Game Sack has been around for about five years and they’re an enduring channel that continues to grow via word-of-mouth from its passionate fanbase. Their description is both humble and honest. It says that they have wooden delivery and mostly talk about retro video games. It’s straight. It’s to the point and it helps set you up for what you should expect from this charming channel. Joe and Dave absolutely love video games and while that may sound obvious, it can be difficult finding gaming based YouTube channels that really encapsulate that love. They may be a successful channel that’s steadily growing but it never feels like that’s its purpose.
Too many channels these days feel like they’re designed to just touch on something that’s trending on Twitter or being talked about on major gaming news websites in an effort to snatch some clicks from the masses. Game Sack never feels like that though. It just feels like two dudes who just love games and want to share that love with the internet. It’s this genuine love of gaming and the excitement video games bring Joe and Dave that keeps their channel successful and growing.
I’ve been a fan since I first discovered Game Sack in 2014 and ever since then, I eagerly await the newest episodes. They’re one of the few channels I get push notifications for. When I’m sitting at work and get that notification I can’t sneak off to the break room fast enough to check out their latest video. I have the same love for retro gaming and all the little intricacies that make games so magical and so it was a both a joy and an honor to be able to conduct this email interview with them. Fellow writer Chris Penwell is also a huge fan of Game Sack and also contributed a few questions. We both enjoyed getting to learn a little bit more about one of our favorite YouTube channels.
BagoGames: You’ve both been making videos for over five years. What are some of your favorite Game Sack memories so far?
Joe: It’s hard to choose but I remember the result of our FMV test where we sent some videos over for our 16-bit FMV episode. [When] they came back I watched them on the Sega CD console I’ve owned since it launched. That was surreal to see us on an actual video game system like that. There are lots of good memories on the show that I’m sure I’ll get nostalgic over if the show ever ends before I die.
Dave: I have lots of fond memories over the years, like that time where I hit Joe in the face with a pie. I liked that one a lot. I think going to our first convention was a great memory because I didn’t know what to expect. Meeting fans of our show in person was surreal and really fun and those memories will always be with me.
BagoGames: What inspired you both to start Game Sack?
Joe: Basically we like making silly videos and of course we both like games. Gaming was becoming a popular genre on YouTube with lots of not-very-entertaining things gaining popularity. Since we’re not very entertaining either, we thought we could be successful.
Dave: I think we got tired of making those silly videos and wanted to try something a bit different. YouTube seemed like a good place to go and see what kind of reaction we would get. We definitely got a lot of reaction–both positive and constructive.
BagoGames: Also we’ve got to ask; the world wants to know, or at least we think it does … Where did the name Game Sack come from?
Joe: Despite our ancient age, we’re both quite juvenile. Another name we considered was Game Squirt, but that was a little too obvious. Plus the word “squirt” is one that most people don’t like because it sounds gross. Sack sounds pleasant. And it is. Trust me.
Dave: Yeah, we wanted it to be a name where people read it and think “What exactly are they saying here?” It could have different meanings depending on your mind set. Most people have dirty minds like so it worked out great.
BagoGames: What process goes into choosing the games you cover?
Joe: We pick a theme for an episode and then choose games to cover. But before we “greenlight” a theme we make sure we have the appropiate games. So I guess we pick both at the same time, more or less.
Dave: Joe is definitely better at picking themes for an episode. Every now and again when he doesn’t have an idea I tend to come up with something that works. [Then] we pick games that work for the theme.
Joe: The last idea Dave came up with we recently put on hold. An overview of Ultra Games. The problem is that they don’t have a lot of great games. I did a lot of graphics and logos for the episode but playing the actual games was the hard part since many of them are pretty bad. Usually playing games is the best part of making an episode. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll finish it.
BagoGames: How much do you both consider feedback from your viewers?
