Will Smith (Founder of FOO VR, Podcast Host)
Will Smith has been in the tech industry for over 2 decades, having started his career as an editor for sites such as Ars Technica, Maximum PC & Tested.com. In 2015 he founded FOO VR where they create animation in real time using virtual reality and machine learning. They’ve worked on projects for Adult Swim, Gamestop, and created the world’s first 3D rendered talk show, The FOO Show. Will is also the co-host of two podcasts, Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project and Brad & Will Made a Tech Pod, and he can often be found on his Twitch channel where he streams the latest games.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“When I was 5 or 6, I went to a friends birthday party, and he’d just gotten an Atari 2600. I was terrible at the multiplayer games, and was interested by The Empire Strikes Back (even though I don’t think I’d seen the movie at that point), but Pitfall grabbed me hard. The idea of an open, virtual world to explore was fascinating. Over the next few years, as the 2600 crashed, I’d dip back into games occasionally–either with the TI-99/4A that my parents bought as an educational tool, or on the 2600 my grandfather picked up at a flea market (with a surprisingly complete selection of games), but games didn’t really grab me until I saw a NES at another friend’s house in the mid-80s. Super Mario Bros and then Zelda, Metroid, and Dragon Warrior all grabbed me hard.”
What are your favorite games of all time?
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“I love to garden, which is something I typically do with my daughter and wife. We live in northern California, so bike rides, hikes, and camping also happen 10 months a year.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“My wife is an early-to-bed type, while I’m more of a night owl, so I usually play games in the evening after my daughter goes to bed. It was never particularly codified until I started streaming, so now I have a pretty regular schedule where I’m usually live by 8:30 PM PDT and play until midnight or so.I miss playing games on weekends during the day, but with only the one kid, I do get an occasional day game in.”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“This is impossible to pick! I’ve been the keeper of the bedtime rituals in our house for a long time, so one of the books I read a thousand times when my daughter was little was Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex. A few weeks ago, she read it to me for the first time! Like a lot of parenting, it’s a mix of excitement, pride, happiness, and a little wistfulness, because learning to read means that there’s a time in the future when she won’t want me to read to her anymore.”