I guess if I had to describe the best path to success in game design, it’s this:

Luck.

Disheartening, eh? Well I’d definitely like to tell you that it’s an easy stroll, but it’s hardly the case. It’s not all luck of course, but those who are dealt a good hand more often beat out those who are dealt a bad one. Like in the new casinos scene and poker however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, good luck can be defeated by a healthy offering of cleverness. Imagine, if you will, you’re in a poker game. You have a trash hand… a two of diamonds and a seven of hearts. Nothing that would suggest to you what to do. For those who don’t know the deeper strategic elements of poker, a hand like this may seem like an inherent loser. While it’s not the best hand in the world, the best players are those who beat a pair of aces with that hand. Ultimately, poker is about knowing your opponents and being able to see a path to victory. So as far as they are concerned, that hand might as well be a pair of aces. As long as you can convince them of that, bad luck can be overcome.

Cleverness is such a valuable tool, as I can attest. It has been a major asset in my progress as a game designer, and I have been able to convince many a publisher or developer that my contributions are invaluable and necessary for their success. It has helped me vault over bad luck, and while sometimes I trip, I just get up and keep going. As you gain experience, any valuable contributions to games, be they contributions to your own or other’s, will help you make a name for yourself. Not only does this help you to create a brand that video game fans will want to buy, it will also give you important connections that can give you a stepping stone to bigger and better things in the industry. The only downside is that as you begin progress in your career, you may very well find yourself compromising your ideals. It’s up to you to decide how much compromise you find acceptable.