On the 14th of January 1991, I started my first day of work at Thalion Software, a small and long defunct game development studio in Gütersloh, Germany. Which means that today I have worked in the games industry for 20 years.
Although it’s a nice number to drop into conversations from time to time, it remains, of course, an arbitrary milestone. There are enough people with a much longer career in the industry, and I am proud to count some of them among my friends.
But arbitrary or not, it’s a good opportunity to reflect. I like to think that I’ve managed to keep learning and growing, and that, with time, I am slowly managing to make new mistakes instead of just repeating old ones. I’ve found that delivering good work doesn’t become easier with time, but I’ve mostly grown used to the difficulty.
Today’s date also means that I moved away from my native Netherlands 20 years ago. I have now lived more than half of my life abroad. Is that meaningful? I don’t know. It has definitely changed me.
Today, after some detours into jobs where I was removed from hands-on development, I am not that far from where I started 20 years ago. I design and manage now, but I also still program.
I now work in a time when games are much more accepted as an industry, a medium and an art form, and when the interactive entertainment landscape is as exciting as ever, with more platforms, more play contexts, and more paradigms for games than ever before.
I am as passionate about the combination of interactivity, technology and storytelling as I was 20 years ago, and I still believe that the best is yet to come.
I could write more, but I have work to do.