time Yug. Anything you’d like to say to the GotGames community?
I have alot of respect for you guys actually, Starks writes for both AG and GG and I met Alex during a panel at eGames last year. I think the pro gaming scene in Australia is a genuinely tough market these days, but I think GotGames have the stripes and commitment to potentially push through to when competitive gaming inevitably starts to catch on more among mainstream gamers.

You can catch Yug and Matt on the Australian Gamer Podcast each week, as well as gaming news and reviews from their committed team, over at AustralianGamer.com.