It’s hard to have a conversation with Robin in under five minutes. It’s not that she can’t keep chatter short. It’s because her inquisitive nature is always pumping you for more information. If you work and play in the interactive entertainment industry, you’ve probably seen her speak on one of dozens of video game panels. Robin’s online journal, gewgaw, documents her academic and industry explorations in game design, implementation and marketing. Having made her bed in games, I impatiently wait for her to lay in it. What’s to come is certainly going to be a learning experience for us all.
How many careers have you had? What is your current title?
I've had a few jobs here and there (waitress, shopgirl, teacher, freelance web monkey, writer, photographer). But my *career* has always been school. My PhD work is in Computer Science. I study AI and Video Games. My current title is ABD - which means I'm pretty close to waitressing full time. But you'll all have to call me Dr. Fantastic to get that milk shake, honey.
What project will you be working on next?
Right now, I’m finishing my dissertation – which is about using AI to make games adjust in real time to an individual player. After that – I hope to go into the games industry (food service is my fallback).
Your house is burning down. What one possession (aside from human/animal life) would you grab on the way out?
Well...too many comics to carry, no estate jewelry or treasure maps to speak of...I guess it would be my photo negatives (which are archived in a handy, portable binder) and a couple of rare books (which if you put them all together count as “books” right?). The rest of it can be replaced. Cheaply!
When and how did we meet?
We met after E3, 2003. I missed my plane back to Chicago, then ran into some mutual friends at the hotel who invited me to a BBQ you were throwing in Santa Monica.
We arrived a bit early. Ed and Sharon showed us around (I was so taken with them and their place) and then you came out to the patio. You were carrying ten thousand bags of groceries, smoking and talking all at once. "Holy shit we have to make 50 skewers in like half an hour!"
I remember being stunned by your energy - which was apparent not only in the rapid, animated gestures of your face and body, but in the *constant* monologue that spewed forth from your mouth. I couldn't believe that so much was happening in such a small space! You were a party-planning, skewer-making tornado - in coveralls, adidas and Gucci frames.
But within minutes we were making skewers, chatting like two old ladies, our hands covered in marinade and chicken goo. And before I knew it, the whole night had passed. The food was great, your family was wonderful, friends ditto. If Silvio hadn't gotten to you already, I might have proposed!