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Special: NWR Book Interview with Max Lake

by Max Lake and Jonathan Metts - June 11, 2016, 11:14 pm EDT
Total comments: 11

Things get real on the latest interview in this special podcast mini-series.

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Welcome to a series of special podcasts, hosted by your friends at Radio Free Nintendo. Former podcast host and website director Jonathan Metts is sharing his extensive interviews with current and former staff members from Nintendo World Report [the very site you are now reading, which is also still widely known as Planet GameCube (which is one of the long-term prices we've had to pay for the privilege of changing our name at the peak of our popularity).] These interviews are part of his research for an upcoming book about the long-running website, focusing on its vast array of dedicated, all-volunteer creators. This paragraph is painfully thorough because I want to reuse it for each subsequent release from this series, which is planned to continue throughout 2016!

This interview features Max Lake, the last Editor-in-Chief of our website. Max left his fingerprints all over early-era Nintendo fansites before landing at ours. You'll hear many detailed stories, including how he leaked the Super Smash Bros. Melee secret characters, writing rumors for Louie the Cat, and that time we got bad service at Denny's. There's a thorough account of another writer's infamous, embarrassing "Miyamoto-Sama" incident... redemption included. We also dug into the troubled saga of Max's E3 2001 video to understand what went wrong, and how the aftermath led to the end of Max's tenure at PGC and the beginning of longstanding personal problems. He doesn't withhold regrets or complaints, but we both explored this painful part of his life in the hope of finding silver linings and even reconciliation.

By the way, the entire E3 2001 video is now viewable as a playlist on our NWR TV channel on YouTube.

If you haven't already, subscribe to Radio Free Nintendo with the links above to automatically receive all upcoming interviews in this series.


TOPHATANT123June 12, 2016

Phenomenal interview.
Part 6 of the video has Nintendojo-sama, Max and Jonny asking the questions at the Q and A, fantastic little time capsule even though it came at a great cost to your health Max.

ClexYoshiJune 13, 2016

This... this was intense.

If Max gets to read this; Your tale is moving. I've been in a bad place in my life for the past 8 years. I've also had friends that have panic disorder and just... wow. I can't formulate my thoughts. I usually make long posts but...

Just know i'm happy for you. thank you for recording this with Johnny and letting me get to know you.

KisakiProjectJune 14, 2016

Jeez....this is heart breaking. 

I think Nintendojo get's touchy about that incident to this day.  Had no idea that guy turned his life around so well.

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusJune 16, 2016

I don't believe I was the perpetrator of the Denny's goatse, but I was probably complicit. I can't really recall. I'm gonna try to piece this together with some other folks.

MaximilianJune 24, 2016

Thanks again to Jonny Metts for getting me to do this interview and for everybody who listened to it. It wasn't easy facing up to this stuff, but I'm glad I did.

An unfortunate update to the interview is that even though I thought I had conquered the panic attack problem back in October when the interview was recorded (after a particularly nasty summer without them), subsequent attempts to enter the workplace (somewhat successful ones) have revealed I still am susceptible to have panic attacks quite a bit. In fact, I'm laid off of my current job because of them.  :@

I'm currently separated from my wife physically as she is in Canada attending to medical issues her country is much better at covering than mine. Hopefully, I will be able to move up there and be with her again soon! Separation sucks & is a definite cause for anxiety. But life goes on. I am contemplating re-embracing video gaming to help deal with the boredom and loneliness. 

While tough to do, overall, this interview was a lot of fun. From the Smash Bros characters, to the Heckel-sama incident (he's really a great guy, and did a lot of good work for the 64 Source & Nintendojo, but boy what a goof that was) to me revealing that yes, there is a cure for heartbreak, even if it is something as unorthodox as a hotel room with a hot tub full of balloons and a belly full of psychedelic mushrooms playing the final level of Rave Master on GameCube. Just a lot of crazy memories. It's insane all that work we put in back there is still going strong in some shape and form with NWR. Justin Nation just reminded me in an email the 64 Source was in its prime 18 years ago. Yikes.

And Ty, if it wasn't you who did the GOATSE, was it Andres??? Rimmer? Was your brother Max with us at Denny's that night?

Thanks again to everyone who listened. Extra thanks for the comments! Much appreciated.

SorenJune 24, 2016

This was a tough interview to listen to on my part, because I can empathize with a lot of what you feel even if the experiences aren't the same. I'm glad I listened and I'm glad you shared with us Max. Keep fighting the good fight man, we're all trying one day at a time.

fred13June 30, 2016

Wow, I hate to hear that while I'm enjoying reading the site and listening to the podcasts, there's sometimes some really sad things happening in the background.

