Cultured Carrots: Ben Gage Plays The Gameby Carrot
Carrot Creative is filled with colorful characters. Cultured Carrots is a series that shares the outside passions that inspire the very best work for our clients. This week, we sit down with Ben Gage, a UX designer and video game enthusiast. We're looking forward to his inevitable indie game in the future.
Carrot: How did you first get into gaming?
Ben Gage: I think that probably happened when I was nine years old or something like that, a year after Pokémon came out, so I was really interested in getting a Gameboy Color. I remember my parents were so against getting it for so long but eventually they caved and on my ninth birthday they went and got the big Gameboy kit with the game, accessories and everything. Around a year or so later I got an N64 and my dad started playing Mario Kart 64 with me which I have many fond memories of.
C: I know you’ve been to some gaming conventions. What do you really enjoy about attending those?
B: So I think now more than any time in my life previously, I feel a very big passion for gaming. Like I’ve always been really into it but never to the extent that I am now. I think the reason for that is because I went to a video game convention for the first time in 2013. Penny Arcade Expo, PAX for short, and it kind of opened my eyes. I just went for my third year in a row in April and I had a wonderful time. PAX is basically a three day celebration of all things gaming and nerd culture. There are keynote events and a huge expo floor with developers showing off their games-in-progress which is really inspiring. Being in that space with everyone for one purpose was really eye opening for me and since then I’ve kind of gone further down the rabbit hole of gaming culture in general.
C: What kind of games do you enjoy?
B: I kind of go across the board but I’m super into the indie game scene. The thing that strikes me the most about indie games, and it’s why I want to make one myself someday, is that they’re made by one person or a couple people. So they have a lot less to work with but they end up coming up with these brilliant ideas by turning traditional gaming mechanics on their heads. The one indie game that really got me hooked was Gone Home. It’s a first-person narrative-driven experience that made me step back and think, “Wow, I didn’t know video games could be like this.” My top five of all time would probably be Skyrim, Final Fantasy X, Gone Home, Dark Souls… and I know I’m naming a few big-budget games now but they all strongly resonate with me for various reasons. I’m also a huge fan of Animal Crossing. I always have my 3DS on me so I play that game near everyday and I relate to it more now than I probably ever have before. The creator made the game because he had moved away from his hometown and had started a new job, in a new city and was trying to adjust to everything - something I can definitely relate to.
C: Describe the feeling you get when you’re playing a game that you’re really into.
B: I love Carrot so, so much, but somedays I just get stressed about either things at work or things outside of work in my personal life so when I sit down to play video games, it’s just a time for me to kind of zone out, be with my friends over voice chat on PS4, etc. It’s just a really relaxing activity. Kind of like popping open a beer after a hard day or something like that. It’s a time to let my mind do anything else but focus on work or stress or stuff like that. I could talk about video games all day.
C: Why do you want to make your own games?
B: I really want to try to make my own games someday because I think games are the perfect intersection of art and writing and sound design. It’s like all my favorite things combined into a single format. It takes so much work and thought and care and understanding in order to create something that successful. Here, when I’m trying to make an experience for someone through a website or a product, I’m striving to hold their attention for a couple minutes at a time. People who make games, they have to hold people’s attention for sometimes hours at a time and that’s mind boggling to me. After I went to PAX for the first time, the biggest thing I came away with, aside from the visual overstimulation of everything around me, was just that I love this thing so much and I want to find my own personal way to give back to the community. So whether that’s making a game or something else that’s yet to be determined, I want to find a way to insert my own voice into something that I really love.