Writer/Gamer Q&A: Roy Guzmán

Roy Guzmán is the writer behind the very first works of poetry that Cartridge Lit published: “The Fighter of Nortune” and “Jungian.” He’s headed to Minnesota this fall to earn a well-deserved MFA, but for now, he chats with us a little bit about Tetris and Lolita: The Game.

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Cartridge Lit: What games are you playing right now, if any?

Guzmán: I’m currently obsessing over Hearthstone. This doesn’t mean I haven’t already removed the app from my iPad a couple times whenever I’ve reacted emotionally to the game. I think the priest’s power, for instance, is overinflated. But Blizzard is great about eventually balancing out these game discrepancies—at least that’s what my WoW friends tell me.

Cartridge Lit: What was your first video game system? Did you love it or hate it or feel something completely different about it?

Guzmán: My first video game system was the Game Boy. This was back in the mid-90s when Mom used to clean houses and one of the families gifted me the console. It was quite random. Unfortunately, my parents never had enough money to buy me additional games, so I got stuck with the Tetris that came with the bundle. Years later, when an important magazine called Tetris one of the best games ever released, I tried rationalizing my entire youth.

Cartridge Lit: How has your writing life interacted with your gamer life? Has one inspired or influenced the other?

Guzmán: I teach English composition, and in all my syllabi I make a point to include video games as “texts” to consider. Imagine a badass video game that teaches students how to write proper sentences. Or a game in which every ending varied based on one’s writing style. Pure teaching bliss right there!

Cartridge Lit: What novel would you like to see turned into a game? What genre would it be? How would it play?

Guzmán: I would love to see Lolita turned into a video game because of how challenging the task would be. However, making the pedophilia too explicit might reduce the game’s (and novel’s) psychological complexity. I wonder where the game’s setting would be: Hell? Prison? A middle school? What if it were a feminist game? Give me the disturbance without the victimization, or is that even possible with this novel?

Cartridge Lit: If someone made a game about your life, what genre would it be? How would it play?

Guzmán: A game about my life would have to be a version of Tetris, with meat, bones, and pieces of soul falling into some arbitrary order. Essentially, players would put my life together and just as easily assemble a failure. Very Franken-meta-stein.