Throughout the years, I’ve gotten a lot of letters from folks all around the world who’ve played my games. Each person has shared a bit of their story, giving a glimpse into ways that I’ve impacted their lives. You never know what is going to touch someone, and I find these stories incredibly inspiring.
I also find their present-day adventures intriguing. In this new age of instant communication, friends become fans, games become teachers, and then we all become next door neighbors. Enjoy this first installment of a new monthly feature that shares the stories of these connected lives.
Rusty Trimble is a writer of both illustrated children's books and adult novels of the noir genre. He is currently working on a children’s book based on Scott Adams’ Pirate Cove. Read the introduction and Chapter 1 here.
Rusty has completed nine books for children based around his son Andrew who stars in each story. His first adult novel, The Hitmen Narratives, is a series of short stories revolving around one of the most evil of professions, the professional killer.
As the father of an Autistic child, he hopes the sales of his books will provide funding to raise money to seek research and treatment for children with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. To that end, 50% of all profits from any book are pledged to like causes.
Hometown & Current Location: San Diego, California
How do you spend your time?
I spend a lot of time being a dad. Andrew is seven, Tyler just turned one. We go to the Zoo, Sea World, and Birch Aquarium, go for walks, and watch Yo Gabba Gabba (favorite episode New Friends with Jack Black). I play softball, and write a lot. I am also a gamer of sorts. I am alternating between Bioshock(Xbox 360), Pirate Cove (downloaded from Scott’s site), and Sword of Vermillion (Genesis). Andrew and I also play a lot of Plants vs Zombies on my iPhone. I am a bit of a bookworm and am currently reading Nelson DeMille’s The Gold Coast which is one of my favorite books of all time.
Taking a cue from the Desert Island Disks Column in Retro Gamer:
You’re deserted on an un-inhabited island (that for some crazy reason has electricity).
What Scott Adams game do you bring with you? I would say The Count. I never was able to beat that game as a kid and think the idle time just might give me the time to beat it.
Do you plan on playing his newest game, The Inheritance?
Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately I’ve been saying that for weeks. I sadly have original Xbox games that I have not yet found the time to play. I just never seem to have enough time. I fortunately am coming up on a 3 day vacation so plan to dedicate a good deal of time checking it out. I’II confess that while growing up in a Methodist church, my knowledge of the Bible is not as great as it should be. From what I’d read and heard so far, this will be a great opportunity for me to play and learn at the same time. My wife has begun to read the Bible as well, so I plan to introduce her to the game also.
What sort of books did you read while growing up?
I read a bit of everything. I remember my first novel being Alan Dean Foster’s Clash of the Titans based on the movie. When I began playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, I encountered Michael Moorcock’s anti-hero Elric and became a fan of him and his eternal champion brethren. Still again when Top Gun came out I began reading Bill Gunston’s aircraft books. I can still look at almost any military jet in the sky and know what they are. I guess outside of romance novels, I had no preference, maybe leaning towards sci-fi a tad.
Top 3 books?
1: Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe (I am reading that to Andrew at nighttime now)
2: The Gold Coast and The Gate House (sequel) by Nelson DeMille- The sequel was written nearly two decades later by popular demand!
3: When Gravity Fails by the late George Alec Effinger (a novel I learned about by playing a PC game based on it)
For those unfamiliar with Pirate Cove, can you give a brief synopsis of the story?
I based the book on the game with some slight “artistic license.” Both stories involve with the main character finding himself in a flat in London with a few items and a sign telling him to Bring treasures here”. The character follows the clues to build a pirate ship and with the aid of a pirate tries to find Long John Silver’s treasure. The game is a great adventure that evokes the spirit of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and in me stirred images of magnificent islands, galleons, treasure chests and a dead mongoose (evil laugh - play the game to understand that remark).
How did you choose Pirate Cove as the setting for Andrew’s pirate adventure?
