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I ask Mary Margaret: “Am I too old to enter the video game industry?”

December 29, 2007

I caught this question in a search string yesterday, and thought for a long while about it. There was a time when the industry was filled with all young-all games-all day people. The industry’s more diverse now, and there are people of all ages in the industry. Still, it’s a really valid question, and one that I didn’t really know the answer to.

So, I asked Mary Margaret of Mary-Margaret.com, and she was kind enough to answer. If anyone would know, I reasoned, she would. Here is her answer which I reprint with her permission:

I’m happy to tell you that now is an ideal time for someone to cross into the games industry regardless of their age. I just placed a guy in his 50s from the music industry into the games industry. Our industry is maturing as we are. As an industry, we are realizing the value of youth and wide eyed energy as well as wisdom and a few crinkles around the eyes of someone who still wants to keep learning.

In my initial email to Mary, I had said, “I am a proponent of people following their dreams whatever age they may be. As a for instance, I have had a family member go from being a classical jazz guitar player to being English prof in his 50’s, and yet another dear friend go from being a secretary to a social worker in her early 40’s.”

This prompted her to say:

I wholeheartedly agree with you. And as I said, with the scarcity of talent, companies are beginning to look harder at more mature people as well as people from peripheral industries.

Thanks, MM.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Olick permalink
    December 30, 2007 11:55 am

    This is a good question to answer, because it always feels like that someone has started this younger/earlier than you have, and that you missed the only train somewhere along the way.

    Its really easy to let yourself get intimidated and discouraged about working on games. Much easier at least, than figuring out what to do and doing that.

  2. December 30, 2007 3:27 pm

    I echo what Olick wrote.

    This is something that I pondered when considering on if I wanted to continue to pursue a Masters in Software Engineering. I ended up just telling myself that I would graduate with my Bachelors, find a job, and continue my education to get a my masters when I’m employed. That decision ultimately revolved around the fact that spending 4 years in the Marines, 4 years getting my bachelors, will leave me graduating at 26. If I stayed to get my masters, I’d be 28 before I entered the industry. I just cringe at that thought. Even though It’s not like I’m not actively working on networking and doing independent projects, just the thought of entering the work force at 28 doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.

    It might also be because I’m excited to start working again, too.

  3. December 30, 2007 5:25 pm

    I think it’s the excitement to start working. At 28, you’re fine. :)

  4. December 31, 2007 5:16 pm

    Reminds me of a woman who turned 100 and had a remark something like this: “If I’d known I would live this long, I’d have taken up the violin at 60. By now I’d have 40 years experience!”

    I don’t think it’s ever too late to change… whether it be changing banks, careers or yourself.

  5. GenFeelGood permalink
    July 20, 2011 7:49 am

    I’m 23 and I will be close to 27 when Im done with getting my bachelors. A few days ago I found myself sitting in the break room at my mother’s work so I could take her home when she got off (broke her driving leg) and while I sat there I got to talking with a 12 year old boy who was waiting for his mom to get off so she can take him home. I found out he was an avid gamer like me and that he also has the desire to become a game designer. When I told him that I had the same desire he chuckled and remarked that I was probably too old to start (mentioning that one of the people behind blizzard started learning and practicing when he was 8), don’t know if that fact is true, but his comment about my age did rattle me a little which is why I went online to see if there was any truth to it. I’m glad I found this.

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