Thursday Night is Gamer Night on Coin-Op TV

Rob Welkner & Hailey Bright - Hosts of Coin-Op Tv Live

Rob Welkner & Hailey Bright - Hosts of Coin-Op Tv

Every Thursday night, we here in the Busygamer world turn off our Xboxes and fire up the desktops. Ironically, it’s not to hop onto a new MMO, but to check out what is happening in the world of gamer news and entertainment from our friends in Coin-Op TV land.

If you haven’t heard of this, let’s take the time to catch you up to speed. Coin-Op TV Live is an interactive live web TV show that features Hosts Rob Welkner, Busy Gamette Hailey Bright, TheStream.TV genius Brian Gramo, cool guests, and you.

Yeah you. Sitting there on your computer. The neatest feature of Coin-Op TV is that you have the option to log into the chatrooms and IM services and talk with other watchers and the hosts themselves.

Feel a little left out? Not to worry, you can catch archived shows on and if you even want to get more old school, you can now get Coin-Op TV’s “Best of” DVD’s. Volume 2 just hit this month. In honor of this, Coin-Op’s very own host/producer Rob Welkner took some time out to answer a few questions with us…

BG: How did the show start?
Rob:COIN-OP TV started in the summer of 2004. I was supposed to shoot a feature film and purchased camera equipment (Panasonic dvx100) and editing gear (Mac G5) to use for the movie. Unfortunately the money fell through and the people I was working with were complete flakes. I didn’t know what to do with all the gear I had but wanted to make something cheap that many people could see right away. I was a fan of shows on G4tv and the video game industry and had been going to E3 for a couple of years. It only seemed natural to start up a show about video games and talk about arcade and retro games. Back then everyone was still on dial-up modems and this was before the youtube boom. I did casting for a host and booked a trip to California Extreme in Aug 2004 where I met Walter Day and a ton of other good people willing to speak to me on camera.

BG: Has the show always been on
Rob:COIN-OP TV existed years before TheStream.TV network was launched by its founder Brian Gramo. Brian and I actually met when I hired him to help me on a location shoot for the show. At this point I had posted over 40 episodes to the internet as a video podcast show. Brian saw there was a fan-base to what I was doing, so when he launched his own live/interactive network he invited me to participate. When COIN-OP TV LIVE started as a weekly show – it was the first time I was in front of the camera on a regular basis. TheStream.TV launched with a handful of shows and my show is the second longest running show on the network.



BG: How has the show changed since its creation?
Rob:So much has changed since I started. My original business cards read ‘web-tv show tribute to retro and arcade gaming’. In the beginning I was all about arcade, pinball and old school gaming related things. Who had the highest score in Ms. Pac-Man? Who could get to the kill screen in Donkey Kong? Who designed the Star Wars arcade game? These were people I wanted to meet and interview. As exciting as I found these people out to be – I started to notice that the general public wasn’t as interested as I was. So I had to find ways to add new dimensions to the show and open up the door a little wider. I started doing interviews at the ‘I am 8-bit’ art shows (a tribute show by artists to retro gaming) we started going to the Anime Expo and other shows looking for fun and interesting people to interview. I still have a great love for pinball and arcade and will continue to interview or showcase that sort of thing with COIN-OP TV but it has become a broader show over the years. Also the biggest difference is that the show is live and interactive running about 45 minutes rather then short isolated edited video podcast clips. We describe COIN-OP TV LIVE as an Internet TV show on the video game industry, people and events.

BG: Let’s talk about the DVD that just came out… tell us about it. This is Vol.2, how did Vol.1 do?
Rob: I always imagined COIN-OP TV as something with good enough quality that could be segments on a regular TV show like the G4tv network or something close to that. I always tried to have nice camera shots, good audio and talented hosts. I was lucky enough to start the show with Taryn Southern as a host and she was extremely charming and professional on camera. We shot a bunch of interviews together and after time went on I felt like the early episodes had gotten ‘lost’ in the shuffle. So I decided to re-master them and put the first 20 episodes on a DVD with some bonus content including audition tapes and ‘lost’ episodes that were never posted. DVD sales haven’t gone through the roof but I sold enough over the year to want to make another volume – after all you can’t call something ‘volume 1’ and never release a ‘volume 2’.

