From Classroom to Game Room

After graduating with a Creative Writing degree,  I envisioned myself being a writer or a teacher, or both. In addition to fine-tuning my craft at San Francisco State, I was an instructor’s assistant for three different creative writing classes, and was an English tutor at the Learning Assistance Center. I could have gone down the literature path and spent my days analyzing prolific texts, and although I love literature, I need to tell stories. I love to write and to share my love for learning with fresh minds, so it’s serendipitous that I found a fit at Blue Orange Games!

As I write copy for new games and select illustrations, I am taken aback by the parallels between what I did as a tutor and what I am working on now. As a tutor, I helped students read and write better while encouraging them to become independent learners. I never thought that I could find similar rewards working for a company, but I have. I am helping kids learn through these games. Had you told me months ago that I would be part of a team creating educational games for children three and up, I would have said, “That’s my dream job!” Although I am not directly working with students, I think of the children who will learn via our games and it’s a similar feeling. When I was interviewed for the position I said to Martin, the director, that I could see myself thriving here because it’s important that my work has an impact. At the end of my first week, I looked over to Brandan’s computer and saw symbols that I chose for a new Spot it! game. I love to think that somewhere, someone, will be playing the games I helped create while learning!

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As a tutor, I learned how different activities such as board work, writing prompts, and asking open-ended questions helps students learn by triggering different cognitive functions. I gained a variety of teaching strategies so I could guide students while engaging their attention. It was so rewarding to watch my weekly students become better writers over the semester. Learning encompasses a range of resources and strategies that students can access. I see how our games mold young minds, preparing them for school later on. Reading, for instance, is a challenge for some college students. I wonder if it‘s because they did not learn to read early enough, or were probably never taught reading strategies like annotating in high school. Whatever the reasons, getting a jump start improves your capacity for learning down the line.

The mix of learning with fun is why I loved studying creative writing. In my second semester as an instructor’s assistant, I presented a lecture to a classroom of more than eighty students! My heart beat fast, but then I saw the students’ eyes light up after I gave them my writing prompt. When they turned in their stories, I could tell that my guidance triggered many intriguing tales. For one of the games I’m working on right now, Tell Tale Princess, I am using this talent by choosing characters, settings, and emotions that will trigger  kids’ imaginations. My work here mirrors what I accomplished as an IA, only targeted to a younger audience. Although my niece is only two and a half years old, so probably too young to play this game right now, I foresee her creating vivid stories thanks to my image prompts one day!

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