Howdy, I've posted on this forum before tangentially asking about various game-industry related positions, but have finally realized that in about two months I'll finally be financially stable enough to perhaps take a risk or two and dive head-first into a medium I'm passionate about.
Sorta. Having just paid off student loans the idea of more education is definitely a no-go. However, I have what I think are quite a few skills in a couple of different areas, and was curious if any of these gelled together into something resembling a skill-set for an actual job in the game industry.
1. Computer Technology - I currently work in Tech Support and have for well over 6 years now. I take over 5000 calls a year, explaining technical problems to non-technical end-users (in a retail environment) and walking them through various solutions, whether it be resetting their router, re-installing the toner in their printer, or explaining what a 'caps lock' is. - I would imagine these skills - along with my A+ and Net+ certification would endear me to folks like, say, gamestop's call center / customer service group because I've had experience explaining things to folks they may not quite understand.
2. Video production / editing / editing - I have a degree in TV writing and producing and worked for Roger Ebert's "Ebert Presents: At The Movies" before it was cancelled. I did video editing, website management, social media management, and helped bring the show into "HD" by using websites like EPK.TV and such.
3. Writing - I've been writing about games for the better part of five years now for a bunch of sites, but whenever a 'big' site has been hiring for whatever reason my samples (see spoiler) aren't good enough and I don't get a reply. I'd love to be a professional game critic / writer / reviewer / video guy - but I know those jobs are very few and far between - and without a degree in journalism I feel at a disadvantage.
Headline: The Force is Strong with this one: Disney and Electronic Arts agree to Multi-Year “Star Wars” Deal.
May 6th, 2013
By: Paul Meekin
Rejoice, Star Wars fans should! As of May 6, 2013, Electronic Arts are officially at the tonton reigns of the world’s most popular science fantasy franchise, entering into a multiyear deal with The Walt Disney Company to publish and develop games set in the Star Wars universe.
“Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.” said Disney Interactive Co-President John Pleasants.
The deal gives EA free reign over console and PC development for the “core gaming audience”, while Disney will retain mobile, tablet, and browser game development rights.
I’ll leave the ‘Evil Empire’ jokes to the kind folks in the comments, but this is a gargantuan deal, and really is great news for gamers. Disney is fantastic at exploiting popular brands - you need look no further than the recent onslaught of Marvel comics related television shows on their cable networks.
The partnership with EA proves they don’t intend to sit on the Star Wars franchise the same way Lucasfilm and now-defunkt LucasArts had previously. Considering Star Wars’ languid presence on consoles and PC, save for Knights of The Old Republic Online, two Force Unleashed games, and a Kinect...thing, the deal between the two makes quite a lot of sense. Handing the the Star Wars brand over to a proven ‘Triple A’ publisher like Electronic Arts makes the promise of quality Star Wars games a virtual certainty for the first time in a very long time.
“...DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise.” Said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau.
Be honest, the idea of a DICE developed, ‘Frostbite’-powered Star Wars: Battlefront reboot featuring speeder bikes, AT-STs, and fully destructible trees, and fully squishable Ewoks on Endor, is enough to make even the most jaded gamer salivate - I know I am. Does anyone have a napkin?
But for now details are mum as Electronic Arts develops a game plan, but rest assured the force is strong with one, and soon you’ll be using the twin sticks on your controller or WASD on your keyboard, to swing a lightsaber to your heart’s content, and as always IGN will be trying out darndest to jedi mind trick any and all information we can from both Disney and Electronic arts.
Headline: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 makes a Billion Dollars in two weeks.
Dec 5. 2012
Just in: Your game doesn’t need to feature dead presidents to rake them them in hand over fist.
Activision-Blizzard announced today that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Blops 2, for short) had surpassed over a billion dollars in sales, and over a 150 million online hours logged by players two weeks and a day after launch.
“...it takes a lot of brilliant people working across many different disciplines to make it happen. It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to be a part of," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, likely while swimming in a pool of hundred dollar bills on a pool float made of gold and diamonds.
For the uninformed, Call of Duty is a long-running first person shooter franchise that garnered immerse popularity and acclaim via 2007’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The combination of contemporary setting, heart-breaking single player campaign, and robust multiplayer suite which included RPG elements like leveling up and character customization, connected with gamers worldwide.
Since, Call of Duty has seen hotly anticipated yearly releases, alternating between Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward, and Treyarch, who developed both Black Ops and Black Ops 2, as well as the Wii ports of Modern Warfare, which are a lot better than core gamers may think.
There’s no doubting Call of Duty’s huge online community played a role in the massive sales numbers, with the competitive gameplay, miles deep customization, and return of the highly popular ‘Zombies’ mode ensuring the game has something to offer pretty much everyone. Toss in Black Ops 2’s couch-co-op-friendly nature, and it’s simply a must have for folks who love shooters, have friends that love shooters, or simply want a game lying around they can play with buddies who may get put off by titles that require you to take turns, or are online co-op only.
