In this ongoing series, generous videogame makers give us a peek into their civilian lives by playing show and tell with a few possessions near and dear to them. Today’s “Stuff I Can’t Live Without” comes from 2k Boston’s Ken Levine, creative director of Bioshock and, from the looks of his living space, true-blue nerd:

My Giant Shelf of Media


Well, more to the point, my giant shelves of stuff. My house is overloaded (with the forbearance of my dear and indulgent wife) with the very elements of nerd utopia. Videogames, board games, comic books, movies.


The only hope for me not ending up like one of those crazy old cat ladies or the Collyer brothers is that A.) I’ve been known to purge the shelves every couple of years as a prelude to buying more crap and B.) with the advent of Steam and iTunes, my pack-ratting has moved into the digital age.


I wish I could say I could leave it all behind, but I couldn’t. I love my media. I love my board games. Hell, I don’t even play most of them that often, I just love the fact that they’re there…that they could be played if the opportunity presented itself.

My “Art” Collection


I always felt like I should like art. Isn’t that part of being an adult? But I never really made it. Sure, every now and then I’ll look at a Vermeer and think, “That’s kind of cool.” But deep down, I likes what I likes.

And when it comes to art, what I likes is comic books. I’ve made an “investment” in some original pieces, mostly Bruce Timm. The first piece I got, and my favorite, is this Scarlet Witch. For those of you who saw my PAX speech, you might make a connection between this and some psycho-sexual issues I had as a teenager. But I just think she’s awesome.


And then there’s Fin Fang Foom. This was actually a gift from one of my industry heroes, Jordan Weisman, who created HeroClix, MechWarrior, ShadowRun and most everything else. He sits on top of my computer and reminds me no matter how cool life can be, I’ll never get to be named Fin Fang Foom.



I didn’t used to watch much TV. That wasn’t because I didn’t like TV. I did. But I’m chronically late and chronically lazy. TIVO takes every problem that TV brings: commercials and schedules, and destroys them. Me likey.

My Travel Companions


There was a time when I could get on a plane with a magazine or two. Now, unless I’ve got my DS, my PSP and my iPhone full of apps, Kindle books and movies, I get a bad case of the heebie jeebies. I’m an ADD baby in a world that’s finally caught up to my inclinations. The ability to get on a plane, or go on a trip with literally thousands of hours of entertainment in tow is something that makes me happy. There’s a part of me that wonders if it’s making me dumb, that I wouldn’t better off contemplating the universe, watching the sunset or talking to my seat mate. And then I pop in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and forget all about those kind of questions.



Five years ago, we quit the gym and bought the Stairmaster. Stairmaster + DVD player + Tivo = working out for nerds. Highly recommended.

My Wife


When I met her she was living in an apartment with no computer, no internet, no cable, not even a VCR. Now she’s surrounded by my crap. A lot of women would have tried to change me. Instead, she just said “How does this TIVO work?”. Now she’s got a wireless laptop, an iPhone, a DS and a GPS. She’s joined the nerd squad. This is her when she was a kid. She looks cranky. That’s how I’d be all the time if not for her.