Everybody needs affirmation about their chosen career once in a while, unless you are hugely successful like Tom Cruise or Oprah. I don’t know when I decided I wanted to be a game writer, but believe me when I say I’ve needed loads of affirmation for this, especially since there is no such thing as a full-time game writer in the Philippines. (If there is anyone else besides me, I would like to meet you!!!)
I am happy to say that since June 16 I am officially a full-time game writer/designer for a Singapore casual games company. I won’t say much about the work, except that it is teh awesome. Looking back at the five years I’ve spent as a game developer before getting to this point, I’ve had five moments that reaffirmed my choice of career. Though I’ve had many high points at work, these five moments are all overwhelming and life-changing, so they stand out from everything else. These five moments also happen to be centered around five specific people (who have my eternal gratitude!).
My five career affirmations
1. Chris Avellone, Obsidian, Malaysia 2005
Chris Avellone was the first true-blue game writer I had ever met, and he just happened to have written several of the best RPGs of all time. He patiently asked me questions about my job and also patiently listened to my nervous answers. I ran into him again at both the 2007 and 2008 Game Developers Conferences and he has been very nice to me. Meeting him built my very first foundation of the idea that yes, I could be a game writer – this career existed.
2. Ragnar Tornquist, Funcom, Singapore 2006
My luck with game writers just kept getting better – this time, it was Ragnar Tornquist of The Longest Journey who sat beside me in a bar and talked to me about story. Story! I don’t remember anything I said, but I do remember my crazy friend Gabby walking up to us and telling Ragnar, “She fucking adores you, man.” (It’s true – I do.)
3. Ed Dille, FOG Studios, San Francisco 2008
Ed Dille was the head of FOG, my previous company’s game agency with whom I’d worked closely as producer. Leaving my old job was one of the most difficult decisions I’d ever made, and I hadn’t even told the folks at FOG, but of course they found out (it’s their business to know things!). At my last FOG dinner, Ed told me that I was a loss to the industry if I left and that I had a big heart. It moved me to tears, and affirmed that my decision to pursue game writing was the right one.
4. Daniel Erickson, Bioware, San Francisco 2008
To have the lead writer of Bioware tell a roomful of writers to listen to your question and make sure you get good advice is already a heartstopper. To have the lead writer of Bioware approach you afterwards, give you his card, and tell you he will gladly read your work and give you advice for free is just more than awesome. I survived both. I never did get to send him my work – meeting him was enough!
5. Clint Hocking, Ubisoft, San Francisco 2008
I’ve never met Clint Hocking, but he inspired me anyway – I was there at the Game Designers Rant when he proclaimed his dissatisfaction of our current game industry and asked why we couldn’t come up with games that matter. That is exactly how I’ve always felt – we need better stories, better themes, games that affect people and actually mean something. Everytime I remember his speech I get all tingly and inspired. I even shared it with my students 😛
There you have it. It’s not a long list, but I’m still young – I hope to collect more memories as I continue to be in this industry. And I’m a game writer now! Awesome! 🙂