Interview: How the team at TOVG crafted IndieLand

The team at ThatOneVideoGamer (TOVG) has been highlighting up-and-coming indie games for five years now at their immensely popular IndieLand event. In an exclusive sit down with Dexerto, the crew gave us a behind-the-scenes look into the origins of what’s become a major annual celebration.

One thing fans of the team at TOVG can all agree on is that they’re insanely passionate about video games. Not only do they have The Completionist run through a new game every week, but they go far beyond that with new projects and events constantly in the works too. One such project has been the long-running indie game showcase event, IndieLand.

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Since its inception in 2018, IndieLand has become a staple for devs and the community alike. As an ever-growing platform in which to showcase efforts on the dev side, and a place for fans to learn of new projects on the other, it’s become a notable date on the calendar each passing year.

Dexerto spoke to TOVG Creative Director Michael Barryte and Founder Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil to understand more about the inner workings of running such a huge event each year.

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An Introduction to TOVG

Before learning more about the event itself, we asked Jirard and Michael to give us a bit of history on the creation of TOVG and break down exactly what the team does.

“I started TOVG back in 2011,” Jirard, more commonly known on the internet as The Completionist, said. “It was originally supposed to be a content creation hub of all my projects that I make and it quickly became The Completionist. Everything evolved from that.”

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Now 12 years on, TOVG continues to create videos for both The Completionist and Super Beard Bros, while also functioning as a content management team to boot.

“We actually team up with content creators mostly on the European or international scale that might want to work in the [United States] and want to work with certain companies but don’t have all of the Visa stuff,” Jirard explained.

The team at TOVG also helps manufacture merchandise as a “white label house” often helping content creators under their umbrella.

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Meet the TOVG crew

Being a small team means those at TOVG often “wear many hats”, but each member is still responsible for their own role.

As the CEO of the company, Jirard makes all of the calls financially, and most of the calls creatively. His brother Jacque Khalil currently works as CFO or as Jirard stated “the money man”. General Manager Frazier Perez-Yadon ensures that everything is fulfilled and taken care of from a business perspective.

Next, we have the two creative directors with Michael Barryte and Alex Faciane who are responsible for The Completionist and Super Beard Bros respectively. Brett Bayonne also helps out with Super Beard Bros often appearing in episodes.

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From there, TOVG has a fair few editors and community managers, these being Megan Baldado who works on social media for The Completionist, and Beard Bros, Ted Coonradt, who edits and takes care of Patreon fulfillment, and Patrick Stenglein who edits for The Completionist.

Cameron Daxon is the head of writing at the Completionist who also has two other freelancer writers Jeremy Hanna and Iszac Gaton to assist on that end.

Finally, Shawn (JetPackBraggin) works on thumbnails and merchandise as an artist. Carlos Padilla creates the art for the ratings and end cards shown in The Completionist, and Josh Kotoff assists in managing the channel and acts as a SEO consultant. As you can see, it takes a village.

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Early Inspirations for TOVG

Whilst IndieLand is presented and hosted by Jirard, he attributes the creation of the event to Michael, Frazier, and Alex who were originally inspired by Polaris’ Scare to Care, working under the Maker Studios banner. Jirard would end up attending Scare to Care and even hosted the event within the TOVG offices to help out in the background.

Eventually, when Michael joined Jirard he came to learn about the 501(c)(3) in honor of his mother. This was one of the catalysts for inspiration when it came to creating IndieLand.

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“That then sort of triggered us to go, hey, we should be putting on a charity event that is serving this cause. It was two-pronged and it actually answered two questions,” Michael explained.

“Jirard had been wanting to be more involved in the charity space first and foremost. He’d done a lot of charity work, but he didn’t have something that was his.

“Then also on YouTube, it’s a sad reality, but indie games do not necessarily perform well as far as video SEO, and Jirard’s very passionate about indie games.”

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So together they decided to make what they considered a “unique cross-section” that spotlighted indie games while also raising money for dementia research.

The very first IndieLand event

This all culminated in 2018 when Frazier, Alex, and Michael got together and began spinning up the event with Jirard’s blessing.

The name IndieLand originated from much loftier inspirations when originally putting the event together but was deemed far too difficult to realistically achieve.

“Originally the first IndieLand we designed in blocks because this was before we had developers joining us in the room.

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“So we went, oh, this block of games is going to be incredibly hardcore, difficult games. So that was ‘Hardcore Harbor.’ We labeled it a location because we wanted to come up with some fun theming as to why is it this block.”


The TOVG was inspired by theme parks’ various hubs when creating the name IndieLand.

Two years later, however, the idea of micro lands ended up being removed as scheduling developers from all over the world into a similar time block was basically impossible. However, the name IndieLand stuck.

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For IndieLand 2018, Jirard was able to call upon both Yacht Club Games and Way Forward to join the event, and when it was all said and done, the team was in agreeance.

“When we got to the end of that first one, at the tail end of that marathon, we went, ‘yeah, we should do this all the time.’ It went really well. And so every year since, we’ve made a point to expand and elevate how we’re showcasing games, who we’re spotlighting, and the different that talent joins us.”

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So that’s the inside story on the foundation of IndieLand, but there’s plenty more to the story. Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 of our exclusive interview series in the coming days.

We interviewed the TOVG crew over a three-part series. You can catch up on Part 2 & Part 3 here.

IndieLand will return on October 20 – 22 2023and can be viewed on The Completionist Twitch channel.

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