Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1 vs Chris Cashman: The Interview (Part 2)

On June 15, 2010 Microsoft announced the cancelation of the highly touted Xbox 360 experience known as 1 vs 100. Chris Cashman, host of the show, recently sat down with us for a chat where he discussed a variety of topics. In part two of our interview with Chris Cashman we discuss the evolution of 1vs100 Live, what it was like working with Microsoft, and some of his thoughts on the show’s cancelation. 

Follow this link for our interview audio or check out the interview transcript following the jump. Hint: You can right click > save as to download the audio to your computer.

Part one concluded with Chris mentioning his thoughts on the Xbox Live platform and his impressions of the technology used by Microsoft to power 1 vs 100.

Tugs: Two questions come out of that - did you play 1 vs 100 Extended play when you weren’t hosting?

Chris: Tugs, we only have time for one question. You… You can’t be selfish with your questions, now. So you choose the most important question! Fire away!
T: So, you don’t have any future plans with Microsoft right now, as far as you can tell us. Is that right?
C: No. I’ll give you the political answer. No, my people were in touch with their people. There have been discussions with their camp and my camp, but at this point in time, no. They have been super cool to me and again, I’ll always make jokes and whatnot, but I have zero animosity towards Xbox because they have been super cool to me and everybody there was like unbelievable to work with. And no, they have indicated nothing.  I have no information on if I can be of use to them in the future, but I really hope so, and my gut tells me that if something appropriate comes up that they will call me because I think we had a really positive relationship and I really think I helped them grow 1 vs 100. It really was a pretty awesome thing on its own, but I think I was able to come in with a certain level of creativity and energy to where I really kind of helped push them. 
A lot of things like phone calls and things weren’t a part of the original plan, but I just kind of forced it, and said “No, we got to do this, I’m telling you! Come on why can’t we do it? Can we pick up the phone, common!” You know and through having guests into their lab in the beginning, because I said “Look, I know some people! We can have guests on!” I think that at the beginning it was sort of a headache, you know, legally there’s probably hoops to jump through. [I thought] “Let’s just do what we’re doing.” I happen to be friendly with Joel McHale from E! and he was getting ready to come out with his NBC show, The Community, and I said “I think he’ll come on. I can call him and I think he’ll come on.” And so we kind of did that as our test for that. And we had it and we saw - wow, there’s a whole new avenue here we didn’t even realize, you know, promotionally, to have guests on. Then I think they realized, “Man, we could have some of our Xbox folks on. Designers and people within our world, even Xbox Cele….
T: Video game celebrities…
C: Yeah, exactly!  So I think that that was when I thought “AH HA! Now we’re really onto something!” ‘Cuz you know, I’m smart enough to know this is a business that’s got to make sense and there’s got to be a way to make, you know, enough money and whatnot. And I thought, “You know what? We’re on a promotional tool here that they probably didn’t realize.  They can have the guys who are creating the next big game on as my guest!” It’s entertainment, but it’s also a commercial.  So I thought, “This is cool, there is something here.” 
And I think they discovered that as well, and we had more and more guests come on - and by the end of season 2, we had, Jimmy Fallon, and Jeff Probst from Survivor, and it was just sort of like, “Wow, this is really cool! This has become legitimate! You know, look at us, we’re almost going mainstream here!” And you know, I think we really kind of crossed over the threshold and for whatever reason, I’m sure when push came to shove there were reasons why whether it was forever or for just at this point in time. They decided that it just wasn’t something that they could continue doing. I really honestly was given nothing other than that they couldn’t continue - nor would I expect them to have to give me answers. It’s a bummer, but I’m -  they’re a pretty sophisticated, savvy company, so I’m sure they had their reasons.
T: Well, they make much, much more money then you or I do, so I’m sure that they’ve got some good brains behind there. I think that for a lot of gamers, it’s just the end product where you look at the game. You play the game, it’s a good game, and you look at the [review] score on the Internet. But with a show that’s broadcast, you know, it’s only been done in Japan* until, 1 vs 100, as far as I know. It’s really hard for, I think, a lot of people to see that perspective of other things in play - the big picture - the platform is doing this thing and that thing, and sadly sometimes, some things will fall by the wayside as a result of that. And, you know, not to say that 1 vs 100 is a result of that, but it does help to, see that perspective I think, a little bit.
