I am an awestruck person, and constantly invigorated by life. Life is about our connections. When we make connections we thrive. Play a couple violins and a viola and a cello and you have a beautiful string quartet. Bring some people together and you have a party. Stronger than the individual elements, right?
And isn't that why interactive entertainment/games/whatever-you-wanna-call-them are potentially the most powerful medium of expression ever? They are more than a medium, I would say. I would call them a fullium (yup, a new bad joke). The ultimate power of games is in their bringing together music, art, animation, simulation and requiring you to make them happen through your interaction.
That act of uniting all these separate elements is a worthy fight, and I wait for the game that brings together all elements in such harmony that it can affect me more than music. I believe music to be the most powerful medium. More powerful than a visual, its physical resonance actually strikes me in ways that are scary. But a good beat, a melancholy solo, a rousing orchestration, I live for a beautiful music album. And perhaps I have not felt the same with games because the demand of a game is wholly different. It is not something to let wash over you while you sit with eyes closed or as you dance with a partner in a throbbing crowd.
You are part of the game you play. The game would not be itself without you. And that is the power of games. Your connection is what makes the game happen. Your interaction is why a good game is good.
And so in turn the game is nothing without its developer[s]. And for a n00b in the industry, let me tell anyone still trying to get in, that the connections, the network you have, is the strongest tie you have to this field. Everyone knows everyone. Talk with people, talk with anyone. Make something with someone, and then tell others about what you are doing. I made some poor choices by neglecting various communities because of my rapid movement from one interest to another. If you like mapping, create Source maps and communicate with www.interlopers.net. They have professionals on that site, and because I only create a new map every two years or so, I missed opportunities that were hidden in that site. I randomly frequent the site. I am a second cousin twice removed at interlopers, no one knows me. And for that I did not get the chance to enter the industry right off the bat as a level designer. At www.TIGSource.com I only follow the front page. I never make games and submit them there. I don't follow the forums. If I were tight with tigsource, who knows what I might be up to.
But I do have a family. I worked at a couple game studios as an intern. I worked with MIT's incredible GAMBIT game lab. I found my current gigs through a former high school teacher's husband and the other through a previous boss. Be grateful for networks out there, and for gosh sakes, don't try and exist in a vacuum. You can, sure. But is it any fun? And is it rewarding? Who will have your back? Embrace networks. Embrace friends and family and everyone, for in the game industry, and out of it, connections are what keep us alive.