Tim Rogers (journalist)

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Tim Rogers
Born (1979-06-07) June 7, 1979 (age 35)[1]
Other names 108
Alma mater Indiana University Bloomington
Occupation Video games journalist, developer
Known for New Games Journalism, Action Button Entertainment

Tim Rogers is an American video game journalist and developer. In games journalism, he is known for his association with mid-2000s New Games Journalism, his signature style of verbosity, and his video game reviews website ActionButton.net. The Guardian cited his 2005 "Dreaming in an empty room: a defense of Metal Gear Solid 2" as a core example of New Games Journalism, a style of video game journalism that emphasizes the author's subjective and personal experiences in relation to the game world. Rogers has also written for Next Generation, GamesTM, Play, Game Developer, and Kotaku.

In game development, he is a co-founder of Action Button Entertainment, where he designed games including Ziggurat and Videoball. The four-person studio specializes in simple aesthetics and controls, following from Rogers's own video game aesthetic and minimalist eSports interests. He compared the studio's design philosophy to the spartan menu selections of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

Early and personal life[edit]

"For Those About to Galavant" by Rogers' rock band, Large Prime Numbers

Tim Rogers graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2001 with a degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures.[2] He is a "self-avowed messy guitar player"[3] in his rock band, Large Prime Numbers.[4] He has written that Mother 2 made him a vegetarian.[5][6]

Video games journalism[edit]

Rogers is a video games journalist[7] known for his verbosity.[3][8] Danny Cowan of IndieGames.com described him as "infamous" in New Games Journalism,[7] a style of subjective video game journalism where the author emphasizes their personal experiences in relation to the game world.[9] The Guardian cited Rogers as one of the "unmissable examples of New Games Journalism" in 2005 for his Insert Credit piece on Metal Gear Solid 2, "Dreaming in an empty room: a defense of Metal Gear Solid 2".[10] Gaming journalist Kieron Gillen called the article "highly discussed and fairly brilliant".[10] In 2006, Simon Carless of GameSetWatch remarked that online communities were fascinated with Rogers as an originator of New Games Journalism, which Carless found at odds with their mistreatment of him, citing a Something Awful mock review of Sonic Riders.[11] The next year, the same author cited Rogers' 80,000-word article, "the insertcredit.com fukubukuro 2006: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION", when calling Rogers "the Lester Bangs of video games" for being the only person "disruptive and iconoclastic enough".[12] Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Kieron Gillen used Rogers as a touchstone for verbosity in 2009.[13] In 2011, Jim Rossignol also of Rock, Paper, Shotgun called Rogers's new "Who Killed Videogames?" "the best thing he's written in ages".[14]

He started ActionButton.net, a video games reviews website, in early 2007 as an outgrowth from Insert Credit and its forums, SelectButton.[15] At the time of its launch, Simon Carless of GameSetWatch called the site "great writing" and noted "self-conscious metacommentary" as signature of Rogers and his co-writers.[15] GamesRadar called Tim Rogers "loquacious" and "a character" as profiled in Cara Ellison's "Embed With..." profile series, where they discussed "sticktion" as the role of "sticky friction" in Super Mario Bros. 3 and how it was used in Rogers' own Ziggurat and Videoball.[16] Edge described Rogers as a "polarising author of so much 'publish-now-edit-never' brain spew".[17] " In 2013, Rogers was selected to publish in the first round of digital books about games criticism published by Press Select.[18] Rogers has also written for Insert Credit, Next Generation,[11] GamesTM, Play, N-Revolution, Kotaku, Atomix,[2] and Game Developer magazine.[19]

Action Button Entertainment[edit]

Rogers is a co-founder of Action Button Entertainment,[20] a four-person studio that consists of Rogers, Brent Porter, Michael Kerwin, and Nicholas Wasilewski, who together have built all of the studio's four games from Ziggurat through Videoball.[21] Their games are consistently simple in their aesthetics and controls,[21] following from Rogers's own video game aesthetic interests.[17][22] Rogers became known for producing "infomercial-style trailers".[20][a] Rogers interest in minimalist eSports and simple games parlays into his design philosophy, which he compared to Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, where Ramsay advises failing restaurants to improve by trimming their menus to a spartan few great dishes.[21] Rogers also felt simple games were "less work".[21]

