I recently had the opportunity to interview a person about the world’s most famous videogame analyst. The person, a long time acquaintance of Mr Michael Pachter, wishes to remain anonymous so please read out his words using the voice of Omar from HBO’s hit series, The Wire.
jamiepbarker: Can you, after you’ve finished that drag on that cigarette, tell me when you first met Mr Michael Pachter?
Anonymous Man: Oof, years ago, years. I guess about the time of the N64.
JPB: The Nintendo 64?
A: Yeah, so… when was that? Late 90s. Fuck. That’s a long time ago, eh?
JPB: And how did you meet him?
A: He worked in Woolworths. In, erm, Camden. On the High Street.
JPB: You worked there too?
A: Oh no, I just used to go in there on Saturdays. Check out the games and CDs.
A: One day I’m in there and I see they’ve got a copy of Rocket: Robot on Wheels. I was surprised. This was before the internet and I’d never heard of it, you know? Hadn’t seen a review in Edge magazine but I was looking at the pictures on the back of the box and it looked good.
JPB: It is a good game.
A: It is, but when I took it up to the counter it was Mikey who served me. I didn’t know it, of course, he was just a guy behind the counter but he takes the box off me and sniggers. Shakes his head. I asked him what he’s laughing at and he starts going on about Crash Bandicoot. I was smiling along with him but it was weird. I was buying it, you know? Usually you buy something in a shop and the person who works in the shop is happy. Not this time. Not Mikey.
JPB: What was he saying?
A: Ah, he was just going on about how the graphics on the N64 were all blurry and I should play Crash Bandicoot if I like platformers… I don’t know, I just wanted to get out of there but that was our very first interaction.
JPB: So you really got off on the wrong foot?
A: Well, I didn’t really pay much attention to him to be honest. He seemed to like me, he seemed to enjoy telling me about Crash Bandicoot but the next time I went in he remembers me and he’s talking to me like I’m his pal and he asks how rubbish Rocket: Robot on Wheels was. I tell him that Rocket: Robot on Wheels was actually pretty excellent and he tells me that it’s sold one copy and he’s sniggering again. He then starts going on about how many copies of Crash Bandicoot he’s sold. He’s standing next to me as I’m looking at the N64 games. He was goofy, you know? You had to smile at the shit he was saying… It was funny. I think I was looking for Jet Force Gemini but I can’t remember. I do remember he’s still telling me I was wasting my money buying Nintendo games. He was okay though.
JPB: A friendship formed?
A: Yeah, we started hanging out and it was cool because he could get any game even before they even came out. That was the best bit because we were both kids really. That’s when we really started getting into games. Good times. Ah! Mario Kart! It was funny as fuck playing Mario Kart with him. Wario Stadium. Every fucking time. The jump. I’d get him on the jump. With lightning. He never quite grasped that hanging back would give you the lightning. Sometimes, after the 20th time, he’d stop at the bottom of the ramp and stare at me. It was too late then. I’d tell him I wouldn’t use it but of course I did. KABLAMMO! Fucker’s shrunk and fell off the top of the ramp, has to do a quarter of a lap again! Eventually he’d lose his shit and demand we put Crash Bandicoot on and even that was funny, his little wig-outs. He was funny.
JPB: So you got him every time with the lightning on the jump? And everytime he was surprised?
A: Yeah, I mean, Mikey couldn’t predict shit.
JPB: Ironic considering his position.
A: His position. *laughter*
JPB: As the preeminent videogame analyst.
JPB: Well, like him or not he is.
A: Fucking hell, it’s hardly a job, is it?
JPB: It is a job. He works for Wedbush Securities.
JPB: What’s so funny.
A: What’s Wedbush? What do you think Wedbush is?
JPB: Well, a kind of stocks and shares place.
A: A stocks and shares place? What, and they employ somebody to analyze and predict video game console sales.
JPB: Well… I guess.
A: Why would that happen? Why would that even be a job?
JPB: Well, so that people who want to buy shares in Sony or Nintendo… Yeah, that’s fucking nonsense.
JPB: Yeah, I’ve never really thought about it. You read his name and job title and you don’t think about it.
A: Yeah *laughter* What did you think? There’s a bunch of stockbrokers sitting around reading Kokatu? Eurogamer?
A: Wedbush! We set that up when the internet came out. Actually that was one thing Mikey didn’t fuck up. When he got the internet he knew it was going to be big, it was so obvious, so one weekend we set up Wedbush.
JPB: As a stocks and shares thing?
