Simpsons Zip - Webmaster - Vic 09 Dec 2007
This was originally posted at Simpsons Zip, seemingly in late 2006. The site is no longer online and this interview is only preserved via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. I'm posting it here as well for posterity and as an archive of the original.


Vic (SubSane) is the guy to talk to about Simpsons video games. He knows everything about them, plus he's very very cool and interesting. Check out his site and read the interview.

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I'm a 24 year old guy living in Los Angeles, CA, though looking at
relocating to the San Francisco Bay area very soon. After an atypically
angst-free high school run, I attended graphic design school and
specialized in online media. Professionally, I started as a video game
tester at a large publisher then moved into the online marketing
department. Some big titles I've worked on include F.E.A.R. and Scarface:
The World Is Yours. In my private life I tend to spend quite a bit of time
working on various projects (yet completing very few as of this
interview). You could say I’m a “jack of all trades” who can’t decide what
to focus on. I also spend a lot of time tweaking my ’98 Jeep Wrangler and
going out to ridiculously overpriced L.A. restaurants with buddies.

Which was the first Simpsons video-game you played? Which is your favorite?

The very first memory I have of playing a Simpsons video game is playing
The Simpsons Arcade, at about age 7 or 8, at an arcade in a small town in
Mexico. It was a very typical Spanish-style town with a town square
surrounded by picturesque old buildings and a stone church. This arcade
was located right across from the town square, and was pretty much a
miniature Spanish version of Chuck E. Cheese with various arcade games and
a ball pit. You even had to pay a few pesos to get tokens for all the
games (which was awesome because a peso goes a long way down there!)

My favorite Simpsons video game of all time, for purely nostalgic reasons,
is Bart vs. the World. The game is very much in the same vein as Bart vs.
the Space Mutants (which came before it) and Bartman Meets Radioactive Man
(the third in the NES Bart trilogy), however the overall design and
gameplay is just so much more entertaining. The level designs vary from
China, the Arctic, Egypt, and Hollywood, and aside from the typical
platforming levels there are several mini-games that keep each level
fresh. But the most rewarding part, and what always stood out for me as a
simple yet interesting innovation, is the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I
personally felt it was a great reward for playing the game and collecting
all the items.

Which is your favorite episode this season (so far)?

Admittedly I haven’t watched them all, but I would say “The Mook, the
Chef, the Wife, and Her Homer” is my favorite thus far. I’m into films
such as “The Godfather”, “Goodfellas”, and “Casino”, and I think they were
able to pull together some good Mafia schtick despite the fact that Fat
Tony’s been around for quite a while now.

Is Al Jean a good executive producer?

That call is dependent on the episodes, and who you ask. Looking through
the list of official executive producers I would say he did a fantastic
job as the executive producer in seasons 3 and 4 along with Mike Reiss.
All of those episodes are classic. However, looking at seasons 13 and up,
one could conclude that he is not doing well as the executive producer
from a creative standpoint. Granted not every episode is horrible (“I am
Furious Yellow,” “Little Girl in the Big Ten,” and “'Scuse Me While I Miss
the Sky” stand out as funny episodes with great narrative), but nearly all
Simpsons fans agree that the last five seasons have been less than
stellar. From a business standpoint, it seems the folks at FOX think
enough of him (and the cash coming in from the continuously popular show)
to keep him on as the EP. Personally, I think the show would be in the
current rut regardless of the EP. It _has_ been almost twenty years.

Do you have any hobbies outside web-publishing?

I fancy myself as an idea man without the skill to illustrate or write
those ideas. So, I spend quite a bit of time writing down tons of notes
and elaborating on the ideas I feel are good. Movies, video game concepts,
books. You name it and I’ve written down an idea for it.

Although I've slowed down in this, I am also quite fond of writing video
game FAQs (game walkthroughs). In fact, I started CBG’s Video Game
Collection as a means to host my various FAQs for Simpsons games in a
single location. So in this case one hobby led to the other.

Beyond that I dig nature and hiking, cooking good food (mainly to show off
for women), and working on my Jeep. All these hobbies are great forms of
therapy after coming home from a high-stress job.

Which community sites do you visit often? Which non-OFF sites?

The very first site that led me to join a community was
Originally I was what is called a “lurker,” someone who reads the message
forums but never posts messages. In my senior year of high school I became
web-savvy enough to start posting messages in forums for video games I was
playing at the time, and I haven’t stopped visiting the site since.
Nowadays I hang out at a GameFAQs forum dedicated for FAQ writers.

Other than that I still visit fairly regularly, and as a
moderator on my company’s forums I’m there from Monday through Friday, 9
AM to 6 PM.

