Stay Tuned: “Stuttering” Craig Skistimas Interview

By Rusty
(he accidentally replaced your heart with a baked potato)

Legend
Rusty____Craig

If you visit this site, chances are that your familiar with ScrewAttack. If you go to ScrewAttack, you have to know who Stuttering Craig is. He is a man who’s name gives hope to those inflicted with speech impediments but he is also the co-creator of ScrewAttack, a prominent personality on ScrewAttack, and former Slamball superstar. I caught up with Craig and asked him the hard hitting questions (or lack thereof).

For a noob, tell me what ScrewAttack is

ScrewAttack is the website that is about what games are based on- fun, entertainment and community. We produce more original video game entertainment than any other site on the internet. Our philosophy is that if we’re having a good time then those watching it will have a good time as well. Gamers do more than game and so do we, so sometimes you’ll see stuff more than just traditional gaming videos but at it’s root ScrewAttack is a gaming site.

How did you discover that you wanted to start a website?

It was never really, “Hey, let’s start a website”, it was more “Hey, let’s make a radio show about video games.” Turns out there were a bunch of these crazy things called podcasts and everyone and their mom had one. Anyways, the initial idea was to make this podcast (SideScrollers) and later turn it into a radio show. Once I realized that video game podcasts were everywhere that’s when ScrewAttack started to develop into what it is today.

Did you have any doubts about starting a website?

I realize how fortunate I am to have a website that can actually function as a business. Did I ever have a doubt? I can honestly say that I never really did. I think if you doubt what you’re passionate about people can read that about you. I knew that it would be (and is) a shit ton of work and it has been. A lot of people see the videos on the site but they don’t see the nights where I literally didn’t get to sleep or was up until 5am editing when the site started or even the 3am nights today. It’s been a ton of work and a big learning process but it’s been well worth it.

When ScrewAttack started off, how did you become popular? How did you get yourselves known on the Internet? Did you use any secret tricks or codes? Was there any specific moment, movie, or thing that caused your site to gain large amounts of attention?

Other than the Capcom code (down, R, up, L, Y, B) I think the secret to ScrewAttack’s success has been the consistency of our quality, fun videos. E3 2006 was big for us though. I think the first “big” video we did was the video of the 6 hour Wii line set to the Katamari theme. That was the first time people heard of this new website “ScrewAttack”.

GT features ScrewAttack content. How did that come about?

Man.. a lot of work went into developing our relationship with GT. This is where a lot of the behind the scenes work comes into play. For a good couple months I was trying to develop some sort of relationship with some bigger websites at the time- 1up, IGN, even GT- but the first real site that gave ScrewAttack chance was GameVideos. Mark saw the potential in what we were doing and signed us up for ScrewAttack’s first Top 10. I was so excited when it was official I wrote, voiced and edited the whole thing in 48 hours. I think I slept maybe 3 hours over two days.

Anyways, the first Top 10 was viewed like 250,000 times which was awesome so GameVideos wanted to do another. After another 48 hour whirlwind, the next one was also viewed something like 250,000 times. It was really really great. After that, I talked with Mark more about doing some stuff with GameVideos which later lead to The Launch Line for Charity. Right before the Launch Line GT got a hold of me and said they were interested in talking to us. Nearly 90 million downloads and the most popular thing on their site later, people on GT still don’t know we have our own site… ha ha

Do you think that you’ve “made it” as a website? If so, how did/does it feel?

Have we “made it?” No way. I’m very comfortable with the direction that ScrewAttack is heading but in all honesty, I feel that as soon as you feel comfortable with where you’re at you slip a little bit. You’ll continue to see ScrewAttack grow and evolve and for that reason alone we can’t think that we’ve “made it”.

What can we expect from ScrewAttack in the future?

I’m crazy excited about our future. The staff right now is incredible and some of the stuff we have coming up is really really cool- new shows like Out of the Box and VGR and even some great new live events for the g1 community to interact at like our upcoming Ghouls and Games event this Halloween. I’m very proud and very anxious to see the next 6 to 12 months for us.

Is there anything you wish to clear up about the whole Handsome Tom deal?

It’s rare in this business that you are given an opportunity to say “good bye”. Whether you’re on TV, radio, or whatever, if you don’t leave on your own terms you don’t get the chance to communicate with your audience that one last time. That opportunity was given to Tom several times and he never took it. Ultimately it was his call and he didn’t respond to any calls or emails.

