The Arduous Quest

Apparently three of the most stressful things in life are looking for a job, moving house, and having a baby. It is a good job I’m not having a baby raised on a diet of Relentless and pizza, while looking for a job, while looking for a house, because I would have probably died by now.

It just so happened at the beginning of our house hunt, the first apartment was the perfect apartment. The price had dropped into our range, it was on the top floor, it had a soft carpet, big windows, spacious living, and took its residents away from a busy road into a serene, green, leafy garden area that was blissfully quiet. One holding deposit and a day later, and the current tenants had changed their minds and decided to stay put.

We started our solemn search again. Nothing was quite right. House viewings took all day, followed by fairly joyless gaming at night. The places that were ‘OK’ would disappear from under our feet. When we finally found the perfect place 2.0, our letting agents set us various tasks. For example, they won’t accept a pay slip, or a phonecall from a manager to prove where you work. Oh no.

You need a sample of your managers blood, sweat, and hair on letter headed paper, and he must sign his or her name at the bottom in urine (because without that, you know, it could be anyone). Prospective tenants and their previous landlords must complete an agility course with a dog at Crufts in under 3 minutes. You also need to pay the letting agents a non-refundable fee of £2,000 for the privilege of taking part*.

So while assembling this evidence, I’ve been applying for jobs ‘in games’. It’s a weird experience because no matter how enthusiastic I feel about an application, even if I get a deadline or a call to confirm some details, I have a constant growing doubt in my mind. I think about everything I’m bad at, all the things I don’t know how to do, and all the studios who have recently been letting talented, experienced staff go. So that’s Black Rock Studios, Evolution, Studio Liverpool, and THQ just to name a few.

There are so many more students graduating games courses than there are job vacancies (in the UK, at least), candidates need to be talented, and prove their worth above so many others. I’ve tried not to waste any time in continuing to develop my skills, sadly my fairly new computer is currently being repaired, so with just my netbook for company, that’s temporarily on hold.

As a subject I would like to write on further, I will share this nugget of information with you now: a few months ago I surveyed 80 jobs in games development for a combination of art and design roles, roughly 40 in America and 40 in Europe. Only three of these job postings asked for a degree, and of those three, a degree was ‘desirable’. If you want to work in this area, you need skills with the right software, and even more likely, you need previous experience.

Before coming home I’ve snatched time on the superb Dungeon Siege III, summoning a Jackal and saying “Jackal! Jackal! Jackal! It’s a Jackal!” every single time, and playing Alice, really, really badly. I’m just so hideously terrible at games that involve timed dodging in combat (I’m bad at lots of games, yes).

I am intensely excited for mid-July. Provided I can complete my letting agent’s difficult quest, and I can prove to someone out there that I can work, I’ll have a home, a job, and be reunited with the playing of video games.

*May be an exaggeration






Leave a Reply