My name is Ewen Cluney. “Ewen” is pronounced like “Aaron” for reasons my parents have never adequately explained to me. “Yaruki Zero” is Japanese for “zero motivation,” and it’s meant as an ironic exhortation to myself to get things done. It was inspired by how I felt about being forced to put on a skit for a Japanese class.
I’ve been playing RPGs for about 15 years. The first game I played was Palladium’s Robotech RPG, and the first game I owned and ran was Toon. My gaming group has never been the type to settle on a system for more than a year or so. The games we’ve played a lot include Rifts, Mage, Fading Suns, Thrash, Fudge, Truth & Justice, and OVA. I have a ton of indie games I want to try out.
My obsession with anime started about 12 years ago. I’d had contact with anime here and there, but Project A-ko was what turned me into an anime fan. That in turn is what got me to start learning Japanese, and I’m currently trying to start a full-on career as a translator.
I started trying to design my own games almost as soon as I got into the hobby, though it took a long time to produce anything remotely worth showing others. The first one that went somewhere was Thrash, a fighting-game style martial arts RPG that I started designing during my first year of college. In retrospect it was a rather flawed game, but it was also the only game even attempting to cover a genre that lots of people wanted to role-play.
For both purchasing and designing games I tend to think in terms of what I can get my regular gaming group to play, which means I need to be able to explain the majority of the rules in less than 30 minutes, preferably more like 10. (Too many people who won’t read a rulebook, no matter how well it fits their interests). It also means that my eyes have a tendency to glaze over when confronted with a rulebook that’s more than 200 pages or so.
My games tend to mostly be inspired by anime and other “otaku media” (manga, light novels, video games, etc.), partly because of the sheer amount of this stuff I’m exposed to, and partly because relatively few other people are trying to design such games, despite the rich variety of inspiration that’s out there. I have a tendency to flit from one project to another based on whatever I feel like working on at the time, plus freelance work can destroy the free time I would ordinarily use for working on games. I have vague aspirations to publish some of my games if/when they ever come to fruition, but between my frequent project-switching and wanting to make sure any game I try to publish is as good as I can make it.