Our favorite games are often synonymous with our favorite game designers. But not everyone jumped into the turbulent waters of game making right away. We’ve rounded up three of our favorite “before they were famous” stories from some of the biggest names in the gaming industry.
Any civil player worth his salt knows that one of the most important parts of the game is the economy. How money enters the system and how much you spend can spell victory or defeat for your fledgling civilization. The founder of the game knows this subject intimately, because before he was the most famous apostrophized nickname in the game, Sid Meier worked on networking cash register systems for retailers. Even though he got this job right out of college, he was a game designer at heart. While working there, he made an unlicensed Star Trek game for his co-workers, complete with sound effects and everything. They really got into it and as Sid says in this New Yorker interview, “Little beeps ricocheted through the hallways like some kind of work-forsaken horn of shame.”
Amy Hennig is a decorated member of the Writers Guild of America who has won numerous awards for her work on the Unexplored series. She is also known for her work on Jack and Dexter. She’s a rare talented writer who resonates with critics and fans alike, but she got her start in an entirely different sector of the industry: art. Hennig originally wanted to get into film, but after film school she paid the bills doing freelance art for a game on a small system known as Atari. Hennig realized that his passion for storytelling could have free rein in the world of video games, and the rest is history.
Mark Rosewater is the chief designer of the ultimate nerd hobby. No, this is not the collection of Japanese body pillows we are talking about Magic: The Gathering. MaRo as it is known in the MTG community, wasn’t always the main man in a wizarding game, he was one himself. Mark Rosewater in his youth worked as a freelance magician, which is hilarious by the way. But his other past career is somehow still very appropriate. MaRo is famous for his sense of humor, which served him well as a writer on the 90s sitcom Roseane.