Other than that, I think people need to move past it. We have. It’s been… what… 6 months? As a company ScrewAttack is in a way better place than we were six months ago. Things needed to change and without those changes we wouldn’t be in the position that we’re in now. If things had stayed the way they were we wouldn’t have The Scoop!, Jose’s Puntos, Metal Gear Ben, The Armory, and The Clip of the Week wouldn’t be what it is today. Hard News wouldn’t be what it is, Out of the Box as well as the other shows we have in development. We certainly wouldn’t have Destin, Corey and now Chad with us (who I’m incredibly grateful for.) As I said when it went down, the whole situation would allow us to move “bigger, better, onward and upward.” I think it definitely has.

Sure, there were some things that I learned later on that went on behind my back that really pissed me off both personally and professionally but I’ve let them go. One thing I have found funny is that people will hear things and just believe it. So much shit and venom has been spewed about me because people hear one side. It’s almost disgusting. Not to mention, all that crap on wikipedia is so grossly innacurate. I’ve always said that if people want to ask questions I’ll answer them but those same people who are hating haven’t made the effort to send an email. Who knows, maybe someone will do a documentary on ScrewAttack someday.

I actually have bumped into everyone from their site on several different occasions. While Mickey was initially very awkward towards me the first couple times I saw him I think he’s realized that I have no ill will towards him. He just did what he felt was best. Did he do it in a professional manner? Not really, but we’ve moved past it. I actually nearly ran into Liz while going to see a friend at the cake shop they both worked at but didn’t get a chance to say hi. As soon as we made eye contact she bolted the opposite direction. I didn’t really understand that. Most recently I ran into Tom at a gym we used to both play ball at. I shook his hand and told him congrats on his and Liz’s engagement. I told him that I have no problem with him personally and that was about it. He shook his head and said he needed to go to his job. It was brief but I did try to initiate some conversation. He wasn’t really receptive. All I can do is reach out. Whether he wants to communicate is up to him I guess.

I’ve openly said that Tom played a big role in production in getting ScrewAttack to where it’s at now. Everyone knows that. As I said the last day he was officially with us: “Thank you.” Tom and Liz: Congrats on your engagement. Best of luck finding a place to call your own and moving forward with your future family.

What was your first experience with a video game?

First games I remember playing were Super Mario Bros and Tetris when I was a kid. I’d play by myself and occasionally my dad would come in and play some Tetris. I was really the only one in my family to embrace video games so much so that my dad would call me a “Intendo Head” because I played so much. I remember correcting my dad and telling him it should be “Nintendo Head” only to have him reply with “I intend to take it away if you don’t do your chores”. See… video games have shaped my life :)

Give me your personal top five games of all time.

Honestly, there have been so many games that have shaped me into the person I am today I HATE answering questions like this. But just to throw some off hand…

SF3: 3rd Strike (soon to be SF4) (Arcade)
NBA Jam/Showtime/NFL Blitz (Arcade)
Super Mario Kart vs Mode (SNES)
Pretty much anything on the SNES
and if I included any thing else I’d be doing an injustice to the other games that were not included.

How big is ScrewAttack’s video game library?

We currently have nearly 1500 games, 25+ consoles, 4 arcade games and pretty much every peripheral ever made.

What are you currently playing?

I just finished Bionic Commando: Rearmed and it was absolutely incredible. I didn’t understand why it got an “M” rating until the last boss. One of the best games I’ve played in the last 5 years.

Tell us about your experience playing Slam Ball.

Slamball was really cool. Oddly enough the internet gave me my shot to try out. After being a very vocal fan on their fan message board they gave me a shot to try out for the 2003 season. I trained my ass off for nearly 8 months, got into some incredible shape, got super skilled on the tramps (which was my biggest asset) and was the last player drafted. It was awesome. I didn’t play much the first half of the season but my team mates convinced my coach to let me start and I played really well so he started me the rest of the season where I was fairly productive. So much so that he said that if I had come back for the newly relaunched season he would of retained me. It would’ve been cool to come back and I’ll continue to support the sport but my passion is with ScrewAttack now.

What other sports do you play?

Oddly enough, I grew up playing soccer. I know a ton about the sport and even played on some club teams growing up, which is why when I rag on the sport I think it’s funny. In middle school I was introduced to basketball and i was hooked. I did a little bit of cross country and track running also but it was all basketball all the time from there on out.

Who would win in a boxing match, Rocky or Mike Tyson (the version you fight in Punchout)?

Mike Tyson would wipe the floor with Rocky. One hit and Lil’ Mac was on the ground. Two punches and Rocky would have even more brain damage.

Best swear word?

nuzzlefuck…. i just made it up but it’s pretty awesome.

Best thing to drink?