Rogers has said that he aspires for Action Button Entertainment to make games that share his preferred gaming styles and his hobbies. In finding that the common link between his top 25 video games (including Panzer Dragoon, Cave Story, Canabalt, and his favorite, Out of This World) was minimalist aesthetics with no overt story to tell other than through game mechanics, Rogers wanted Ziggurat and future games to live up to those expectations and used his gut to fine-tune design decisions. The games also reflect aspects of Rogers's personality, such as in the "scream sound effect" on Ziggurat made and distorted from his guitar based on sounds made by eccentric Japanese musicians whose records he owned.[22] He also called Ziggurat a descendant of his hobbies: the video game Ibara: Black Label and the Rubik's Cube.[22]

Ziggurat[edit]

Main article: Ziggurat (video game)

Ziggurat is a retro-style arcade shooter video game where the player fights off incoming aliens[7] as the world's last human from atop a ziggurat. The player uses simple touch controls to charge and shoot the enemies away, and dies if hit by an enemy. The game has 16-bit graphics style and an 8-bit chiptune soundtrack.[17]

Rogers co-founded Action Button Entertainment while working on Ziggurat, which began with an idea Rogers had while playing Angry Birds about pushing back a swarm of bats by shooting projectiles at them. He decided that he could not make the game alone, though his call for collaborators via Twitter fell through. He later worked a series of games including Ziggurat with Bob Pelloni of Bob's Game, whom Rogers met at the 2010 Game Developers Conference. Rogers put out a call for artists on Twitter with a submissions request of "fan art of the Japanese box art of Phantasy Star II", and Action Button artist Brent Porter replied in under an hour with an entry Rogers called "incredible".[22] In mid 2011, Rogers decided to work on an iPhone game for a few weeks as a break from a larger project. While Pelloni was against the buttonless iPhone as a platform, Rogers said the team was convinced by his design document—this game would become Ziggurat. Rogers contacted an Internet acquaintance who had previously mocked up a design idea from Rogers's Kotaku column, programmer Michael Kerwin, who came through with a rough draft within a week. Andrew Toups converted a soundtrack created by Rogers's rock band into an 8-bit soundtrack. After six months of hiatus and working at a social games company, Rogers rekindled development and the team finished the Ziggurat,[22] which was released in February 2012 for iOS platforms.[24]

Edge related the "unexpectedly poignant" red screen and sound effect that flashes upon the player's death to Rogers's personal interest in noise rock.[17] They called it a "beguiling personal signature".[17]

TNNS[edit]

Main article: TNNS

TNNS, pronounced "tennis",[25] is a brick-breaking action game where players use a paddle along the screen's left side to bounce a ball towards breakable objects on the right side of the screen,[26] and to avoid getting the ball in their goal.[21] It was released with little advanced notice in November 2012 for iOS as a universal app playable on iPhones, iPads, and iPods.[26] Danny Cowan of IndieGames.com compared it with Sidhe Interactive's Shatter[26] and VG247 called it a rendition of Breakout.[27] Pocket Gamer likened it to both and further compared it with Alleyway, Arkanoid, and Super Hexagon with a "telekinetic power" to alter the ball's direction apart from the panel (as in Shatter).[25]

10×8[edit]

Main article: 10×8

Ten by Eight, stylized as 10×8, is a puzzle video game where players match tiles.[28] Players align similarly colored blocks and trace the path they create when aligned. Star blocks act as power-ups that extend combos.[28] Rogers produced an "infomercial-style trailer" for the game, which VG247 called one of his signature moves[20] and that IndieGames.com called "glorious".[28] It was released on July 31, 2013 in North America for PlayStation Mobile[20]—the PlayStation Vita and compatible devices.[28] Around the same time, Rogers presented at the GDC 2013 Indie Soapbox,[29] where he told the story of how he "went indie".[30]

Videoball[edit]