Joe: Depends on the feedback. But of course if people like an idea we’ll try to do it again. And if people don’t watch a particular episode, it’s likely we won’t make another one of those because making the show is a lot of work. But you never know. We love it when people suggest topic ideas. We certainly don’t do all or even most of them but some good ideas for episodes do slip through and they’re fun to do. When get feedback like “Dave is too ugly!” I will yell at Dave for a few hours for being ugly. That’s when we find out that the viewers got their Joe and their Dave mixed up. Then Dave yells at me for being ugly.
Dave: Well, we always for feedback at the end of each episode and I’ll read comments for the first 4 or 5 days after an episode is released. Some feedback is great with good suggestions for games to cover. Other feeback seems worthless, like when people tell us we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas which obviously means we didn’t talk about any games they cared about. Either way, I’ll read it and either consider it or just pass it over.
Joe: Some people like to make really dumb (and sometimes mean) comments. When we dish it back to them, they insist we can’t take criticism. So it’s OK for them to be dicks, but not us. Ah, the joys of the internet.
BagoGames: What has been your favorite game to cover?
Joe: Usually the ones I’m really able to into depth on. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Policenauts … That’s because I have so much time playing these games that I end up recording the entire game when capturing footage. I like it when there’s a lot to say about a game, good or bad. But I try not to say mundane things. Instead I just make sure the show is mundane as a whole.
Dave: That’s a hard one as there’s many games that I really enjoyed talking about. Some of my favorites have been Puppeteer for the PS3, Super Castlevania IV and Super Metroid.
BagoGames: Which games would you both like to see remade on modern systems?
Joe: Way too many! The original Metroid. Tons upon tons of Sega Master system games (Kenseiden, anyone?) [like] Mystic Defender. God, I love 2D games. I’d want them to be remade well with an expert arranging the music and new, additional levels. I’m glad they’re remaking Wonder Boy 3. I hope they do Monster Land, Monster World and also Monster World 4.
Dave: Any Castlevania game, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts/Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, Jumping Flash series, Golden Axe, Rastan, all the Naxbat Pinball games and many more. Like Joe said they need to be done professionally unlike most of the remakes Sega did on the PS2 in Japan.
Joe: Ugg… that Space Harrier PS2 remake…
BagoGames: How long does it take to edit a typical Game Sack episode?
Joe: Two weeks. But we don’t work on it 24/7. There are time we need to pee and we are allowed this comfort.
Dave: I’m guessing it takes quite a while but Joe is a pro at this now since we’ve got so many episodes under our belts.
BagoGames: Which episode is your favorite?
Joe: ’16-Bit FMV Madness’ and ‘A Very WTF Episode’ are both great. But ‘Let’s Make a YouTube Show’ is probably my most favoritist. Yes that is word. It is now anyway.
Dave: Definitely ‘A Very WTF Episode’ since it has old footage of me where I actually have hair. I miss having hair and having to use combs and stuff like that. I also like the Halloween episodes but sadly not very many other people seem to care for them.
BagoGames: Joe, you may be a bigger fan of Sega but what are some Nintendo games that you can admit you love? Dave, I’m with you. Nintendo’s the greatest (haha) but what are some Sega games that you can’t deny are great?
Joe: Super Metroid, F-Zero, Super Mario World, Super Mario 2 (US), Zelda (SNES), Pilotwings (SNES version is best but N64 version isn’t bad), Super Mario 64, WaveRace 64 (screw the Game Boy original), F-Zero X, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Super Mario Galaxy. I would say F-Zero GX, but that’s a Sega game. Super Mario 3 is good as well but I played it after I played Super Mario World and it just didn’t hold up at the time. So my memory of first playing it is affecting how I generally feel about the game. If I had played it before ‘Mario World’, I might have some more nostalgia for it making it rank higher for me.
Dave: Yes, Nintendo is the king but there’s no denying Sega’s arcade prowess. Some of my favorite Sega games are the Golden Axe series, the Outrun series, especially the more modern ones like Coast to Coast. I’ve always loved the House of the Dead series, even House of the Dead Pinball and especially Typing of the Dead. I’ve had many fun times with that title. Castle of Illusion, the Shining Force series, the Shinobi series, Sega Rally and Daytona. All quality Sega games.
