Once every term, all of the class representatives from the various departments of the Vancouver Film School meet at the VFS Café to listen to a keynote speaker and to meet other fellow class reps. For November’s VFS Class Representative Dinner, the featured speakers were Andy Fedorchuk (GD 30) – Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment, and James Daniell (GD 25) – Game Designer at IUGO, who spoke on their experiences about finding jobs after school and networking.
Both James and Andy had previous work experience before attending the VFS Game Design program. James had previous game making experience with friends in college, while Andy held several random careers. One common thing was that they both loved playing games, and they wanted to pursue careers that would allow them to makes games for real.
Needless to say, their aspirations have become a reality. As a Brian Wood Memorial Scholarship Recipient, Andy is an Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment. He admits that if it hadn’t been for the internship, he knows he would probably still be looking for a job. James was able to relate since he was selective with the jobs to which he applied, and did not want to get just ‘any job’. When he interviewed with IUGO, he was genuinely enthused about working there as a Game Designer.
While the VFS Game Design program gave Andy and James the tools that they needed to get the jobs that they both wanted, they still needed to get their dream jobs for themselves – through networking!
For our busy readers, here are three important tips on networking our Alumni shared:
- Talk to your Idols: Being a student has its perks! Approach an industry professional, inform them that you’re a student and then ask them if they have any advice for aspiring game designers!
- Be Proactive: Ask for help when you need it – send emails or go to Meetups!
- Be Casual: Don’t be blunt by asking a professional to give you a job. Networking doesn’t have to be stressful! Be casual and friendly, and soon enough, your downtime can turn into your networking time!
After the presentation, all of the class representatives were able to socialize and relax. While many of us returned back to our respective campuses after the dinner, it was a great opportunity to learn from the successful alumni of the VFS Game Design campus!
Maria Lee and Melissa Borda are VFS Game Design Students
The buzz is still deafening. “Beautiful,” “evocative,” and “transcendental” are only a few of the accolades used to describe Journey, a game released by thatgamecompany mid-March of last year.[i] Since the game’s release, Journey won five BAFTA’s and six GDC awards, broke PlayStation sales records to be the “fastest-selling PSN game ever released,” and was also nominated for a Grammy.[ii]
This much attention merits a closer inspection—What exactly is Journey? Fan responses to the game, while filled with praise, typically leave the non-player in the dark: “I have just finished Journey. I can’t even describe how or why it moved me, but it’s changed my outlook of what a game can be.”[iii] The player makes no mention of graphics or party systems, topics which would seem important to discuss when speaking of a new multiplayer game. Instead, the player expresses the emotional impact he received from playing and a changed perspective of gaming.
Traditionally, emotional experiences have been reserved for the classical arts and perspective changes towards games have occurred due to technological advances. And yet, critics are still debating whether video games can be considered art and Journey brings forth no radical technological advances. So how can a game elicit an emotion response and alter gaming perceptions without new technology? This essay will delve further into this question and explore what made Journey a commercial success as well as what elements we can look forward to thatgamecompany improving upon in the future.
What is Journey?
Journey is the third installment of a three game contract between thatgamecompany and Sony Entertainment. The first two games, Fl0w and Flower also received critical acclaim and were created by Jenova Chen for the purpose of studying flow in games. Flow, as defined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a “state of being, one in which a task’s difficulty is perfectly balanced against a performer’s skill—resulting in a feeling of intense, focused attention” [iv]. These first two games illustrate this principle aptly.