Writer/Gamer Q&A: Adam Tedesco

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, but today we have Adam Tedesco, the man behind “Is a King of the Blues.” His work can be found or is forthcoming in journals like Burningword Literary Journal, RiverLit, The Merrimack Review, Freeze Ray Poetry and Ginosko Literary Journal. He can be found online at adamtedesco.com or on Twitter @AdamThomasTed.

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

AT: The only game I’ve played recently is Wipeout on my son’s DS. 

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

AT: My first system was a Colecovision. I loved it. I distinctly remember the feeling that I was communicating with another intelligence by playing, that all my gameplay was being reposited in some main computing brain located in the desert, like the one Richard Pryor builds in Superman III.

CL: Most nostalgia-laden memory from your video game history? 

AT: My brothers and I were given the NES when it was first released. We shared a bedroom, where we sat playing Gumshoe for a week straight, stopping only to sleep and eat. After the first day we turned the volume down on the TV and listened to the La Bamba soundtrack over and over for the rest of that week. My father was in prison around this time and the whole family was catching a lot of bullshit from people in the neighborhood, especially us kids. We retreated into our own world, much of which revolved around video games. As many siblings do, we developed our own peculiar set of words and symbols, the majority of which originated during our time spent gaming. This memory, for me, is a near perfect crystallization of that luxury we so often lack as adults, being able to withdraw into the safety and comfort of family.

CL: Care to list your top five games?

AT: Gumshoe


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

The Dark Eye

Tiger Woods PGA Tour

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

AT: In many ways my gaming life has evolved into my writing life. I’ve always enjoyed games where there was some degree of obfuscation of strategy, so the game play becomes almost metaphorical and dreamlike. As a child and young adult playing these types of games gave me the feeling that there was something real at stake aside from mere pride of accomplishment. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been looking for something transcendent. While it may sound crazy, this is what gaming was to me for a long time. This interest later evolved into some extremely bad behavior, which persisted until my body gave out, at which point I started writing for the same reasons I was once gaming and then screwing my life up: release, looking for answers about myself, about my own stupidity and the apparent belligerence of existence.

CL: Any tips for how others out there can balance a writer’s life and a gamer’s life?

AT: I’m a father of two. I work fifty hours a week on average. I’m also working on two different degrees, one in applied physics and one in cultural studies. I have full-time course loads in both of those programs. Needless to say, I don’t have much of a gaming life right now. I could, however, offer a bit of advice on balancing writing with anything.

Write every chance you get. Write in your head all day. Don’t wait until you have a minute to concentrate. Use everything, good and bad, as a prompt. Some of the greatest art was made under extreme circumstances, so don’t make excuses. 

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

AT: Murakami’s work seems ripe for adaptation. I remember someone saying they were adapting one his short stories, but I don’t believe it happened. I read 1Q84 recently and would love to see that as a sandbox RPG. On the other end of the spectrum, I think 180 Days of Sodomwould make a great survival / stealth game.

I also would like to see more games based on poems. Most of Patricia Lockwood’s poems would make great games. Probably not “Rape Joke” but definitely “See a Furious Waterfall without Water”. Emily Toder’s “Pelicans in Australia” would make a great 8 bit game. I’d love to see a beautifully tripped out sandbox RPG revolving around C.A. Conrad’s work.

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

AT: I’m a practicing Buddhist. I consider the goals of my life to be to spread love and compassion, to alleviate suffering and to strive for enlightenment. I would like to think a game about me would incorporate these goals.

There’s a great book by a very important teacher, Tai Situ Rinpoche, called Primordial Essence Manifests. In this book he talks about the dream realm and how we can use that level of existence as a way to effect positive change. He says that by practicing dream yoga we can learn to fly to the heart of the sun in out dreams, and while we’re there we can pray for all sentient beings and our intentions will emanate outward with the rays of the sun.

This would be a great strategy game. Dream yoga entails some wildly intricate visualizations, which we modify based on our results. It creates a sort of feedback loop, in a beautiful way. 

My thinking and writing are heavily influenced by my dreams and vice versa. I see my work a way of reifying the dream world. That’s what I’m attempting to do, anyway; create a map to the recreation of the dream inside another person’s mind. My game should reflect this.