12 January, 1999

once more into the breach dear friends,
I want to make computer games. I want to learn how to make computer games by working at a computer game company and appenticing to a game designer.

toward that end I visited microprose in very-near-to-oakland alameda today

looking for love in all the wrong places
photo: ariel behr

i dressed casual but formal, I went with an old product of theirs I adored, enough money to buy someone lunch, and a business card or three (links.net: CEO/President, VP Marketing, Tall Skinny White Guy - take your pick).

I met Nakisha, who'd given me good directions, and wasn't exactly sure how to spill my pitch I'd prepared. Something like "I respect this company and I'd like to talk to someone who works here." but that's too unstructured for a receptionista it seemed, so I asked for a tour and I got an HR woman who was temporary who explained they'd just been acquired by Hasbro and so they were in turmoil and no one would have any time and I should just send in my resume and hope for the best.

We were standing in a brief reception area, not seated in any respectable fashion - she wanted rid of me.

I argued with her some, that the shift at the company and accompanying turmoil was a good chance to get in on the ground floor of something new. that I was patient and tolerant - I'd talk to anybody. That'd I wait.

Large bearded men (engineers) walked by meanwhile and I called to them - "you want lunch right?" "I don't have time until April"

It was a depressing scene and I was trapped between making a fool of myself or a damned fool of myself - no one was giving me a chair to sit on or even taking me up on a free lunch.

whatshername in HR was slightly sympathetic and asked me what I thought I could do - I explained that I could fill a video game world with interesting characters. she said that's video game design, I want to be a game designer. so at least I learned that.

she took my card and I wrote "aspiring game designer" on the back and she said she'd might think of somebody for me to talk to but no promises and no card of hers for me to follow up by email. I'll get her email later today from Nakisha, who had left by then for lunch.

I drove back distracted and angry. I hit 95 on the freeway - unusual for me. I guess that's what I should expect hurling myself at them unexpected. but now I have a challenge!

she said, "why don't you try ea?" and I like Microprose's solidity and especially their proximity, but heck. the question: driving to sunnyvale today or tomorrow for EA: another tragic exercise in futility? "maybe you should work electronically" says egg.

I thought maybe if I smoked I might stand outside offering people cigarettes and talking to them until some hapless designer became caught in my nefarious web. I guess you don't have to be a smoker to do that, but it seems like stooping.