Psychonauts and Brütal Legend mastermind Tim Schafer is celebrating 20 years in the videogame industry with a quick look back at some of the troubles he had breaking in, along with the unique application that eventually landed him inside the hallowed halls of Lucasfilm.
Life is good when you’re Tim Schafer. Fame, fortune, fast cars and easy women, all there for the taking. But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, as Schafer explains in a Double Fine Action News post marking the two-decade anniversary of his entry into the industry, he faced his fair share of rejection in the late 80s and now he’s going to share those hard times with you.
“I’ve decided to put up some historical documents so that you can all laugh at how unqualified I was for this job, how lucky I was to get it, and how screwed I would have been if I hadn’t,” he wrote. “Also, I hope it encourages you job-hunters out there. If I can get a job in the games industry, ANYBODY can. (Not at my company of course. I would never hire somebody as unqualified as I was!)”
Among the companies that turned down Schafer’s advances were Atari and Hewlett Packard, and when he finally got a telephone interview with Lucasfilm he blew it with a gaffe that was 100 percent pure facepalm. Convinced that he had nothing to lose, he submitted a memorably unusual formal application and ultimately got the job. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s a fun read and while I don’t believe for a second that Schafer is quite as wildly unqualified as he claims to be, it’s a little bit inspirational, too. Schafer has one other piece of advice for today’s job-hunters, however. “Don’t do what I did,” he said. “It only worked in the 80s!”