How I Met Tim Schafer
Posted on 1st May 2009 at 09:58 by Joe Martin with 7 comments
Tim is, to put it bluntly, someone I’ve admired for a long, long time and in the run-up to the EA event I met him at I was a little worried that he might not be as funny and random as all the interviews I’d read with him over the years had led me to expect. Worse, I was worried that I might make a tit of myself in front of him or that I’d just collapse in sweaty palms and schoolgirl giggles.
Thankfully, neither situation happened and while Tim was certainly a lot quieter and more modest than I expected he definitely lived up to my rather presumptuous expectations. I chalk my lack of humiliation up to the fact that I was wearing my lucky Fallout 3 t-shirt.
The basic setup for the event was fairly straight forward as far as press events go. Hosted in the Hammersmith Ark, it started with coffee and doughnuts before all the journalists were sat down on some hard wooden benches with no backs and treated to a three hour presentation that covered all the games on show. It was exhausting and, to be honest, the fact that nearly all the games were Wii-based sports titles didn’t do a lot to keep my attention riveted on the stage.
Quiet! I think I can hear melodrama approaching!
Thus, I was quickly able to spot Tim Schafer – his messy black hair helping him stand out. I wasn’t staring, but I couldn’t help notice that he kept turning round and looking at the crowd. Right in my direction. Right at me, in fact. I became so aware that he was looking at me that I wondered if I had something on my face or if my t-shirt was inside out, again. The growing unease was heighted by his position on the very edge of my periphery vision, so every time he turned around the movement caught my attention.
He kept up the periodic gazes right up until he took the stage to talk about Brütal Legend. He walked to the microphone to a round of applause (I know for a fact I wasn’t the only avid fan that day), thanked everyone for coming and then pointed right at me. “And I especially want to thank that guy right there,” he said as everyone turned to look in my direction. “That guy in the awesome Iron Maiden t-shirt!”
The guy in the t-shirt, who was sat right in front of me, chuckled to himself, blushed a bit and nodded as Tim carried on with the rest of his speech. I felt incredibly foolish.
Curse you, Iron-Maiden-T-Shirt-Guy!
After the presentation I managed to briefly corner Tim just as he was about to give a demo of the game (a demo I was later privy to). I quickly apologised for being so cheeky, thrust my copy of Grim Fandango into his hand and mumbled some excuse about how it belonged to my girlfriend and I’d promised to get it signed. I suppose really the signed CD was mainly for me, not for her, but nevermind. Getting things signed like that is something I've only done twice before.
Tim held the disc for a few moments and mused how he hadn’t seen a copy of the game in years before obliging me with a message in black marker pen. I was honestly quite shocked that that might be true as I still firmly believe that everyone in the world is like me and he must therefore constantly be fighting off fans, but I tried not to let my mind run away with me…again.
I’m lucky in this line of work in that, not only do I get to play games an awful lot, but I also get to meet some of the incredibly talented people who work on them. I’ve been lucky enough already to have shaken hands with some of the many people who influenced me when I was younger – people like BioWare’s Ray Muzyka, Bethesda’s Pete Hines and journalist Kieron Gillen. Meeting Tim Schafer crosses another name off that list.
All that remains now is to somehow convince Warren Spector that we should collaborate on an idea I’ve got for a really awesome game…