Life After Games Journalism
There's a well-worn path between games journalism and game making. N'Gai Croal just made the leap. Luke Smith from EGM defected to Bungie before. A good friend of mine made a similar transition several years ago as well. I met Ara Shirinian when he was working as an editor for Tips & Tricks. I was down the hall at Hustler writing smut, but what I really wanted to do was write about games. Ara had ambitions beyond writing about games. So he took some initiative and created level for Unreal. He said it was the hardest thing he ever did in his life – learning how to mod from the ground up. But his efforts paid off. He landed a job with Acclaim and worked on the ill-fated, underappreciated shooter The Red Star.
I wasn't sure I'd bump into Ara at GDC. Most companies don't send their footsoldiers to conventions like this. They're usually left behind to work their butts off while the bosses come to schmooze. So imagine my surprise when Ara's name popped up on IGF Awards Show jumbotron last night. Ara, working with Nicklas Nygren at Nicalis, landed two nominations for his work on Night Game -- including a nod for the Seumas McNally grand prize. The team didn't win, but when I finally reconnected with Ara at the IGF booth I could tell there was absolutely no disappointment. Just excitement and enthusiasm. Satisfaction that all his efforts and all his disappointments were worth it. In this case the cliché was true and totally applicable. “I'm just happy to be a part of this,” he told me, a huge grin spreading across his face.