Friday, October 31, 2014

Finding Direction

Nearly two years ago I attended a conference where Jesse Schell was a keynote speaker. At the end of his presentation, I approached him to ask advice for JT since, at the time, he was interested in computer game design. Mr. Schell gave me his business card and directed me to encourage JT to become active in his game design community, GameSprout. JT has contributed a little bit on the site, but was more interested in making his own board games and card games at home.

A couple weeks ago, in a moment of Mom Worry - which happens on a regular basis, most recently in early September - I started to panic about JT's future. It is so clear to me that he loves coming up with ideas for games. But once again I was concerned that his difficulties with math and art would hinder his ability to move ahead in that field. So I decided to bother important people with questions about a career in game design.

I found a contact email for Jesse Schell on his site and sent him a message asking what kind of path a non-math, non-art, wanna-be game designer should take. I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an encouraging reply that basically said, game designers come from all kinds of backgrounds. While art and math are very helpful, they aren't 100% necessary for a career in a creative field. He even sent quite a few links to biographical information on game designers who have non-typical degrees. I had already purchased his book, The Art of Game Design, that I had been saving for JT for Christmas. However, after sharing what Mr. Schell had said with JT, I ended up giving it to him right away. He loves the book! He has been up late reading it, coming up with tons of ideas for new games, and taking another look at his old games with his new perspective. He also returned to GameSprout and started contributing more to the community.

We still don't know the exact path he will need to take, but now he knows that he can take a path that suits his personality and interests to reach the goal he has in mind.

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