Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the outside looking in, just getting a job in the games industry seems like an impossibility. I think the game developers who entered the industry in the late 80s and early 90s are part of the reason for that perception. It seems like all of us have a crazy story about how we got our first gig. Hell, we use words like "gig" instead of job; like we're old touring artists who have seen it all and know all your troubles, because we've been there. Well, I'm probably not going to buck the trend with my own story, but hey -- it is sort of a crazy story, so you might enjoy it.

Partly, our crazy stories are because of the age of the industry at the time. The games industry felt like a frontier and the folks making video games were the hardy pioneers brave enough to go there first and blaze new trails. Most studios were small; I remember Ron Millar commenting in a 1998 PC Gamer Article that he left Blizzard because, "it was getting too big and corporate." I was employee 35 at Blizzard; I believe we had 70 or so people at the company when I left it myself in 1997. Just to compare it to today: When I lead the design team on Rift, it was 35 or so people -- our design team was as large as Blizzard itself was when I joined it. A smaller industry means a smaller number of gatekeepers and so maybe it really did take crazy brashness to get into it back then. Everything really was fast and loose. Or at least, it felt that way to me...

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