Creature Feature: Patrick Watson

Creature Feature: Patrick Watson

Meet Patrick Watson, Scryptid co-founder and creator of the new game tar.gz.

Patrick (he/him) is a writer, teacher, and game designer living in the East Village of New York City. He’s been playing and making games for nearly twenty years and his favorites are good and weird. Like, wizards with crummy corporate jobs and radioactive dogs weird. Find him @patrickdkwatson.

What cryptid do you most relate to?

I’m originally from Western Montana so I love a good lake monster. The Flat Head Lake monster “Flessie” is your standard Mosasaur extinction hold out. We also have Wendigo, Sasquatch, and the Shunka Warakin, which is a big shaggy wolf-thing that you can actually see stuffed at the Museum of Natural History in Bozeman. But as for the one I most relate to, I’m partial to the six-legged Wampus cat. Although that might just be because I call my cat the Wumpus.

What will people love about playing tar.gz?

Tar.gz involves a lot of worlds generated by large language models. It’s a machine-GM-ed game where you use ChatGPT to describe the scenes and resolve conflicts. It’s exciting to see the weird worlds it creates and see it struggle to try to integrate player agency into it’s text. One of the most fun roles, ironically, is acting as the “operator” who asks the AI questions and reads the responses. It’s interesting to be the voice of the robot. The worlds that tar.gz creates are often weird and unpredictable, drawing players into a surreal and immersive experience. It sometimes creates ambiguous and liminal experiences where it’s hard to identify which elements came from the model and which from the players. Which is why I had ChatGPT answer this question. Or maybe I didn’t.

What’s your earliest TTRPG memory?

When I was ten or eleven, I knew my friend Adam was the coolest person in the world because he came up with all of these incredible stories about Wars out in the Stars, and Dungeons where you could find Dragons. I always wondered how he could be so creative—at least until I discovered that he was basically just telling me about pop culture I was too sheltered to know about. The good news, though, was that his older brother would run games of DarkSun for us, which remains my favorite D&D setting. It’s a post-apocalyptic world of cannibal halflings, giant sentient bugs, and wizards who steal the water right out of your body. I think it’s an especially interesting setting because despite a number of questionable choices, the default adventure usually involves escaping from slavery rather than massacring a bunch of goblins who were just trying to hang out in the forest.

What will people love about playing Psychic Trash Detectives, the first release from Scryptid Games?

For a high-concept game about trash animals having psychic visions, Psychic Trash Detectives has an extremely wide tonal range. You can play a hardboiled tom cat rescuing kittens from a sack, a scarf-wearing skunk romantic poet, or a silly bear who just wants to eat all the noodles. The detective genre exists sort of at the edge of society, so there are so many ways to engage with the feelings of the Psychic Trash Detectives world.

Which new games by indie creators have caught your eye this year?

I try to ignore “newness” because I can never keep up with the steady goop of game-chum that’s constantly being squeezed out. I’m never well-informed and always find games years after my friends have enjoyed them, and I mostly like it that way. I was excited to get the new PBTA version of Avatar the last Airbender, although I’m not sure that counts as indie, but I love the series. Wanderhome also gave me some warm feels. I also think we should all be playing more Lasers and Feelings. On the video game front, I finished Inscryption recently and it’s exactly the sort of 4th-wall-breaking meta game I’m super excited by.

You can check out Patrick’s game tar.gz, along with four other excellent games by the rest of the Scryptid team, by purchasing the Scryptid Games Creature Feature Bundle on

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