A: What? *laughter* No. Wedbush? Bush? Back then Webbush.com was the porn site, you know, like a bushy fanny? Hairy. We set up Wedbush hoping to get hits from people too het up with a stiffy to type properly.
JPB: So Wedbush started off as a porn site?
A: It would have done but we couldn’t get any girls to take their clothes off. I forgot about it, to be honest, but he must have kept the URL.
JPB: Universal Resource Locator?
A: Is that what URL stands for?
A: Heh, I didn’t know that. Cool.
JPB: So why did you fall out?
A: No single thing really. Just growing up, I suppose. I met a girl but we’d still hang out but he had his own life. He had his own stuff going on. He started doing a column in the local paper, you know, doing their videogames stuff and then a few websites – these were really taking off now – picked up what he’d written and started quoting him and it just… I dunno, all went to his head. All he was doing was working in Woolworth and writing what was selling and what wasn’t and people were listening to him and, yeah, he changed. He’d been funny before but he got arrogant. And then the things that made him funny weren’t funny.
JPB: In what way?
A: Bah, Bullshit ways really. Here’s an example, this used to really fuck me off. You know Disney?
JPB: Mickey Mouse?
A: Yeah, Disney. One day, outta the fucking blue, he starts referring to Disney as, ‘The House of Mouse.’ He’d read it somewhere. We’d just watched Mulan II. The three of us. I quite liked it but after he’s going on about how the House of Mouse are fucked and it’s all Pixar from now on. Like I even cared. My girlfriend hated him and he was talking like I was one of the people who didn’t know that he didn’t know shit about shit. He loved The Incredibles. Loved it. I didn’t like The Incredibles much.
JPB: Nor me.
A: And he was doing more of his shit on the internet. Like, he was just telling them what was selling in his Woolworths but he was acting like a bigshot with a fucking crystal ball and people started treating him like a bigshot. It grew. I saw less and less of him. And the Wii was coming out. Mikey thought it was going to die on its arse like he does with every Nintendo console. I liked the look of it but he reckoned the PS3 was going to shit all over it. This was unusual for Mikey because he’d sort of nailed his colours to the mast before it happened. Usually he just says what’s happening. This time he was actually predicting.
JPB: He was wrong though.
A: Yeah, couldn’t have been wronger and it hurt him. It hurt him bad. I had a Wii, it was pretty good. The tennis. He wouldn’t play it on the rare occassions when he did come around, you know, because it wasn’t HD.
JPB: High Definition?
A: Yeah. Then, I don’t know when, he stopped coming around. I’d still see him in Woolworths. I still saw his name on the internet. He was still predicting the demise of Nintendo which he had been since I met him. But, and here’s the thing, here’s the thing I don’t understand, a lot of the internet loved it. He had an audience, you know? His name started appearing on proper websites, not just game websites. He started calling himself a Senior Analyst at Wedbush. Got a proper website built.
JPB: Even though he was very poor at predicting things? Analyzing things?
A: Yeah, see, most people who play videogames are children or mind cripples.
JPB: That’s harsh, no? It’s a legitimate form of entertainment isn’t it? There was a show on Channel Four the other-
A: Charlie Brooker? Dara O’Briain? Graham Linenam? That fat Scottish guy?
A: What have that lot got in common?
JPB: They’re famous?
A: They’re famous for being the ugliest famous people in the world. Name four uglier people.
JPB: That one from Eastenders… Aggie is it? From that cleaning show?
A: It’s not easy, huh? These aren’t normal people. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re normal because they’re famous. They’re all practically deformed. But half the internet are fucking disgusting wretched goblins. You appeal to these grown-up people who sit there playing video games. You make them feel special, like what they’re doing is legitimate and you’re made. I’m surprised he doesn’t start saying Apple are fucked. He’d be treated like a hero by all the Android guys. That’s what Mikey does. Spouts a load of bullshit. Saying what these people want to hear. His thing is Nintendo are fucked. That’s his platform.
JPB: Platform! That’s what they call consoles.
A: Oh yeah! Good one mate!
JPB: So you’re no longer friends?
A: Nah, Woolworths closed down and he moved to America. Haven’t seen him since. And fair fucking play to him. He’s now more famous than ever. And that new Nintendo? He’s right about it. It is fucked. It’s amazing. Say the same thing for 15 years and as long as you only go on what’s happening you’ll be right at least half the time. And you can call yourself an analyst. And websites will ask you for your opinions. But you could be wrong 100% of the time, actually, and they’d still ask you.
JPB: So can you sum up Michael Pachter in one word? After you’ve finished the drag on that cigarette
JPB: Hyphenated, I think, but it’ll do.