BagoGames: Game Sack has always had great music across the many different episodes. What are some of your favorite video game soundtracks?
Joe: Oh geez. I really don’t have favorites because there’s just way too many that I like. Almost anything by TechnoSoft for example. Konami is also great (8-Bit through 32-Bit era). Hudson Soft is also underrated in the music department. I mean who can forget Lords of Thunder and Gate of Thunder? The answer to that is simple: almost everyone because most people just stuck with Nintendo instead of sampling all facets of gaming. That’s why I think it’s dumb to be loyal to one bran. You miss out on so much! My current video game music playlist is 1,579 tracks and 3.3 days long. I haven’t updated it in a while, so much more to add. And I only put in songs I like, not complete OSTs.
Dave: There’s a lot of great soundtracks out there. As you could guess almost anything from the Castlevania series is way up on my list. I listen to both ECCO and Tides of Time from the Sega CD on a regular basis. I actually bought both of those games without even owning a Sega CD just for the redbook audio. I really like the Shinobi PS2 soundtrack and most of the music from the Ys series. There’s way more but those are a few off the top of my head.
BagoGames: Are there any modern video game soundtracks that you feel hold up to some of the greatest retro soundtracks?
Joe- There’s not a lot of music in modern games, it feels. Most of the so-called AAA titles are trying to sound like movies. That doesn’t do much for me unless I’m watching a movie. Hell, the games themselves are trying to be movies as well… why don’t they just make a movie instead? But some games with good music slip through the cracks. Pretty much anything done by Jake Kauffman (Shantae, Shovel Knight, etc) for example. Video game music feels like a lost art these days.
Dave: I think there are some out there but like Joe says they try to make it sound more like a movie score and I’m not a fan of that. The more modern soundtracks that are good seem to come from indie games. I like the electronic ambient music from games like FEZ and Lumo. They don’t hold a candle to older game music but they are enjoyable.
BagoGames: What advice would you both give to smaller gaming channels on YouTube?
Joe: Be consistent in every way that you can be consistent. Also don’t suck. Be mediocre, like us.
Dave: Keep at it and don’t take to heart when people try to cut you down. Just enjoy what you’re doing.
BagoGames: What are some other practices or things about YouTube that can hinder your success or work against you?
Joe: It’s tough to get noticed. We rely entirely on word of mouth. We don’t buy subs/views and we don’t urge people to like/comment/subscribe. I think we’ve been pretty successful with the word of mouth thing. I just sometimes wish people’s mouths were a bit more wordy. 🙂
Dave: Yeah what Joe said. A lot of times I’ll see a comment in our videos that states “This channel needs more subs.” I totally agree so pass the word!
BagoGames: What are you favorite games?
Joe: I don’t rank games but Shenmue 1 and 2, Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2, Super Castlevania IV, Phantasy Star 1, 2 and 4, Castle of Illusion, Q*Bert (arcade) and a few others are the ones that usually pop into mind.
Dave: I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but Super Castlevania IV, Yoshi’s Island, the God of War series, the Uncharted series, A Link to the Past, Golden Axe, Tetris (NES), the Mario Kart series, the Metroid series… etc.
BagoGames: You guys seem to REALLY love racing games (haha). What are some of your absolute favorite racing games?
Joe: F-Zero (series), Daytona USA, Waverace 64, Super Hang-On, Mario Kart DS, Out Run (series), and OMG, who can forget the amazing World Grand Prix on the Sega Master System? Answer: Everyone, because it is not amazing.
Dave: Man Joe and I are pretty much alike here. The Outrun series is great especially Cost to Coast. I could play that game constantly. Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing is really, really fun. The Mario Kart series of course, Wave Race 64, Motor Toon GP and Road Rash. Road Rash technically does count.