With numbers like these, you can bet your Beretta you’ll be seeing more Call of Duty sooner rather than later, and with the promise of a new generation of consoles on the horizon, it’s only going to get bigger and better. Be sure to keep an eye toward IGN’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Portal for any and all updates, including DLC releases, tips, tricks, and walkthroughs. Happy hunting!
4. Testing - I fill out reports all day long at work. I make notes, I send e-mails about bugs, and I'm pretty good at explaining why something is wrong and how it could affect both the user and those of us trying to support the user. I know the general prevailing theory is "Game testing is ABSOLUTELY NOT what you think it is", but if it is what I've been told it isn't, it still sounds pretty exciting.
Anyway, I know there isn't a chance in heck of getting anywhere near the design process - and that's fine. Ideally I envision myself in some sort of support capacity.
Some ideas I was considering tracking down:
1. Video Producer for gaming stuff - I remember hearing on a podcast about a TV network in Canada that's dedicated to gaming. For the LIFE OF ME I cannot find it, but working for a broadcast network where I can combine my education with my passion is kind of the brass ring. I'd love to be able to cut together trailers, capture game footage, and so on. Working for a site like Game Trailers would be incredible too. With so many podcasts getting into streaming and such, I feel there is a growing need for this kind of thing.
But, I don't know how many of these sites are really out there - and can offer actual jobs with actual benefits and actual 'job security' (a figurative term, I know). Naturally I've sent out the occasional resume, but I find going through Human Resources has generated very little in the way of response.
2. Customer Service Representative for <Gaming Company X> - Pretty much doing what I do now - taking calls, fixing problems, logging the problem, escalating the big problems, and helping folks out, but with something gaming related as opposed to selling clothes to fat people.
I imagine there are a lot of these jobs, and with my 7 years of experience and A+ and Net+ certification, the ones I'm the most qualified for.
3. Full-time games critic - I'll play anything. Kid games, iOS games, android games, ouya games, board games, etc. The idea of getting paid to play these games is incredible. If this became my professional life I'd probably melt. When I worked for Ebert I had something similar to this going on, but with movies, and found I flourished in an 'always on' environment where EVERYONE around me cared about movies as much as I did. And I care about games than I do movies. I do have a degree in writing and have written...dozens and dozens of gaming-related reviews and articles and top ten lists, but imagine these jobs are so highly coveted that unless I'm physically in San Fran when a job opens up I'd be unlikely to land it- but my willingness and enthusiasm to play anything may help my chances?
4. I'm up for anything - Perhaps you work in the gaming field and have a specific job title or job duty I should be hunting down, instead of casting a wide net with various "videogame Jobs" searches on monster, indeed, and other job sites. Are there websites dedicated specifically to employment opportunities in the gaming industry?
How is Gamesalad.com as a way to get the foot in the door?
Anyway, the other big issue is I'm in Massachusetts. There's a few gaming companies here - including the folks who made Bioshock Infinite and LOTR: Online, and Harmonix, and I've paroused those sites for various openings, and sent 'just reaching out' e-mails to smaller devs, too. But to be honest I don't even really know how to approach this thing without sounding like an irksome uber-fan.
Here's kind of what I've been working on, cover-letter wise:
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Paul Meekin, and I’m writing to you today regarding the News Writer position at Imagine Games Network (IGN).
A bit about me:
I’ve written videogame news and reviews for Toucharcade.com, thebestgameapps.com, Hollywoodchicago.com, 411mania.com, and Gizorama.com. I was slated to write game reviews for RogerEbert.com before the website decided to stick with just film and television review content.
I’ve reviewed films and television for Starpulse.com, Indiewire.com, Fandor.com, and Streetwise Magazine, and even had Ray Romano refer to me as ‘ma’am’ multiple times during a phone interview.
I have my own Gamespress.com account, work with Turbine games founders on a variety of projects, and am also A+ and Net+ certified, having worked in tech support for 7 years and counting.
I’m a graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s TV Writing and Producing program. While there I created the movie review show ‘The Price of Admission’, where in addition to reviews, we interviewed folks like Aaron Sorkin. The show continues, having produced over a 100 episodes.
I’m also a former Production Assistant / Producer / Social Media Manager for the nationally televised PBS series ‘Ebert Presents At The Movies’, and brought that show in HD prior to it going on permanent hiatus. I’ve also produced and edited video for Roger Ebert, including an interview with ‘Beasts Of the Southern Wild’ star, and oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.
I have a passion for interactive media like you wouldn’t believe. Not to be over-the-top, but I think about games, games news, the future of games, what games are saying in a subtextual way intentionally and unintentionally, more often than anyone else I know - heck I even remember the first review I read on IGN. Winback for the n64.
Anyway, any insight you kind folks have regarding this would be welcome! Thanks!