How to Break Into Videogames Using Only a Single Hole in Your Stomach

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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Stick with this post even if you don’t give a rip about videogames. It gets crazy towards the end!

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I was a kid who loved videogames. Keep in mind that I was born in 1975, and videogames were new and fresh at the time. You were a pretty popular kid if you had an Atari 2600 or a Commodore 64. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were not only in the financial position to afford both, but also felt that it was a worthy spend of their dollars.

I’m going to try to not get too “videogamey” with this videogame post, but let me get this out of the way for reference…

After my Atari, I had an NES, an SNES, a Genesis (with SegaCD and 32x), a Saturn, a Jaguar, a 3DO, and on and on and on. Like I said, I was a kid who loved videogames.

At a certain point, my Mom was fed up with watching my eyeballs shrivel inside of their sockets as I stared at Mario and Sonic and Pacman for far too long each day, and so she started using the line that every kid dreads hearing:

“Go outside and stop wasting your life on those videogames. You’ll never make a living playing games!”

Being from a small rural farming town in the middle of nowhere, I can fully appreciate her perspective. When a family is surrounded by dirt and mud as far as the eye can see and has never had a male family member graduate from high school, saying your child was going to have a career in videogames probably sounded about as plausible as saying your child was going to build the first Pizza Hut on Mars.Read More »

Thursday Think Tank: I’m Kind of Best Friends with Terry Crews

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,570.87
Total Paid Off: $16,739.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

I don’t really talk about it too much on this site, but I work in videogames. I’ll go into much greater detail on a future Think Tank about my journey through the business, but I started as a Software Test Engineer, moved to Animator and then Art Director, and I am now a Producer.

Working in this industry has afforded me many great opportunities, but the one that sits at or very near the top is the time I got to speak to a capacity room at San Diego Comicon with Mr. Terry Crews.

A while back, I worked on a game called “Crackdown 3,” which is a game about super cops called “Agents” who fight crime in the not-too-distant future. Our amazing Marketing person had the brilliant idea to try to cast a celebrity in the lead role for the game, and she focused almost from day one on Terry. To our shock and surprise, she actually pulled it off, and he agreed to take part in our videogame.

I co-wrote and co-directed many of the cutscenes in the game, as well as all of our trailers for various tradeshows and events. I also drew the very first concepts of what would become our Agents’ signature armor in the game, and a modified version of that design was eventually physically built for Terry to wear in many live-action spots.

My first interaction with him was one I’ll never forget…Read More »

Cow Heads, Knee-Deep Manure, and Perspective – Life on the Farm

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,570.87
Total Paid Off: $16,739.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is 100% true. However it’s also 100% gross. If you have a weak constitution and get nauseated easily, turn back now. You have been warned.

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There was a time in my life where I was 100% content with knowing that I was going to inherit my father’s cattle farm, work it until it broke every ounce of spirit in me in my old age, and then pass it on to my children to continue the cycle.

At the age of 20 however I decided that the cattle business just wasn’t for me and so I moved to the Seattle area, eventually landed a job in videogames, and the rest is history. I’m thrilled with how my career has gone, but I also think I would have been very content if I was still working on that farm to this day. We’ll get to that later…

Farm life was not always fun, and the relentless nature of it at times was downright torture! Keep in mind that we had close to 3,000 head of cattle, and cows don’t take a break from eating. They require food 365 days a year, and that means no breaks for those humans in charge of feeding them, which mostly fell to me. From about 17 years of age on, I drove a large yellow front end loader and used it to scoop all sorts of ingredients into a giant auger truck that I then drove along the 2 mile stretch of stanchions as it slowly barfed out the mixture for the hungry cattle. It was highly monotonous and took a LONG time! My typical day started at 5:30am with morning feeding that took around 4 hours. I would then take a break from feeding to help with administering shots, branding, etc. and then would climb back into the feed truck for another two-three hours at the end of the day for the second feeding, usually wrapping up around 7:00pm.

It was hard work that was compounded by harsh central Washington state winters. Temperatures often dipped down into single digits, and we got lots and lots of snow. The snow wasn’t the problem though… the problem was what came after it was gone.Read More »