Jason Rohrer's story: how to get off the rails and do what you want with your life.

(This is an interview I did years ago, for another – now unavailable – set of interviews called "The Weirdness Studies", where I interviewed people doing weird and fantastic things. I really loved listening to Jason's story, so I got his permission to share it with you. This was a conversation, and has been edited for clarity. –A)  

So, how did you choose your weird career?

 

Right, right, so basically you want to know how I got off the rails? I went to college for computer science. When I was in school, there was no such thing as studying video games or game design. There was a big video game industry, but there was no mention of it...

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How the Bamboozle Brothers make games

How the Bamboozle Brothers make games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do?

Sen: My name is Sen-Foong Lim. I’m a forty-two year old father of 2 husband of 1 mother of none. I’m a Scorpio by the regular Zodiac and a Rat by the Chinese Zodiac, meaning that I’m small and have a tail. I am a mild-mannered Occupational Therapist and college professor by day and a crime-busting caped game designer by night. I sleep about 4 hours a night, accordingly. That might explain why I’m so short. I’m also one of the co-hosts for the Meeple Syrup Show, the weekly vidcast where Designers Discuss Design.

Jay: Hey there! I’m Jay. I’m the taller version of Sen, but without kids. I work in video production as a day job thingy and I also teach game design at the Vancouver Film School as a night job thingy. The rest of my time is spent designing games!

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How Emily Care Boss Makes Games

How Emily Care Boss Makes Games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do?

Hi! My name is Emily Care Boss of Black & Green Games. I am a game designer and independent publisher of analog role playing games. I live in western Massachusetts in the US, and work at a land trust conserving land for my daily bread. Back in the 90s when I was in college was when I got into role playing games, and I started designing in the early 2000s as part of the Forge forums community. Print on Demand technology had just started to make it feasible to print books in small print runs. You could now print books in the dozens or hundreds, rather than in the thousands which had been necessary before. And with pdf distributing and online store fronts using Paypal and other virtual payment options, it meant us small folks could make a game and not break the bank. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon have reinvented the independent publishing game all over again now, making it even more accessible. This is an amazing time to be gamer!

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How Aerjen Tamminga Makes Games

How Aerjen Tamminga Makes Games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do?

My name is Aerjen Tamminga, I’m a game designer and psychologist. I like hanging out with gamers and game designers which is probably why for the past couple of years I’ve been very active in the Indie community. It’s been really great to meet a ton of people from every aspect of the industry and it’s thank to everyone’s support that I was able to publish my first game last year.

Oh and a couple months ago I moved back to the Netherlands where I’m trying to find other game designers to hang out with.

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Pre-Game: The Next Generation

Hello, hello!I've got some really exciting interviews with game designers coming up for the next season of Pre-game. In addition to the interviews with Table Top game designers, I'll be adding digital game designers to the mix! Let me know on Twitter @andhegames (or contact me here) who you would like to see interviewed in the next run of Pre-Game.

I've also got several new free games in the works (digital and physical) that I'll be sending out to my Beta Mailing list before launching them on Andhegames.com. If you missed my latest, it's about Venus, Space janitors, and stupidity.

Hope you're having a fine day, thanks for reading, sharing, and being awesome.

How Heather O'Neill (and Heather Wilson) Make Games

How Heather O'Neill (and Heather Wilson) Make Games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do?

I’m a creative and social person but love math, science and spreadsheets too! I have a day job and work on games in my spare time. In addition to making games, I run BestConEver which is a small event company that hosts game days and mini-conventions (50 people or less).

I am a tabletop gamer. I love strategy based games as much as bluffing, social and party games. Over the last 5 years or so I’ve been offering advice or suggestions on other people’s games but didn’t really consider making them myself. Back in 2012 I created my first game with my husband Chris. After that, I knew that I could actually do this and started working on a few ideas. Schrödinger’s Cats is just such a marketable idea that we felt it should be the first one in (hopefully) a series of many.

+ + +

I am a writer and crafty type person. I’ve worked in the video game industry for the last 10 years and I have my Master’s degree in Library Science. I read an unhealthy amount and do not like chocolate or vanilla.

Like Heather, I’ve played games for years but never really made my own. I’ve been friends with Heather and Chris forever. In 2013 we started talking about making games together. They are both incredibly creative people and a lot of fun to work with. As Heather said, Schrödinger’s won out because it’s so marketable, as well as being one of those ideas that you just laugh about every time it comes up. Who doesn’t want to play a game where cats are the scientists putting each other in boxes?

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How T. C. Petty, III Makes Games

How T. C. Petty, III Makes Games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do? Why are you drawn to make games?

Hi, I’m T. C.. I am a professional part-time croupier at a casino in rural Pennsylvania. And currently I am attempting the starving artist routine by designing board games during the other part of that part time. I’m not in it for the money, apparently. Games are the way I best express myself. They say something about my personality and have been my lifeblood for years when I’ve been happy, lonely, or depressed. I like to love them just as much as I like to tear them apart and feast on their analytical insides. I do, however, hate many more games than I like, because they suck. Which is probably much of my personal motivation to make games that are great.

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How Bruno Faidutti makes games

How Bruno Faidutti makes games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do? Why are you drawn to make games?

I’m Bruno Faidutti, I’m French (though I don’t care much about it), 53. I design games because my two passions are playing games and reading books, because I want to be creative, to impress myself and my friends, and because I’m far too lazy to write books.

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How Sarah Reed Makes Games

How Sarah Reed Makes Games

Tell us about yourself - Who are you? What do you do?

I’m Sarah Reed. I’m an enthusiastic player of games as I enjoy board games, role-playing games and video games. I’m married to a wonderful and smart man named Will. We have a lot of shared interests like games, but also LEGO. Work is what pays for the hobbies we’re into, as both games and LEGO are expensive! In a nutshell, I do data processing and analytic work for the state of California.

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How Chris Renshall Makes Games

How Chris Renshall Makes Games

Tell us about yourself - who are you? What do you do?

My name is Chris Renshall. I am a securities analyst by day, board game social media freak by day, publisher/designer by night and weekends. I read a lot of financial reports and news and look at spreadsheets for my day job.Because of this I have to work really hard to not make all my designs financial game.

I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to be on social media all day while I get my day job work done at the same time. Because of that I get to spend a lot of time getting to know and chat with the great game people on twitter and I have recently jumped into the learning curve that is BGG.

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