Joe: Yes! I forgot about Road Rash! Sadly so have the people who make and produce video games it seems.
BagoGames: What are you both currently playing?
Joe: Right now I’m playing through Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero from Wayforward/Xseed on the Playstation 4 from Sony. I have King of Fighters 14 still sitting around and that needs to be played but haven’t done it yet.
Dave: I’m playing Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World on 3DS, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse on 3DS. I just beat The Castlevania Adventure on GB for the millionth time. [I’m also playing] Infinite Warfare multiplayer and of course whatever games I’m covering for Game Sack.
BagoGames: What releases are you looking forward to the most this year?
Joe: Cuphead on the Xbox One. I dunno. What else is coming out? I really don’t pay much attention to up and coming releases to be honest.
Dave: Zelda: Breath of the Wild but by the time you read this, I’ll have it. Cuphead as well for me [along with] Mario Odyssey, Wonder Boy 3 remake (I’m really surprised Joe didn’t mention. He must not really want it). Ys VIII [and] God of War (PS4) [too].
Joe: Yes, definitely the Wonder Boy 3 remake and the other Monster World-inspired game (which the name always escapes me). Mario Odyssey looks great as well.
BagoGames: What are some of your favorite YouTube channels? Are there any that inspired you or any that continue to provide inspiration?
Joe: I watch very little YouTube. Of course there’s the default standard of Cinemassacre which everyone rips off. Or used to. But they still produce good videos. I wanna say Game Chasers but that would give them free publicity and Billy needs to wash his hair. We must all keep conspiring to keep them under 100K subs. Oh, wait did I say that out loud? Classic Game Room can be pretty funny if you get his humor (and I do). My Life in gaming is good for very technical stuff. I really miss Junk Ball media which has lots of amazing in-depth videos about Star Trek and a few other pop-culture things. the guy just dropped off the face of the planet several months ago. I wonder if he died?
Dave: I enjoy Hyde209. He makes some really kick ass game music remixes. I also like the Game Chasers but they only put out a video every months or something stupid like that. They need to stop going to conventions, start chasing games again and find at least one or two sealed Little Samsons in each episode. I also like Spida1a. He has a couple of good shows. the first one is Turboviews, which of course is all about the TurboGrafx. It’s really well done and entertaining. He also does some pinball videos and I do like pinball and want to get a machine someday. I like Gameboyle who does nothing but Game Boy reviews. They’re short but have a lot of information. As far as non-gaming channels, I like The Hoover Boys who go out and film themselves metal detecting and they find some really awesome old coins. Yes, I do metal detect on the side. I also like ThrasherMagazine’s channel as I used to skateboard and I still like watching skate videos from time to time.
I also think this next part represents the humor of Game Sack well. I accidentally included a duplicate question at the end and they didn’t hesitate to tease us about it 🙂
BagoGames: What are you both currently playing?
Joe: You already asked this three questions ago. Since then I have beaten Shantae and am getting ready to plug in King of Fighters 14.
Dave: Shut up Joe. You smart ass.
It truly was an honor to get to talk to both Joe and Dave. If you haven’t already heard of Game Sack then don’t wait any longer, click here to check out their channel. It’s a great channel filled with unique and awesome stuff! Joe and Dave do everything from system based episodes (like this great episode on the GameCube) to backlog based videos to everything in between. And yes, they love some good retro racing games so there’s some coverage of that as well. I consider myself someone who’s played a lot of different games and I’ve discovered a lot of great games from Game Sack.
There’s plenty of great humor here, especially if you love dry humor! They even have a great skit based channel if you’re like me and really dig their humor and just want some more Game Sack! I’d especially recommend this one on moving the original Xbox. It’s one of my favorites from their skit channel! And hey, if you like what you see I personally would encourage you to subscribe or even consider throwing a few bucks their way on Patreon— or show your love for the show AND support it by buying some cool stuff on their merchandise page by clicking here!Thank you again Joe and Dave! I’m also looking forward to playing the Wonder Boy 3 remake!