This interview presents a conversation with Youtuber, writer and independent artist Erick Landon about his YouTube channel: Erick Landon RPG.
Jeffery Klaehn: Thanks so much for the interview Erick!! Please tell me about you and your YouTube channel. What motivated and inspired you to create it, and what draws you to RPGs?
Erick Landon: I've always wanted to do something on the creative side. I've been on music, filmmaking and literature. I found that making and editing videos was something I greatly enjoyed and since I really love RPGs, the idea of the channel just came together by itself. What draws me to RPGs is the heavy narrative not found in most other genres. Also, once I started getting into menu-based mechanics and other role-playing elements, it felt really immersive for me, as if the experiences were directly talking to my creative side.
JK: You have so many great videos on a range of topics on your channel, from excellent "hidden gem" videos to beginner's guides and top 10s, best of discussions. What would you say defines your channel? How do you decide on themes for your videos, and what excites you most about creating content?
Erick Landon: My channel is simply defined by my passion for the genre. I mostly do tops because I've always been a top guy, I just love making lists! But the idea was to talk about RPGs from different angles, perhaps giving some extra attention to the obscure titles. That's pretty much what excites me the most about creating content. As for how I decide my themes for my videos, well, that's my secret formula, heh.
JK: How much time is involved in putting together a typical video, from idea to finished content, and is there any specific type of video that's your own personal favorite to do?
Erick Landon: It really depends on the video. Most top 10s usually take around 10 hours to complete, brainstorming and building the list is sometimes the hardest part, though the editing can also be brutal if there's a lot of matching or cutting involved. Regular vlogs usually take me 2-3 hours since they're unscripted and often have random footage added (or nothing). Discussion videos, or research videos are easy to edit but take a lot of hours to put together or come up with the script. Anyway, tops are my favorite type of video to do. I just have so many ideas that I'm always eager to choose one for the next video.
JK: I also really like your Q&A videos.
Erick Landon: Thank you, I think they are a good way to bring the community together and hang out.
JK: What do you think draws players to Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs)? Is it the stories, narratives and characters, combined with aesthetics and gameplay elements? Or, put another way, what makes for a truly great JRPG, in your view?
Erick Landon: I think players are drawn to them for the exact same reasons you just mentioned. It's all at once, it's not just one thing, it's everything: art-style, narrative, dialogue, character design, gameplay mechanics, battle systems. A truly great JRPG for me is one that can do all of those things right, or at least truly stand out in a few of them.
JK: What do you think inspires passion for retro games?
Erick Landon: For me, personally, nostalgia and history. I grew up with a lot of 8-bit and 16-bit games so it's only natural I would enjoy going back to them occasionally. And when playing them, I also notice the evolution of the genre through all those eras in the 90s and early 2000s.
JK: You're also an author and have several videos about your novels on your channel. For readers who may be entirely new to you and your work, what draws you to writing and storytelling, and how would you describe your fiction? Does your writing connect with your passion for RPGs?
Erick Landon: Writing is the only art where I feel completely free. When making music or videos or movies, you always find so many restrictions: to make it good, you need good equipment and good production. Sometimes certain ideas will heavily rely on them. So you obviously need money for that. But for writing, there's just you, your hands and your brain. You don't need to invest on anything and you can merely let your imagination do the rest. Now, my fiction is usually dark, because that's just how I am. I wouldn't say my writing connects with my passion for RPGs, as I do have a lot of influences in other territories like movies, series, music or even other books. I'd say certain books connect with my passion for RPGs like Terra Gaiden for example, but not all of them.
JK: Looking toward the future of your channel and also your writing career, what would you like to see, what might we see happen? Anything you might like to share.
Erick Landon: I'm happy where I am right now, growing as a content creator. However, I wish for two things that probably might never happen. I wish for YouTube to chill down with copyright claims and censorship. Plus, their algorithm is poorly programmed so it needs some fixing as well. And the second thing is for my audience to open up more to other genres or even other RPGs from certain consoles as they seem to be very narrow-minded whenever I do videos about that. Other than this, I'm alright with how things are right now.
JK: You mention that you're a fan of The Cure in several of your videos. What are your top five favorite Cure tracks?
Erick Landon: "Untitled" is definitely my favorite. It's so calmly depressing and somehow I relate to the lyrics a lot. "Disintegration", "Push", "Burn" and "A Strange Day" are my other 4 favorites. I love playing "Push" on the guitar.
Author Biographical Summary
Jeffery Klaehn resides in Canada and holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Strathclyde. His research interests include social theory, media, power, public communication, comics, art, pop culture, the creative industries, writing, storytelling, and digital games. His interviews have been published with the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Studies in Comics, ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, the International Journal of Comic Art, First Person Scholar, and other journals.