I reached out to Scott a few months ago after actually seeing a picture of Voodoo Castle’s VIC-20 box on Google Images. I had found his web site and e-mailed him and the two of us struck up an e-mail conversation and a quick friendship. Pirate Cove was the first ever text adventure I had ever played and also ever completed. I frequently make up stories for Andrew at bed and bath time and sometimes he asks me to adapt these into books. A couple of months ago he asked me to tell him a pirate story. Normally I can make these things up on the fly, but instead the game popped into my head and so I told him the story of the game (minus the dead mongoose) and he loved it and asked me to make this the subject of my next book. I asked Scott if I could do this for my next children’s novel and he said it sounded like a good idea and gave me his blessing which excited me immeasurably.
How did you begin writing fiction?
I actually tried to write my first book in the 9th grade. It was a series of short stories that were supposed to be like the Twilight Zone called 30 Tales of Terror. I never tried to do anything with it and it was not that good and I sadly lost it. I had given up the idea and settled recently on children’s illustrated books until I saw the movie Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. While a spoof of noir fiction, it inspired me to write my own story which evolved into The Hitmen Narratives, a series of small vignettes. From there I decided to try my own children’s novels after reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.
How has interactive fiction influenced your evolution as a writer? It has played a large part in my deciding to become a writer and I will say Scott was a very early influence. I originally wanted to make my own games, but always lacked the skill, and turned to writing growing up as a different medium. The Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion games along with (more recently) Bioshock and Max Payne 2 were a big influence in my more noir-ish endeavors. Any game with a good and/or epic story gave me ideas or inspiration. Without interactive fiction, I cannot say that I would be writing as much today.
What role do you feel storytelling (through books, games, etc) plays today?
I think games have added a new dimension for our generation and the next one. Schools now use video games to an extent as an educational tool. Many of the current games today are cinematic experiences with production values that rival big name movies. An example would be Knights of the Old Republic which is almost like a Star Wars movie itself. Books as a whole I think especially as kids give our imagination a jumpstart, they help us develop our ideals and even our values in many ways. I think that is as true now as it is today. People deride video games, but I do think they have a place of value in our world for the most part and they broaden our horizons.
3 random things today that made you smile:
1: Carl’s Junior – I asked for a cheeseburger with ketchup and cheese only and she asked “You mean no meat in the burger?”
2: Waking up for work at 4:00a this morning, and observing my son Andrew sleeping almost 180 from the position I had tucked him in at. The boy has an active imagination that goes places, his body does while he sleeps too.
3: Looking at my work cubicle which has my souvenir A Christmas Story glasses.
Favorite adventure/Scott Adams puzzle:
Pirate Cove, getting past the snake. I hate being the spoiler, but the game you pick up a mongoose and encounter a cobra. Now the mongoose is famous for being able to defeat cobras in battles, so it seemed an easy solution. It did not end well for the mongoose, I will leave it at that, but it made me laugh and still does. I even reference it in one of my upcoming comedy-noir books which is in the works. I did manage to get past the snake a few minutes later, I shan’t say how.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten: My brother quoting Frank N’ Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show told me “Don’t dream it, be it”. I think better advice has never been given.
Anything else you’d like to share with other fans?
Yes, buy my book. Just kidding. Seriously though, I am still developing as an author and really hope to hear from anyone that has any feedback, comments, or suggestions or on the flip side is maybe interesting in writing and wants to pick my brain for what little is in it. Much like Scott I am eminently approachable and would love to hear from anyone at email@example.com. Feel free to write and I promise I will respond. If I don’t, please know it is not intentional and please try again knowing I will never ignore an e-mail, except for that 411 exiled prince guy asking for money, I don’t trust him.
In closing a humongous thanks to Scott for the games he wrote that passed the time, filled my imagination, and gave me unending enjoyment working in what is sadly an overlooked genre. Additional thanks to him for his valuable friendship, kindness, and patience. An equally big thanks to Hannah for offering me this interview, I am beyond flattered, amazed, and stoked at the opportunity to do this.