Category: Profiles

Getting to Know You: Mimi Wack, Production Intern

This past summer, Mimi Wack joined the Dig-It! Games team as a production intern. Mimi is a University of Chicago junior majoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies, a dessert-lover, and gamer. Working daily with Head of Production Dayle Hodge, Mimi was responsible for keeping the whole team organized as they develop new games to be released later this year. Dayle shared:

 “Mimi is a joy to work with.  She’s conscientious, works hard and cares about Dig-It! Games’ mission. She’s a quick study, an excellent organizer and a truly wonderful person.  We’ll miss her when she goes back to school this year, but we hope to see her again next summer.”

Mimi will be heading to Chicago in a few weeks, but in the meantime, get to know her here on the blog:

Mimi Wack

Take us through your average day at the Dig-It! Games studio. What projects do you work on? What meetings do you go to? What’s your favorite part of the day?

Most of my work is keeping track of what needs to get done and by whom. There’s a lot of information that gets passed around the office, especially during design meetings when the team hashes out the plan for our next game, and it takes time to sort through it and organize everybody’s duties. I enjoy it, though–it’s satisfying work.

How did you first become interested in games—and what’s your favorite game that you’ve ever played (video, board game, app, etc.) and why?

I got into video games when I was young, with the very same kind of educational games I’m helping make now! My favorite at the time was Zoombinis, and my favorite game in general (which I still think holds up very well) was Spyro the Dragon: Ripto’s Rage. My very favorite game that I’ve played is Portal 2 because its mechanics are really inventive and it has a great storyline.

Why did you want to intern with Dig-It! Games?

I was mostly interested in game studios around the DC area, and Suzi was kind enough to respond to my application. When I looked at the released games, it brought back nostalgia for the educational games I’d played during elementary and middle school.

I’m sure you’ve had a chance to play all of Dig-It! Games’ products. Which one is your favorite and why?

I play a lot of Can U Dig It! It’s a great quick puzzle game, and I’ve always liked games that involve spatial thinking. I’m working on getting all the achievements now (most of the way done!).

What’s your biggest takeaway from your internship at the studio this summer?

My biggest takeaway is that while it’s easy to look at a finished game and say “oh, that’s easy, it’s just a video game”, actually being a part of producing them is mostly a series of complicated design meetings and organizing notes so that the art & development teams have a record of what they’re supposed to do (at least until the design is changed). And that making even the smallest components of a game, like a sparkly animation, involves some very specific communication and a bunch of intermediary steps. It’s a complicated process, basically. Game developers should get much more credit than they do.

What’s your favorite dessert?

It’s hard to beat the classic deliciousness of a chocolate chip cookie, but I also like brownies. And donuts. Honestly, there’s not a lot of desserts I don’t like.


Creative & Talented: Meet Nicolas Baker, Winner of the Roman Town Video Trailer Contest

Last month, the Roman Town™ Video Trailer Contest came to an end when the talented and innovative Nicolas Baker was chosen as Dig-It! Games’ winner. Since then, he’s visited the studio and hung out with the Dig-It! Games team, received the prize of an iPad, and downloaded it with all of Dig-It! Games’ apps. We spoke with Nicolas, 14, about his creative process and what he loves about our games.

Nicolas Baker Win

How did you develop your entry for the Roman Town Video Trailer Contest?

I started to brainstorm story ideas. At first, I had this idea for a spy mission, in which spies are trying to steal the iPad with the game on it. Then I realized that the storyline took too much time, so I decided to focus on screenshots of the game.

I used Final Cut Pro at school in the media lab. The contest was announced after final exams were over, so I spent class time working on the project, as well as after school. I did ask my media teacher for any additional editing software for the iPad, but the iMovie app did not give me as much freedom as I wanted.

I used screenshots of the game itself mixed with A-Roll of my sister and dad playing Roman Town. I wanted to give the audience a clear indication of who was playing the game, so I used an above the shoulder shot with my sister to show it was a young child and which game was being played. Then with my dad, I wanted them to know it was an adult—but they already knew the game, so I could just show him without the iPad screen.

Nicolas Baker Win 2

How much time did it take you to finish the project?

Working one day each week, it took me about a month to complete.

Do you want to be a filmmaker when you grow up?

I’ve spent three years of my middle school experience learning about media production and video editing, but I’m really interested in animation and art. I’d like to be an animator for Disney. After I did this project, it got me more interested in video editing and I’d like to take those skills, along with web and graphic design, to start a freelancing business.

What made you want to enter the contest?

I got the e-mail announcing the contest. I’ve known about Dig-It! Games for a while. I like their apps—they’re cool and fun. I realized I had plenty of experience to make a great trailer; it gave me the chance to take my learning experience and put it into a professional game trailer.

How did you feel when you won?

I was at the pool when I found out. I was checking to see if my parents were in touch, saw the subject line of the e-mail which said Congratulations, and I was really excited. I wasn’t sure if I’d gotten first place or second place at the time, but then I read through the entire e-mail and was ecstatic.

How did your parents react?

I called them and my mom first thought I was joking, but then I read through the whole e-mail with them. They’re proud of me.

What’s your favorite mini-game in Roman Town?

My favorite subject at school is math, so I like the translate Roman Numerals game.

Nicolas Baker Win 3

Would you be interested in becoming an artist at Dig-It! Games someday?

I really like the studio. Winning was the third time I’ve been there. I was able to talk to the artists and game designers, and they got to show me some of their animation software. I’d like to intern at Dig-It! Games or work part-time when I get older.