Interview with Twitch Producer, and Host of IndieLP: Mary Kish
Mary Kish is becoming a fairly well-known name in the gaming industry. She was formerly a senior editor for GameSpot, the second largest gaming news site in the world. In January of this year, Mary took a job as a content producer for Twitch, but still continues to produce some content for GameSpot.
On Twitch, Mary hosts her own live stream called IndieLP on Monday nights, in which she plays recently released indie games and interacts with the audience via Twitch chat -- and sometimes you may get to see Mary's adorable dog, Simone, depending on his mood. Mary also has a brand new Twitch show called FreshStock, which examines sneaker culture.
Over at GameSpot, Mary continues to produce and co-host Resident Kinevil with Mike Mahardy, a two-person let's play type of show in which Mary plays through the Resident Evil games while Mike helps -- or doesn't. Most recently, they started playing Resident Evil 5 together.
Mary was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to allow me to interview her about indie games and Resident Evil. Full Q & A below.
Erroll Maas: What originally inspired you to work in games media?
Mary Kish: I was a video editor, making trailers for a Wii Publisher right after college. We started working with a few independent developers to help publish their titles. I played a lot of incredible indie games like Auditorium and Vessel. These games are innovative and beautiful, and I wanted to help bring to light other interesting self published titles.
I made my own company called IndieViddy, where I worked on trailers for indie games. I did this for several years, where I sent my trailers to games media companies like Polygon and GameSpot. At some point, a friend at GameSpot asked if I wanted to work for them during E3, and my life dramatically changed.
EM: What inspired you to produce IndieLP?
MK: Pretty similar to the first answer! I love all games, but my heart is in indie games, so I’ve constantly tried to do content around them. That can be really hard at a AAA games coverage site like GameSpot. They cover all games, but I would get pretty overwhelmed with the work load as it was, then adding a smaller title on top would get pretty tiring.
I decided to make time in my evenings by streaming them. Anna Prosser from Twitch has a channel dedicated to positivity called MissCliks, the whole thing seemed like a good fit -- thus IndieLP was born.
EM: IndieLP has a smaller fan community than other Twitch streams, although you always welcome new fans. Are you glad it's not as chaotic in the chat as other streams tend to be, or would you prefer a much bigger audience?
MK: I love my audience and core fan base. They know me and I know them. I like them the most and I’m so grateful to have a group of individuals that are as interested in indies as I am. Of course I would love to get these games seen by more people, that’s why I stream after all! I want to get the word out, people should play these titles.
EM:What was your favorite indie game of 2016 and why?
MK: Stardew Valley! What a brilliant game created by developer Eric Barone. I was fully immersed in this small farming community, from learning how to grow crops, fishing, mining and meeting the town’s people, there was always something for me to do, and I loved every minute of that game.
EM: Favorite indie game of 2017 so far and why?
MK: Currently it’s Night in the Woods for its engrossing story and believable characters. It’s always difficult for people to believe that’s what teens talk like, so many movies and shows get them wrong. But Night in the Woods really nails the mix of passion, apathy and intrigue that make up teenagers.
Next up would be Rain World, for completely different reasons. It’s beautiful and the movement is fluid and fun to play. I love Rain World.
EM: Is there anything you're particularly excited to see or play during E3?
MK: I hope I get to hear about Borderlands 3. Big fan of couch co-op games and Borderlands does it so well. Well written stories and characters, hilarious dialog, shit ton of guns. All the things I want to have a good time.
EM: You also still co-host Resident Kinevil on GameSpot with Mike Mahardy -- what inspired that?
MK: I made a promise and I intend to keep it. I like Resident Evil games, I want to play them all. Mike was very supportive of that idea and he’s been super helpful to get me through the games (most of the time). I also enjoy his company, and after I left GameSpot it was really nice to return and play some games.
EM: Is there a particular reason why the episode lengths are up to an hour or two rather than the easier to watch 10 to 20 minute segments seen on other game channels?
MK: Well it started as necessity. In the original Resident Evils we only had so many ink ribbons to save, so we had to go about an hour before using them or we’d run out. Now it’s kind of the system of the series to go about an hour or so, might as well keep it up.
EM: Would you ever consider producing a separate series focusing on indie horror games, since there are a number of titles available now?
MK: Oh wow that’s a sweet idea. I do love some great indie horrors, Soma, Amnesia, Albino Lullaby. I’d definitely do it!
EM: Do you have any specific advice for people who want to work for sites like GameSpot or Twitch?
MK: Before I even considered making a go at working at GameSpot I was making videos. I was making trailers for indie games and talking about them. If people want to break in, I suggest they start immediately. Have a Youtube channel or stream on Twitch regularly.
Get in the habit of talking about games. Hell, in today’s world you don’t need to work at a site like GameSpot or Twitch to make a living in video games. My advice is BE DIFFERENT. Twitch has thousands of variety game broadcasters. We only have one Futureman, or ManVSGame.
Find a niche, find something that makes you stand out and run with it.
I'd like to thank Mary for taking to time out of her busy schedule to sit down and chat with me. To keep up with her work at GameSpot and her IndieLP series, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch!