A little over a year ago I fell in love with a full grown man. It was the kind of love you might have for a sunset or a painting (possibly of a sunset.) You see beauty that you don’t fully grasp and the deeper you look the less you understand. I love to stare into this man’s mind because he has such a confounding outlook on the world. Getting a glimpse of his mind is refreshing and horrifying. His brain works on a different wavelength than that of the average person. This man is Tim Rogers.
He makes me uncomfortable. My brother once said that his favorite movies are the ones that make him uncomfortable. He likes them because that feeling means he is outside his comfort zone, doing something new and forcing himself to evaluate new ideas. Being confronted by new ideas is hard and scary, but it’s absolutely the only way you become a better person. Being Tim’s friend would be challenging.
I began my full blown admiration of this man and started reading all of his unreliable blog postings. I started digitally following him; heretofore referred to as “stalking.”
A few months later, he posted his phone number. He said, “I’m going to post this because I’m getting a new phone soon anyways.” I believe he posted his number because he had a prototype version of some game he was working on (Presumably ZIGGURAT) and you could get a test build for a dollar. I was so excited at the prospect of meeting this man that I decided to text him. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on blind date where you know a large number of intimate details about the other person before they even know who you are, but that’s what texting someone from the internet feels like. Especially someone like Tim; he is very personal in his writings.
I decided to send him a text. For the same reason you would instinctively wave your cowboy hat and shout “Yee-haw” if you ever found yourself riding an A-Bomb, I sent the most awkward text I could. “I’m going to find you.”
There was never a response.
So then in March I found myself at GDC as I often do. Tim had made a habit of wearing brightly colored track suits (which I had learned from watching some videos of his.) He was as easy to find as you expect. I was standing in line for the GDC shirt when I spotted a man in a solid blue track suit with golden locks that inspired the envy of every stereotypical Swedish child in his vicinity (if there ever were any.) He was with Bob.
I jumped out of line and greeted them. I gave Tim a dollar. He told me to email him at some point to get a build of his game for “test flight,” an app that lets you play development builds of games, I assume. I didn’t and still don’t have an iPhone so I just pretended like I would take him up on the offer some day.
He asked me what the line was for and we stood in line for shirts together. I don’t recall what we talked about. All I knew is that I wanted to be one of his best friends. So of course I’m sure I acted all strange, the way you do when you are trying not to be strange. Thankfully Tim is strange as well. We ended up wandering the Expo hall together for a while and chatting.
“It’s very odd to meet someone you know so much about. I don’t even know what to say to you, I feel like I already know all the small talk stuff.”
Tim’s attention span appears to be incredibly short, but his memory (according to him) is photographic. I would say something, he would appear to ignore me and say something unrelated. Several minutes later he would pick up the conversation I had passed to him. It was at first insulting, but became highly engaging.
“You said it’s odd to meet someone you know so much about?”
I told Tim I sent him a text. I have no idea why I would admit to it. He seemed to vaguely remember getting it.
We went to Chipotle. Bob was visibly stricken by the aura of the convention that he was specially trained to identify and hate. The core of his hatred being the impenetrability of the industry. For instance. A devkit for 3DS is $4,500 and they only sell to those who have made a title or two in the first place. There is a high barrier of entry. It takes a lot for small and indie devs to be taken seriously by anyone, and the people out on the floor are often just suits so it’s hard to get a meaningful conversations going.
So they left for the day.
The next day at some point I saw Tim again and we walked together. I tried to impress him with an idea that was partially stolen from him the first place and he wasn’t impressed. He asked what the catch was. He insisted there needed to be a catch or a twist. I thought I gave it one. Now, when I think of an idea, like, a good one, I run it through my “Would Tim be impressed?” filter. So far, no. I feel like the day that he likes a game I make, will be a very depressing day for me. It will mean that I have one less goal driving me.
Luckily that game will not be Organ Trail. I love Organ Trail but it is not an expression of mechanics. That’s the best way I can put it… I just feel a little dirty about Organ Trail because the design doesn’t matter. It’s mostly stolen. The IDEA is what sells not the mechanics. I want to make a game that focuses on mechanics some day soon. Also, Tim and everyone I respect anywhere seems to hate zombie games. So… that always triggers self doubt.
Come June, I went to E3. I saw Tim again and said hello. I think I said something like, “We got Chipotle together.” I can only assume he remembered although he did not appear to. He was two shades too important to hang out with me that day, he had some guy from Stickcam walking around filming him.
I just checked my email history and found this super akward email.
Hey Tim, just wanted to establish some sort of link outside of the convention.We got Chipotle during GDC, and where I come from, that’s a spiritual bonding experience.I twit-stalk you from @Boco33 and run http://www.indiecitycoop.comLooking forward to whatever wacky adventures you are up to next. Good luck with the website/llc thing you appear to be doing…Cheers.
Then at the end of October, he announced over Twitter and Facebook that he had just finished a 3 book autobiography. It was mostly about his life in Japan and I was about to go to Japan for 18 days. I emailed him and sent him money. It was “pay what you think it’s worth.” I gave him $40. I again introduced myself as the guy who went to Chipotle with him. This will possibly always be my thing for him until I register as someone to remember by virtue of being someone.
He asked me to leave some feedback on the books when I was done. In Japan I read about 1.5 of the books. Very interesting. Very intimate. Now I know half of the entire worthwhile history of this guy. I can only imagine that would make things more awkward in the future. I never did give him feedback. I assume he want’s something more than, “I liked it.” I’m not very much of a reader or a writer so I don’t think I can be very helpful in that regard.
Now, I occasionally tweet and Facebook at him; wishing to become his best friend in under 140 characters. His game ZIGGURAT just came out (go buy it.) I look forward to trying it when we buy our iPad for development. I’m afraid he sucks at making games but I know he doesn’t. And as a final act of being awkward (until it’s not,) I’m going to share this with him.
Look forward to seeing you at GDC this year Tim.