Meet Nate (a.k.a. hoosierdaddy22 on Roblox), the founder of Them Magazines. Since its debut in 2015, Them Magazines has published a whole slew of insightful articles, tutorials, and interviews that have gone on to inspire countless members of the Roblox community. Nate’s vision for the magazine even caught the attention from a local newspaper and landed him the “Young Innovator of the Year” award from his city! Now on the verge of launching the next issue for RDC 2017, we wanted to find out what makes this young entrepreneur tick. Read on to see what makes his Roblox story so unique…
Before we dive into all things Them Magazines, what made you start playing Roblox in the first place?
Like any other teenager, I was into games. Over the course of a year or so, I saw this ad for a blocky website repeatedly; it piqued my interest, but I never got around to clicking it. Another year passes and I see it again, this time clicking it in hopes to expand my gaming experience. I spent the first month of my time on Roblox playing the city game by 1Dev2 a lot. I loved it. I had never played anything that allowed you to roam around freely and be whoever you wanted to be. Eventually I got around to creating the account “hoosierdaddy22;” a terribly goofy name, but that’s a different story.
I loved Roblox so much that I convinced one of my siblings to start an account, using my name as inspiration (mo_mmy on Roblox). Over time, almost all six of my siblings started accounts. Their friends started accounts, and their friends’ friends started accounts. Occasionally, I was contacted by my parents’ friends informing me how their kids play Roblox and love the magazine. I’m almost convinced my entire city plays Roblox now.
How did you come up with the name “Them Magazines”?
Before “Them,” I had a separate non-Roblox magazine brand called “Vidaphobic.” It didn’t take long to decide that “Vidaphobic” didn’t make any sense, so I used Photoshop to throw together a faux magazine to announce its rebranding as “Them Creations.” Originally, the plan was to continue the services of Vidaphobic, which was graphic design and cinematography. After posting the faux magazine design to Twitter, the general response was, “Whoa, you’re starting a Roblox magazine,” to which I replied, “No, it’s a design company.” I lied.
Where I got “Them” from isn’t really clear to me. Like Vidaphobic, the name just popped into my head. My naming process is essentially letting an animal walk across the keyboard and using whatever it types. It turns out “Them” actually made a lot more sense than I originally thought it would—our tagline being “it’s all about them” (Them = Artists, Developers, Creators, Community). The magazine quite literally is all about them.
What were some of your biggest road bumps getting started?
One of the bigger “roadblocks” we encountered when starting up was putting together a team that was willing and able to produce this magazine and get it released every two months. I’m always looking for people better than me to do things I can’t do. SirloinBurgers is no doubt way better than me when it comes to art. Before issue 5, I had been designing all the covers myself. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t amazing or eye-catching. He really upped the game.
Secondly, over the course of the last two years we’ve figured out the importance of contracts and ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to agreements, especially financial agreements—contracts can save you a lot of time, money, and stress. Aside from contracts and art, getting people to actually write the content within the magazine was something we also had to figure out. We needed people with experience in the Roblox community, people who really knew what it was about, and what things they would be interested in. Ultimately, we found those people and have a great team.
How do you decide what content goes into an issue? Have any advice for people wanting to get featured in an article?
The content within an issue is no doubt credited to lots of communication and scouting. Before each issue, the team and I hop onto Discord and chat about some rough ideas we have. This could include a new segment to increase audience interaction, a cool game that just sprung to the front page, or someone who is creating cool things. When deciding the content for an issue, it’s important to make sure that that topic/game is relevant and in good standing within the community. We ask a few questions as well: “What will the reader enjoy/get the most out of?”, “Who can best explain/demonstrate a specific topic (Blender, Photoshop, etc)?”
For those looking to sneak into one of our future issues, some of the easiest ways would be to participate in our Cover Contest (#ThemCover on Twitter) where you have a chance to design a faux magazine cover—we pick our favorite out of the bunch and feature 3-4 in each issue. Another way would be to tell us why you create on Twitter using our hashtag #WhyDoYouCreate—we pick a few from that and feature them as well.
What are your plans in the next year? Be the next Game Informer for Roblox? Be the next IGN? Rule the world?
We have a big vision for the magazine and where it could be. Within the next year, we’ll be working on reaching the potential international audience of Roblox by working with our translator (Ysko, who also flashes an official Twitter Translator badge) to translate issue 9 and on to Spanish. This isn’t going to take all our focus; we still realize the scale of the English-speaking community within Roblox and will continue to go full-force until we reach all of them.
We’ve also seen a demand for printed copies of the magazine. We’ll be developing a subscription system to allow our readers to receive a physical copy as soon as it releases.
Do you have any shout outs to members of the Roblox community?
SirloinBurgers draws all our covers, one of my favorite artists ever. Big shoutout to J6V, xJennyBeanx, FearMeIAmLag, Usering, and Ysko for being great teammates on this project. Without people like RobloxsaurusRex, SirloinBurgers, and the people at Roblox we wouldn’t be where we are today!
Curious about reading Them Magazines? You can read all the issues on their website here! And if you’re going to RDC, don’t forget that Issue #10 launches this weekend!