Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Morgan Webb Interview

E3 may have ended last week but my E3 hangover still lingers. There's lots of info to process from the event that's still stuck in my head, this means you're stuck reading E3 stories for the rest of this week. Today I'm posting my very short interview with G4TV's Morgan Webb who I met up with at the very loud Barker Hanger. The sound of games echoed throughout the building, journalists were taking pictures like they were at a Milan fashion shoot and PR reps hawked their wares like snake oil salesmen. Its also where G4TV set up a stage for its own E3 coverage and it’s the place where I spoke with the “X-Play” co-host. Webb, who got her start as a TV personality on “The Screen Savers” on TechTV in 2001 was easy going, funny and yet because of her gaming babe status, a little guarded. I managed to catch her about 15 minutes before she to go on-air last Thursday.
TT: Lets get started, its time for the most important question you’ll be asked at his years E3. What’s it like working with Adam Sessler?
MW: Adam Sessler is really smart, he’s very passionate about games so its really fun to work with him. He’s supportive and it sounds really girly to say (in a ditzy girl voice) “oh he’s really great” but he is.
TT: He’s a little older than you so does he have a sort of a mentor role?
MW: Honestly we have more of a brother/sister thing going on, we kind of harass each other, and to tell the truth he’s really not that much older than me. I met him in 2001 so we were friends before we ever started working on the show together, TechTV was a pretty close knit community and we had a lot of fun in those days.
TT: How did you get into gaming?
MW: I was always into technology and I played games when I was a kid – we had the Atari, the Nintendo, that kind of thing. Then you go to college and everyone you know has 007 and soon games starting becoming more ubiquitous with everyone playing computer games like “Unreal 2003”. It was an interesting part of my life, but I didn’t realize how big a part of my life it would become. I was always into technology and computers and gaming was sort of a peripheral.
TT: What did you play when you were growing up?
MW: When I was a little kid we had the Atari so we played “Combat”, and some random games like “Plaque Attack”, and then as I got older we had the Nintendo games and we had SEGA. I loved “Phantasy Star 3”, widely regarded as the worst “Phantasy Star,” but it was recently released in a SEGA collection, which I purchased for the sole purpose of playing “Phantasy Star 3” again.
TT: I did that with “Cyberball” which was on a Midway Classics game.
MW: We all have that with one game and everyone’s like “This games dumb, what are you playing it for?” “Cause its awesome!” “But all the characters look the same.” “I don’t care!”

TT: So what are you playing now?
MW: (laughing) Right now I’m at E3 so I’m playing absolutely nothing. “Guitar Hero II is always in but you may have noticed there really isn’t much out there right now. It’s a bit of a dry spell. I went back and played more “Oblivion” and I always play RTS’ so I’m still playing “Supreme Commander”. I get an RTS and I just play it and play it and play it until the next RTS comes out. I tried to get into “Command and Conquer 3” but I didn’t like the scrolling feature. But lately things haven’t been that exciting, so we all go back to the old standards.
TT: Do you have a console preference?
MW: Not really, it’s about the games, it has nothing to do with the console. I’m in a great position where I can have every console so I don’t care what console a game comes out on. I am kind of bummed the PS3 doesn’t have a rumble feature but that’s life. I’m going to play “God of War” anyway.
TT: The PS3 controller, besides a lack of rumble, is very light and has some slick triggers.
MW: (Busting my chops) Sure, blame the controller! No I’m just kidding. I was a fan of the original Xbox controller, the non-S controller.
TT: That giant thing? It was like holding a football.
MW: I know but it just fit, I was playing a lot of “Mortal Kombat” back then and it fit where I put my hands. I miss the black and white button.
TT: You’re the only one.
MW: Yeah I know.
TT: Alright, lets talk about the reviews you do on “X-Play”. As a writer I always wonder how you synchronize the video with writing. Do you write the review thinking what’s going to be shown?
MW: Like any television production that you see on TV, its going to get edited. You lay down the voice track first and then they match it to what you see. But before they (the producers) do that they approve the voice over. You just get really good at taking sections out of the footage that you know you’re going to want to comment on, it becomes very intuitive. Its a skill, you match it up and and most of the time you just cut out the parts that don’t fit. You have to find the interesting parts so you can spend as much time on the most important parts.
TT: Okay, all you did was confuse me but your producer is staring me down so I guess we're almost out of time. I know you’re about to go on camera so, last question. What’s been the biggest challenge for you as a woman in a male dominated industry?
MW: Being taken seriously. Most people don’t think I actually know what I’m talking about. First thing people say when they meet me is, “You look taller on TV” and next is “You don’t really play videogames do you?” Its like no matter how hard you work at your job or no matter how well you do your job you’ll never be taken seriously. But I play games for a living and get paid for it, so that’s kind of cool.
Update: Forgot to mention that today Peter Moore resigned his post at Microsoft and is headed to EA. Joystiq broke the story, go to http://www.joystiq.com/ for the full scoop.


Xplay said...

Sweet !!!

Anonymous said...

Great Interview!
Morgan Webb is great what she does and SHE IS A GAMER!!!!

Morgan along with Adam, Kevin, and Olivia have SAVED G4!