ClexYoshiJuly 01, 2016

I'm deeply sorry to hear you're going through yet another rough patch once again, Max. I've never really had a significant other in my life like that as I'm not one who really tries to date at all, so I can't say I can exactly empathize with the seperation you must be feeling... I can understand however how it is to struggle between trying to hold employment or weather or not you should be on disability.

that being said, I feel that if you're getting back into video games? make sure you're doing it for you, and that you recognise just how different the landscape is. Video Games nowdays are simultaneously cheaper to get into than ever, and at the same time have had their value muddied by alternative ways that companies try to get money out of their customers. I trust in you to be an informed customer and believe that it'll be a real eye-opener to see just where games went through the rest of the naughts and into the teens.

MythtendoJuly 02, 2016

Nice intervie.w, and sorry for the panic attacks. But Max does come across as very bitter about multiple people and the site and angry at times

Mite000July 03, 2016

Thank you for being so open in this interview Max. As someone who suffers from similar issues in their own life, it was really uplifting to hear that you're coming out the other side of it saying that life is worth living and not to give up. It was especially moving to hear that despite how much you've been kept down over the last decade because of events stemming back to NWR, that you're able to be grateful as well because those same events lead you to finding the love of your life.

It's an inspiring way to look at things, and it hit home pretty closely. Thanks again Max, and I wish you the best of luck.

MaximilianJuly 06, 2016

For the record, the only real bitterness I have at anyone is Billy Berghammer, due to his being less than understanding (more like NOT AT ALL) of my poor mental health and contributing to it greatly through all the pressure he put me under. I am a little salty at some of the NWR guys who were Director post-Berghammer, who kept me from coming back despite attempts to and even an invite to write stuff up at one point that never got used, but eh, who cares now? I really don't in the big scheme of things.

I honestly don't even *Hate* Billy & am even glad he is certainly living out his dream working for Nintendo of America these days. He undeniably put in the work to be where he is. It would take more energy for me to hate Billy than I want to put into it.  I'd rather just not think of him and get on with my own shit to the best of my ability. I have another friend who was done wrong by someone in their past who wants to--given financial ability to hire lawyers--inflict a great deal of wrath on the person who fucked him over, even if it costs him a great deal. I don't even think of Billy that much, and am relieved I don't have that kinda consuming hatred or bitterness about that for Billy, or really anyone, except the guy who robbed me last summer masquerading as a friend and stole among other things, many games and my wife's Nintendo DS... And like I said in the interview, if it wasn't Billy bringing me on way back when, or me having developed panic attacks, I never woulda met my wife, and she is EVERYTHING to me. My best friend, my lover, my soul mate. Period. I think I even said in the interview, I kinda owe that fucker Berghammer.

The only real video gaming I am doing this point is SNES and MAME emulation really. I still have my Wii but it's the only system I have really 100% intact. I don't have much interest in spending much money in games despite some cool shit being out. Steam is great fun & I have a ton of games for it, just need to allocate some HD space (or get a new HD!). I really do want Mario Maker and a WiiU at some point, as all of my friends with WiiUs don't seem to have that game.  But yeah, I'm a comic book & action figure junkie & often spend on those vices. Not to mention some of the other habits I talked about in the interview costing $ too, games aren't high on my list of things to buy. Though I really need to start saving up to get to Canada... Permanent Residency applications alone are $1500.

It's awesome to hear from some of you guys with anxiety issues who could relate to stuff they heard in the interview. That's one of the biggest reasons I did it and was so frank. Anxiety is worse than being in a living hell, or can be. But it can improve. Hell, I thought I had it beat, and I hopefully have it on the run. I'm seeing a new doctor tomorrow who will hopefully help me get back to work with some good anxiety medicine. HOPEFULLY. But it is definitely a struggle. My best advice is find something that helps and exploit the hell out of it. Music. Games. Comics. Anime. WHATEVER. Whatever can help you get thru another day, another round of anxiety. Life definitely IS worth living, though it is a bitch. Hell, I can barely perform my job as a dishwasher when Billy's off working for NOA. :p But I'm not bitter. It's just funny how life goes. I just wanna be able to get back with my wife and start a new life in Canada asap. But I definitely wanted to clarify I'm not really bitter at any of the NWR crew EXCEPT Burgermeister.  And hell, best of luck to him. In fact, it's been cool reconnecting with a few folks from those days because of this interview and I've been getting to know some of the new guard at NWR too. Like one of you guys said, just gotta take it all one day at a time! Thanks for the additional comments!

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