What is the weirdest job you’ve ever held?
I spent two years as an Animal Control Officer for the North Las Vegas Police Department. I saw a lot of “stuff” during that tour, showcasing the best and worst of human nature. I served as the city’s only on-duty officer and would handle calls ranging from animals at large and cases of cruelty, to bite/attack reports and deceased animals. The stories collected have always proven to be crowd-pleasers, (e.g. I once herded a flock of rampaging sheep down a major city street, through residential areas, and eventually back to their pen after strong winds blew down a section of fencing.)
What is your favorite all-time game?
The question all gamers dread! It’s so difficult to nail down as I have favorites in various genres, but if you’re holding a gun to my head, and I had to choose one game…Super Metroid. It was the first game to instill in me a sense of dread and awe, and perfectly illustrated the importance of tight controls, thoughtful design and consistent pacing. I also love Metroid Prime, Zelda Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Super Mario World and Super Mario 64. (I’m a bit of a Nintendo Fanboy.)
What games are you playing right now?
My gaming habits have changed in recent years, so I’ve been playing a lot of games with my kids. My current favorites are Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Killer Instinct.
What motivated you to begin working in the game industry?
Nintendo Power Magazine. I’ve loved video games since I was a young boy, but it wasn’t until the NES era, and my introduction to Nintendo Power Magazine, that I thought it might be the industry I wanted to pursue professionally. When I was 10 or 11, I wrote a letter to Nintendo Power asking how one might get a job working for them. Their response was a motivating factor in my decision to obtain an English degree and take the Entertainment Editor position at my college paper.
What inspires you?
My kids. My son is on the Autism spectrum, so his accomplishments and ability to adapt to new, often challenging tasks, give me the incentive to soldier on. My daughter is the most positive, enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. Her optimistic good nature is the perfect foil to this somewhat cynical pessimist.
What is your proudest achievement?
I just celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary. Finding an endlessly supportive woman who is willing/able to put up with me, is perhaps the greatest achievement I could hope to attain.
What piques your curiosity?
The subjective nature of human consciousness and the ease with which it can be tricked or altered. Exploring this subject prompted me to work on a (shameless plug time) comic book called Sublimer. You can check out the project’s current progress here, if you’re so inclined. I’m also interested in learning about alternative economic and political systems that might alleviate some of the problems present in established socioeconomic structures. For example, I recently found out about The Seasteading Institute. Pretty cool stuff!
What is your hidden talent?
I can recite, verbatim the entire script to the 1986 animated masterpieceTransformers: The Movie…oh, you said “talent”, I thought you said “hidden shame.”
What is the best thing about working at Schell Games?
The company culture and benefits are great. We strive to attain a balance between work and personal life, so “crunching” is frowned upon, personal growth encouraged, and long term employment emphasized. It’s a great mix of the perks often found at small and large studios.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I would love to be a professional voice actor. I’ve had the opportunity to provide various grunts, groans, laughs and screams while working on several game projects, but really want to take on a full, spoken character role.
How long have you worked at Schell Games?
About 3 1/2 years