On Gaming with Jun Naito

Today VGA would like to share the next interview in our new On Gaming series. We got in touch with actor, director, writer, Jun Naito and he agreed to do an interview with us on gaming. Many readers may recognize Jun from his role as Mega Man in the feature length fan made film of the same name. Shooting on the movie began in October 2008, but the entire project took two years to complete! The result of the time and effort from everyone involved was the creation of arguably the most professional and stunning fan made film ever. For the readers who have not seen the movie, I highly recommend that you do. For now however, check out this awesome trailer…

Given the fact that Jun played Mega Man in the movie, we figured it would be fitting if we talked to him about his gaming experiences during the classic age of Mega Man…

Video Game Auctions: What was the first Mega Man game you played and did you find it to be too difficult?

Jun Naito: The first Mega Man game I played was the first one they released, the one the movie was based on. At first I thought it was very hard, especially in the Ice Man stage where you can slip right off the edge. So… freaking… infurating… And those disappearing/reappearing bricks? (Throwing NES out of the window.)

VGA: What would be your favorite genre of video games and what titles did you play a lot?

JN: My favorite genre of video games, hands down, is fantasy RPG. Within that genre my favorite franchise is the Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest in Japan) series, but really if a game has a hero with a sword and a party of magic users and healers, I’m probably going to like it. What draws me to fantasy RPGs is the aspect of slowly building your characters, learning new spells, and acquiring bad ass unique weapons you can’t find in shops.

VGA: What other side scrollers did you enjoy besides the Mega Man series and how many games did you play to the end?

JN: For each good RPG there were maybe twenty good side scrollers. I can’t possibly list all the ones I liked, but I did beat most of the ones I owned so I’ll rattle off some of the names. First things first, I did defeat Dr. Wily in Mega Man. Who else did I take out? Off the top of my head: Mother Brain, Ganon, Mike Tyson, Spirit of Dracula (Castlevania), Medusa (Kid Icarus), Red Falcon (Contra), Satan (Ghosts n’ Goblins)… and of course Zoma in Dragon Quest 3.

VGA: What were your gaming habits during the NES age? Do you feel you played too often?

JN: NES was the first gaming system we had in the house so my brother and I couldn’t control ourselves when it came into our lives. Especially during the summer when school was out, we spent hours cooped up in the family den. I have vivid memories of playing Metroid for such long stretches of time that I’d often get a crick in the neck when I played. I called it “Metroid neck” back then, and to this day I refer to cricks in the neck as a “Metroid neck.”

Our video game playing got so intense that my parents instituted a one hour gaming per day rule. I managed to stretch that to two hours between my brother and I — the first hour I would play and he’d watch, the second hour he’d play and I’d watch. Technically I was only playing one hour and so was my brother. Unfortunately my parents caught on and took out that loophole.

VGA: While you were playing your role as Mega Man in Eddie Lebron’s film, did memories of playing Mega Man on the NES come to mind?

JN: The battle scenes where I was up against a CGI robot master, memories of playing the game was all I could go on. The scenes where I fought actors playing robot masters (Hugo Salazar as Fire Man, Alan Fung as Elec Man, Wayne Chang as Ice Man) — since they were all fans of the game, we got to collaborate for those scenes and we had a great time. And how bad ass is Sung-Mo Cho as Proto?

Shoutouts to Jeanie Tse (Roll), Edward X. Young (Dr. Light) and Dave Maulbeck (Dr. Wily)! Oh, and Eddie.

*   *   *

Great thanks to Jun for his time on this interview! It brought back a lot of NES memories for me personally.

VGA would also like to share a short film that Jun wrote, produced and directed himself. As if his hands weren’t full enough on this project, Jun stars in the short himself as well! The title is 8 Days Later and it’s awsome. Here are a few words from Jun himself about how the short film came together…

Regarding my short film 8 Days Later, it was a script idea I’d been kicking around for a good two years before I even started writing it. I was a new fan of the zombie genre at the time and had only seen a handful up to that point. In my limited exposure to zombie movies I noticed they all shared similar key plot points, things the characters always did in a zombie movie that are so completely illogical to any level-headed person, and wondered what would happen if zombie movie protagonists did sensible things. That was my inspiration for the script.

I cast Sung-Mo Cho as a newscaster and Elizabeth Lee (who played Olga 5000, Dr. Wily’s computer in Mega Man) as my character’s ex-girlfriend Emily. Jeanie Tse is the voice of the screaming girl on the intercom. Artie Brennan, who plays my roommate Carl, wasn’t in Mega Man but he and I worked together on Eddie’s first feature film Ghostbusters Generation.

The whole short was shot in two long days. It definitely was a challenge being the director, producer AND actor all at the same time. Since the cast were also friends of mine, I found it hard to transition from being a fellow actor to giving them direction as a director in the middle of a scene. All the while keeping an eye on the clock and making sure everyone was comfortable.

In the end the movie turned out exactly how I pictured it and I could not be happier about how it came out. To date it’s been accepted to four film festivals, which was four more than I imagined. The biggest thrill for me was when it got into IMDb!

Now dear readers, grab some popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy this awesome short…

8 Days Later from Jun Naito on Vimeo.


For more information about Jun, and his ever-growing talent and experience, you can check out his website: JunNaito.com
To watch the full length Mega Man movie, simply check out MegaManFilm.com

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Comments 3

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  1. Metroid neck *Lol* that’s hilarious!

    Another great interview Akira, thanks for that. One thing about the NES was that some of the games were just incredibly hard to beat, so Jun’s list of bosses that he’s taken down is quite impressive. I didn’t even beat half of those guys :/.

On Gaming with Jun Naito

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