Certain about Seattle!

13 Jun
June 13, 2012

Gretchen (aka FutureWife) and I decided to head into the wonderful town of Frederick and get some work done at the unusually comfortable grocery store called Wegmans. They have fast internet and a coffee bar here, stay open until midnight, and there’s lots of seats laid out in a nice little set of rooms pretty far away from the “grocery” part of the store.

Woah! We just watched two skinny, heavily tattooed individuals with very red necks cruise by our table on one of those motorized carts meant for handicapped customers. Huh, one gentleman chose to sit in the basket. This day’s fantastic already.

Anyway. Red necked individuals misusing grocery store equipment have nothing to do with the upcoming discussion. Or, perhaps, they do. I’m here to talk about moving to Seattle, Washington. That’s 2715 miles away from these amateur comedians, which I take as a pretty bold tally mark under the “Pros” column. Seattle: 1. Maryland: 0.

Maryland isn’t a terrible place, really. I like it here! Most of the time. Living near loved ones is fantastic, and yet, my unwavering determination to work in the game development industry led FutureWife and I to set our sights somewhere else. At first, it was Florida. I’d found a fantastic looking school called “Full Sail,” and holy internet marketing, Batman! They throw 5 ads in your face any time you’re browsing somewhere visited by the college-age-video-game-playing-male demographic. Eventually, their marketing worked its magic on me. I’d been hooked, and as I called and became involved in the “admissions process,” everything seemed too good to be true.

It was.

Their game development program impressed me, on paper. I spoke to a few individuals enrolled at the school via twitter about their experiences, and each one pretty much had the same thing to say: It was mindbogglingly difficult, and most people lured into starting there dropped out.

That part actually impressed me, because “mindbogglingly difficult” is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m heading straight for the challenging opportunities. I’ve realized that anything less isn’t worth it. 

Sadly, I’m not meant for Full Sail this fall. The challenging program, while full of awesome coursework and stuff (again, on paper), is just too costly for a degree that isn’t nationally accredited. If, for example, I ever wanted to apply for a real university’s graduate program, the Full Sail degree wouldn’t fulfill the undergraduate prerequisite. We decided that I’d rather not start school in the fall anyway, so I left the prospect of Full Sail behind.

So how did FutureWife and I end up picking Seattle? Put simply: Jesus. No, really, hold on. It’s almost as if God decided to throw a map in our face. In the last month, we’ve met (about) ten billion people who, upon learning of our Seattle ambitions, wouldn’t shutup about how awesome it is, or how much their family loves it there, or how much they want to go back.

A few weeks ago, I struck up conversation with a random customer at Starbucks, a gentleman visiting the Capital with some friends. Turns out, he not only lives near Seattle and loves it, but also works at Starbucks there. We Facebook’d each other and he’s actually been answering my unrelenting barrage of questions ever since!

Divine intervention or not, we’ve learned a lot about Seattle. Excitement builds on excitement, and I haven’t even told you the best part:

There are over 80 video game companies there. Companies like Valve (Steam, Half-Life, Portal), Bungie and 343 Industries (Halo), NC Soft (Guild Wars), 5th Cell (Scribblenauts), Spry Fox (TripleTown), ShadegrownGames (Plank, props to Mr. Burns) and so many more. Huge and independent studios alike. Seattle’s also home to other companies you’ve probably heard of, like Microsoft, or Amazon.

There’s no shortage of opportunity for someone as focused, driven, and passionate as myself.

Yesterday, we decided to make The Seattle Plan official. We’ll be visiting the city in a few weeks, since this would all be silly unless we checked it out first, but I’m pretty sure it’s a done deal.

Quite frankly, I’m not revealing everything just yet. I’ve been working on something as remarkable as it is time-consuming, and it’s almost ready to go public. This mysteriously remarkable something is about to help me deliver on the promise I made in my last post.

You ready for me to knock your freakin’ socks off?

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