My path to this program is unique like many in my cohort. The road that led me here has been a bit unconventional, but in the same instance, has shown how becoming a producer and a game designer is my calling. Personally, I do not like sounding fatalistic or appearing as if my life is one linear fantasy game. Nevertheless, after you read this blog post, I hope you will see how much gaming is not only a part of my life, but truly a part of me.
The adventure began in the summer of 2004. It was the summer that I started playing games after a 5-year hiatus. Even though I did play games before this summer with friends on occasion, and religiously when I was in my adolescence, this summer awakened the sleeping giant that had slumbered for half-a-decade. What created this renaissance was after my wife and I purchased the Nintendo GameCube from Costco. They had a wonderful bundle deal at the time, and even though I was tempted to buy an Xbox, the GameCube was just the right price for this struggling graduate student trying to make ends meet in Hawaii.
It was because of this purchase that I began researching the latest games and information about gaming. But where could I turn? To ascertain the information, I began watching X-Play, Attack of the Show (before Olivia Munn spoiled it for me), Cheat, and any show G4 generated. I still remember waking up early before going to my summer job tuning into G4 to catch up on the latest development in gaming and in tech.
It was in 2005 that I finally purchased an Xbox. This allowed me to play great games such as the Halo series. But what I really enjoyed was experiencing my first RPG, and one of my all-time favorite games, Knights of the Old Republic. Even though I had been playing video games since my brother sold his mini-bike to purchase an Atari 2600, I had never once really played through an entire RPG. And boy was I in for a treat. I remember playing the game hoping not to disturb wife while she slept. It made those hot, Hawaiian summer nights something to look forward to. I still recall how shocked I was to learn the game’s twist (I won’t spoil it if you haven’t played). My jaw stayed open for the rest of the night and into the morning. And I also remember playing for more than two hours fighting the game’s antagonist over and over in order to finish the adventure. I teared-up when the game came to its conclusion. I never knew a video game could be so moving, that video games could touch my soul in such a way. KOTOR showed me how far games had come in the decades in which I had been playing games.
Later that year the Xbox 360 made its way to the market. While coming home to visit family in Southern California, I did my best to locate one of these marvelous gaming machines. I recall searching through forum posts for the hope of determining the nearest shipment. Luckily, I discovered that a local Best Buy close to my parents’ home would have a limited shipment of the console. And I came away with a new, shiny Xbox 360 before many people had the opportunity to purchase one. It was a dream come true.
The next year I spent it composing and completing my master’s thesis. When the summer came rolling along, it was difficult obtaining responses from my professors since during the summer most professors escape the university campus. Because of this, I purchased Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to fill the void between writing a book and waiting for my professors’ replies. Oblivion is still one of the greatest gaming experiences I have had to date. After spending the day writing, I would play deep into the night and early morning, spooking myself through every dungeon crawl, trying to hold my screams of delight when finding that special loot. It was a great time and one I will never forget.
After I had completed my thesis, my wife and I returned to California in order to help care for my ailing father. It was at this time that video games became my escape. In May of 2008, my father eventually was overcome by his illness. To cope with the loss, I spent that summer playing through the entire Metal Gear Solid series as well as FIFA. Video games were not only entertainment for me, but it also became a great comfort throughout this gloomy time in my life.
Games helped me to move on from my loss and my focus eventually returned to my future goals. My aspiration at this time was to obtain a Ph.D. Consequently, I began applying for doctorate programs around the country. Since I love video games, I decided my emphasis would be examining how video games reflect culture. The University of Utah accepted my request, and in the fall of 2011, I began my doctoral studies.
But as time moved forward, I started to feel confused. I began to sense that my calling was elsewhere since the more I studied gaming and played games with my wife on the weekends, the more I wanted to be a creator rather than an observer. I yearned for becoming a part of the art, but since I never thought that I could ascertain a job in the gaming industry as a producer or designer, I didn’t think it was possible. As a result, I had to suppress this notion as hard as I could.
This desire came full circle when part of my doctoral studies, I enrolled in the EAE’s Game Design I course with Roger Altizer. The course introduced me to game design, the EAE program, and others who shared my deep passion for games. When the course was coming to its quick end as great classes often do, I was very depressed. I kept telling myself that if there were a program like this when I was younger, I would have jumped at the chance in a heartbeat. The time in the class activated an obsession to join the program.
This past spring, I acquiesced to this longing, and I resolved to take the leap and apply for the EAE program as a video game producer. When I was accepted to the program I was ecstatic. Even though I had already completed two years in my doctoral studies, I had little reservations leaving the program. I felt that I was finally on the right path for my life. I knew that something had brought my life to where I am supposed to be.
It has definitely been a long road to get here, but even though it’s been quite a journey, I am happy to reflect and see how fate, how destiny has taken me home. I am excited to be a video game producer as well as designer. And I hope through this post you can appreciate my love and passion for gaming as well as why I desire for a long career in the gaming industry. I hope you will continue the journey with me through my blog posts here.