You may not know this about me, but I’m constantly searching for real work in my chosen career, which happens to be writing. I can’t decide exactly which industry I’d enjoy writing in the most, but the frontrunner tends to be video games, and more than anything I’ve had a dream to someday work at Nintendo of America as a writer and editor. It may seem strange, but I’d just like to spend a few minutes this week explaining why I’m so very obsessed with that dream. This is why, after all these years, I still want to work at Nintendo.
Just a few weeks ago I wrote up an article about why Remedy Entertainment is currently my favorite game company, with the reasons being that I liked the games they made, their business practice, and the fact that they send emails letting you know when you don’t get hired to jobs you’ve applied for. I had one person on Twitter call me out about that last part, pointing out the ridiculousness of saying I like a company because they wouldn’t hire me. It’s not as simple as that, but it does certainly sound silly upon later reading it, though the core is still there. Fact of the matter is I’ve been trying to get my one favorite company to notice me for so long that I’m about ready to take any form of contact as saintly kindness.
I went to school at the University of Oregon to get a Bachelors of Arts in English. It’s hanging over my desk, mocking me with the unbelievable debt I find myself in as a result. But, as everyone in my life kept reassuring me, once I had that degree, doors would open and a career would be mine. I’ve been out of college now for two years and no doors have opened, at least not the way they were described. My wife and I make enough to live off of, but we’re utterly stuck in our current status. We cannot afford to buy a house. We cannot afford to buy a car. We cannot afford to start a family. We’re pretty much one bad month away from losing everything, and that terrifies me. Naturally, what makes that worse is the framed piece of paper, winking at me with that Oregon O, reminding me that I will be paying over $800 a month every month to pay off my student loans for at least the next 20 years. You can do an awful lot with $800 in a month.
The point here is that going to college has thus far been worthless to me, and actually the biggest mistake of my life. Except for the fact that I have to have that piece of paper to qualify for a Localization Writer/Editor job at Nintendo of America. I went to college and focused on English for no other reason than to eventually get that one single job. So you may understand why, after applying again and again for the past six or more years, that when I’m not even getting a stock “this position is no longer open” email back, it can weigh pretty heavily on a man’s mind.
Initially, the obvious reason behind the rejection was just a simple matter of not meeting the requirements. I was applying back before I was even really in college, so naturally I’d be told flat-out no. That never stopped me from applying while attending school, but then I ran into another requirement I didn’t have: Experience. I met all other requirements save for the 1-2 years of creative writing experience, which of course only counts paid gigs. I’ve been writing for my own personal projects for over a decade, but that doesn’t count. Asking around at the University of Oregon’s career center only further crushed me as they were absolutely unwilling to help me with my goal of writing for Nintendo, essentially just wringing their hands and saying that they didn’t even know where to look, and I would have been fine with that if I hadn’t paid part of my tuition toward keeping them employed to help me get work.
This brings us full-circle as my first real big writing gig happened to be here on Toy-TMA. I started three years ago as just a contributor along with a handful of others, sending in 350-word articles on whatever I was asked to. Eventually I was the only writer left and when my boss, Ryan, moved on to other projects, I took over as Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. Combine that work with a handful of internships, a year at Tomopop, and now nearly a year at The Escapist, and I more than meet the requirements. Now the only problem is, with the way things have been going, even though I have probably close to five years of creative writing experience to point to, there’s always going to be a recently laid-off writer with 15 years floating around Seattle, fresh out of work from another big game studio. I’m in a position where I don’t have seniority, but I also don’t have “fresh-out-of-college-and-ready-to-learn” to work off of. I am completely and utterly stuck.
But then why would I continually go through the process of applying, waiting, and then seeing that the positions have been removed over and over and over again? It’s because ever since I was a kid, Nintendo has always been something vital to me. It’s the classic tale of always needing a friend and finding comfort in my NES. No matter what, I was always able to turn to Mario to have my back, or Link to guarantee a good time, or any number of Nintendo characters to help fill a void.
I decided very early on that no matter what, I really wanted to some day have a connection to Nintendo somehow. I played with other career ideas, like veterinarian, stand-up comic, and computer programmer, but ultimately I confirmed that I was best when I was writing and editing, and so I saw this Localization job and felt it was the closest to actually creating Nintendo games as a non-Japanese person can get.
Nintendo is everything to me. I can’t help but get excited about every new title they have coming out, even ones that I shouldn’t be. I’m stoked for Mario Tennis Open, even though it’s just a tennis game for the 3DS. I am radically psyched for the Wii U’s lineup reveal during this year’s E3, especially now that they’ve confirmed a new Pikmin title and something that’s currently being called Super Mario 4. How can I not be excited for that? My favorite game console is the GameCube, a system no one seemed to like. I live and breathe this stuff. I don’t know how to do anything else at this point.
So that brings us to this very second. I sit, and wait, and hope, and I know that unless I can find a connection with someone at the actual company, I’m just going to be sitting and waiting and hoping a lot longer. Still, it’s similar to what Butters said from a classic South Park episode. He was talking about how great it is to feel miserable after getting dumped because it means that he must have gone through something wonderful to feel so bad now. That’s how I feel with Nintendo. I only get so angry about the lack of contact because I love the company so damn much. Obsessive isn’t even the right word for it. I simply don’t know any other way to be.