Game Designer Woes

Being a game designer is a dream job, but it’s not always easy. As with any creative endeavor, it’s hard to get anyone to pay attention to you at the start, and even if you manage to get published, that’s just the first step in building any kind of career.

Of course, some people have it harder than others. Much harder. Game designer and publisher Todd Downing lost his wife and father to cancer last year, within a month of each other, leaving him with alone with his son and daughter, now ages 11 and 8. Then, on Christmas Eve, several inches of sewage backed up into his house in Seattle, right into the bedrooms. To top it all off, his fresh-repaired house burned down on Valentine’s Day.

If that sounds like too much to be true, check out the article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

I don’t know Todd personally, although we’re on an industry mailing list or two together. I’ve long followed his work, though, as the publisher of Deep7, a company he founded with his wife Samantha. They publish Red Dwarf: The Roleplaying Game, Mean Streets, and a whole series of other games based on their XPG system and their rules-light 1PG system.

So, if you want to lend a hand to a fellow game designer, father, and human being, the newspaper article states:

Donations to help the Downing family can be made to Seattle’s Bravest Charity at 517 Second Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119. Indicate on the check that the money should go to the Downing family fund.

If you like to get something more substantial for your dollar than just a sense of doing a good deed, stop by the Deep7 website instead. Check out their line-up and then pick up a few of their games. This isn’t charity, folks. You’d be doing yourself the favor here.

And don’t think Todd’s wallowing in despair, for which you could hardly blame him. Check out one of his recent blog posts for just how he feels about all this. It’s inspiring.