Welcome to the Bitmobber Twitterview!
A Twitterview is an interview done over Twitter. Each Twitterview will consist of me asking various questions of One of the Members of the Bitmob Community.
This Twitterview is with James DeRosa. James is the man who won the notebook computer giveaway – though this has led to him getting numerous death threats and mail bombs. James is also the guy who provides my music for Monday mornings with his Bitmob Community Jukebox. He is a honest and insightful writer and I learn something new from almost every one of his articles.
So without further adieu, here is a Twitterview with James:
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm from a really small town in Pennsylvania called Lititiz. It's right in the heart of Amish country. I get really tired of people asking me if I'm Amish when I tell them that I'm from Lancaster. Cleary, and this comes via twitter, I'm a luddite extraordinaire. Besides that, I'm play too many games and watch too many movies
What is your earliest gaming memory?
Actually, my earliest memory of playing games is my very earliest memory. It's also one of my most sanguine when it comes to my father. The first game I ever played was Kaboom! for the Atari 2600. For some reason the memory is very lucid. It was a very bright, morning and I was probably 3 or 4. My dad was showing me how to use the roller paddle peripheral to play that game.
What got you interested in writing about video games?
My roommate and best friend started a blog on Blogspot called The Sophist. I've been writing creatively since the age of 15, and he's only been writing for two or three years. A lot of the grammar was bad, so I offered to copy edit his entries. After awhile, I had an idea for an article. Once we were working together things started to take off. We got a url and started a podcast!
Who are some Video Game journalists you admire or try to emulate?
If I'm honest, I haven't really read any game journalism since the death of EGM, so a lot of my heroes come from that magazine. I always like how forthright Dan Hsu and James Mielke were as EICs. But in recent times my favorites have come from podcasting. I'm a big fan of Shane Bettenhausen and Jeremy Parish. I like folks that know their history. Also, of course, I'm a huge fan of Robert Ashley. I think his podcast is a new template for the new medium of podcasting. A lot of people treat it like radio, but it's not. Gaming aside Robert Ashley's podcast is the very definition of what all podcasts should be. I'm also a fan of his band I Come to Shanghai.
How did you find out about Bitmob?
Gotta go short on this one. I don't recollect. It was probably in the fallout of EGM's demise. It was definitely either on Rebel FM, The Geekbox, or CO-OP.
You have created three ongoing columns for Bitmob: That Little Indie Game, Bitmob Community Jukebox, and Meet the Mob, they have all caught on and become popular, yet you also write very unique and well-researched articles as well. What are you most happy with?
Damn 140 characters is tough, and brevity is not my strong suit. I have to say both. I think erudition and fandom aren't mutually exclusive. What I mean to say is that, for me, my more intellectual articles are about learning new things or teaching new thing to others. At the same time, the Bitmob Community Jukebox is all about fun. But it's also about learning. I've had a keen ear for video game music over the years. I like sharing my knowledge with the community. Conversely, I try to keep my somewhat stuffy articles as entertaining as possible. A lot of people separate love and learning. For me, they have always been the same. Essays on feminism in games, and tributes to game songs I love both come from the same place.
You are going for a Double Major in Mathematics and English literature. I have never heard of such a combination, um, what the hell?
From a very young age I've always had an aptitude for Mathematics. When I took a profession quiz in high school it recommended actuary. And I like math because it's like an interlocking puzzle. Its beauty is in its austerity. There is right and wrong. But that innate nature is contemporaneously disconcerting to me. I've always loved reading and writing. I chose the two because I couldn't choose. I want to go to grad school if the whole journalism thing doesn't happen. But for which I don't know. I do, however, like the idea of interpolating mathematical concepts into my fiction writing.
Anyone who has read your work knows of your love of music. So what would be your desert island album?
Geeze these are hard questions. Well my favorite band is Eels. I have an Eels centric image tattooed on the back of my right upper arm. But they are really depressing. If I had to choose one album to listen to on a desert island it would probably be Cake's first album, Motorcade of Generosity.
What do you like best about Bitmob?
Bitmob's greatest strength lies in its civility. I don't think I've ever been on a site that is this supportive. That said, sometimes it can be a bit too kind. Criticism is hard on Bitmob because the culture is such that kindness is paramount to criticism. That said, I think everybody can find a place to contribute and shine on Bitmob. It isn't just writing articles anymore. At this point, it's also place to interact with like-minded people as well as place to meet new friends.
What are some of your favorite stories in a video game?
Storytelling in games is difficult. I think a lot of developers find this so. I generally find that the “less is more” approach is better. Because of this I love the classic beloved game stories. Games like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and Half Life succeed due to the sparsity. The stories are told through the world, and the player can invent the gaps. It's sort of the like the minimalist approach taken in good horror movies. What isn't mise en scéne can often be more evocative. As an exception, I love JRPGs with lots of exposition. JRPGs are more like novels to me. They can take the time to explore.
What games are you looking forward to this year or next?
This year I'm looking forward to very little. Everything I wanted got whisked off to next year! I don't play console FPSes, so you know. Oh wait! Left 4 Dead 2. That's in November right? Definitely going to grab that. As for next year, for me it is the year of The Last Guardian. I'm also looking forward to Heavy Rain and Bioshock 2. But with Bioshock it’s more of a rubbernecking kind of thing. I want to see whether or not it's a car crash!
In a Perfect World, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
If I'm a math professor of English professor that'd be great. And that's where I see myself. In a perfect world maybe with a hot lady and have a hot interview with Denis Dyack and some Playboy Playmates regarding Too Human 3, for a major media outlet. Or not. I guess I could settle for a staff position somewhere.
Are Developers Respecting or Ruining Our Childhood Memories?
Oscar Wilde, the Critic as Artist, and Video Game Journalism.
A Diary of an Endless Holiday in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Words or Terms James used that I had to look up:
sanguine – cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, confident.
erudition – extensive knowledge acquired mainly from books.
actuary - a business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty.
mise en scéne - an expression used in theatre and film to describe the design aspects of a production.