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Dragon Oath Official Developer Blog

Developers of ChangYou's Dragon Oath, the F2P True Martial Arts MMORPG, write about Dragon Oath and the gaming industry. We'll also bring you insights about MMORPGs made in China and published in the West. Share your thoughts with us!

Author: changyou

How I Got A Job In Video Games

Posted by changyou Friday May 21 2010 at 6:00PM
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A year ago, I was downhearted about my employment prospects. Just out of college, without any real professional experience, I despaired of finding a job that would pay enough for me to live on. I had tried all of the usual ways to find employment - contacts through my college, employment websites, even temp agencies - but no one was hiring.
 
This was in the heart of the new American depression, and the only way I could make ends meet was to be self-employed doing whatever short term work I could find. I edited books freelance, tutored students of all ages, taught ESL classes, and even posed for some pin-up photos! Besides the stress of never knowing when I would have regular work, I was exhausted from constantly finding new clients and getting to all of my various gigs. This was in addition to sending out resumes and trying to get interviews, which I never stopped doing.
 
Video games, which I had always loved, gained a new importance. They let me escape from the stress, and gave me a sense of accomplishment that I was lacking in my professional life. I started fantasizing about making my own video game. Writing is a passion of mine, and I noticed that the quality of the writing (dialogue, scenarios, world-building) really impacted how much I enjoyed a game. So I came up with the story for a game - a branching decision tree "romance" game, where you could end up with various female characters depending on your actions. Every day, I'd try to do some work on it, whether it was writing some dialogue, drawing one of the still images I was using to illustrate the story, or talking someone into doing some voice acting.
 
My pet project didn't get very far, but for the best of reasons: it got me noticed for an entry level job in video games, which I have thrown myself into with all the enthusiasm I once reserved for my own game. At a certain point, I realized that my little hobby video game might make a really great portfolio piece. The coding was nothing to brag about, but I didn't want to be a coder anyway; I wanted to prove that I could write for video games.
 
I was talking about my independent game at a party, when someone happened to overhear and say, "Wow, you really must love video games - I have a friend whose company is looking for a Community Manager." That led to the interview where I was able to show off my writing samples, my forum moderation from my online collaborative writing days, and my partially finished game. When I heard that the Community Manager job would involve a lot of writing, I was sold. I now work full-time at a job I love, and paying my bills is blissfully easy.
 
Here's what I learned about landing your dream job. If you want to work in video games, never miss a chance to show your enthusiasm for the industry, because you never know who might be listening. If you're unemployed, make the most of the opportunity to add to your portfolio or flesh out your resume. Think about what you want to do in connection to the industry, and find a way to showcase your talents in that area. And finally, never give up. Even if you despair, even if you fail again and again, you never know how much your life might change overnight.
 
- Lucy Song,
(Grateful to be) Community Manager for Dragon Oath
Tommy222 writes:

wow this is a really touching story. It really helpful too at the same time.

Best,

Thunder

Fri May 21 2010 7:12PM Report
Ziboo writes:

You are correct on all counts!  

Good story and a big yeah for finding a job you love.

Mon May 24 2010 10:27PM Report
CayneJobb writes:

Nice, thanks for sharing your story.  I've been contemplating making a freelance game... several ideas have been rolling around in my head for a while now.  Your story gives me more incentive to go for it.

By the way, pin-up photos...?  Pics or it didn't happen!

Mon May 24 2010 11:57PM Report
IAmMMO writes:

When I was younger I used to think it would be cool to be working in the gaming industry, then I got older and quickly realized a life sat in front the computer for work would get depressing and add up negatively health wise later in life. So I stayed on the firmly on the gaming side and transitioned in to a very casual gamer getting most my enjoyment from real life not VR,  life is short, especially for a hard worked game developer. For those who make this sacrifice with the obsession to create for us to play, more power to you!

Wed May 26 2010 12:45AM Report
ragnaur23 writes:

Must be nice, I have been trying for 10 years to get my team recognized, or to land some sort of job in the industry. Congrats! It's not easy, good luck to you :)

Wed Sep 29 2010 7:26PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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