You get the sense, when you hear Vin Diesel talk about videogames, that Hollywood isn’t the best place to proclaim your love of digital shenanigans. Diesel, now the owner of Tigon Studios — responsible for the upcoming Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena — didn’t enter into the videogame fray until he met Steven Spielberg on the set of World War II flick, Saving Private Ryan.
“When I did Saving Private Ryan I had the great pleasure of working with Steven Spielberg,” Diesel told an interviewer participating in a conference call Friday afternoon. “When I realized Steven Spielberg was entering the game world unabashedly, somehow that gave me the ‘green card’ to launch a videogame company that would speak to a favorite pastime — or one of my favorite pastimes.”
Diesel’s pen and paper game roots are well known. Diesel has been on record multiple times, proclaiming an earlier self as a Dungeons and Dragons geek. But during the conference call, Diesel also gave us a taste of how he got into true videogames and what he appreciates the most.
Hit the break for it.
“… as a kid in New York City — when we were in grade school — the way that we played videogames is we would go into Radioshack and play T.V. Pong,” Diesel continued. “That was the first introduction to videogames. Then that grew to Galaga, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man — that was an arcade experience. Then we got Atari, Coleco, all the games you could actually feel that arcade experience at home.”
But before all that — before games had the ability to assimilate a Dungeons and Dragons experience — you know, as we ‘jumpcut’ to games like World of Warcraft — it was Dungeons and Dragons. To be one hundred percent honest, where did my videogame appreciation come from? Probably Gary Gygax.