Jughead Becomes a Videogame Reviewer For ‘Life With Archie’ Magazine [Interview]
Much like comic book fans, gamers tend to trust the recommendations of their friends over just about anyone. Perhaps that’s why Archie Comics has entrusted its new video game review feature in this month’s Life With Archie #8 to none other than Riverdale’s most famous all-around pal, Jughead Jones. Kicking things off with a review of Nintendo and Retro Studios’ Donkey Kong Country Returns, Jughead will serve as the mag’s go-to video game critic in each issue, summing up titles the only way he knows how — with his gut. We got in touch with Archie’s pal, and it turns out he’s got at least a few traits in common with your esteemed ComicsAlliance writers.
Jughead Jones: I know you guys have been waiting on these answers for a while, sorry. Just been moving out of my house and crashing with friends. Anyway.
The game review gig just kind of fell in my lap-you know, the way nacho cheese does when you’re trying to eat and drive and text at the same time. This editor named Suzannah Rowntree hit me up over Xbox Live after she saw that I logged over 700 hours of gaming last month. I don’t wanna brag, but there are only 730 hours in a month… so that’s pretty impressive. I’m impressed, anyway. The reviews are for something called “Life with Archie Magazine” and I took that as a good sign because, coincidentally, this company is named after my best bud. They’re paying me partly in cash and partly in burgers, per the terms of my freshly-inked freelance agreement. Also, am I getting paid for doing this interview? I charge by the question so… I’ll just bill you guys later. Ok, next question, please!
CA: The first game you’re writing about is Donkey Kong Country Returns. What drew you to this game for your first review?
JJ: For starters, the name of the game was confusing to me. “Donkey Kong Country Returns?” Did the whole country go away? Where is it returning from? Was it sucked into some Monkey Space Vortex? These are challenging questions which demand answers. But, other than that, I like the idea of a world where bananas are currency, with no problems that throwing a barrel can’t solve. That’s a world I wanna live in.
CA: In the past you’ve served as a food critic, among other things, at the Riverdale High School newspaper. Do you see any parallels between how you review food and how you review games?
JJ: Absolutely. Food has always been a big part of video games, from Pac-Man’s flavorless dots to the chef simulations in Cooking Mama. From Burger Time to Princess Salad in the Vegetable Kingdom. From Cake Mania to Diner Dash. Did you know Domino’s Pizza once made a Nintendo Game? Man, pizza. I wonder how late Pizza Unlimited is open in Riverdale? I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
CA: You and Kevin Keller recently bonded over a shared love of comic books and junk food. Considering your new videogame-reviewing gig, do you think Kevin’s passion for journalism might’ve rubbed off on you too?
JJ: Depends on your definition of a journalist. Kevin goes that extra mile in that he actually leaves his house to do his job. He “checks sources” and is always going on about “ethics” and “inverted pyramids.” I don’t know much about inverted pyramids… I think there are a few in God of War II. So if your definition is someone who makes all his opinions known, but doesn’t do a lot of research, then “yes,” I am a journalist.
CA: A good reviewer usually benefits from a good editor. Do you have anyone proofing your reviews before they go to press? Or do you just roll with your gut?
JJ: I have learned that my gut is sort of like a rumbling compass that always points me in the right direction. But, occasionally, yes…my gut is off base. For example, I’ll read you one of my first editor’s notes. It says, “What do Buffalo Hot Wings have to do with Super Mario Bros.? –ed.” I mean, I could draw parallels to Mario eating mushrooms- another known appetizer-but the truth is I think was just starving when I whipped up that review.
CA: A lot of your passions have been translated into games — skateboarding, playing the drums and even playing with dogs. What are some of your other favorite activities you’d like to see simulated or enhanced by videogames?
JJ: Yeah, hanging out with my sheepdog Hot Dog could totally be enhanced. He’s a great dog, but sometimes I wish I knew what he was thinking about. Like, if a thought bubble or something would just pop up above his head and let me know. I’m sure Xbox could use the Kinect camera to figure something like that out, right?
CA: Your pal Archie tried out a prominent motion gaming console awhile back, which seemed to cramp your coach potato style at the time. Have you come to enjoy motion gaming technology on the Wii, PlayStation 3 Move or Xbox Kinect, or are you still more of a button-mashing fan?
JJ: Believe it or not, the whole thing makes me fear for the human thumb. Science has proven that 85% of thumb use for the past 25 years has been with video game controllers. With motion control, however, games are threatening to make your thumbs obsolete. If motion games continue to be popular, our thumbs will start falling off by 2019. And then how will we review movies and hitchhike? These are just the facts. So I think it’s important that I remain on the couch and use my thumbs to play games the way it’s always been done. I’m doing it for humanity, really. You’ll probably thank me one day.
CA: Who are some of your favorite people to game with? I know your father’s expressed an interest in gaming in the past.
JJ: Online, I like gaming with my two new bros from Archie-Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick and President Mike Pellerito. Gorelick because, well…how hardcore is that last name? You know he means business. And Pellerito because he’s a good Warthog Gunner in Halo: Reach. As for my pops, he’s recently sworn off video games. He bought Dead Space 2 thinking it was called “Dad Space 2” and, well…I think he’s sleeping with the light on for a little while. Poor guy.
CA: Can you tease any games you might be reviewing next?
JJ: The next game I’ll be reviewing is Sonic Colors from SEGA. I was afraid it was just going to be video of Sonic, you know, coloring things with crayons. After all, we all remember the fiasco that was Mario Sews.
But it’s very impressive: breakneck speeds, old-school side-scrolling blended with 3D effects and a pretty stellar…well, I don’t want to give away too much. Pick up the new Life With Archie Magazine, and you can hear what my well-informed gut and I have to say about Donkey Kong and eventually, Sonic. Which reminds me… Sonic’s Drive-In still serves milkshakes and tots before 11 a.m., right?