An Interview with the Nintendo Quest Crew – Jay Bartlett

Jay-NES-ClubJune 2013 was the first time we saw the brand spanking new Kickstarter for The NES Club: One Man • 30 Days • Over 700 Games To FIND! The Kickstarter sought to raise a minimum of $15,000 to cover the production costs of a documentary that would showcase Jay buying the games with his own money. The project funded with a total of $16,814.

A little more than 18 months later, the duo launched their second Kickstarter, with the documentary being called Nintendo Quest and providing an opportunity for people to purchase copies of the documentary with the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter had a low goal of $1,000 and raised a total of $40,286 hitting 4 stretch goals. Even though the funding is complete, Jay agreed to answer some questions for us

Grace: First question, and sorry if this has been asked somewhere before or I missed it somewhere, why the name change from The NES Club to Nintendo Quest?

Jay: Going forward our brand will most likely be under The NES Club, but the film title was changed to have a more universal appeal. Not everyone in the world knows what NES stands for, but everyone knows the word Nintendo.

Grace: Without spoiling anything, what is your fondest moment behind the scenes in the creation of the documentary?

Jay: Fondest moment behind the scenes, hmmm. There were so many, getting to hang out with people that I’ve looked up to my whole life was probably the highlight. Meeting and hanging out with Todd Rogers, Ben Gold was really a dream come true for me in itself.

nintendo-questGrace: Without spoiling anything, what was the biggest challenge in the creation of this documentary?

Jay: The biggest challenge and my biggest obstacle was time. When the 30 days started there was no pause button. Even when I was working and sleeping that all counted, so managing time was a huge factor for me.

Grace: If you could have done one thing differently, what would that one thing be and why?

Jay: I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would do it exactly as I did. The decisions I made in the film were all mine to make, and made for a reason. you will have to wait and see what they are lol.

Grace: The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the original NES, including but not limited to the value of NES games and systems going up. As a collector, what would you contribute this increase in value to?

Jay: In gaming there has and always will be trends in collecting. Before a console generation is coming to an end for the most part nobody wants anything to do with it or the games, you can get them dirt cheap. Then about 5-10 years later everyone wants those games again and they become collectable. PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube games now for instance are really hot. As for the increased value say for a game such as Stadium Events on NES or Flinstones Surprise at Dinosaur Peak, that fact remains that as time goes on less and less of these games are around. They either get tossed out, destroyed by the company that made them, or just plain lost. Stadium Events has less than 200 copies known to exist in the world, that number will only go down as time goes on and as it does its value will grow. The Flinstones game was a Blockbuster Video rental, you couldn’t even buy the game in stores so that makes it rare for different reasons.

Grace: Do you remember the first time you played an NES? Was it at home or at a department store? What game do you play? Tell us your memories of your first time on an NES.

Jay: The First time I played the NES was at my friend Darren’s house in 1987, I was in Seventh Grade. He was the first person I knew that had a Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Mario Bros. I remember it was a big sleep over and we stayed up all night, and I mean all night playing Mario at just marvelling at the strides home gaming had come. The controller was so different from the Atari 2600 and Coleco Vision, the games had much better grafics and Mario was the first Video Game I ever played that actually had an ending to it. Not too many games are perfect in my books but Super Mario Bros. is one of them, a masterpiece.

nes-kung-fuGrace: Besides the games that came with the NES, what was the first game you got for the NES?

Jay: When I got my NES the first game purchased was black box Kung Fu, which I still love. It was almost a perfect port of the arcade version which again blew us away.

Grace: What is your favorite NES game? Why?

Jay: My favourite NES game of all time is Zelda II the Adventure of Link for many different reasons. One it was a game I didn’t understand or appreciate until I was much older. Two the combat and leveling up system are so good, I’m addicted to it. And to this day its the only Zelda game with an Exp system and you can choose how you the player wants to level Link. And third and most important is the challenge, this game is hard as hell and I remember as a kid being literally afraid of the game because it was so hard. After facing a lot of my fears during the filming of Nintendo Quest I added another one to the list and finished Zelda II three times in one week for start to finish!

nesGrace: What is your fondest memory revolving around the NES – not related to the documentary itself?

Jay: My fondest memory of the NES was that whole time in gaming. I loved how it was Sega Vs. Nintendo Vs. NEC with their Turbo Grafx-16. It was a very special time for me, all my friends had either NES, or Genesis and I remember not ever wanting to choose a side. I loved all video games plain and simple so from the age of fourteen on (when I got my first job) all my pay cheques went into video games for all different systems. I was the kid who had all of them and thats not bragging by any means, it just means I loved all games and it didn’t matter for what system they were for.

Grace: Looking to the future, do you see yourself doing something similar for another gaming system? If so, and you can disclose it, which system and why?

Jay: The future for Rob, Myself and the NES Club brand is very bright. Having just successfully funded our second kickstarter which includes the production of the blueray, DVD, and our very own NES game we are developing for the NES its clear just how amazing and supportive the Retro Gaming community is. There are many different projects that we have in the works and for now thats all I can say. Would I like to do a film sequel to Nintendo Quest? Absolutely.

Grace: Tell us more about the game that will be developed to go with the movie? How are you creating it, etc.

Jay: Our pal Joe Granato and his team will be developing the game as soon as he is done with his game and film titled the New 8-bit Heroes. It will be an original game based off of the film with a ton of fantasy elements thrown in set in present day. We want it to be an RPG very much in the same vein as Final Fantasy for the NES. Rob and I have three huge brainstorming sessions that you can check out on our bi weekly pocast called Gamercast www.nesclub.podomatic.com. More on the game as the months go by but needless to say we are thrilled to now be called game developers!

866730_thank_youGrace: Anyone you want to thank?

Jay: Lastly I’d like to thank my friends and family for the constant support through creating this. The gaming community, all of you. Its such a wonderful community to be apart of and I’ve never experienced such support and friendship. Nintendo for being still to this day the best video gaming company on the planet. And finally all the fans, who believe in what we are doing, trust me when I say…this is only the beginning!

Many thanks to Jay for taking time out of his busy day for this interview.

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game Scoreboard.com, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

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