Heroes And Programmers: An Internship at Minority Media

minoritygroupAfter an eternity of sitting on the couches in the corner of the studio, my time had finally come. As I was beckoned into the meeting room, I took one more look around at the bright, high-ceilinged studio of Minority Media before entering the meeting room and for the first time meeting Tali Goldstein, the studio’s producer. As we sat down I thought about the fact that I was the only designer who came to interview today, and wondered if that were a good or bad sign. My question was quickly answered: after a few questions from Tali, she said that Ruben, a designer I had been interviewed by previously, had already indicated that I was good to go. Now that Tali had gotten to meet me, it was official. I was now an intern Game Designer at Minority Media, Inc.

At first this event came as both a reliever and a cause of stress. The quest of finding an internship that had dragged on for dangerously long was over, but I couldn’t help but feel anxious to, for the first time, have my design skills tested and relied upon by professionals. What if my work wasn’t good enough, or if I slowed them down, or if they just didn’t like me? True, it was a bit awkward the first few days. The first people at Minority I made friends with were some of the programmers, Paul, Alex, and Julien. If nothing else, we could talk about tech stuff, and there was always something to learn from them.

Eventually I took the initiative, and after asking for some tasks to complete I was introduced to Vander samsungportraitCaballero. Vander is the co-founder, president, and creative director of Minority. The big man himself. He would pitch to me his ideas for a game mechanic or level, we would talk about it, and I would make a prototype to show to him. It was really cool working directly with Vander, and it was also great to hear someone so creative putting that talent to work. But I don’t think it fully hit me until partway through the semester. I was visiting Execution Labs on an off day and we were talking with Jason Della Rocca, the president. When I mentioned doing game design at Minority he was surprised. “Wow? You get to work with Vander?” He asked, “That guy is a legend! You are extremely lucky.” I realized then that he was right. I was extremely fortunate to be in the position that I was.

As the semester nears it’s end, I find myself saddened by the thought of leaving behind my friends at Minority. But that’s a good sign. It goes to show how much I enjoyed my time there, and how beneficial of a learning experience it was. For the first time, I got to talk with game programmers about tech stuff. I got to build important prototypes that other people relied on. I got to contribute to a project, and then see my contributions be revealed and received well by the public. And I got to work alongside real, professional game developers, maybe the closest thing I’ve got to heroes.

vandercakePS: I couldn’t not include a photo of Vander, so here he is!

Thank you Gigi, and thank you to everyone at Minority!

– Christopher Johnson, Game Design Major, Spring 2015