Talking About Video Game High School With Freddie Wong (Exclusive Interview)

Talking with Freddie Wong about Video Game High School is hilarious fun.

So much happened at this year’s New York Comic Con 2014 and I’m glad to say I was there as part of the action. Video Game High School had one of the hottest panels at the convention on Saturday, October 8th. IGN’s own Greg Miller appeared as moderator, alongside creator Freddie Wong and head writer Will Campos. Those who attended the panel saw the East Coast Premiere of Season 3’s first episode before it officially aired on Monday, October 13th.

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I must admit I was new to VGHS and when I watched the first episode of Season 1, I didn’t know what to think. VGHS is not your typical high school environment for those of you who don’t know. It’s a world where competitive gaming is very important. It’s insane, funny and will leave you cheering.

So check out Season 3 of Video Game High School now available on YouTube!

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Freddie Wong in Manhattan to talk about this mega-hit. I met a very energetic and down-to-earth gentleman comfortably wearing sandles settling in on the couch of his suite after a long flight with busy days ahead.

What inspired Video Game High School?

It came from a weird, jokey pitch that one of our writers did to us back in 2009. Here’s the name Video Game High School, so we started riffing on the idea on “what would that look like?” If there’s a world where pro-gaming is the most important thing in the world, you got be a pro when you’re 18 because the time you’re in your mid-20’s, your reflexes are shot, so you need to be playing in high school. So we started kicking aroung the idea, do you go to regular classes or is this all video game classes?

It’s very much a wish fulfillment fantasy. I know at least for me in middle school/high school was “I don’t wanna do homework, I wish my homework was video games” – perfect. So that was pretty much the basis for it. From the concept of it, it’s easy to expect a serious, dark, gritty show but that’s not who we are. We wanted to turn this into a fun, ridiculous, a little bit insane, a little bit funny and that’s sort of where the basis for it came from.

Did your experience in competitive gaming help with the premise for the show?

It definitely helped a little bit early on just in terms of the way when people asked, “Are people really this cocky?” “Believe me this isn’t half as crazy as some people get.” Plus my competitive gaming world side was for rhythm gaming , was for Guitar Hero. So it was a lot of fun because nobody really cares about rhythm gaming anymore. So I’d be able to play a faculty member of the school who as a former glorious rhythm gamer fallen from grace was a lot of fun. It was sort of like a weird real-life nod from what I’m used to a little bit.

Was it awkward portraying your character on the show with your younger brother? What does it feel like?

It’s kind of funny. I asked our Dad about that. It’s the one weird thing, if you can’t get over this, then you’re not getting through the show at all. We kind of get away with it. I didn’t want to do old person make-up. We didn’t have anyone else to play a real-life character of myself. We definitely had a lot of fun with. I think we get away with it because I can probably pass for a little older than I am and Jimmy can pass for a little younger than he is. You kind of combine those two and maybe we can get away with it.

(lots of laughter all around here….)
How have you felt regarding the overwhelming response to Video Game High School? Did you think you’d get the reaction that you did?

No not really. We always set out to make as good of a show as we can and to the best of our abilities. That’s always been the focus. The reaction is mind blowing, especially the depth of the reaction to it. We hear from people “…you know Video Game High School, there was a tough time in my life and it help me get through that.” For us it was like “woah,” for us it’s a show about video games and it’s always interesting. There’s story and this sort of thing can affect people. It can be transformative in that way. I think that’s probably the most you can possibly aspire to do as a filmmaker, is to have your work be transformative in a positive way for people. Hopefully we’ve accomplished that over the course of these last three seasons and hopefully we wrap that up with this season.

What can we expect to see from Season 3?

Expect every character will be put through the ringer in this one. Season 1 – I would categorize that as a sports movie structure. It’s very point A-point B, very linear following one character. Season 2 is very much a sitcom television show sort of thing. Looser, over-arching storylines, character sort of driven; and Season 3 is a combination of those two things. Every character has a very strong through line, a very crazy, emotional and challenging arch for each of them. They each sort of get through it in their own way.

For fans of the show, it’ll be incredibly satisfying to see how we’ve concluded everything that we’ve done with our characters over the past two years now. For people who are new to the show, it represents the best of what we’re able to do with our skillset and hopefully the skillset that keeps improving.

Season 3 will bring lots of celebrity cameos like Conan O’Brien and many others thanks to some of their kids who are fans of the show. Freddie joked around that they shoot so fast, no one would notice if they filmed a cameo. So be on the look out!

What’s next for Video Game High School?

We’re not done with it yet. Our plans are to turn it into an animated series. With all the things you can do with animation with the show now, we can create a whole new cast of characters, we can take the world of Video Game High School and transfer it to an animated world.

No word on when that will happen yet folks. It takes time and money to get projects like that underway. Video Game High School the Board Game by Plaid Hat Games will be coming out soon. So keep watching for details.

What are some of your favorites in gaming?

I’m kind of old school like FPS, Quake 2 back in the day, Counter-Strike. I like games hard games, games that are frustrating and challenging. The kind that make you want to throw the controller against the wall. I love rogue-likes.

Freddie Wong is definitely nervous and excited about everyone’s reaction to Season 3 of Video Game High School. He playfully hid his head behind his hands during the panel right before the audience saw Episode 1. There’s nothing like seeing your highly popular show in a packed room with eager fans air a premiere episode and wonder what their reaction will be.

Freddie and Will got a standing ovation at the S3 Ep. 1 NYCC premiere.

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Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.