A New Beginning

A lot has happened since I last wrote a long blog post. To cut a long story short, I decided to quit my PhD and persue a passion I’ve had since I was a kid — video games.

It’s taken a while, looking for jobs, getting an offer, going through all the paperwork, visa applications, moving house… but I finally started my new job this week! I’m working for Opus, a small-ish game studio based in Tokyo. What drew me to them at first was that they were one of the only Japanese studios that have published a game on Steam. They seem more forward-looking than other studios, and their size means I’ll (hopefully) have a chance to play a creative role. I’ve enjoyed my first week :)

It wasn’t easy to make the decision to quit my PhD and change careers again, especially to the risky video games industry. I’ve been playing games since I was 4, sitting on my dad’s knee watching him play our Atari 800XL. He taught me how to run games on our old 286 and I loved playing Monkey Island, MechWarrior.

I studied computer science at university, but I never thought hard about making video games. Last year was so inspiring in so many ways, I changed my mind.

If I had to pin it on one game, it was Fez.

Playing Fez convinced me that there are games worth making that can really touch players’ hearts. I loved the sheer joy and beauty that’s crammed into a platformer. It’s a love letter to classic video games. It inspired me to think of my own games that would make the player feel a certain way, or tell an SF story. For far too long all I’ve seen are games that take 100+ people to make, and are only about reproducing movie-like stories and visuals.

Fez, and other beautiful small games like Journey, Kentucky Route Zero, Monaco, as well as meeting inspiring people at BitSummit continually reinforce that I’ve made the right decision to join the industry.

I’m only just starting out, but for the first time in a while, I’ve got a good feeling.