Growat — aka Graham Rowat — makes no attempt at keeping his online persona different than the one in the real world. What you see is what you get, and you can get Graham all over the damned place. He's currently on freaking *Broadway*, people ... you know, that big street in New York where people used to go see musicals once upon a time. The fact that he makes his living singing ABBA songs in "Mamma Mia!" isn't something we're going to hold against him too much.
I first "met" Graham when he was working in Western MA. He happened to be in a show with the actress Merle Dandridge, who voiced Half Life's Alyx Vance. He was kind enough to get her to record a shoutout for the podcast, and from there I realized he was practically next door. Coffee ensued, and while I haven't convinced him to hang out and game at Chez Rabbit yet, I am attributing that to his recently acquired offspring and hectic work schedule, not my personal hygiene.
Graham, another god damned Canadian, was kind enough to lend his voice to my last article for the Conference Call [Editor's note: Episode 307], and I'm hopeful that's the start of a beautiful friendship.
1) Who the devil are you?
I'm a 6'4" Canadian who made his way from America's Hat to New York City in 1997. I make my living as a professional actor (read "Actooooor").
2) What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?
I'm currently playing the role of Harry Bright in the Broadway company of Mamma Mia!
3) When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?
I have a 17-month old son. Being a father takes up most of my non-work time. I'm in awe of this little drooling alien.
4) How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
I met my beautiful wife Kate in 2003 while working together in Washington, DC. Last April, we welcomed our son Colin into the world. We make our nest in Park Slope, Brooklyn, AKA Children's Village.
5) When and/or how did you get into gaming?
My father was a public-school teacher who brought home the school computer on weekends. I remember playing a game called Chem Scoop on the Commodore PET Computer. The game involved collecting spilled chemicals represented by the four suits (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds). It wasn't much to look at, but that was where the addiction began. [Editor's Note: I believe the game Graham mentioned was Pick-Up.]
6) What is your fondest gaming memory?
My brother and I would play Armor Battle on the Intellivision when I was about 10 years old. I became so annoyed by my brother's snickers and taunts that we built cardboard shells to isolate us from each other.
7) Why do you play games? Why haven't you outgrown them?
I pity anyone who outgrows playing games.
Beyond being fun, I think games offer another outlet for what I do for a living: pretend to be other people. The thrill of acting is that you get to sample the most exciting parts of life, distilled down to the action and drama. Games offer a the same density of experience.
8) If you could live in a video game world, which would it be? Why?
I'd like to spend a weekend flying around Flower.
9) What is your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
My copy of Portal 2 arrived the day my son was born. I can count the number of games I've ever completed on my fingers, so the fact that I finished Portal 2 during the hectic, sleep-deprived first month of his life tells you how well Valve's storytelling and level design sucked me in.
10) What is your favorite game that you’re playing right now? Why?
My brain was eaten by 10000000 on iOS. I was a huge Dungeon Raid fan, and the similar game style with the addition of leveling made me an addict.
11) Which upcoming game are you looking forward to most? Why?
The frontrunner for my money is the Day Z standalone edition. Beyond that, I'm curious about Enemy Unknown and I've all but pre-ordered Bioshock Infinite because, c'mon, how can it not be awesome?
12) What first brought you to GWJ? What keeps you coming back?
I'm a big fan of Shawn Elliot and learned he'd guested on the Conference Call shortly after joining Irrational Games. I became hooked on the podcast and then the site.
13) Is there a particular forum on GWJ that you frequent/favor? Why?
I visit the Video Games Deals thread a few times a week. Digital hoarding provides all the satisfaction of owning things without the inconvenience of being accidentally buried alive.
14) What is the story behind your handle (growat)?
Graham Rowat = Growat. Can I get a do over?
15) Do you have any notable rivalries and/or friendships with someone on GWJ?
I have a profound love for everyone I used to play Left 4 Dead with (ragin_redneck, hyetal, kazar, OG_slinger, jinniee, duckilama, Switchbreak, Burnt Toast, StangeBlades) and apologize for my long absence.
I'd like to give a special shout-out to Trichy and his inspiring campaign to make a gaming PC for his nephew. You can read about it here, but have some tissues ready. It's a wonderful example of how great the GWJ community is.
16) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?
Gamers With Jobs is two magical sparkle ponies of awesome: the Conference Call and the website. I love them both with the fire of a thousand suns and am intensely proud to be an “employee.”