Arnold Hendrick: “Hiring Game Designers”

Humble Beginning

This is the first of a series of reflections and responses to articles on game design. They are recommended for my Game Design course.

The first article is by Arnold Hendrick: “Hiring Game Designers”

This feels like a practical and robust guide to being an employable game designer. Not necessarily a good game designer (although there are similarities) but this specifically lists traits that companies are (or should be) looking for. I really appreciate this – there was a lot of information in this article that was new to me, and that I feel I should have been exposed to by now.

The first new bit of information was the distinction between lead designer and assistant designer. Maybe this is obvious, but I hadn’t given it much thought before. I (and probably most aspiring designers) had always pictured myself in a lead designer role, making large strategic decisions about the game and diving into details whenever necessary. But now I realize that my first position is likely to be all details. The good news is, I’m totally comfortable with that.
Next up: I need a writing sample. I’m not sure why I forgot to put this in my portfolio last semester. I’ll probably put a game design assignment up this semester as my sample.

The third major insight I gleaned was that I haven’t identified my “other stuff” knowledge areas that will benefit me as a designer. My deepest knowledge is in computer science, mathematics, and physics, which may not cut it next to a designer who is an expert in World War II tanks. I need to invest more time studying history, anthropology, and architecture.

I hope that this degree will allow me to sidestep playtesting as a path into the industry. I’d much rather get a job as a programmer or a design internship and shift into a game design position from there.

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