Employee Spotlights

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John Joy

Advanced Producer

What is the weirdest job you've ever held?

I may have to go with assistant to a traditional cartoonist. I don't mean this in that the experience was weird - I absolutely loved working for the cartoonist and he was an amazing mentor and all-around great guy. I categorize it as weird because this seems like such an old-timey job now that totally doesn't exist anymore. The traditional syndicated newspaper cartoonist is all but gone, and the whole process he worked in, inking dailies for a newspaper submission deadline, feels so antiquated now that I think about it. I am so, so happy that I got to experience this moment in cartooning history before it disappeared, and I am really grateful that it fueled my love for art and personal expression into my adult life. I now have profound respect for the craft and its roots in cranking out consistent art on a crazy deadline!

What is your favorite all-time game?

This is such a loaded question - I really equate games to certain times of my life, and I always played games with my siblings growing up, so when I think of certain games that feel like my "favorite", what it really is bringing up are fond memories of trying to beat a game with my brothers, all huddled around a low res computer monitor or a CRT TV. I loved adventure games for that reason - one person could play, and everyone else could yell out suggestions to help solve puzzles. I also loved arcade, sim-lite sports games for this reason, too. You could play a quick match, and then the winner could play someone else.

The games that mean the most to me are King's Quest (PC), Monkey Island (PC), Street Fighter 2 (SNES), NHL 94 (SNES), NBA Live 95 (SNES), Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey (N64), Goldeneye (N64), and Timesplitters 2 (Gamecube).

What games are you playing right now?

Spider-Man and Resident Evil 2 for PS4.

I was super close to finishing Crysis 3 and Quantum Break on Xbox One, but I just had to switch over to Spidey and RE2 once I got them.

I did leave Kratos in the lurch as well, so I'd love to return to God of War (2018), once I finish up Spider-Man and RE2.

This also brings up an accessibility feature that I would like to invent that I'd dub "Parent Mode" - this does not mean censor mature content. What it would mean is chop out the majority of repetitive gameplay and open-world elements so the whole game can be played in 5 hours or less.

My biggest frustration is that games are now like 20 hours to complete (at least!). I don't have that time for one game! I have stuff to do!!

What motivated you to begin working in the game industry?

I wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but I didn't want to leave SF and move to LA.

So, I applied for a QA position at Telltale Games. I have always been a big fan of adventure games, and Telltale was made up of former LucasArts employees who were carrying on the adventure game tradition.

Seeing the delightful mess that is trying to weave tech, art, storytelling, and gameplay into a single product, all while trying to be mindful of schedules, money, and the inevitable bugs that arise when you least expect them -- I was smitten... I had to be a part of this wacky world for as long as I could!

What inspires you?

My daughter, who is brilliant and creative and hilarious.
The idea that life is what you make of it.
Knowing that nothing is unique: any challenge I have faced has been faced by someone else.
The Law of Attraction: like attracts like, so you get more of what you focus on.

What is your proudest achievement?

Playtesting Daniel Tiger games with my daughter.

What piques your curiosity?

Figuring out how to make things better by going outside my comfort zone. Gleaning ideas and learnings from unlikely sources. The strangeness of life and all sorts of existential considerations.

What is your hidden talent?

I am really good at making scrambled eggs, according to my daughter :D

What is the best thing about working at Schell Games?

Making games that matter with people who care deeply.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

That I do improv comedy (and am currently on an official house team at Steel City Improv in Pittsburgh. I took a brief hiatus this Summer, and will return in the Fall!)

How long have you worked at Schell Games?

2 years! (Time flies here - it does not feel like that long!)