This title intrigues me. I’ve always had an interesting time when someone asks me what I do. To be honest, I didn’t read the whole article on Kotaku. I started to, but after a few paragraphs of fancy writing and Hawaii references, I skimmed the rest, thinking about writing this post.
“I’m a game designer.” The reason this post grabbed my attention is because it is so close to what pops into my mind when someone asks what I do. Interestingly, as a designer, I am often hesitant to say what I actually do. When someone asks, I carefully consider what my answer is, and my answer is usually based on who is asking and how much time I want to spend answering.
If the person asking the question is an INS officer, I respond “I work in software.” It’s the truth. It’s boring. The answer is designed to be as lame as possible so I can get the fuck out of there. I travel a lot, and spend a lot of time in customs/immigration lines. I don’t want to spend even an extra second there.
Back on topic..the average human who asks me. You would think that because I work in a position that I strived of for years to get to, I would get a big T-Shirt with “Game Designer” on it. Or maybe I would just introduce myself as “Hi, Christian Allen, I design video games, how are you?”
That being said, I don’t want to come across as modest. Anyone who knows me would call bullshit if I said I was modest. I don’t pull punches on what I have done. I’ve made kick ass games. I’ve worked on big IP’s. I was in the Corps. I have big guns. I have the cutest daughter on earth. I don’t fuck around. Got something to say about any of that? Didn’t think so.
However, just because I’m not modest doesn’t mean I want to always answer THE QUESTIONS. THE QUESTIONS always come when you say you are a game designer. Unlike the Kotaku article, my discussions about being a game designer usually follow a set pattern…
THE QUESTIONS usually go like this:
“What do you do?”
I design video games.
“Wait, video games? Anything I know?”
Well, I worked on Ghost Recon…
You might have heard of it, Tom Clancy’s Ghost…
“Oh sweet, Tom Clancy. Do you know Tom Clancy?”
Well, no, I don’t, I worked on Ghost Recon, which is a franchise…
“Oh, Clancy makes good games. Must have been cool to work for Clancy.”
Well, I didn’t actually work for Clancy. But I did design…
“Anything else I might have heard of?”
Well, I worked on Halo: Reach.
“Oh my God, you designed Halo! I fucking love Halo!”
Ah, well I didn’t design Halo, I was Design Lead on Reach.
“Halo was the first fucking game I played on Xbox, that’s so awesome you made that.
No, I didn’t make Halo, I worked on Reach.
“Wait, you said you made Halo.”
No, I said I worked on a Halo game.
“Ah, I thought you said you were a game designer.”
“So if you didn’t make Halo, what exactly do you do?”
Well, now I’m a designer for Warner Brothers Games.
“Warner Brothers makes games?”
“So what do you do?”
I design games.
“So you program them?”
No, I don’t write code. I design them.
“Ah, so you make the graphics.”
No, that’s the artists. I design the games.
“Wait, so what do you do?”
I’m kind of like a movie director, but for games.
“Oh, so you write the games.”
Uhhhh, sure, I guess it’s kind of like that.