Employee Spotlights

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Marlena Abraham They/Them

Advanced Designer

What is the weirdest job you've ever had?

I haven't really had any weird jobs, at least that I've gotten paid for. For the last several years I've mostly worked in some kind of software development: games, educational tools, app development, and stuff like that. If you count projects I've worked on that I didn't get paid for, though, then the weirdest job I've ever had would probably be proprietor of a magical speakeasy. I've run a few LARPs (Live Action Role Playing games) and I've had some pretty fun semi-imaginary jobs in-game.

What is your favorite all-time game?

This answer changes a lot over time, but Bloodborne has probably been my favorite for the past several months. I love atmospheric action games. Gotta git gud!

What games are you playing right now?

Whenever I get stressed out lately, I break out Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. It's so soothing! Even when you fall, it's satisfying to see how fast you can climb back up the mountain the next time. I also play some of my friends' indie games so I can give them feedback as they're working on them. I'm also involved in a couple tabletop RPGs. I'm running a game on a home-brewed system called Hell's Kitchen about four bakers trying to corner the market on baked goods in Hell.


What motivated you to begin working in the game industry?

World of Warcraft, and LAN parties in high school. When I started taking programming classes in high school, I knew I wanted to get into games somehow. My parents talked me out of going to college specifically to make video games, but after a couple years I was making games and interactive art in half of my classes. Something about bringing a story to life through gameplay kept pulling me back into game development.

What inspires you?

Lots of things! Good food. Well-written books and movies. Other games. The city of Pittsburgh. Industry conferences. Twitter. Other creative people. Stuff that I want to exist but doesn't yet. People being excited to keep playing a game I worked on. I could keep going!

What is your proudest achievement?

I don't know about proudest, but there was a pretty awesome series of moments last Global Game Jam. When we were showing off our finished game at the showcase, a lot of people consistently hung out at our table for more than half an hour so they could get all the way to the end of the game. That was pretty sweet.


What piques your curiosity?

I want to figure out how good game design principles can be used to make utility/learning/productivity apps more fun. Games, apps, and education have always had a bit of a strange relationship and it feels like there are some fun little corners there explore.

What is your hidden talent?

I make really good cornbread. Also, spreadsheets. I love planning out a new game system or a new, efficient way of generating content.

What is the best thing about working at Schell Games?

The people! There are some pretty excellent developers here and it's always a lot of fun to hear what everyone's working on and what they're excited about.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I like learning about web development in my free time. It's a completely different can of worms from game programming but I really enjoy learning about all of the different interlocking systems that go into a functional web app.

How long have you worked at Schell Games?

Around two to three years.