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Touch-Screen Sanctuary

A grown-up gamer creates an analog party pad.

A touchscreen LED system controls the colored lights lining the fire pit.
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Murals by artist Brian Barneclo deck the stairwells.
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Partygoers have been known to stretch the eight-person capacity of the cedar hot tub.
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Tolix's pink steel Marais stools on the roof deck.
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Giant numerals marking each floor are visible through the elevator's glass door.
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Wooden animal-head sculptures by Roost frame the game room's custom pool table.
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Roger Dickey at work in the master bedroom.
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A Tetris block-inspired sofa and Bensen's yellow Park chair in the living room.
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As a former Zynga executive and creator of the social networking game Mafia Wars, Roger Dickey was used to 10-hour workdays spent in rooms lit only by the glow of a screen. Now an angel investor, the 29-year-old bought this four-story, 4,000-square-foot Marina pad ready to let a little sunlight into his life. Outdoor spaces occupy every floor, the most exhibitionistic of which—the penthouse’s wraparound deck—showcases a barrel-style hot tub, a fire pit, and 360-degree views of the bay. “It’s a big place to live in alone, so I like to throw events,” says Dickey, who hosts “small parties”—typically 100 to 200 people, plus hired bartenders, photographers, and doormen—for startup launches, book releases, and friends’ birthdays.

That’s not to say that Dickey has completely abandoned his gaming-in-the-basement roots. He enlisted Kevin Hackett and Jessica Weigley of the Siol design firm to incorporate decorative details that both a tech geek and an aesthete can appreciate. The cushions of the boxy living room couch, for starters, were custom-made to resemble Tetris blocks. An opaque, iPad-shaped window casts a soft blue light across the guest bathroom. Five wall-mounted iPads throughout the house control the nine-zone sound system, and a $40,000 touch-screen LED system allows party-goers to change the hue of the lights lining the ceilings, fire pit, and fireplace. In the bedroom, a hidden TV monitor emerges from the bed’s footboard with the push of a button. “The bedrooms are on the second floor,” says Dickey. “The rest is social space.”

That conviviality extends from the fire pit to the ground-floor game room, complete with a royal purple pool table, a walnut bar, and a Dance Dance Revolution arcade. Dickey’s biggest fête to date was for his 29th birthday, in July, when 600 friends and entrepreneurs joined the revelry. When there’s a hot tub overlook involved, the best social networking happens offline.

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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