Patrick Hickey Jr, is a games writer, his first book, “The Minds Behind the Games” features interviews with cult and classic video game developers.
Which came first, your passion for writing or gaming?
Absolutely gaming. The NES changed my life as a three-year-old with RBI Baseball and Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt. If not for a serious car accident at 18, I may have never seriously focused on my writing the way I have over the last two decades. I’d probably be wrapping up a minor league hockey career or have taken some civil service exams. What ended up was probably the best thing that could have, considering my love of history, writing, art and gaming. As an author, voice actor and college professor, I can truly drown myself in everything I care about it and support my family doing so.
What was the first game that you played when you realized that gaming would be an important part of your life?
Probably RBI Baseball on the NES. I absolutely loved playing games with real players. It made the games feel so much more important than a standard game. Later on, during the PlayStation One era, I’d manually update my rosters and sell the saves to friends. This was the beginning of my journey, I just didn’t know it yet.
Do you have a current favorite game and why does this game resonate with you?
I love the Fallout series and I am currently playing The Outer Worlds on the Switch. I love the notion of being able to travel someplace and make a character mean something in a world. The fact that it’s a single-player experience and not forcing me to go online or to buy DLC is even better. That notion of the grand single-player experience in gaming is becoming a lost one, but it’s still a valid one.
Could you tell us about your first book, “The Minds Behind the Games”?
The original Minds Behind the Games is a collection of stories on 36 games that have impacted a ton of people’s lives. From Mortal Kombat and Deus Ex to NHLPA 93 and ToeJam N Earl, there’s something there for everyone. Speaking with the developers themselves, I was able to tell a ton of stories that weren’t widely known or known at all. While there’s obvious opinion in the book, the majority of it is from the developer. I allow them to tell a story that’ll shed light on the creation process of the title. Each chapter also has interesting biographical data on the developers featured. It was my goal to educate, inform and entertain in the book and I think through the fun history, advice and tidbits from the developers, that this goal has been achieved.
Are game developers generally receptive to being interviewed when you approach them?
Each developer must be approached differently. They are artists. There’s not a one size fits all approach. Before I pitch a developer, I make sure I know who they are, about their work and hopefully, their legacy. Because of that, I usually don’t have much trouble, once I find them and we start to talk. From my experience, most developers are amazing people that actually want to tell their stories. They just haven’t been asked yet, or they haven’t been asked by a person they see as worthy enough to share it.
Have you been surprised with how favorably received and reviewed the book is?
Video Games are a huge part of my life. Writing takes up just as big a part. By combining these two things, I’ve created something that I feel is a more than adequate representation of what I’d like to be remembered for as a writer. My heart has always been in it. The passion is definitely there. I think rather than focus on the critical and commercial success of a project, you have to understand how important it is to you and then to the people that have experienced it. In the two years since the original book has been published, I’ve definitely seen it have an effect on the people who have read it and on the culture of video game history. That is something I am immensely proud of. And it’s the reason why the series continues to this day.
You have gone on to sign a multi-book deal for sequels. Could you tell us about “The Mind Behind Adventure Games”, as well as the other sequels you will be working on?
The Minds Behind Adventure Games is written in the same style as the original book, but with 31 new games, all of which have added to the Adventure game genre in their own unique ways. I see Adventure games as ones that make story paramount and these titles all did something to make story matter more in games- from Grand Theft Auto, Pitfall and even Maximum Carnage and Parappa the Rapper, this book is full of fun and informative tales.
As far as other books go, The Minds Behind Sports Games will be out in a month or so, while The Minds Behind the Shooter Games should be out by early 2021. I’m currently wrapping up The Minds Behind Sega Genesis Games and am about halfway done with The Minds Behind PlayStation Games. So by the end of 2022, I should have six books complete in the series.
You are also a voice actor and have performed in some games. Can you tell more about this?
After the release of the first book, I didn’t initially know if I was going to write a sequel, so I started covering the games industry again for the site I own, ReviewFix.com. I came across a game called The Padre, that looked cool- a dark story and Minecraft-inspired visuals. I contacted the developer for an interview and it went well. I was soon asked to play a Beta and then offered some critique. Within a few days, I was the game’s Story Editor and about a month later, our lead voice actor left so I offered my services.
The rest they say is history.
Now I’ve got credits on a few other games and am currently writing the story for KROOM, a game that Orange Door Studios in Rhode Island is creating. There are also a few other projects I’m contributing to that I cannot announce yet.
You are also the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Reviewfix.com, what was the inspiration behind launching this website and what should people expect when visiting this website?
I started Review Fix in May of 2009 when a relationship I was in was floundering. Rather than invest more time in something that wasn’t working, I created something- something that 11 years later is still going strong. At that time, I had just gotten my BA in Journalism the year before and was teaching and covering Minor League Hockey and Baseball, but I wanted to cover music, gaming and entertainment.
As far as what to expect, it’s a daily updated site with news, interviews, reviews on everything entertainment, games, comics, wrestling, TV- it’s a nerd haven. I have a slew of amazing writers supporting it as well, many of which have gone on to write at great places as well.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you’re interested in video game history, there are a lot of great books out there, but not many have made it their sole focus to allow the developers to tell their stories- to get it right. It’s so much better than a coffee table book with thousands of pictures, or a self-published rant that is all opinion. I want people to appreciate gaming history because it’ll make them love the games they do more- and understand and accept the games they don’t care for.
For me, this is a daily endeavor. It’s not just tied to the book. It’s on my FB, my Twitter, my Instagram. This is a part of my legacy as a human being.
As well, the best way to support me is to buy the books directly at PatrickHickeyJr.com/books.
There, I will personalize your book and slip in goodies like trading cards, stickers, bookmarks. I want you as a reader. I want to connect with you. Buying the book on Amazon or a major retailer doesn’t afford us that process.