We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Rogers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scott, how do you think about risk?
I used to call myself “risk adverse” because I don’t like making unsure bets. As someone who believes that success equals “when preparation meets opportunity”, I would tend to “hedge my bets” by making sure I was prepared for the opportunity that I wanted to have. Originally, that preparation was often subconscious, driven by my passions; but nowadays, that preparation is much more deliberate. As an older person, I realize that my time and energy are precious commodities which I don’t like to spend on ventures that do not yield success. The more preparation that I do, the more likely I am to succeed. That preparation can take a variety of forms – it can be market research, it can be polishing a creation to a level that is very appealing to the buyer, it can be waiting on an idea until the “time is right” – these are risks in their own right, but risks that I have much more control over than the impulsive style risk-taking that often people think of. I guess I’m taking calculated risks, not just “risks” in general.
The opportunities were also crafted to a certain extend. I tend to explore many options at once and don’t take the first thing that comes along. Once, I was applying for a new job and had nine offers on the table at once. I believe I chose the “right” one because in retrospect it was the company and product that ended up being the most advantageous to my career. At the time, I was more interested in furthering my reputation and being associated with a strong product than making money, having security, etc. The “gamble” worked and I have been enjoying the benefits of that decision ever since. Was it a risk to choose that job? Sure. But again, it was a calculated risk as I weighed the alternatives, benefits and disadvantages of the other jobs against it. As long as you know what you want from something (and it should never be “just” a paycheck) you won’t go wrong.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My “art” is game design – which I actually consider a craft. Craft being something created for a user to interact with. I am very proud/excited about my board game creations – Rayguns and Rocketships, Pantone the Game and ALIEN: Fate of the Nostromo. Each one of these games had different challenges and none of them were “easy”.
Rayguns was designed when I was dealing with chemotherapy and it was born from the frustration of years of making AAA video games but getting very little credit for it. It was the first game with my name on the cover and it won’t be the last.
Pantone the Game was designed very quickly (time-wise) but it went through a bumpy birth. It was licensed by one company who then decided not to make it. I was fortunate enough to license it again to another publisher. It was their idea to associate the Pantone brand with the game – a decision that probably increased the game’s lifespan and popularity ten-fold.
The ALIEN game was the result of a long relationship with the publisher. The pitch process was rigorous and the competition was fierce. But in the end, I’m proud that I had the “best” design that the publisher wanted to go with.
My brand as a game designer is that I am versatile and creative. I can design any type of game. The experience that the player gets from the game will match their expectation and provide a fun distraction from the grind of everyday life. That experience will make them feel either smart, powerful or rich. Maybe all three at once!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to Disneyland, the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market, the Getty Villa and the Game Haus Cafe.
Disneyland is not “nearby” but it is my favorite place ever and a place that I am intimately connected to and knowledgeable about. (I have been hired in the past to give tours of the park, so I guess I’m an expert). A visit to Disneyland always includes attractions, some shopping and usually a nice sit-down meal in one of the finer restaurants.
The Farmer’s Market is funky and charming. Plus you can get pretty much anything to eat there. It is in walking distance to the Angel’s Flight Funicular and the Bradbury Building, two things I like to visit.
The Getty Villa is a beautiful location with a great collection of art. I always find it creatively stimulating to visit.
Game Haus Cafe is a great little place in Glendale with a very large board game collection and a nice menu. The desert are usually quite good too. I enjoy spending several hours there, playing all manner of games.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife, Brenda Lee, is my ultimate sounding board. She will help me “talk out” my options and point me in the right direction. She knows what my needs are, what makes me happy and what I consider success.