So we’ve got a brand new site that’s had a complete redesign. Most of you are probably new here and maybe even new to FreeStyleGames in general (you must have *at* least heard of DJ Hero right?). Well I’m sort of in the same boat; I just recently started a new job here at the company. So in this first blog, I’ll be talking about my experiences and first impressions of what we get up too and rambles of sorts.
Due to a bit of bad luck, I ended up moving into my house in Leamington Spa on Sunday, with less than 24 hours to get settled in a new town before starting my first day at Freestyle. I didn’t get off to a great start when moving in as there was a distinct pong as soon as I opened the door, only to discover the kitchen covered in bin bags and mouldy chicken in the fridge. Did I forget to mention this was a student house? I unpacked, gave the kitchen a once over using an improvised hazmat mask using a t-shirt and elastic bands and was then stuck with nothing to do. Thankfully, a friend from Uni lives in Leamington and offered to show me around town. By town, I mean a pint.
He took to me the most popular public house in town, the Clarendon, an old school rock pub with pool tables, arcade machines and pictures of Jimi Hendrix everywhere. I was feeling quite nervous about the next day so a pint, a burger and a catch up would calm me down. He told me that all the nearby games companies called this their local, and it suddenly dawned on me that the people around me could be my new office buddies that I’d be meeting tomorrow and this could be my first impression with them. Bit of a long shot, I know, but I pretty much froze up, kept an eye out and watched my language. Just in case.
So it’s Monday, the sun’s out, I’m wide awake and ready to take on the first day. At this point I have pretty much memorized Google Maps route from my house to the office; all I needed was to look presentable by washing and putting some clothes on. And what would you know, the boiler doesn’t work, which I didn’t realise until my clothes were submerged and my semi-smart long sleeved top was creased up beyond use. My first thought; kettle. Second thought; make sure not to let the water boil to avoid a trip to A&E. I swapped my shirt for a superhero t-shirt, it is a games company after all. One guy at my other company wore dresses to work, so a picture of Ultraman on my chest wasn’t going to make them decline my job contract on the first day… But that thought did cross my mind.
No time for you this morning duckies,
I got places to be
So with Google Maps on my phone giving me directions, a makeshift drawn map on a piece of paper and road directions written on ANOTHER piece of paper, I was ready to go. You might call this overkill, but I call it planning as you can be prepared for being both mugged and the wind blowing something out of your hand. Leamington is actually a pretty gorgeous place to be, it wasn’t until I was halfway through blooming flowerbeds in Jephson Gardens that I realised it. It’s an old town that’s got a great running architecture that’s centauries old and how houses various different offices and shops. You would never have guessed one cream white building on the corner was a Pizza Express.
As soon as I walked through the door, everything I was worried and nervous about and all the extreme scenarios of me meeting the boss and making an awkward joke and everyone staring at me that I played out in my head burst like a bubble. I was greeted by warm smiles from the lovely admin team and waited in the awesome looking reception. I got to speak to the other three guys who were starting the same day as me, all with ear to ear grins on our faces and one had even brought in a tin of Roses (very good way to introduce yourself).
You can really get lost in those seats
We got the guided tour of the offices and met every person in the different departments, shaking every single persons hand and being informally introduced, everyone was genuinely interested to meet the new members of the company. It felt like social overload and I kept telling myself, “At least try to remember the lead’s names”. After the first 20 people, I could barely remember my own. The next thing I noticed was the Toys. Most creative offices are swimming with them; I already had a layout set up in my head for mine. They’re also a good way to get an impression of someone’s personality and a great way to start a conversation. “That’s a lot of Transformers; you’ve got Optimus Prime… Um… Bumblebee… Err… This one… is……?” I did mention I could barely remember my own name.
This me shaking whatshisface’s hand
At this point I was still under NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and didn’t know what the project that I would be working on was, or even on what system. After walking around for a few minutes I saw lots of little white ham radio looking boxes and accompanying touchpad screens. It was obvious that these were devkits for the new Nintendo Wii console, the WiiU. Okay, that’s pretty awesome. Working on a new game for an unreleased console? Get in!
After the tour, I ended up with the other three guys from reception in our new office with our lead and current staff. We got presented with the brand new tech and had got to play on it for the rest of the day to familiarize ourselves with the hardware we’d be using for the rest of the year (DO NOT DROP DO NOT DROP DO NOT DROP). I will post about first awkward then hilarious experiences with the game in a later blog, including singing lessons. No kidding.
Clock clicks over to 5pm and the first day is officially over. Over the next few months I’ll be talking about my first few weeks at the company and some general topics relating to the company and her crew.
And hi, I’m Tom btw.