Gamer Spotlight: Vincent Caravella

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Vincent Caravella (Executive Producer, Giant Bomb)

Born and raised in New York, Vinny Caravella has been working in video production for over 2 decades. In 2006 he was offered a job at Gamespot and moved cross country to San Francisco where he worked as videos editor and producer. In 2008, he and many of his co-workers left Gamespot to create Giant Bomb, and in 2014 he moved back to the east coast when Giant Bomb opened their New York offices in the wake of being acquired by CBS Interactive. He serves as Giant Bomb’s Head of Video Production and is the host of the podcast, The Giant Beastcast, where he dishes out quality dad stories and jokes every week. Vinny lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

What is the first video game that you remember playing?

“Oh boy. The first video game I remember playing… is probably something on the Atari 2600. I remember playing a lot of Haunted House, Air-Sea Battle, and Baseball. When taking the field in Baseball, you could get one of your fielders (is that the word?) to stand on top of the pitcher and they would look like a motorcycle. I found that very entertaining. One of my favorite early video game memories is watching my Dad take a picture of his high score in Pitfall. I’m not sure why he did it, if there was a contest or he was just excited, but I do remember learning a very valuable lesson that stuck with me for the rest of my life: don’t use the flash when taking a picture of the TV.”

img_2303What are your favorite games of all time?

“Did I start with “Oh boy” already? Allow me to use it again. Oh boy. I love the Mass Effect trilogy. I think the storytelling and worldbuilding in those games really surpassed what most people expected from video games at the time, and even holds up today. I still want to love a game called Knights of Legend that I played on the Commodore 64 growing up. I suspect it’s not a great game but it still fascinates me. It’s a blend of tactical and traditional RPG. It also had some great worldbuilding and the combat would allow you to target different areas of an enemy. I spent a lot of my childhood buried in that game, going nowhere. There were 4 or 5 disks that you had to swap constantly, but the game wasn’t even fully complete because they left room for expansions. About 10 years ago, my little brother printed out the map from Knights of Legend on canvas, framed it, and gave it to me as a gift.”

Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?

“This has the potential to be a long list. I enjoy working with my hands, creating and fixing things. I enjoy woodworking, mostly with hand-tools. I find it relaxing. And at the end of the day (or 4 months) you have stool… or stool-like item. For a while, I was getting into mechanical watch repair, mostly on old pocket watches. I really wanted to understand how a mechanical watch works and old pocket watches are large enough to really see everything. I still would love to get back into it but had to stop when the next step was milling my own tiny pieces to repair them. I’ve also gotten into painting miniatures, which came from getting into board games with the family. Most of my hobbies have a common thread of requiring a block of isolated time in which I can zone out and focus on a single task. They also require buying specialized tools, which is probably my number one favorite pastime.”

img_2304

Do you and your children play video games together?

“Yes, we absolutely do. We have a pretty strict no-screen-time-except-on-weekends policy, but once Friday hits the kids are all over anything that has a power button. These days I’m mostly playing Mario Maker 2 with my oldest, but both kids and I have gone through Mario Kart, Mario Party, Skylanders, Bit.Trip.Runner, Rocket League, Donut County, Sonic Racing, and a host of tablet games. I try to steer clear of anything that encourages spending more money to keep playing and I’m very thankful for my current knowledge of games to help navigate the landscape. I know video games have a lot to offer kids, like teaching persistence and even incentivizing reading. But I also know – too well – how consuming they can be, to the exclusion of all other experiences. It’s an interesting place to be: a parent who knows there is a lifetime ahead of enjoying games but too few precious years of childhood available.”

How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?

“I assume, like most other parents, you squeeze in some game time in between everything else. That means it’s mostly when the kids are asleep. I try to have a weekly scheduled online game session with my brothers one night a week and that helps. Luckily, I also have a job where I can occasionally play something for work. I don’t play nearly as much as I used to before I had kids, but I don’t miss it. I really don’t. As I try to tell my kids, video games are great and are there to entertain us but you have to not get angry when you stop because you have something important to do or it isn’t fun anymore”

What is your proudest moment as a parent?

“Cue the corny answer… I’m proud of my kids every day. Kids constantly have to make hard choices based on limited information. It’s frustrating being a kid; you have so little control of your world. You have to trust that people are working in your best interest. You have such little agency and no personal experience to inform you. It’s amazing to watch my kids try to solve problems, only using the toolset we are helping them build each day. When I see them making great choices, that’s all I could ever hope for.”


 

11 comments

  1. Great article! I’m a bit surprised by the lack of questions about Vinny’s amazing magnetic levitation technology, but it’s a fine interview nonetheless.

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