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Out of Play Area

23 EpisodesProduced by John R. DiazWebsite

A bi-weekly video game development podcast by John R. Diaz, a veteran game designer who goes 1:1 in candid conversations with the developers behind today‘s hit games where we discuss their journey and learnings in this wild industry with no punches pulled. John is a kid born to emigrants from the D… read more


The Origin of Rockstar Presents Table Tennis | Mr. Benja - Founder of The 8Bit Cubist | Ep 2

In episode 02, we sit down with Benjamin Johnson, or Mr. Benja as he’s known online, who is a designer and creative living in SoCal best known for being the lead designer on Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis and being a prominent open-world scripter for Red Dead Redemption.

Early on, he was introduced to the arts, but when he came across video games, he quickly decided to make game development his focus. Benja obtained degrees in Information Systems and Software Engineering from Florida A&M University and Michigan State University, respectively.

From there he went on to create and design video games for companies such as Sony Santa Monica, 3DO, WowWee, and, of course, Rockstar Games San Diego.

Afterward, he turned his focus away from the corporate and has since moved into creative ventures including podcasting, gallery curation, and a fine arts project called The 8Bit Cubist. And as he explains, “Life Imitates Game.”



  1. (0:00) Who is Mr. Benja?
  2. (01:01) Intro Theme
  3. (01:27) Are Games Art?
  4. (04:56) A Toast: JÄGERMEISTER & Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal
  5. (11:22) Falling in love with video games
  6. (17:29) Learning & Applying DirectX
  7. (23:10) Committed to Getting a Game Dev Job
  8. (28:27) Interviewing at the 3DO Company
  9. (41:21) Being a Gameplay Engineer at 3DO
  10. (55:49) Playing Grand Theft Auto 3
  11. (01:06:36) Can I be a Rockstar?
  12. (01:14:26) Lead Designer for Rockstar Presents Table Tennis
  13. (01:34:54) Red Dead Redemption Bounty Hunter
  14. (01:43:52) Game Design is Dead
  15. (01:50:47) Q&A - Suprise from Chris Bourassa
  16. (01:53:00) Mr. Benja Farewell
  17. (01:56:06) John's Recap
  18. (01:57:26) Next Episode Teaser: Mayling Tan
  19. (01:57:58) John's Outro


Additional Resources:

Ben Johnson's Game Credits

The 8Bit Cubist Mr Benja's ADD Experience  Follow Benja on Twitter @mrbenja

Follow Benja on Instagram @mrbenja

Follow you host John R. Diaz on Twitter @elkingpin


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