Thursday, November 29, 2007

Raising Smart Children

I just read a fascinating article from Scientific American on how different mind-sets regarding intelligence (innate versus earned) can have a great deal of impact on a child's performance at school.

Reading through this was a real eye-opener for me because it forced me to come to terms with the fact that, as a child, I fell fully into the mindset that intelligence was an innate trait. Once school started to become more challenging for me my drive to excel and learn tapered off. This has been something I've had to struggle with ever since.

Read the article and I'm sure you'll find yourself thinking back to your own formative years and questioning whether your accomplishments were driven by a confidence in your intelligence and or a desire to learn and improve. Perhaps more importantly, though, it may make you question whether or not you have a 'growth' mindset in your adult life.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Game Design 'Demo Reel'

A few weeks ago while I was in Vancouver I was asked by some students what I looked for in the demo reel of a game designer. Their challenge, clearly, is how to make an impression that stresses their creativity, solid mastery of the core vocabulary of design, and a million other important elements _without_ taking up a week of the hiring manager's time to review.

At the time I proposed using small flash games as a means to showcase some of these critical elements (as well as the ability to prototype, a critical skill for game designers, imo) along with some other key support material. I wasn't particularily satisfied with my answer, though, because clearly not every game designer is going to be able to do the programming and artwork necessary for pulling together a flash game single-handedly.

A week or so ago I read an excellent article by Brenda Brathwaite on exactly this subject entitled The Game Design Portfolio: Is There Such a Thing?. The article is concise and well written and answers the question much better then I did during my talks.

I really recommend the entire article, but here are a few choice quotes:

"Make games. Any kind of games. Flash games, board games, card games, collectible card games. Use whatever you have at your disposal and make a game out of it."

"...the person with the prototype is going to win every time."

"...don't start in January for your May job search. Start now for the job you want four, five, or 10 years from now. Seriously. Set up a blog and start writing about games intelligently and regularly."

"...if it's not good, don't show it."

I could go on, but really I'd just be quoting the entire article. If you are reading this blog and attended any of my talks in Vancouver, please do yourself and your career a favor and read Brenda's article. It could make all the difference in your attempts to get your foot in the door.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

so apparantly i dropped out of university...

it says so here, and we all know that print never lies.



Thursday, November 08, 2007

You Can't Buy That Kind Of Publicity

Montreal is home to a local independant game store called GameBuzz. They have a great selection, excellent central location and are generally my prefered shop for all things gaming (I have head some complaints about their customer service, though, but have never suffered through any hassles myself).

Penny Arcade just have Gamebuzz the best publicity they'll ever get by giving the _concept_ of the store a huge thumbs up in their latest news posting (scroll down to the bottom of the page). With the readership numbers that PA gets, my best is that our little homegrown Gamebuzz is going to get some franchise inquiries soon. :)

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A Good Sign

Last week while I was in Vancouver speaking at various schools I was showing some early prototype footage of Assassins Creed as part of the presentation. Unsure of just how ubiquitous the anticipation for this game was I would usually start out by asking "so how many people here have heard of Assassins Creed?". Perhaps it was naive of me to even bother asking given that I was talking to people who wanted to work in the gaming industry...I don't think I saw more then 10 hands not raised in the entire three days I was doing talks.

The buzz around this game is deserved and I love the fact that our CEO is willing to go out on a limb so bluntly and state very matter-of-factly the scores we're expecting for it.