Meet the Resident:
Recently, we welcomed new resident Mike Roska to the GlitchHQ office and thought it was the perfect opportunity to kick off our new series of Meet the Resident blog posts.
Mike took a few minutes to answer our questions and talk with us about his projects, what put him on the path to making games, and what sets his desk apart from everyone else’s. Check out his replies below.
GET TO KNOW MIKE
What fun or quirky items are on your desk?
I like to surround myself with items that have sentimental value or creative inspiration.
I recently brought in some ancient issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly and VideoGames and Computer Entertainment (notice how they wrote VideoGames). I would stare at these for hours on end, reading every word contained inside. Some are from as far back as 1991!
Outside of that I have random video game stuff, some pictures of my wife and daughters, and a little LEGO-esque hockey guy of my cousin Joe Pavelski (who plays for the San Jose Sharks).
What game inspired you to be a game maker? Anything in particular from the game or your experience playing it that sparked the inspiration?
I don’t think I realized you could make video games for a living until I was forced to decide what I wanted to do with my future. That was back in 1996, when I had to meet with my University Advisor to plan out my freshman year course schedule. I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I happened to be leafing through a gaming magazine at the time and ran across a Final Fantasy ad by Square Enix. At the very bottom of the ad, in tiny print, it read something like “Want to be a game maker? Learn c/c++ and apply!”. That ad set the course for the rest of my life.
What game lead me to decide to choose this career path though? I’d have to say a mix of Ninja Gaiden for the NES and FF3 (US) for the Super NES. Ninja Gaiden was just brutally difficult and incredibly rewarding, and I played so much FF3 that when I wasn’t awake playing it, I was asleep dreaming about it.
Published or unpublished, what was the first game you created? What was it about?
Some friends and I founded a company out of college called Escape Studios. At the time, 3D FPS were pretty big and Monolith had just released some really cool tech with their Lithtech engine. We ended up licensing it and creating a downhill racing game named Rise Overrun (get it?). It contained a couple playable characters and one downhill slope to race on, and the goal was to race down the slope and do ridiculous tricks to score points. Unfortunately a game named “SSX” came out right around then. Some of you may have heard of it. We were no match.
We ended up closing our doors a year or so after the company was founded, but I’ll never regret the time spent on such an ambitious project. Fun fact: Of the 5 initial members of Escape Studios, 4 are working in the game industry today!
If you can talk about it, what’s your current project?
I was recently made co-founder of CogReps, a company focused on creating sports-themed games that can help take some of the stress off the actual play-field. With our app (initially targeting youth football), players will be able to play through a ton of gamified skill tests (blocking, tackling, etc), as well as play through an entire playbook. Coaches can even manage these playbooks and customize challenges for their players. I think it could revolutionize how we approach teaching sports to our children!
The office gets into some pretty odd food discussions on Fridays during our Happy Lunch Day. What’s the weirdest or most controversial food you enjoy?
I enjoy a wide range of foods but everything I can think of is within the realm of reason. No peanut butter and salsa sandwiches or anything like that. Speaking of sandwiches, anyone beyond the cutoff point of Structural Neutral in the sandwich alignment chart should have their food opinions approached with strong skepticism.
Founder, One Ton Creative
Mike Roska is the Founder of One Ton Creative and the Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer of CogReps. He has worked on AAA and indie franchises including titles in the Donkey Kong, Xenoblade, Bit.Trip Runner, World Series of Poker, and Excitebike series, as well as the standalone titles Tharsis and Laserlife.