C: Well, I - you know, think you’re onto something there and the sense that. Again, I have nothing but a positive relationship with the guys I worked with there. And frankly, the crew I worked with…these weren’t the decision makers.  They too were sad and bummed out that this is going away, but a little teeny bit of me thinks that this very possibly will be one of those…one of those scenarios where they pulled the plug too soon. Where the after the fact thing, “Oh shoot! Maybe we should have kept that going!” Because I think that once the announcement came out, there was a great deal of buzz and chatter, and I mean it’s why I’m talking to you right now.
A lot of people kinda wanted to know, “What gives?” So, it was kind of flattering, on behalf of the show, to see that a lot of people cared, and wanted to know, “What do you mean? Why is this going away? This was working! I - I enjoyed this! This is part of why I paid for my Live membership!” So it was really neat to see that in articles and [underneath] a lot of people posting their comments and thoughts.  It was just like universally bummed out people - and there were sad and even people pitching ideas - saying “Hey! Look, it’s about making money. Why don’t you try this that and the other…” So I was really impressed by how kind of how reactive and proactive people were being about this news. And I thought, “You know, I think there’s something there” The fact is that the two [1vs 100 TV and 1 vs 100 Live] aren’t related in the bigger picture, but a little birdie did just tell me that word on the street is that 1 vs 100 is coming back to TV very soon.
T: Oh, really?
C: Whether that’s true or not, I have heard it from two different sources that are totally unrelated to any of this. Just TV folks. So part of me says, “You know, I’m sure it [A TV revival] had nothing to do with our efforts, but…” Stranger things have happened, and, [with] this game going away…maybe 6 months from now, or a year from now, or two years from now, they say, “We’re bringing it [the TV show] back! Everything makes sense now, we’ve got everything figured out, we’re bringing it back!” Which is what I’m guessing happened with the TV show. You know, I think that they pulled the plug for whatever reason. And a lot of these shows have caught on fire - a lot of these quick gratification moments when people sit at home - the “Minute to Win It” and all these shows that are on right now. I think that at some point, the stars probably aligned and they said, “You know what? We’ve already got the platform, we’ve got the product, we got the logos, we’ve got the music. Let’s bring it back! It didn’t work right then, but now it will work.” So, that’s pretty cool. It’s cool to hear!
T: Oh definitely, definitely. So, how did you follow news of the cancellation? Were you following blogs, Twitter…how did you personally keep up on that? Because according to your Twitter, you were keeping up on it plenty.
C: Yeah. A lot of folks would ask me on Twitter, “What do you know? What do you know?” and I try to have jokes all along. But, I was like most people, kind of twisting in the wind, wondering when are we going to get some news, what’s going on? But maybe, you must not have seen it, but I put my discovery of the news on YouTube, ‘cuz I thought…
T: The controller drop?
C: Yeah. So I put it on YouTube, which was - full disclosure - a reenactment.  But no, I got a heads up. I mean, I didn’t learn a whole lot sooner then everybody at home learned it. But they were nice enough to call me and say, “Look, the news is going out, and, you know, here’s the deal” So, I wouldn’t say honestly I was shocked because I know that it had been a while since season 2. I know in the business in general - the stuff I do in TV, radio, there’s just so…..the stars have to align on so many levels for things to work out that it always, honestly always, felt a little bit too good to be true. I really thought it was too much fun, this was too neat, and every time we were doing the show, I thought, “This could be the last time I do this, or this could be the beginning of a, like, 10 year run.” I mean…I really thought that.  I thought that this could go either way. And so, when they announced it, I was obviously bummed because it just was pretty much the thing - just the thing hands down - that I was the most proud of, that I was doing and have ever done. It was just so neat!
T: Wow! Really?
C: I felt like I was  kinda the first of this whole new breed, and I thought that “This is too cool! How much fun is this?”
This concludes part two of our interview with Chris. In Part 3 we continue our discussion and ask Chris if he has any words of wisdom for fans of 1vs100.

This interview is copyright 2010 to Digital Stardust, all rights reserved.

*The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets was a broadcast title for the Super Nintendo’s Satellaview attachment in Japan. It followed a schedule function analogous to 1 vs 100.


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