What's some advice for an aspiring Simpsons webmaster?

Perhaps this is just the marketing side of my brain talking, but a website
has to have a “hook,” something a site visitor can’t find at twenty other
sites. A profile for each of the main characters is fine, but we all know
the characters already. A webmaster/site creator has to ask him- or
herself, “What haven’t I seen before? What niche in the fandom hasn’t been
filled yet?” Whether this content is created by the webmaster, contributed
by site visitors, or is merely an archive of stuff from various places,
unique content is the best way to build a great and ultimately interesting

Once that is figured out, studying HTML, Photoshop, and reading some
tutorials on web design would also be of great benefit and will help the
webmaster create a great container for all that kick-ass content.

Did any sites influence you in your early community career?

The site that influenced me from the beginning was Noiseland Arcade, a
website run by Simon Lau who also ran the New Springfield website. This
was the first and only website I found that was dedicated to video games
based on the Simpsons license, and as a hardcore gamer I found it very
insightful. I contributed quite a bit of content to the site in the form
of FAQs before it closed down.

Shortly after finding Simon’s site I was led to, a once
thriving community that helped me develop my interest in web design.

I don't know much about the current video-game scene. Which of the three
new systems is king?

Ah, a tough question! In terms of sales and market reach the Xbox 360 had
a year’s head-start, so for the next two or three quarters I’ll give it to
the 360. After that I feel the Wii has a good chance of following in
little brother DS’s steps by taking the lead and surpassing the PS3 and
Xbox 360. The PS3 in particular is simply too high-priced and developed a
lot of bad publicity in the wake of Sony’s arrogance about their market
dominance. If they don’t wake up and recall what happened to Sega, they
could very well take a second or third place spot.

Purely as a gamer, I feel the Wii is too weak in the processing department
which will limit a game’s scope until the end of the life cycle when
developers have a full understanding of the advantages and restrictions.
Wii Sports is fun, but I also like playing huge games such as Shadow of
the Collossus and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The Wii simply won’t be
able to deliver those huge experiences, at least not for a few years.

Do you like the other cartoons (King of the Hill, American Dad, Family
Guy, Futurama)?

Ah yes, the big four. King of the Hill has grown stale and is probably at
the end as it is, although I dig the early seasons. American Dad is able
to pull out some good non-PC gags and one-liners but it’s not a laugh out
loud comedy. Family Guy continues to be loud and boisterous which simply
works for the kind of show that it is (plus Stewie’s the man!). And
Futurama, the show that couldn’t hold on, remains a classic series that
perhaps died when it should have.

As a fan of big animated action flicks such as Ninja Scroll I’ve become a
fan of Samurai Champloo, and another animated comedy that I think hits
gold with every episode is The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Support or refute: Scorsese is a better director than Coppola.

Arrggh… a really tough one! While Coppola has a great body of work
(Godfathers I and II, Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker’s Dracula), I have to
agree that Scorsese is the better director. His good sense in casting
great actors (and not just the flavor of the month pretty boy), his raw
and awesomely violent storytelling, and frankly the sheer volume of great
films all support that statement

In three easy steps how can The Simpsons return to its former glory?

Dear FOX and all Simpsons staff,

1. Set an end date for the series, and set it now.
2. You know the smaller salaries you’re paying the newer writers? Take
those salaries, combine them, and do what it takes to persuade John
Swartzelder to write as many episodes as possible before that end date.
Oh, and don’t run his scripts through any other writers or suits.
3. Matt and Jim, would you guys mind taking over again? I mean seriously,
the show’s nearly at the end and everyone knows it. Why not kiss your
wives on the cheek, give your children a hardy handshake, and return to
the studio to run the show. Use some of that clout to clear out offices
with bathrooms and live in them. Eat, breathe, and dream nothing but the
Simpsons for another year or two. Go out with a bang, man!

Beards or mustaches?

I can’t help but look at bearded millionaires such as George Lucas, Steven
Spielberg, and Matt Groening, who made a living out of being creative
geniuses, and think, “Me too!” The only mustachioed millionaires I can
think of are Ted Turner and Weird Al, and who would want to be like them?

Do you dislike any of the current community trends?

I’d say the _lack_ of community is a disturbing trend. I blame it on the
return of web culture after the boom in the late 90s, and web 2.0 in
general. There are just too many places out there to find information,
making the once central communities much less central. If there are other
any other trends I haven’t noticed them due to the small number of folks
who meet to discuss.

The curtain falls. Closing words?

Remember, kids: you _can_ make a living as a fanboy or fangirl. I’m living

Good night!

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