"The Master of Misfortune"
FAVORITE GAME: Ninja Gaiden
Modern gaming content started on the SomethingAwful forums back around 2006, and this also is where Proton Jon came from!
Being a pioneer of the craft, Jon started out with Let’s Plays on classic NES and SNES games like Ninja Gaiden and Kirby Super Star. He has since become a Twitch Partner, where he streams multiple times a week, from game clearing to letting “the cookie” decide what he plays for the night!
Jon has two YouTube channels to follow, one for his pre-recorded content, and a second live stream archive. His active Twitch channel is also a welcoming place for all. Make sure you also check out his Twitter and Facebook for updates!
An Interview With
Q1: So a lot of people may know you for your YouTube and Twitch content that you produce, but you actually got started with online gaming content much earlier before that, can you tell us about that?
Jon: I started doing Let's Play videos back in 2007 on the Something Awful Let's Play Subforum back when they were first starting as a medium, and started by posting them on Google Video. It was a wild west situation back then where pretty much anything could be posted as people were figuring out what to do with the medium.
Q2: Did you ever think back when you were first getting started with content production, that this would be what you’d be doing all these years later? If you weren’t doing live streaming and gaming content, where would you be right now?
Jon: Nope! Not at all. Back then, full time Youtube gaming wasn't possible. Hell, it took years before you could actually earn ad revenue on Youtube with gaming videos. When I was making videos, I was in University studying Computer Science and getting my Bachelor's Degree, so I was focused on figuring out what I was gonna do with the rest of my life. This becoming my full time job was a pure accident.
Q3: Early on in the lifespan of Twitch, you made the jump to focus more on that platform, as opposed to splitting your focus between that and YouTube like many of your peers. Were there any challenges early on by focusing solely on a live medium?
Jon: Live content has a completely different energy than prerecorded Youtube videos. With Youtube videos, you can pre-plan things, fix mistakes, what have you. With live content, whatever happens, happens. The trade off that live content has though, is you have an audience you can play off of. It's helped me work on my improvisational skills a lot.
Q4: During your Twitch streams, you have gained a plethora of alternate versions of yourself such as Buffton Jon, Jontae, and of course RosaJon. How did this all start, and how many versions of you are out there?
Jon: Whoo boy... this is a bit of a long one. So, twice in the past, artists in the community drew genderbent versions of myself (known now as Electron Jen and Pon Pon), but the third time this happened was different. An artist named Jumney drew me in Rosalina's outfit, and as a throw away joke, I said that if I was a girl, I'd be bustier than that... and they took it as a challenge. This started the running gag of "Bigger" in our community and created RosaJon, but it also marked the start of other artists in the community creating their own alternate versions of me, and a number of them have been accepted by the community and are drawn on the regular. We have maybe 20 or so alts that show up on the regular in art blocks, but we have over 500 alts made by various artists from the community.
Q5: The Runaway Guys has always been the brainchild of yourself, Chugga, and NCS, but how did the idea come to be? How long before it was launched did you guys plan the channel?
Jon: Originally, it wasn't supposed to be a channel. Chugga wanted to do some multiplayer Mario Party videos on his channel and we were going to play some games online with N64 emulators, but back then they didn't run the best and desynched a lot. So we decided maybe we could meet in person at a con, then the idea of making it its own channel came from that. This discussion probably started around October 2010, and by December, we had flights booked to MAGfest 2011. NCS didn't join the project until right before MAG as a potential 3rd player.
Q6: With The Runaway Guys being a decade old now, do you have any moments that stick out to you, be it from recorded content, Thrown Controllers, Colosseum, or even behind the scenes?
Jon: Since TRG's been around for so long, there's a ton of good and bad moments that stick out. I'd say the first day of Colosseum, seeing this whole plan come together and be so successful, will always stick with me no matter what.
Q7: One thing that has been a running theme in TRG videos is your fortune, or rather the lack of. Are you normally that unlucky, or is there some sort of curse on you only when you deal with TRG stuff?
Jon: My luck's actually not THAT bad in real life, but when it comes to games of chance, or anything recording wise, it always seems to be abysmal.
Q8: Before we move on from talking about your career to more about your life off the internet, do you have any regrets, or anything you would change that you have done, or are you satisfied with everything that has happened?
Jon: I have a lot of regrets in life, a lot of bad mistakes I've made, a lot of times I've lost my cool, etc. There's a lot I'd change if I could, but I don't think I'd be the same person I am now if I did, if that makes sense.
Q9: A well known fact about you is you are a game collector, and a pretty big one at that. How many games do you have in your collection, do you have an end goal in sight, and do you have any interesting stories about any acquisitions in your library?
Jon: As of this interview, I'm sitting around 9800 games with maybe 80% of that being physical games. I don't really have an end goal since, y'know, they still make new video games. I'm just collecting North American system collections for now until there's nothing I'm really looking for anymore.
No really interesting stories about getting games. Just a perk of going to so many cons for TRG was always having access to the merchant halls of cons, and those usually having game resellers. Worst issue really is finding a way to get all the games back home without upsetting the airlines about carry on luggage.
Q10: Another thing you are super into, that some people may not know as much, is that you are a music lover! Do you have any favourite bands or musicians, and who have you been jamming out to lately?
Jon: I've got loads of favourite bands, but the Rx Bandits are probably my actual favourite.
I tend to get into moods for what or who I wanna listen to. Right now I've been swinging back and forth between rock bands like Metric & Foo Fighters, and the Ska-funk era of Suburban Legends.
Q11: You are married to the wonderful Lucahjin, and have the mischievous one-eyed Bagel as your sidekick. How did both become a part of your world?
Jon: I actually met Lucah because of TRG. NCS and Josh Jepson introduced me to her back at PAX East 2011. We chatted on and off for a while, but it wasn't until late 2013 that we really hit it off.
Bagel, we adopted back in 2016 from a local shelter. Lucah and I had been living together for almost a year at that point and we talked about getting a pet. She's allergic to cats, but I've grown up with cats all my life, so I had given up on ever getting a cat again, and she ended up wanting one. We went to the shelter and found Bagel under his pre-adoption name, and he melted our hearts and joined the family.
Q12: What is in the works for yourself right now? Any big future plans you care to divulge with the community, or would you like to keep things a surprise for now?
Jon: Other than continuing to stream and working on bringing back solo Youtube content, I'm keeping the rest of this year's plans a surprise.
Q13: As a final question, would you like to say anything at all to the readers out there? Any words of wisdom or anything you’d like people to know, straight from the mouth of Proton Jon?
Jon: Thanks to everyone who have stuck around through ten years of TRG. I never saw us sticking around this long, but it's because of you all that we're still making content to this very day. Thank you all so much.
Interview conducted on February 19th, 2021