I worked on the DVD volume 2 over this last holiday vacation. This DVD is the 12 ‘best of’ episodes from the second year of the COIN-OP TV video podcast. We’ve included interviews from artists at the ‘I am 8-bit’ art show, Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), Falcoon (King of Fighters SNK), Eugene Jarvis (Defender/Robotron) and more. The DVD is again just over 90 minutes of content but less episodes because they are longer then the first year. The bonus material is less then Volume 1 because I tried to squeeze as much in as I could fit in but I did manage to get a short episode with Hailey Bright on the DVD that pertained to the timeframe.

BG: Who was the most entertaining guest you have ever had?
Rob:COIN-OP TV has been an independently produced show from the beginning. I always thought one day I’d make some decent money from it but I always knew that along the road I would meet cool and interesting people. Before I even started I made a ‘wish list’ of people that I wanted to interview. Some of the people on the list were Eugene Jarvis, Nolan Bushnell, Billy Mitchell, Walter Day, David Crane and lucky for me I have had the chance to meet and interview most of the people on this list. I travel less because we do the live show out of the studio in Los Angeles. This makes it harder to book guests because not everyone is in town or has scheduling conflicts. On the live show we’ve had entertaining and fun people like Tommy Tallarico (Video Games Live), Fatal1ty, Rocco (Mega64), Alex Albrecht (Diggnation) and Chris Gore (Film Threat/G4tv). I’m still waiting to have Nolan Bushnell on the live show and would love to have Jessica Chobot, Ted Price or ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in the studio as well.

Hailey, Alex Albrecht (Diggnation) & Rob

Hailey, Alex Albrecht (Diggnation) & Rob

BG: Tell us a show horror story.
Rob:Three teenagers are stuck in a cabin in the middle of Utah with no cell phones or water supply…… just kidding! Well every time I go to an event there is always some type of tech issue to deal with. I think the worst thing that happened to me was at Funspot where I fell ill and couldn’t speak. The Funspot tournament was made famous by the film The King of Kong, in which Steve Wiebe struggles to keep his good name as a champion Donkey Kong player. The trip was planned out for months in advance and as soon as I landed I lost my voice. At least 40 world record holders were present and I wanted to interview all of them but couldn’t speak. I asked my camera person to make some phone calls and lucky for us we were able to find a girl with little on-camera experience named Danylle to come to the rescue and to the interviews. I fed her questions off camera and it was strange but we managed to get tons of interviews and most of them are on the first DVD collection.

BG: You mention a lot of old school games on your show. What game got you hooked as a kid?
Rob:I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and went to just about every candy shop and arcade I could find looking for arcade games to play. I think Space Invaders and Asteroids were the first two to really make a splash. Both games had primitive sounds and graphics but they took all my quarters. A couple years later Pac-Man, Defender, Donkey Kong, Galaga and Robotron came out and from there on out I was hooked. I watched guys better then me play and learned their patterns and secrets. After that people would crowd around to watch me play games for hours at a time. It was cool playing Kung Fu Master for an hour on one quarter and have people cheer you on in the background. At home, we had an Atari and all my friends had consoles like Intellivision, ColecoVision and later the Nintendo Entertainment System. I love new games like Guitar Hero, Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas and others but there’s just something about those classics that just bring back the most golden memories.

BG: You mention comic books sometimes on your show. What books do you read?
Rob:Oh boy – I could talk for hours about comic books. I have been collecting comics for so long now I can’t even remember when it started. Growing up in New York we used to trade things around like video game cartridges, comic books and toys. I always liked The Avengers and X-Men. I was a Marvel kid for so long but now I’m a total DC fanboy. Some of the coolest comic book memories are the Secret Wars, Mutant Massacre, The Punisher (first series), Spider-Man done by McFarlane and so much more. I worked at a comic shop when Superman was killed by Doomsday and when all the great Marvel artists left to form Image.

These days I don’t collect quite as much as I used to because I feel that characters and titles have been spread too thin. There are more then 5 different Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-men books on the market. Most companies aren’t concerned as much with combining great art with great writing so you get a lot of books that come out that look rushed or cheap. My favorite current writer works for DC, his name is Geoff Johns and I’m pretty loyal to whatever he is writing. His Flash stuff was brilliant and his recent Superman storyline has been great.

