GIFT OF GAB: Unwinnable‘s Stu Horvath Discusses Games Journalism, Offers Advice And Video Game Virginity

UW13-CoverFrom the understandably delicious Dinner Gear piece to your Sam Machkovech Show, you and your team come up with some colorful content. Can you talk about what obstacles you all have overcome to create such a successful site?
Unwinnable’s biggest obstacle is probably me. I’m a self-sabotager when it comes to the internet. No SEO trickery, no lists, no advertising, no comments section. Being that kind of contrarian makes it hard to get people through the door. Once they are inside, though, a good number of them become true believers.

The second biggest hurdle is volunteers. It is great to have folks who are passionate working on the site, but without pay, people come and go. I love doing the show with Sam, for instance, but it is well over a year since we recorded one. That was a good time, though.

Gaming, as a whole, is reaching an unconscionable plateau in pop culture. Can you share your thoughts on the impact of such deals as Oculus Rift and Twitch on gaming culture?
I’m a skeptical believer in the [Oculus] Rift. When I first put it on and it worked, I was blown away, and every new hardware iteration has gotten exponentially better. I have a lot of concerns, though. With a couple of exceptions (Ben Vance’s mind-bending Irrational Exuberance is a big one), I don’t see the Rift impacting gaming as much more than a novelty, like motion-based controllers. And while the sci-fi fan in me can dream up a million applications for the Rift beyond gaming, I don’t think the general public is ever going to be ready for big VR goggles as a part of everyday life. If you see the Rift in the real world, it is going to be in museums, where you’ll play short, educational, experiential vignettes, the VR equivalent of dioramas.

Twitch is an interesting counterpoint to Rift. From the start, I thought live streaming games was a silly idea that would be incredibly tedious to watch or produce. And I was dead wrong – the most fun we had during the Unwinnable Weekly Kickstarter campaign was the telethon on Twitch and I will admit, I’ve watched a fair amount of livestreams since. I am still old fashioned and prefer words to video, but I think that Twitch brings peole together in a virtual way far more effectively than any VR headset will.

On the next page, Stu reveals what title took his video game virginity…

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