Nerd Jobs

As a well as a year of side projects, its been a year of ambitious job applications. Turns out there aren’t that many entry-level writing jobs in the gaming industry. It seems to be a largely a matter of making your own games, putting them out there, watching them lose money, and then hopefully eventually one will make money, or you’ll be hired to work on a larger project. I’ve made some beginning steps in that direction, and tried to get myself a little bit of amateur freelance experience, but I haven’t let that stop me applying for every position I find. I’m determined to find myself a creative career that reflects my interests, and gaming is still one of the top candidates.

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Zombies, Run! was one, a zombie radio play/fitness app that had an apprenticeship going. That was an enjoyable application, listening to the episodes (occasionally while exercising), researching the characters and trying to capture their voice of the characters I was required to work with as part of the application process. You’d think the fact that every episode had to contrive a way for the player to save the day by running somewhere would end up being incredibly stilted, but I was actually fairly impressed with the game’s plot and characters. Reminded me of Survivors or Day of the Triffids – way more like survivalist fiction than a standard zombie plot.

Runescape was another one. A bit less exciting as a creative prospect, but thinking about the development of an MMO and the design limitations of creating quests with fixed plotlines and events that have to hold up in a game world inhabited by thousands of players with large amounts of freedom was an interesting exercise.

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Neither of those worked out, but I’m still at it. Games Workshop is the current target – they’re looking for writer/designers for their tabletop wargames. Not ever something I thought I’d be considering, but I’m already pretty familiar with the intellectual property, and I’ve already made it to the second stage – some fairly substantial writing exercises, including a bit of technical rule-building for the game itself and a book project proposal.

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The InDesign skills I’ve been picking up from the Sub-Editing module have been remarkably useful. Between this and Out of Bounds, finding ways to collate and present complex information has been another common theme this term. My digital presentation skills have certainly improved, if nothing else.

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But mostly its just been an excuse, if I ever needed one, to apply my creative practice to absolute, shameless nerdiness. Coursework deadlines are closing in, so there will probably be less time for job applications (both the fun and non-fun kinds), but its gratifying that these opportunities even exist in the first place. Good to keep my eye in, and the prospect of actual money/potential employment is certainly one way to find the motivation for new projects.

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