BG: Looking back on all the games you played… what was the one game no one could touch you at?
Rob: Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga are three games that I’m extremely good at and if someone challenges me at these three games then they better have enough time to sit around and wait until I die. I used to play first person shooters all the time on the PC but now that I’m an Xbox 360 guy I am good at Guitar Hero. I’m not the best Guitar Hero person but I love playing and can hold my own for the most part. Also, nobody can beat me in air hockey – does that count? Haha!

Add thestreamdottv to your AOL, YAHOO, or MSN and interact during the show!

Add thestreamdottv to your AOL, YAHOO, or MSN and interact during the show!

BG: What system do you prefer to play on now?
Rob:Was a PS2 fanboy for the longest time but now I’m all about the Xbox 360. Almost all the great games are available on that system and some of the exclusives like Gears of War are just on the Xbox. I never liked the original Xbox cause the controller was funky but they made good changes and the live component is great too.

BG: How did the addition to Hailey Bright come about?
Rob:Hailey Bright has been the best addition to COIN-OP TV. The original concept of shows on TheStream.TV was to have hosts read questions from live viewers on the air and I always had a hard time doing that. After we moved into a new facility I incorporated a ‘chat girl’ into the mix. We had a girl named Renee as a ‘chat tech’ for about 5 months and she was great but eventually moved on. For the next ‘chat tech’ person I decided to hold live/on air auditions and this is when Hailey got a chance to prove herself.

When I first met Hailey I knew that something would become of it. Her smile and energy was above and beyond all the other girls who auditioned. Though she is a casual gamer, I could tell that she accepted the gamer lifestyle and culture and that was something very important. Hailey joined my team in Oct 2007 and now I call her my ‘co-host’ because she is more then what I expected. I won’t do a live show without her if I can avoid it because she is so important to the energy and vibe of the show – it is extremely refreshing! Hailey has gone on to be featured on websites like Spike TV, IGN and G4tv – she is a bit of an internet celebrity these days!

BG: Your appearance on the Black Nerd video is great… How did you get to appear in it?
Rob:Andre Meadows aka Black Nerd Comedy had a video floating around the internet called ‘Buy Mii a Wii’ which was absolutely hilarious! It had a ton of hits and a following of its own and I knew I had to get him on the show. As it turns out, he’s local in Los Angeles and we were able to schedule an appearance on COIN-OP TV LIVE. We immediately clicked as friends and had continued to talk even after the show. Hailey was the first one of our team who got to be in one of his spoofs in a funny video called ‘Client 9 ¾’. She was fantastic and this video was totally fun. I let Andre know that if he ever needed someone else that I would be available at the drop of the hat. Months later he played the ‘Konami Code’ song for me and we shot some video clips to use for the spoof. When he left the camera running I just improvised some funny points and collar pops to the camera which also made it into the ‘Konami Code’ spoof.

BG: How’s the new studio working for you?
Rob:Brian Gramo gets all the credit behind TheStream.TV – he launched the network from his apartment in Sept 2006 with a couple of shows then in Jan 2007 moved into a tiny office where he made every inch count. We were at that office building location for the longest time and only last month moved into a giant facility about 10 times the size of the last place. The new studio is great – we have room for lights and cameras to be positioned further back. Brian now sits in a control room separate from the stage and can communicate with people behind the cameras to make adjustments during the live shows. We have more room for fans to come and watch the show comfortably and there is also a full size stage now for bands to perform. TheStream.TV is the highest quality independent live/streaming Internet TV network with a variety of programming.

-T. Danger

COIN-OP TV DVD Volumes 1 & 2 can be purchased through the website:
COIN-OP TV LIVE (Thursday nights @ 10PM CST) –
Hailey Bright:
Taryn Southern:
Black Nerd Comedy Konami Code video, with cameo by Rob Welkner.

You can interact with Rob, Hailey, Brian and the guests on the live broadcasts by adding thestreamdottv on AIM, YAHOO or MSN.

Posted By Timothy Danger

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