Main article: Videoball

In Videoball, players use solely one analog stick and one button to control triangles that shoot projectiles[21] to knock a circular ball into the opposing team's endzone.[31] The triangle shoots a projectile, which charges the longer the button is held, such that a charged "slam" shot can sail across the full screen.[32] Rogers, the game's designer, describes the game as "an abstract minimalist electronic sport".[31] Its development began as a dare from QWOP developer Bennett Foddy, Rogers's friend, to make a "one-button StarCraft".[31] Rogers compared the game's design process to Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, where Ramsay convinces failing restaurants to provide fewer menu options and to make those dishes well.[21] Rogers noted the role of noted basketball-like strategy in its playtests, and the difficulty in crafting a minimalist game with a high importance on nuanced detail.[32] He livestreams prerelease sessions of Videoball via Twitch[21] and broadcast gameplay from Twitch's booth at PAX East 2014 with indie publisher Midnight City.[33] The game is expected for release in 2014 with cross-platform multiplayer[21] and support for more than six simultaneous players.[32]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Quentin Smith called his "Dyad infomerical" "amazing".[23]
References
  1. ^ Rogers, Tim (June 25, 2014). "Tuffy the Corgi Out Now on PlayStation Mobile". PlayStation Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "tim rogers". LinkedIn. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Carless, Simon (May 12, 2008). "GameSetLinks: Rock The Action, Rogers And Out". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ Totilo, Stephen (September 22, 2006). "Where Does A Game Called ‘Mother’ Outsell ‘Halo’? Check Out Tokyo’s Coolest Street". MTV News. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ Rogers, Tim (February 24, 2006). "The Week in Japan". Edge. Future. p. 3. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ Rogers, Tim (2005). ""the literature of the moment": a critique of mother 2". Large Prime Numbers. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Cowan, Danny (February 21, 2012). "Mobile Game Pick: Ziggurat (Action Button Entertainment)". IndieGames.com. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ Robinson, Martin (March 9, 2012). "App of the Day: Ziggurat". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ Stuart, Keith (February 22, 2005). "State of play: is there a role for the New Games Journalism?". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Stuart, Keith (March 3, 2005). "Ten unmissable examples of New Games Journalism". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Carless, Simon (March 10, 2006). "The Fascination Of The Rogers". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ Carless, Simon (February 15, 2007). "Timsplosion Saturates Insert Credit x 80,000". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ Gillen, Kieron (November 9, 2009). "J. Nash Watch: Or Something Launches". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Rossignol, Jim (October 2, 2011). "The Sunday Papers". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Carless, Simon (March 31, 2007). "Rogers Hits The Action Button, Minds Dissolve". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ Sheridan, Connor (April 5, 2014). "Off Radar: The Best Stories You Missed This Week – Read… Embed With Tim Rogers". GamesRadar. Future Publishing. p. 5. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Edge Staff (February 27, 2012). "Ziggurat review". Edge. Future. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ Lien, Tracey (August 21, 2013). "Press Select launches to publish long-form games criticism". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  19. ^ Carless, Simon (December 10, 2010). "Game Developer December Issue Showcases Splinter Cell: Conviction Postmortem". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c d Hillier, Brenna (July 31, 2013). "10×8 out now on Vita, PS Mobile devices". VG247. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lien, Tracey (February 19, 2014). "It's a sport, it's four to five flavors on a plate, it's Videoball". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Tim (February 22, 2012). "Introducing ZiGGURAT". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ Alexander, Leigh; Smith, Quintin (November 22, 2012). "Hey Baby, Do You Dyad? A Letter Series". Gamasutra. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ Pinsof, Allistair (February 20, 2012). "Review: ZiGGURAT". Destructoid. Game Revolution. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Brown, Mark (November 5, 2012). "ZiGGURAT developer's TNNS is Breakout by way of Super Hexagon". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c Cowan, Danny (November 12, 2012). "iOS Release: TNNS (Action Button)". IndieGames.com. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ Hillier, Brenna (November 6, 2012). "TNNS is the new game from ZiGGURAT dev". VG247. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c d Polson, John (August 4, 2013). "Release: ZiGGURAT, TNNS dev's puzzle addiction for PS Vita - Ten By Eight". IndieGames.com. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  29. ^ Gamasutra Staff (July 8, 2013). "Video: Game developers sound off from the Indie Soapbox". Gamasutra. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Indie Soapbox". Game Developers Conference. 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b c Fenlon, Wes (February 25, 2014). "Hands-on with Videoball: a local multiplayer electronic sport for the living room". PC Gamer. Future Publishing. p. 1. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c Fenlon, Wes (February 25, 2014). "Hands-on with Videoball: a local multiplayer electronic sport for the living room". PC Gamer. Future Publishing. p. 2. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ Tach, Dave (April 8, 2014). "Here's what indie publisher Midnight City is bringing to PAX East 2014". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 

Selected works[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Tim Rogers (journalist) at Wikimedia Commons