By Kimari Rennis
When you work alongside a team of talented writers who have spent years in the marketing industry, and they tell you that both you and the work you do is of value, you step away from your keyboard in shock. It feels like only yesterday you were a high school freshman writing two-paragraph game reviews at an after-school program. My once-inexperienced fingers now type press-facing programming updates for one of the biggest game companies in the world, Rockstar Games. (This work is part of a paid internship program created in partnership the New York Videogame Critics Circle.)
As a game design student in college, when you hear the Director of Design and Production, who’s spent 14 years at Rockstar Games, tell you that you are on the right path to getting the kind of job they have, the job you want, you feel like a little kid again.
In a spectacular way, I feel like a kindergartner telling the class what I want to be when I grow up, and then I meet that person on career day. My eyes have stars in them and I look up at this towering being with admiration, telling myself that one day I will be like them.
Finishing my communications internship at Rockstar Games was a memorable experience that told me that I am almost there in this journey. This rocky path of mine into the games industry gets clearer and straighter. I’ve progressed far enough in this game design and games journalist adventure to where I can personally talk and work with the teams and veterans I’ve always wanted to be around.
While working at Rockstar Games and attending the Game Design program at NYU, there was the moment when my imposter syndrome, which made me doubt my career goals, was finally overcome. I knew that I was capable and talented with a ravenous drive to create games and change the industry I tried so hard to get into.
Working my way to NYU was a similar experience. I worked tirelessly all four years of high school trying to create the best portfolio I could for the school, and all I could think was that I could’ve worked harder. All of what I’d done up to this point wasn’t good enough, I thought. Yet here I am in my second year, working toward my Bachelors in Game Design. I was indeed good enough. In fact, I exceeded expectations for what I worked for. I knew that as long as I worked hard, I would be rewarded for it: I received my acceptance letter to NYU on a full scholarship a month early. But that way of thinking changed when it came to jobs.
Thankfully, I have learned a lot about professional game design documentation, design statements, and a slew of other skills that prepared me for the professional world right under my nose. I was too busy working on getting A’s and putting excessive effort into my work to realize that even then, I was getting prepared for my approaching future.
The NYU Game Center is everything I could’ve dreamed of and more. Here, I get to constantly prototype and iterate on new games. The most satisfying part of being a game design major there is that I constantly see myself improving, creating better and more intuitive games. Moving into the advanced pools of classes next semester, I will be taking the 3D Game Studio course where I’ll be developing the open-world adventure games I’ve always wanted to make growing up.
I loved every bit of what I wrote with the communications team at Rockstar Games. I loved every programming update I needed to format, I loved every drafting process, I even loved getting on the PS5 to see that an update we wrote about the day before was featured news. The things we penned together meant something. It was of paramount importance for players to know what was going on with the game – constantly. Our tight-knit team was incredible and I was a part of their endless streak of glory.
Thinking now about the experience, I know that even getting the internship was a sign of my capabilities and enthusiasm in working in the games industry.
I want to thank my friends on the communications team, Simon Ramsey, Ellie Frangou, Luis Salguero, Murphy Siegel, and Carey Waggoner for the overwhelming hospitality and camaraderie. I’d also like to thank all of the wonderful people I got to interview throughout Rockstar who allowed me to hear their inspirational journeys. Most importantly, I would like to thank the NYVGCC’s Harold Goldberg for making this experience possible and trusting me with this valuable position.
Kimari Rennis is a long-time NYVGCC senior intern and a Game Design Major at New York University.