Water

Who is the better crime fighter: John McClane or Riggs & Murtaugh?

Walker, Texas Ranger. Him or McGruber from Saturday Night Live.

Before we go, is there any advice you can to some who wants to start a website?

I get this a lot and I’m always very blunt about it: The honest truth is that 1 out of a million website can even “make it” (to use a term you used earlier.) You’re running up a steep, steep hill and if you’re not in it for the long haul and stay committed and passionate about what you’re doing then you might as well quit. You hear stories about overnight internet millionaires. WRONG! It does not happen over night. You will work long long long hours and not everyone will like what you do. Listen to your audience and embrace their suggestions. ScrewAttack’s g1s are the greatest thing about the site and do a great job with constructive feedback. Most importantly- have faith in your idea or concept. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then why would anyone else. Finally…. have fun with what you’re doing. If you’re not having fun doing it, then why would people enjoy going to your website?

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks to everyone for their support of ScrewAttack over the years. Even more great things are on the way for you and future g1s. Get out and tell your friends about the site and thanks for being great g1s!

13 Comments

  1. It’s a MUST DIGG (and a MUST WIKI) so we could get rid of this “bias” we have towards TGH.

    Way to go RUSTY! *gives you $5 in monopoly money* (because we don’t really pay people)

  2. Oh Rusty, we appreciate thise work you do for us.

  3. Wow, that was good. I’m gonna write Craig an apology note on this issue.

  4. i think there’s some more questions you should have done, but it’s kewl anyway

  5. Solid work, the only thing I wanted to add, that I don’t think Craig was ever 100% informed of, was that Tom never came onto the show because he was sick for like an entire week.

    However it does suck that they don’t even attempt to keep in touch and act awkward around each other.

  6. Clarification: When I said ‘they’ I meant Tom & Liz and such and acting awkward/avoiding Craig.

  7. […] Clicky For Craig […]

  8. This is the best Craig interview yet, he seemed to be really honest about the Handsome Tom feud. At least Carig’s trying to get their friendship back in place.

  9. Dunno. I think things might be better if both just kept a distance from each other. Saw Tom yesterday, and it still seems like he’s still hurt about whatever truly happened. The best thing for all of us is to just forget it and move on. I think Craig said that best.

  10. i hope craig and tom can at least get their friendship back. Maybe Craig did what he did for the company and thats cool but thats ur buddy, well i dont know how good friends they were but i just hope that one day they can be friends again and do a top 10 again. I love screwattack and i support everyday but then again its not the same without Tom. Dont get me wrong Destin and Corey are great additions to screwattack but when i watch its missing that Tom spark. Thats why i also support Tom’s new site thegameheroes. But when i see Tom on the gameheroes its still missing craigs spark. I think they need each other they need that spark that use to be there on every show

  11. Very good interview. The Handsome Tom issue is indeed an interesting one. It’s hard to put into words without being bias but I can see why Craig did what he did when it came down to SA. Look at TGH: It either updates every other day or they’re podcasts are late or someone’s missing from it. The effort is completely different and it shows a LOT.

    Personally when I heard about TGH I was excited cause it meant I would get to hear about HT and Liz again and still get to check out SA, but as of late I just don’t even bother checking the site anymore. Everything seems bland to me I suppose and for some reason their podcasts just…bore me. I guess this is just one mans opinion on a situation that’s definitely complicated.

    On a totally different topic.

    It would’ve been cool if you asked about how “Unaware Steve” ever has the time to do his videos for SA. Being the he’s an accomplished songwriter/performer/self-endorser you would think he wouldn’t have the time; but he does.

  12. You’re a fucking douche bag Craig and I’m not surprised why Liz didn’t want to be around you because she probably wants to punch your fucking lights out. Mickey was just being a true friend, that’s why he took off with Tom and Tom hate’s your fucking guts.

    If a complete stranger would know this information how can you not? Because you’re a fucking douche bag, that’s why. Seriously if I ruined someone’s life, like you did, I wouldn’t want to ever come across them again out of shame, guilt and fear of what they would do or say to me.

    ScrewAttack needs to die and your fucking pony boy Destin needs to get a real job. ScrewAttack has basically become the Destin Show now and you’re riding on his coat tails…What are you paying him a year? MAYBE 24K?… if you can even afford THAT. Pathetic.

  13. Basically, what happened, Craig stole Tom’s half of ScrewAttack, and Tom doesn’t like Craig for it
    Don’t suck up Craig’s ass like a bunch of faggots

    Some may say this is 2 years too late to say, but people still suck up his ass to this day


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