In part 5 of our ongoing blog series, we profile five more Scopely team members and ask them when it was that they first realized they wanted a career in gaming, and how that career eventually came about. You’ll then see our personal picks for “The Five Greatest Video Games of All Time”.
Though I’ve been playing video games since I was old enough to stand, I never actually *realized* I wanted to have a career in gaming. I began working at Scopely – my first gaming industry job – because it provided several new and exciting challenges, as well as a chance to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met.
- Final Fantasy VII – The paradigmatic video game as interactive movie experience
- The Legend of Zelda – G.O.A.T.
- Super Mario World – The depth of field here blew my mind
- Zelda III: A Link to the Past – I love this game so much that I played it through in German, not knowing how to speak the language at all
- Thayer’s Quest – Half cartoon, half video game, all laserdisc
I always wanted a career in gaming ever since the first time a kid paid me to create a rare item just for him in the paper game I developed, drew, and dungeon mastered in 4th grade. My parents told me gaming was a fad and that I should be a doctor instead.
My first taste of working in the industry was for a summer job with Vivendi Games working QA on The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand, and The Chronicles of Riddick: Butcher Bay.
I searched for Vivendi’s El Segundo office online and walked in the front door with my resume. They liked so they called me for an interview test with a room filled with PCs and 30 other potential testers. The test was to install an old PC game and progress through the test plan. My install failed which was apparently part of the test. I solved that issue with no problems and was in the upper 90 percentile for the bug count during that 2 day test.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Megaman X
- Zone of Enders
- Legend of Legaia
- Contra Hard Corps
I started programming because of the hacking community surrounding Diablo II and the interesting minds behind those hacks and exploits. I’ve played video games my entire life, so working for a video game company was always a dream. I was brought to Scopely, my first job at a game company, by referral of a close friend. Couldn’t be happier to be on the rocket ship!
- Bioshock (the entire series, really) – Brilliant theme, brilliant gameplay, amazing artistry
- Super Mario Bros. – One of very few games my mother and I both enjoy playing equally
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent – I still have nightmares
- Mass Effect – Only game that has ever made me tear up
- Halo – No game gets me as pumped as a good Halo game
It all started with a magical little game for Nintendo called Battle Toads… To anyone how has ever played this game, you know just how epic and insanely infuriating it can be to sit through a session and not want to throw your controller through your TV. But it was the first game I can really remember latching on to and spending hours trying to beat. And at the end of it, I remember being like “”Cool! What’s next?!”
As a member of QA for games now, it’s probably no surprise that I literally bought every console I could get my hands on growing up. Yes, all of them. Yes – I have a Virtual Boy and yes, it is the greatest console of all time. But I didn’t really start actively thinking of a career in gaming until after playing the Final Fantasy series. I knew I wanted to be a part of creating something magical for millions of people like me to enjoy.
Right out of college I took a job working as an assistant for the Video Games Department at Creative Artists Agency. Maybe I impressed them with my gaming nerdology; I have no idea. The point though was to get a bunch of knowledge about and interact with the gaming industry icons and players – Ken Levine, Phil Harrison, Kellee Santiago, Jenova Chen, etc. And while I did learn a ton about the business side of the game industry, I realized that this aspect of the industry wasn’t for me.
I am a gamer through a through. If I’m not directly contributing to the shape of a game, I’m not satisfied. And this is important kids – don’t ever settle.
If you know you’re not doing what you love, stop doing it. It’s what made me take my next jobs as a contracted QA tester for Activision. And I like to think it’s the enthusiasm and drive that I put into my work which ultimately landed me as head of QA at Scopely.”
- Final Fantasy Tactics –
Hands down the greatest story, plot, mechanics and music I have ever experienced in a game. Final Fantasy Tactics is that amazing book you just can’t put down no matter how many times you read it. To this day I still can’t decide if Delita is a hero or became the worst monster of them all. Probably the greatest tragedy Shakespeare never wrote.
- Final Fantasy 7 –
Not gonna lie, I straight up cried during that infamous death scene. The musical score is absolutely amazing; Aerith’s theme was the first song I actively learned how to play on piano (and I don’t play piano!). Any game that can invoke that much emotion deserves to go down as one of the greatest of all times. And does anyone else remember how Sephiroth just straight up impaled a 30-foot tall snake on a tree? Pretty sure that just instantly makes you a BAMF.
- Lunar: Silver Star Story –
You’re playing an anime in which you’re the reincarnation of a legendary Dragon Knight on a quest to save your best friend and woman you love, who just also happens to be the reincarnation of an evil Goddess bent on destroying the world. Kind of has everything a teenage boy could ask for. Did I mention I love story?
- Ultima Online –
My first introduction to the realm of visual MMORPGs. I LOVED this game. Roaming around the world of Felucca as a Knight of Order vanquishing Chaos guild members? Taming dragons and establishing our own player run civilization? This is probably the first (but definitely not last) game I’ve lost over a year of real life time played.
- Ledor –
I’m just going to go ahead and assume no one has ever heard of this game, but in many respects it was THE game that set me on my path to being a gaming nerd. This was the first MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) I ever came across. Think World of Warcraft, but completely text based. No graphics, no sounds, just keyboard commands and the user’s imagination. And in a way, your imagination makes the best game of all.
I’ve been a gamer my whole life, but didn’t really expect to have a job in gaming. I studied economics in college, and to be honest I wanted to get into music journalism upon graduating. However, after a couple internships in the entertainment and publishing industries, I realized that gaming was the best and coolest field to get into. It wasn’t just about the gaming industry growing so rapidly, but that the professionals within it were some of the brightest and most passionate around.
Eventually I was hired by a Los Angeles based marketing agency called StreetWise Concepts & Culture. Their big clients included Activision, Ubisoft and Namco. I spent almost 4 years at that company, executing marketing campaigns and managing communities for titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, SoulCalibur 3, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and UFC Undisputed 2010.
Joining Scopely and working on mobile titles like Dice With Buddies has been an exciting next step in my career. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many brilliant people, and I can’t wait to work on the other exciting Scopely titles we already have in development.
- Dragon Quest 4 – This was the pinnacle of 8-bit Japanese RPGs. It had it all: fantastic character designs, great story, and huge replayability thanks to all the hidden items.
- Grand Theft Auto 3 – A game changer. This really broke open the concept of an open sandbox world.
- Half Life 2 – Just a brilliantly designed game from top to bottom… especially its sound design. I still feel that the gravity gun was the best weapon of any video game, ever.
- Mass Effect 2 – The writing and character development of the entire ME series was awesome, but 2 had the best plot and noticeably improved game mechanics.
- The Walking Dead – Probably the strongest narrative in a video game I had ever seen. There are so many genuinely affecting moments in that branching storyline.