My Resume is Full of Ninjas

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

My Resume is Full of Ninjas

…and it’s worse than a hovercraft full of eels. If I had all those eels, I would turn them over to a sushi chef and request nigiri with barbecue sauce. I love barbecue eel nigiri. But what I have is a resume occupied by ninjas, wizards, and vampires, and turning that into a grown-up job is quite a feat.

I have reasons for looking elsewhere. I loved my time in games, but I’m looking for something long-term now, and game jobs tend to run short. So here I am, looking for a web content job, with a work history that includes short fiction about ninja healers, designing vampire lairs, and writing VO dialog for a sarcastic wizard.

It’s hard to convince the folks at your average HR department that this translates into skill at creative writing. Writing for games teaches brevity, sharpness, and figuratively speaking the flexibility of a circus contortionist. Games change throughout production, and your story often exists in a state of constant re-writing. You’re always on your toes, because anything could change. You might also be asked to write marketing material, which can range from flash fiction to traditional blog posts.

To someone outside the industry, games can seem pretty esoteric, or even frivolous. You can try to explain, but you’ll still have a hell of a time being taken seriously. Interviewers tell you all about how much their nephews want to work in games, and then don’t hire you, because seriously, you wrote vampire stories? That’s not work. That’s not serious experience.

Except it is. Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry. I’ve written scenes for the equivalent of three indie films, two of which saw widespread distribution. Gamers get the web. Google “Dove Real Beauty.” Then google “arrow to the knee.” Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now look at that. The “arrow” has five times the Google results, and that Dove campaign is considered one of the more successful attempts to go viral. Now, clearly there’s a difference between pure entertainment and a marketing campaign, but what I’m trying to do here is get across the scope of the game industry. Games reach people. Not just gamification, games. If you want to understand the internet, you should absolutely know your analytics and marketing fundamentals, but you should also know Master Chief when you see him. Otherwise you risk that eternal pitfall of viral marketing–coming across like a stodgy old relic trying to be cool.*

It’s huge. It involves a lot of money. Game developers don’t screw around on the PlayStation all day; they work hard to make good products for a competitive and unforgiving branch of the entertainment industry. They push their skills and watch the numbers. They reach outside their job descriptions to market their games online and at trade shows and conventions. It’s time to take game experience seriously.

* I realize this is possibly a bit rich for someone who opened with a joke from the 1960s. Some jokes are evergreen.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.