Good advice from Raph Koster to someone who wants to break into the game design business. The advice goes for writers, performers, and anyone creative. The way to better your chances at landing a creative job is to create.
See, the filter here that many employers will use is “motivation.” Games are hot now, and everyone says they want to be in the industry. But given that there’s no huge barriers other than time, the way to get in the industry is to just get in it. Don’t be fooled by the idea that the big companies are the entirety of games. Nothing shows actual motivation and passion more than just going and doing it. When companies see a young person these days without a portfolio, they ask themselves whether he wants to be in games just because it sounds cool. For better or worse, an awful lot of candidates show up these days with a degree and a dose of entitlement — “I did my four years, hire me.” Having a finished game or two to plop down on the HR person’s desk is proof of actual commitment to the craft and the hard work. I suspect that is even more true given that you are a bit older than the typical college graduate.