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Who is working on novel concepts?

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I think my favorite designer must be Will Wright at Maxis. I'm not as smart, but I have a similar level of passion for what he does. The man doesn't work inside of a box. Being fresh out of college and having experienced a corporate environment, I find myself asking if the game industry is a better fit for my interests. However, there are fewer design jobs out there now, and they work differently than before. I would give anything to work with the masterminds like Will, but I really don't see any paths to that sort of thing. Where does one find a realistic mentor of that sort? Work at a small startup?

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There is also always the risk of setting off on your own with your own startup company. Get a few friends together, save up some money, bug your governments for some startup funding, and release some small games. Xbox Live Arcade looks like a good goal for newer startup companies.

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