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Known by his peers for his love of cheese, stunning intellect and fascinating forays into uncharted realms of fashion, Kai Tagawa leaves quite an impression. He’s a gifted Video Game Engineer with a pedigree of success that includes “over a dozen shipped games over the course of his career, ranging from multiplayer online strategy titles to puzzle games, and strives to constantly innovate both in game technology and design.” (Fuzzy Games).

These days Kai can be found enjoying the cheeses of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle, where his game company Fuzzy Games cranks out some playable little gems for delivery on a variety of platforms. The games suck you in with their simplicity and play like candy tastes.

Tagawa has developed games and technology for such industry players as Zango Games Studios, 180solutions, Full Armor Studios, Maximum Charisma Studios and VR-1/Jaleco.

Chosen for his love of cheese, programming, video games and film, Nerdbastard presents:

10 Questions and Answers with December 2009 Nerd of the Month: Kai Tagawa

1. What is your all-time favorite Video Game?

Hmmm…well, if you just go off of sheer hours played, life influence, and just general awesomeness, that would have to be Doom.  It was pretty much singlehandedly responsible for getting me interested in programming and game development.  Also honorable mention goes to Street Fighter, Chrono Trigger, Planescape: Torment, and Bionic Commando.

2. What is your all-time favorite movie?

For many many years, it was Aliens, which I watched obsessively as a youth.  However, I would say that it has since been eclipsed by the LOTR Trilogy.  Obvious, yes…but it is just so much better than, well…pretty much everything.

3. Have you ever been fired?

I got fired from my job as a food server at a retirement home when I was thirteen.  Barely thirteen, as the reason I got fired was for deciding not to come to work on my birthday.  I think that’s it.

4. What was your favorite toy when you were a kid…and do you still have it?

My penis.  And fortunately, yes, I still have it.  And it’s still my favorite toy.

5. Who is your favorite artist?

Assuming we’re talking visual arts, then it’s Rembrandt.  “Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer” just kicked my ass.  The first time I saw it I wept like a child holding the discarded remains of his puppy after it’s been savaged by a triceratops.  Okay, not really, but ever since I first saw that painting, I’ve been a big admirer of the Dutch Masters.  Something about their balance between technique and inspiration just appeals deeply to me.

6. What really gives you the creeps?

The “Clav Grab” – which was an attack developed by my best friend’s sister back in junior high – basically,  you just seize someone by the collarbones and shake them violently.  I don’t like people touching my collarbones, and that just drove me over the top.  Probably the closest I’ve ever come to punching a girl right in the mouth.  Pow.

7. What do you want people to know about your games/company?

As little as possible.  Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do, and I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to be able to make games for a living, but casual games (which is where Fuzzy’s bread and butter comes from) are not something that I get excited about viscerally.  It’s a huge market, and it’s one of the big recent success stories of the game industry – huge annual growth, etc, etc, but honestly, they’re not the kinds of games that I have any real personal affection for.  I know that I should probably just use this space to plug our work and ourselves, but this being something that I’ve put a lot of time and energy into over the past few years, I feel sort of an obligation to be honest about how I feel rather than just firing off a couple brainless statements about how great we are.  Gosh, that’s kind of depressing sounding when I read through it.  I should probably spend some time re-evaluating my priorities.

8. Do you dance?

On occasion.  One time I cleared the dance floor at a scholarship award dinner doing my “version” of “breakdancing” to “I’m Too Sexy” by “Right Said Fred.”  When you deploy that kind of artillery on an unsuspecting public, history dictates that you justify it by the liberal application of quotation marks.

9. Who impresses you within the gaming industry?

I grew up admiring John Carmack, who was probably the single most influential programmer for me over the years.  More recently, I’ve been impressed by the stuff that some of the industry auteurs have achieved – guys like Jonathan Blow and Jason Rohrer, for example, have managed to do some pretty incredible stuff in terms of emotional depth and artistry that humongous studios have completely failed to achieve.  The best thing about the game industry is that it’s a magnet for all sorts of genius-grade individuals – almost everyone I talk to in the industry has done and is doing amazing work.

10. Do you think it is okay to lie in interviews?

It’s what I live for!

Thanks to Kai for his time and contribution.

Would you like to be considered or know someone who should be considered for one of 2010’s Nerd-of-the-Month at Nerdbastards.com? Write to: melissafouch@yahoo.com with “Nerd of the Month” as your subject line and a brief description pleading your case!


Category: Film, Videogames

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