Gary Winnick Interview Page Five

In retrospect, how do you think the computer game industry has changed since you first started out? Has it gotten better, worse, or a mixture of both?

As far as I can tell it's a mixture. It's definitely better on a lot of levels since computer gaming is now a well established industry. The personal computer is a basic part of life it's become a standard appliance in virtually every home like a TV.

The ongoing increase in compute power and associated lowering of cost (imagine if the auto industry could provide you a safer, faster and better looking car than last years' for less money each year) has made high quality delivery systems more and more accessible to the public and let's not forget the Internet. On the flip side better machines with faster processors and high resolution graphics fuel an expectation for software with higher production values and associated budgets. So the presentation side of the art form the level has definitely advanced. However like the film, TV and other entertainment businesses these soaring production costs make people less inclined to take chances because financially its' become a hit driven business.

I guess I should get to the inevitable and standard question: What do you think about the industry's focus shifting away from adventure games?

In my opinion I've observed the gaming industry to be extremely cyclic as we introduce new platforms, new consumers continue to come into the market. Ease of use promotes greater mass market appeal for story based adventure games for users less interested in more twitch and shoot style arcade play. Obviously there will always be audiences for both genres, but I strongly believe there can be an expanding market for adventure games in the future based upon the evolution of broad band internet and other platforms providing a suitable delivery medium and growing user base.

What advice would you give to people today who are interested in getting into the computer game industry, either as an artist, writer, or even project leader?

Make sure you take the time to learn the basics and start at the beginning. It's pretty unlikely that a serious company will hire anyone for one of these positions unless they have some track record in that area. I know this sounds familiar and feels like the chicken and egg problem however there's lots of ways to approach getting started. Obviously do as much studying and work in the area you've chosen. Many companies offer apprentice or intern programs, check them out. On the art side build up the most impressive portfolio possible. In the event that you have the opportunity to show your work to a particular company make sure it has a connection to their product line or other areas they are interested in. For example if the company primarily makes 3D space games, show them examples of 3D space ships not pencil drawings of people's faces. If you don't have the right material concentrate on building up that part of your presentation before you burn that opportunity to show off your work.

And finally, do you think there is a serious lack of purple meteors and talking tentacles in games today?

Sure... But the easiest way to fix that would be another sequel to Maniac I don't know if it's in the cards, you probably have a better idea about that than I do. If Lucasarts ever decides to do one I know I'd be happy to consult on the design.

Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. Best of luck with your future projects!

You're quite welcome, thanks for the opportunity.

Interview conducted by Andrew "telarium" Langley
He wants a cattle prod of his own.
© The International House of Mojo 2001

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