Well, they’ve done it – America’s Next Best Game Designer

I can’t really begin to tell you how ill-advised an idea this is.


<< Date: May 31, 2008 5:55 PM

Subject: Do You Have an Idea for the Next Big Video Game? REALITY TV SHOW

Do You Have an Idea for the Next Big Video Game?
Lamont Pete Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions, the producers of “American Bandstand” and “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Christmas Eve” are casting “America’s Next Best Game Designer.” They are looking for aspiring game designers with big ideas to compete to be crowned America’s Best Game Designer. We are interested in all types of games from people with huge personalities! Seeking all types of people from quirky to cool and nerdy to sexy, we’re looking for you! Submit the following form PLUS your pix!

1. Name
2. Location
3. Age
4. MySpace or personal URL

Answer the following questions (50 words or less)
1. Why do you think you would you be good for the show
2. What’s your favorite video game and why?
3. If you could design any type of game what would it be?

To submit, email realitytvcastingnp@yahoo.com. Incomplete and blind submissions will be deleted. >>

I suppose there’s no way it can’t be good publicity for an aspiring game designer in a field where it can be difficult to achieve positive name recognition, but I do wonder who they’re going to get involved with this.

My gut reaction is that it preys upon the pre-existing adverse predilections of game dev students to think that their ideas are what are so precious and irreplaceable, that a game designer just farts ideas into the atmosphere and of course they translate into award-winning games. The same problems exist in games this way as they do in writing; I have yet to speak to a group of students and not get asked “why aren’t the development studios that I’m pitching my Deathless Game Idea To not responding” and corollary “zomg how do I pitch a game idea to a dev studio and make sure they WON’T STEAL IT?!”.

I don’t watch MTV, so I likely won’t know if or when this actually materializes, and I suppose these shows can’t take in someone who isn’t ready and willing to be taken in on the idea that you can become a superstar game designer by firing off ideas into a reality show — the same might be said of American Idol, with the exception that mass market publicity is likely to help you in a music career but isn’t going to be worth much to most game dev companies. I’d imagine they’re giving away a job at a big studio to the winner of this contest, or possibly even a budget and a team (which would be more catastrophic for the winner) — objectives that could probably be more cleanly and honestly achieved just by learning the craft and getting a real job.

I would say that the standard for talent-based reality shows applies: you don’t audition for American Idol because you want to be a great musician (first, last, end of story), and so you don’t apply for America’s Next Best Game Designer if you want to be a game designer.

If you want to be a game designer, you make games.

End slightly sleep deprived rant. I am back in Kingston and hopefully not traveling for a little while (I’ve been in Seattle, Albany, Kingston, Ottawa, Buffalo, and New York City in the past month — average velocity is too high). I am again behind on email and everything — catching up soon!

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