Writing for Games

I was able to make three of the presentations for Tuesday’s conference, and I’m so glad I did. I’ll be going, fingers crossed, into the games industry as a game artist, but I’ve had a little taste of game writing in one of Seth Hudson’s classes and I really like it. Laura Packer’s morning workshop was a good way to ease into the day. The woman is a very talented storyteller, and the creative exercises she had us participate in really began renewing my interest in creative writing, which I haven’t done in a while. She had us doing goofy improv games in groups to stir up ideas and create some really off-the-wall stories. What she stressed, here, was the importance of having a group to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of, because collaboration is really where the best story elements are conjured in conjunction with improv; we’ll often come up with more novel ideas when put on the spot in a group setting and BSing the next line of a narrative.

The importance of having a group of people to bounce ideas off of was a point emphasized also by Rowland Cox. He stressed the importance of having a “circle of trust”; a group of people who will listen to you and give you constructive criticism on your ideas. The industry can be cruel, and maturing your ideas with a small group of others first and thickening your rhino skin will help you succeed more in the industry. The biggest thing he talked about, though, was passion. You’ve got to love what you do. You’ve got to know what you love about it. You’ve got to be able to pull from an arsenal of references, whether they be textual, gamic, or filmic in nature, to get across to others what you love. This probably hit truest to what I lack currently. I have a huge passion for video games (and making them), and going to see all the recent Marvel films in sequence before I watch the Avengers already makes me giddy as a kid on Christmas day, I haven’t thought too deeply about why I love what I love. The passion’s there, I just need to find it’s source, and I relish that advice. Anyway, I really liked that he asked the audience members questions, too, engaging them in conversation. It was refreshing and the atmosphere was nice.

Ken Rolston, though, wow.

I’ve never been to such an energetic presentation before. He was honest, he was fun, he was unafraid, and he shone as brightly as the sun with lethal positivity. He stressed a lot of things- the importance of collecting literature, flyers, etc. to use as references, learning from tabletop games, maintaining an excessively positive attitude in the workplace to get what you want, failing fast, hard, and dramatically, stealing stuff, and the power of donuts. It was incredibly fast-paced, and he had a lot of information to give, but what I absorbed was very helpful and I have a lot of respect for the man. He terrifies me just a wee bit (that extreme positivity and confidence helps, I think) but I admire the way he operates and I think that’s something to aspire to. He came out of retirement to keep working on and perfecting games; you can see that he loves what he does.

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