Gamers in the Real World: Part One


Over the past month or so I've been collecting stories from developers and web writers about their experiences with telling "normal people" that they work on or write about games for a living. Mostly I've been digging for embarrassing stories about tar and feathering's but so far the replies have been distressingly feather free. I'll keep digging of course, you just never know when you might get lucky!

One of the first replies I got back was from Jake Simpson. While he currently works at Maxis many of you probably know him from his days at Raven Software. Read on for Jake's reply to my question and keep your eyes peeled for more to come in the future!

In certain social circumstances do you find it hard to admit you create and play video games for a living? What are some of the most notable reactions you've gotten? A specific story wouldn't hurt if you had one.

Jake Simpson

My wife is a 1st grade teacher. You can imagine the reaction the some of the parents of her kids give when they find out what I do for a living. When the find out I work on the Sims, either its relief or interest – Â"Can I get my face in there? Why canÂ't you marry the police officer? EtcÂ". Before, when I worked on more violent games it was a bit tougher. My wife and I used to joke that we balanced out, she did good for the kids and I corrupted them.

In terms of talking to most other people, I either get an interested Â"Wow, thatÂ's cooÂ" or disdain in so far as people dismiss it as Â"˜playing games for a livingÂ'. I just shrug it off. If someone is going to diss me on what I do for a living, theyÂ've probably got other things they would diss me for anyway, so they generally arenÂ't worth knowing.

I remember telling one woman what I did, and she replied Â"No, really, what do you do for a livingÂ". When I told her again she said Â"People are actually paid to do that?Â". What do you say to that?

I think itÂ's most interesting when you tell someone that you canÂ't imagine would be interested, what you do for a living, and they are totally into it. I told a mortgage counselor once, and spent an hour on the phone with them talking about the finer points of Soldier Of Fortune. ItÂ's a small world.

Thanks Jake!

If you have a story about real life "gaming moments" feel free to drop me an email and it may show up on the front page. Everyone is welcome to send something in, no need to be a fancy pants developer!

- Certis


Now this is interesting. Keep them coming!

I would LOVE to hear what reactions the creators of violent classics (like DOOM and Grand Theft Auto) get. Great idea, Certis