when i was given real responsibility

DSC01017 2As I crossed the Canadian/American border for the first time in my life just a few months ago, I had no inkling of the whirlwind entry into the game industry that awaited me on the other side.  It all started during the taxi ride from the airport upon my arrival.  I was picked up by the program director, Genevieve.  She mentioned an indie studio looking for a game design intern, and I knew I wanted it.  I wanted the chance to prove my skills as a designer and to acquire vital experience that would separate me from the competition in the coming years.  With the invaluable assistance of the Champlain staff and my own determination, I got that chance this fall.

When I began my internship in late September, I truly had no idea what to expect.  As I entered the studio for the first time, I was taken aback at the stark contrast between this studio and the AAA-quality furnishings I was used to from past company tours.  I was greeted by several long lines of men and women working at computers, with non-uniform desks made from whatever IKEA happened to have on sale when the person was hired.  With an over 25foot tall ceiling and bland green painted walls, it truly was more warehouse than studio.  That’s when I noticed my boss waving me over to the corner of this desktop metropolis. This cozy little corner is where C4M Prod, a mobile-based game studio, is located, and where I would spend the upcoming months working and having the time of my life.

In just a few short weeks I was given an incredible amount of responsibility.  During my time at C4M, I have gone from laboring away to build my own workspace (desk and chair), to nearly single-handedly designing and pushing content into a live game to be played by thousands of people.  The knowledge and experience I have gained from both the work and from the people at this studio is more thanc4m 2 I could have ever imagined.  I have dealt with resolving cross-disciplinary disputes, rapid publisher-pushed deadlines, and handling ”vocal” members of the game’s community on social media.  For the entire month of December, I have even been put into a scenario where I am the only designer at the entire company. These are truly experiences that cannot be taught or lectured about; these are things that must be experienced, and this internship provided me with the opportunity to do just that.

c4mBest of all, I have been invited to continue my internship for the spring semester.  Being able to say that I has not only worked on a shipped game for an extended period time, but that I was given such an incredible amount of responsibility on that game is an incredible edge over the competition when it comes to getting hired out of college.  My advice for those seeking a similar experience is to always be hungry for it.  If there is an opportunity, take it, and take it fast.  Show them that not only do you want that position; you want it more than anybody else they might be looking for.

-Sean Pennell, Game Design Major, Fall 2014