I recently had the pleasure of talking to Bill Amend, the creator of the FoxTrot comic. For those of you who don't know, he's an avid gamer and plays World of WarCraft and StarCraft. He's also well aware of the eSports scene.
Here's the interview.
Q: In FoxTrot, the character of Jason is shown to be smart, resourceful, and just a little bit geeky. Does any of that come from your own experiences?
BA: Most of Jason's geeky interests are reflections of my own, only amped way up. I've always loved things like math and computers and video games, for example, so it's fun to have a character in my strip to channel that stuff. Plus, it's a lot easier to write jokes about things I care about or have experience with.
Q: You mentioned in your interview with AV Club that you've sort of replaced watching football with StarCraft II. To that end, what do you enjoy about StarCraft II? Are there any "thrills" or "emotions" from football that translate over, and some that don't? Are there any thrills that are exclusive to StarCraft?
BA: Haha this is probably the first time in my life that someone is treating me as a sports authority. Trust me, I'm not. I think what I most like about watching StarCraft II is the combination of sustained intensity and unfolding strategy. With most pro sports you don't usually get that "game on the line" feeling until time is running out or you're in the 9th inning. With SC2 it's much more pervasive. Plus, being old and not particularly athletic, when I watch football or basketball or whatever, I know I'll never be able to do anything like that. With Starcraft, the fantasy of "Yeah, I could do that if I practiced enough" isn't 100 percent farfetched. Just 99.999.
Q: Have you ever been to a live event, and if not, would you consider going to one?
BA: Because I'd done a bunch of strips about World of Warcraft back when the game came out, Blizzard invited me to their first couple of BlizzCons, so I saw some live BW and WC3 matches being played there. It was pretty awesome to see how into it everyone was. Then last year I was at the New York Comic Con and by happy coincidence there was an IEM tournament being played there so I got to watch a lot of that. It was super cool to stand just a few feet away and watch MrBitter and Rotterdam do their casting.
Q: How did you get into watching StarCraft? Did you start by playing? And if so, what race?
BA: I'm not sure what specifically sucked me into watching tournaments online. I was actually a beta tester for the original StarCraft, so I've been playing versions of the game since the get-go and have always enjoyed it. My old BW username was SCVking, which no doubt inspired MarineKing's name choice years later (just kidding). With SC2 I find myself watching games online more than actually playing the game. When I do play, I generally play Protoss and tend to stick to team games. 1v1 scares me.
Q: Favorite player/team? Favorite casters?
BA: I like a lot of players, but I have a soft spot for Minigun. He plays Protoss, seems like a good guy, and he reminds me of my son. Plus he has the best middle name ever. There are a bunch of casters I like for different reasons. I'll mention Day 9 as a definite fave though, since he and I have discussed hooking up for a beer next time he's in my area and I don't want him to suddenly change his mind.
Q: Any shout-outs you'd like to make? Where can we check out your work?
BA: Thanks for the great Qs! For anyone who cares, my strip comes out weekly and can be seen at http://www.foxtrot.com.
His interview with the Gameological Society can be seen here. You can also follow him on Twitter at @billamend.