5 Questions with Rocco Botte

Welcome to 5 Questions, a column where we ask games developers, writers, and others involved in the industry questions that have nothing to do with games. In this edition, we spoke to Rocco Botte, creator of Mega64. You can follow Rocco on Twitter at @rocco_botte.

What’s your morning routine?

I really never realized how much of a routine I don’t have until I read the other 5 Questions articles on this site. Everyone else seems to have an organized routine involving exercise and whatnot. I really don’t have anything like that. Some days I’m up at 5AM and others I sleep in until 10 or 11. I would say it’s moreso the latter, because I’m often most swept up in creative inspiration in the late hours of the night. That’s when I’m the most focused and in the zone. It’s not unusual to go down a rabbit hole on something I’m really focused on and then realize it’s daylight outside. So yeah, I usually try to get as much sleep as I can, maybe wake up an hour before I need to leave. I read the news on my iPad for like 20 minutes in bed, grab my stuff, take some vitamins, and get the hell out of there. I don’t do breakfast or anything because I try to only eat within a short window in the evening.

What are some things you use everyday that you enthusiastically recommend?

At home I have those Hue LED lightbulbs that change colors with an app or whatever, and I would really recommend them to anybody — not only because they take less power, but because the human brain is extremely basic and influenced way more by colors than we give credit for. When I take a shower, I set my bathroom to a lighting scheme that looks like the arctic tundra or something, and I make the water really cold. Once I leave the bathroom, my brain is happy to see warm yellow light again and I get super cheered up at some boneheaded caveman level.

Read any good books lately? Listen to any good records?

I’m currently reading Bob Odenkirk’s biography Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama, because he’s just a God to anyone who ever loved sketch comedy. I feel like half the time, though, I’m reading non-fiction about old theme park artists because I’m obsessed with the history of themed spaces and entertainment. I just got a book about Claude Coats, who painted and designed what was in the Disney parks for like 35 years.

As for records, Jack White did a special vinyl of his latest album just for indie stores, so I just recently picked that up. The Limited Run Games store in North Carolina had a custom soundtrack made for it, which sounds like a Phantasy Star Online-flavored dream. They gave me a copy of it and I’ve been listening to that while I work for the past month.

What’s an item of clothing you’re really into right now?

I’ve been really into the bootleg clothing scene all over Instagram right now. I just got a Perfect Blue long sleeve shirt I was looking for for years. It’s also a great way to find clothing that mixes tie dye and the Arby’s logo.

What’s one thing you’d like to do more of?

I want to do more in Japan. For some reason, the stuff we make in Mega64 really resonates there. One of the last things we did before the world shut down in 2020 was go to Osaka and make some videos there. It was such a positive and beautiful experience — like, the most bittersweet way to say goodbye to international travel for years. I want to go back there so bad — maybe even stay there a long time and make something really cool. I have no idea what. Maybe I should have just answered this with “exercise.”