By Annika Bjerke
On a blustery Monday morning in early November at approximately 11:43 AM I received the following email:
“Hey! No rush but I think I’m here? I have an orange jacket on and I put a dark green hat on too. On a bench next to a trio of heads of people, across the room from the statue of a lady without a head.”
I looked around, spotted the orange jacket, noticed the surrounding heads—there are indeed a lot of heads in Zeus—and made my way over from the soup line. World, meet Conor Garity. Conor is an aspiring game developer, working out of our very own Ithaca. He is currently in the process of developing a game, ironically named This Game is Trash. Naturally, in line with our theme, I decided to pursue this video game and the man behind the curtain.
AB: Tell us about yourself and how you came to this idea.
CG: My aunt gave me a couple blocks of clay when I was 11 or so and I started making my dinosaurs or whatever. I used to play video games a lot, not so much anymore. Somehow, at some point, it came together and I just decided that’s what I really wanted to do… I went to school for computer science but left once I had a clear idea that this is what I wanted to do with my life. Once I knew the information I needed to know, coding and whatever, I left to really focus on this.
AB: So about your game, how does it work? Why did you choose trash?
CG: Honestly my game is as much about trash as Mario is a plumber, but his game is not about plumbing. My brain is kinda dark, I have a dark sense of humor. But my heart is like that of a kid’s. Like for example, I’ll be in the middle of writing down this gritty detective story, and I’ll stop and think, what if everyone in this world is a penguin? And that really excites me. That’s what gets me out of bed at 3 in the morning and be like, “Oh my god! I’m a genius.” In this world, garbage men are praised like celebrities and because of that, a lot of people strive to be garbage men. I guess the theme I am trying to present is, what is the reality of people who pursue their dreams? Why are there so many more people that have a dream that they’re not fulfilling?
So you play a character who wants to be this great garbage man. He meets a bunch of other characters along the way and they all represent one of the realities of what will happen to you if you follow your dreams. There is a dog for example, here [Conor at this point peels off the lid of one of the 3 Tupperware containers he brought with him and pulls out a clay figure]. So this little dog, Jumbo, makes movies like Pup Fiction or Paw Shank Redemption—I’m really proud of those names. He puts his heart into his movies, he dresses the part [Jumbo is wearing a beret, the true sign of a film genius] but no one shows up to his movies and he starts to think that his movies aren’t good and that he’s not cut out to be a movie director. He has a lot of insecurities so you want to help him out and get other characters you know to come to his movies so he feels less insecure.
There is another character that’s a dropped scoop of ice cream. He had big dreams, but then one day he was dropped. He’s only going to live 3 days before he melts away, so that character represents the idea that you go to follow your dreams, sometimes stuff just happens to you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
And the trash is just kind of there. I think my initial idea was if my dreams failed, I’d be okay being a garbageman. I think I wouldn’t hate that as much as other people.
AB: How would you like players to react to your game?
CG: I’d like them to pay me, so I can continue. That’s the number one reaction. I just don’t want to be so alone in making it, and it would be cool to be able to talk to other developers because like writing a book it can be a little bit of a lonely job where you are just by yourself and all you have is your rat to talk to. I guess more than anything its how other developers react. I would like the art and the writing to get some credit ideally. Like, hey this is good, from some of the developers I look up to because that’s what I really care about.
It can be really nerve-wracking especially if it feels like your dream isn’t going anywhere. I’m sure we could all relate to that.